St. C. graduate releases first mystery novel


ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Jennifer Crouch Allen, writing as JPC Allen, has a YA Christian mystery launching Dec. 1 and based the setting of her novel on St. Clairsville, where she grew up, and other areas in southeastern Ohio.

“I knew I wanted to set my novel in southeastern Ohio for several reasons,” Allen said. “First, it’s what I know. That’s the advice given to all writers: write what you know. I lived in St. Clairsville until I was 18 and visited regularly until my parents moved near me in 2018. I know the land and the people of southeastern Ohio, and that gives authenticity to my setting and characters.

“Another reason I chose St. Clairsville as the model for my fictional Wellesville is because it saved me time. I didn’t have to do any special research.

“When I needed a library for my main character Rae Riley to work in, I based the Wellesville library on the one in St. Clairsville.

The courthouse is right across the street from it, and I borrowed the names of some of the streets for Wellesville, like Woodward and Sugar.

“A Shadow on the Snow” is a sequel to a Christmas mystery short story, “A Rose from the Ashes”, which was published in the anthology “Christmas fiction off the beaten path” and was a finalist for a Selah award at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.

Allen says, “I fell I love with Rae, my teen detective, and her father, their family, and all their friends and enemies in fictional Marlin County, Ohio. I wanted to know what happened to them next, and “A Shadow on the Snow” is the result.”

In “A Shadow on the Snow”, as nineteen-year-old Rae Riley gets to know her newly-found father and his family, a stalker won’t let her forget her late mother’s notorious past. Fearing the threat will make her family reject her, Rae investigates the mystery herself. But her amateur sleuthing may cost her the dad she’s always wanted.

“‘A Shadow on the Snow’ is aimed at teens who are looking for a mystery that they can try to solve along with Rae,” says Allen. “And it’s also for mystery lovers who are looking for a different kind of cozy mystery. The story takes place in the winter and even has a chase through a snowstorm, so it’s the perfect read for a cold winter’s night.”

JPC Allen started her writing career in second grade with an homage to Scooby Doo. She’s been tracking down mysteries ever since and has written mystery short stories for Mt. Zion Ridge Press. Her Christmas mystery short story, “A Rose from the Ashes”, was a Selah-finalist at the Blue Ridge Mountains Writers Conference in 2020. Online, she offers tips and prompts to ignite the creative spark in every kind of writer. She also leads workshops for tweens, teens, and adults, encouraging them to discover the adventure of writing. With deep roots in the Mountain State, she lives in central Ohio with her husband and sons. A Shadow on the Snow is her first novel.

Follow the clues to her next mystery on her pages @ jpcallenwrites on Facebook and Instagram, her website, JPCAllenWrites.com, and her author pages on Goodreads, Bookbub, and Amazon.


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