Monday, June 3, 2019



You are cordially invited to a destination wedding to die for . . .  

Welcome to Bocas del Toro, a remote chain of islands off the Caribbean coast of Panama. Five days of glorious sun and lush rainforest await the forty guests celebrating Bridezilla Olivia’s dream wedding—but will a murder sink the catered affair? Before anyone’s got time to start working on a tan, an unfortunate snorkeling accident eliminates a member of the wedding party. Maid of honor Lexie Marino smells trouble, and is thrust into the responsibility of investigating, needing to solve the case before her bestie’s trip down the aisle gets tropically derailed. The show must go on.

Lexie’s a little too tall, a little too awkward, and a little too brokenhearted, but she’s determined to nail the real killer. Can this unlikely sleuth stay afloat as she’s hit by wave after wave of wildly entertaining characters, including an alpha bride, surfing detectives, and a high school flame long forgotten? You’ll find yourself laughing until the very end of Drowning Lessons, a debut cozy mystery that makes the perfect beach read. Rub in some coconut oil, dangle your feet in the crystal-blue waters of Dolphin Bay, and sip a cool drink as Lexie discovers the deductive superpowers she never knew she had. Let the party begin!

This is the first book of five in the Red Frog Beach Mystery Series. For information and updates please visit

Book Details: 

Title: Drowning Lessons

Author: Rachel Neuburger Reynolds

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Series: The Red Frog Beach Mystery Series, book 1

Published: May 21, 2019

Print length: 292 pages

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours



A few of your favorite things: It’s so hard to pick just a few! I love my book collection, my guitar, and walking greyhounds on the weekend for the Retired Greyhound Trust.
Things you need to throw out: I’m not the best with throwing stuff away. I definitely need to start with a very extensive dress collection, most of which haven’t fit since 2006!

Things you need in order to write: I don’t need a lot to write besides my trusty Mac, but the other things are pretty specific! I need pencils from the Covent Garden Hotel in London and notebooks from a company called Deaf Messenger. As long as I have those things and my music, I’m ready to go! A water view doesn’t hurt either…
Things that hamper your writing: There’s always that mean old writer’s block, but it doesn’t stay away long. Bad news in the morning can kill my day. I write in the morning and bad news can kill the comedy. And if I’m not funny, I can’t write! 

Things you love about writing: I love creating worlds. There is nothing better when you are really on a roll, your characters are talking, and twists and turns are showing up in just the right day. However, nothing is more satisfying than seeing someone laugh while they read your book.
Things you hate about writing: Writing mysteries is the most laborious writing I've ever done. If all of a sudden you realize something isn't working, the entire thing unravels. So I love crafting mysteries, but the feeling that comes along when it doesn't work is terrible!

Easiest thing about being a writer: The easiest thing about being the writer is the luck of being able to come up with storiesand bring your worlds to life. It is an immensely satisfying thing to produce a manuscript.

The hardest thing about being a writer: The hardest thing about being a writer is that it's a very solitary road to go down. Reminding yourself that it's your job to write every day can be a considerable challenge. 

Things you love about where you live: I live between two places – St Leonards on Sea and London, in the UK. St Leonards is beautiful – it's a small seaside town with great restaurants, unique shopping, and lots of art galleries. It's a very quirky place (perfect for a future cozy series…) with a fantastic history. I live on the water, so waking up to the view of a rocky beach is something that never gets old.
And I love driving on the wrong side of the road!
Things that make you want to move: British winters! I grew up in Massachusetts and lived for many years in New York City, and I would take Northeastern winters in a heartbeat! It never gets much colder than 40, but it's grey and rainy for five months of the year, and the sun starts to go down at 3:30 in the afternoon in December. Add that to days hitting winds of 60 MPH winds, and it can make you want to cry!

Things you never want to run out of: Pistachios were the first thing that popped into my head, so I’m going to go with that. I eat so many of them that at one point I developed a callus on one of my forefingers (I took a break!).
Things you wish you’d never bought: Since I've moved to the UK, I don't buy a lot, but I did make the mistake of purchasing a 1930's ex-Ministry of Defense oak desk. Besides taking up half of the room, it is massive, not me at all, and makes getting into one of the closets impossible. 

Words that describe you: Creative, funny, caring.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: Stubborn, flighty.

