Two-time author’s success is no mystery

Away with the Fishes

Away with the Fishes

Erin Zaranec

Kent State modern and classical language professor and author Stephanie Siciarz released her second mystery novel, “Away with the Fishes” in August.

Named one of the Best Indie Books of 2013 by Kirkus Reviews, Siciarz said she was thrilled by the success of her debut novel, “Left at the Mango Tree.”

“Equally as thrilling now are the reviews that continue to turn up on Amazon or sites like Goodreads,” Siciarz said. “Of course I quite love this place that I’ve created as the setting for my novels, but to learn that others react to it favorably and feel at home there, that is really gratifying.” 

Both of Siciarz’s novels are set on the fictional island of Oh, an island inspired by her travels to the West Indies. The novels also feature the same protagonist, Raoul Orlean, an islander that becomes an accidental detective in both of her mystery novels. Orlean’s character came to Siciarz years ago while on her daily commute to work. 

While “Away with the Fishes” shares similarities with Siciarz’s first novel, it is not considered to be a sequel. 

“Attentive readers familiar with the first book may get an extra chuckle or two at some inside jokes, but this second book is certainly meant to be enjoyed on its own as well,” Siciarz said. 

The mystery novel features chapterlets, one of Siciarz’s favorite aspects of the book. She included one to two page interludes throughout the novel that describe characteristics of the island of Oh and its islanders. 

The chapterlets are somewhat of a mystery themselves. Siciarz said the reader can either take them for what they are or delve into how they relate to what is happening within the story. 

Although Siciarz is a professor of modern and classical languages, she said she does not believe her two careers intertwine. 

“I’m not sure the two aspects of my professional life are very closely connected, other than by a love of language — the sounds, the grammar — that marks both my writing and my teaching of Italian,” Siciarz said. 

Those interested in reading about the island of Oh, “Away with the Fishes” is currently available for purchase and has a digital version exclusive to Amazon Kindle. 

“I hope readers walk away from any of the books in this series feeling as if they’ve just left a warm place, a warm community, a just-magic-enough world they’re anxious to return,” Siciarz said. “I hope when they finish the last page, they sign and feel a little bit homesick.” 

Siciarz will be doing local book readings and signings, dates of which will be posted on the “Island of Oh” ‘s Facebook page and on Siciarz’s Twitter page, @StephSiciarz.

Contact Erin Zaranec at [email protected].