Favorite foods: My grandmother’s lasagna, scallops with raspberries (sounds crazy, I know), cheeseburgers, and avocado.
Things that make you want to throw up: Salmon, Brussel sprouts, and gorgonzola cheese. 

Favorite music: I listen to so many different kinds of music and am always discovering new music that I love. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of the same music that I did when I was growing up. I've become a massive fan of The Cure again these days.
Music that makes your ears bleed: To this day, I don’t know why, but Creedence Clearwater Revival makes me want to lose my mind!

Favorite beverage: Water with sliced cucumbers and mint.

Something that gives you a pickle face: Red Bull. I don’t get it!

Favorite smell: Melted butter.

Something that makes you hold your nose: Blue cheese.

Something you’re really good at: Strange that I chose this question to answer last! I'll give you answers that don't include writing. I'm strangely very good with math. I also do writing and creative coaching, which I'm proud of and my clients seem to like what I do. 

Something you’re really bad at: Swimming (like Lexie in Drowning Lessons). And learning languages. I don’t do well in French or Germany, as I tend to start a sentence in one language and complete it in another! 

Something you wish you could do: I wish I could swim. It’s the number one thing on my list, and even have some phone numbers for people who teach adults who are afraid of swimming.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: I feel like ten years of taking lessons of acting have only confirmed that I am a terrible actress! And I do not exaggerate.

Something you like to do: I like to think about the possibility of surfing one day. I know that will come after I get over my issues with swimming, but I hope to get there. 

Something you wish you’d never done: I wish that I had never been mean like I was in my early 20’s. I’m a reformed meanie!

People you consider as heroes: I’m always impressed with women who break barriers. Amelia Earhart jumps to mind. Recently I’d been thinking about Martha Gellhorn – besides being Hemingway’s 3rd wife, she was considered one of the great war correspondents of the 20th century, having been on the scene of almost every major world conflict for over 50 years. That admiration comes from my mother, who wanted to be a journalist but was told by her college and family that as a woman that she couldn’t. I'm currently reading about 40's movie star, Hedy Lammar, who also designed advances in communications technology that she designed to help the US Army in WW2, and is now considered a precursor to wi-fi and GPS. Yikes, I’ve written a lot. Can you tell I studied history in college?

People with a big L on their foreheads: Oh, the big L! So many people have such inflated self-images these days, to the extent that no one else really matters. I’ll give them the L on their forehead.

Last best thing you ate: In England, everyone gets together on Sundays for Sunday Roast, which is basically roast beef, Yorkshire puddings, parsnips, roast potatoes, and tons of gravy. When it’s good, it’s great, and it was great last weekend. 

Last thing you regret eating: A strange tasting raw oyster. It was at my friend's restaurant, so once it was in my mouth, there was nothing I could do but finish it.

Things you’d walk a mile for: In a literal way, I love walking these greyhounds on the weekend, so that’s one answer. Also, I have a great time living in St Leonards on Sea, but if they opened a sushi restaurant in town, I would walk a mile (or two…or three).
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: Crazy clutter! My husband is a photographer, and sometimes he’ll turn the living room into a full photographic studio that renders the place off-limits.

Things you always put in your books: There is a boy who broke my heart when I was 19, who years later wrote me a very long love letter full of over-intellectual and over-dramatic statements. There is a line from that letter that goes into the first draft of everything I write. It often ends up on the cutting room floor, but it's always fun to find a place for it!

Things you never put in your books: Though I often name places or tertiary characters over friends that I know, I never call a primary or secondary character after anyone I know. It clouds my names, and you never know where that character will end up. That may change when I start getting further into the series when smaller characters ended up making their way to the foreground. 

Things to say to an author: It's always great to hear when people have enjoyed your work, but when people have really specific questions that's great. I also love to hear about how my work has made people think about things going on in their life or world. Hearing other's stories is excellent.

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: Ha ha! This is a great question. I’m a person who is always welcome to constructive criticism, but I think that when people come up to me, and start with, “I’ll tell you why that didn’t work…” then they could be put on a short list for a tragic fictional ending! I also think those folk who run amok with spoilers, should at least have a fictional scare!

Favorite places you’ve been: I've traveled a lot, and it's one of my great passions. Some of my favorite places are Portugal, Corsica, and Big Sur in California. Of course, Bocas del Toro in Panama, where Drowning Lessons is set, is a very special place that I hope to get back to go to soon. 

Places you never want to go to again: Belfast and the Dominican Republic. That being said, so much of disliking a place is subjective. I would always give a place another chance.

Favorite books: I love mysteries, both traditional and cozy. Sometimes I need a straight up comedy though! Every mid-June I re-read The Great Gatsby. It’s a present to myself.

Books you would ban: Books are so sacred, so I’ll just say that anything that inspires, or glorifies, hate or violence has no place with me. 

People you’d like to invite to dinner (living): Wow. This is fun. I'd say at this point, JK Rowling, Megan Markle, Ralph Fiennes, and Martin Scorsese. I hope they'd all get along. And now I need to figure out what I'd serve!

People you’d cancel dinner on: On a personal note, I’d cancel on a toxic friend of mine who I’ve recently parted ways with. I’d have to cancel on Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. I don’t think I’d enjoy dining with Justin Beber either. That was a fun question to answer.

Things that make you happy: My husband, my good friends, greyhounds, and my guitar. A greyhound will be added as a character in another mystery series that I am working on, The Evelyn Bay Murder Mystery Series. 

Things that drive you crazy: I’d say that rush hour public transportation traffic is one of my least favorite things. It’s also a pet peeve, and lost opportunity, to read mysteries that start out strong and lead to a lazy ending. Walking home from the train station in extreme wind doesn’t exactly put a smile on my face!

Most embarrassing moment: I was in a theatrical version of Tom Sawyer when I was twelve and had a particularly dramatic monologue that went on for a moment or two. In my big moment, which included a big twirl, which always got a big laugh, I lost balance and spun into the footlights. In a "show must go on" moment, I did try – but I forgot half of the remaining speech. Embarrassingly, it was the biggest laugh I ever got …

Proudest moment: I've had some good ones, but I don't think I ever felt better than when I finished the first draft of the first book that I ever wrote.

Biggest lie you’ve ever told: I don’t really lie, but maybe because of the massive amount of guilt I found over a lie when I was probably 7 years old. My mom wanted to plant standard yellow tulips lining the stairs up to our house, so we went to buy bulbs. Always one for flourish and ruffle, I pointed out some pink and purple whimsical tulips to my mom, which she passed on. She put me to work to put 100 bulbs into a bag. After counting out about 80, no one was in sight, so I threw 20 of my choice in the bag. Planting 50 of them in the fall, and having the torture of having to wait until spring to see if they’d bloom. After a few months, I had to give into my guilt and confessed to my mother. She said, “Well, the punishment will be how bad the flowers may look.” When spring finally sprung, we had predominantly beautiful yellow tulips, with a small patch of pink and purple. To be honest, they didn’t look too bad, but that stuck! 

A lie you wish you’d told: I worked in theatre for fifteen years, and finally had the chance to work with a writer who I really admired. I was used to working on scripts and knew how to give constructive criticism the right way. However, the playwright didn’t take it that way, and we never heard from them again.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done: I think I need to give you two examples of this one. Firstly, the huge leap of faith I took in resigning from a very good full-time job in 2011 to follow my dream of becoming a full-time writer. It's been a long and often arduous journey, but it's started to pay off.

Secondly, a very daring thing was the decision to move to England to move in with my now husband after six weeks. Over five years later, we are still going strong. As they say, when you know, you know!

Something you chickened out from doing: Bungee jumping. I knew I didn't want to do it and don't know why I said yes. I was tossing and turning for nights. It was a group of us, and it was funny that when I finally said that I wasn’t going to do it, a couple other people quickly followed suit. I think people just don’t want to be the first person to say they are scared. Safety in numbers!

The last thing you did for the first time: Played guitar! My husband gave me a guitar for my birthday, and I've been taking lessons. It's been great.

Something you’ll never do again: Downhill skiing. I’m just too scared! I’m very much that safety first person.


 Rachel Neuburger Reynolds is the author of The Red Frog Beach Mystery Series. As a playwright, her plays have had been produced in London, Edinburgh, and New York. After 25-years in New York City, she now resides with her husband between London and St Leonards-on-Sea in England. For news about Rachel and the upcoming Red Frog Beach Mysteries, check her out at

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