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The Water Tower: A Lakeview Mystery
by Amy Young
About The Water Tower
The Water Tower: A Lakeview Mystery
Cozy Mystery/Women Sleuths
1st in Series
Setting – A fictional Ohio town in the suburbs of Cleveland called Lakeview
Level Best Books (June 20, 2023)
Paperback : 250 pages
ISBN-10 : 1685122779
ISBN-13 : 978-1685122775
Digital ASIN : B0BT3T8M1C
Josie Ashbury was a successful Hollywood actress with a booming career—until an on-set breakdown sends her back to her small Ohio hometown to recover. Taking a job teaching at her old high school, Josie is beginning to put the pieces of her life back together when one of her students dies under suspicious circumstances. The police close the case quickly, without any real answers. Josie is determined to find the truth behind the girl’s death.
At the same time, Josie is battling demons of her own. As she faces debilitating insomnia that leaves her with gaps in her memory, she dives into the tangled secrets surrounding the investigation. When she finally unravels the web, she discovers that the truth lies much closer to home than she could have ever imagined.
She stood on the water tower, looking at the skyline she had only observed from the ground. You really could see the whole town from up here. Funny how your whole life can fit into one 360-degree glance. Peering down at the ground, she was no longer able to see individual blades of grass, all of them blurring into a sea of perfect emerald green. To her right was the roof of Lakeview High School, looking small from this vantage point. She felt as though if she leaned over far enough, she could almost touch it. But that was ridiculous; the school had to be several hundred feet away. Her vision came in and out of focus as she swayed, thinking about her life, her past, her future… Reaching out her slender arm, she twirled her wrist. She could hardly wait for graduation when, everyone said, “real life” would begin. “I can’t wait to get out of here,” her friends exclaimed, dreaming of big cities and even bigger lives in far-off places: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, anywhere but here. But she knew they would return, just like their parents, raising 2.5 kids with a Labradoodle and a balding husband in one of the best-little-suburbs in the country. Was it really so bad? She watched all these super-educated women who had given up their careers to stay home and clean up after the kids and drive to soccer practice, instead of changing the world as they’d so hopefully planned when plotting their escape years earlier. Was that her fate? Was that what awaited her now? Dozens of similar thoughts swirled and crashed like waves in front of her, mixing in a fantastic spray of colors, lights, and sounds.
Character Guest Post
A Day In The Life On Set
Hello! My name is Josie Ashbury, I’m thirty-one years old, and I’m an actress in Los Angeles. My television show, Order & Justice, is entering its seventh season, and the show has enjoyed an amazing amount of success. People often ask me what a typical day is like, and the answer is complicated; when you’re filming, whether it’s a TV show, a movie, a commercial, a short, each day is different! But there are some general similarities, at least for me. So I’m going to walk you through what a day in my life looks like when I’m filming.
4:00 a.m. – My alarm goes off. I am not a morning person by nature, but if I don’t get up now, I won’t be able to squeeze in a run. My call time today is 6:00m and we’ll likely be filming for at least twelve hours, so this is the only time I’ve got. I hit snooze until around 4:15, then drag myself out of bed. I go for a three-mile run, stretch, and shower. Then I feed my cats, Monroe and Presley, grab a cup of coffee, and am out the door by 5:30.
6:00 a.m. – Traffic was light this morning, fortunately. It doesn’t usually pick up until 6:00, so 5:30 is the perfect time to leave in order to get to set as quickly as possible. Today, we’re starting in Downtown LA, then moving back to the studio lot for interior shots later in the day. I arrive at the studio lot, put my stuff in my trailer, and am immediately ushered into a car to be taken to the location. When we arrive, I get my butt into hair and makeup for the day. The stylists prefer that I come in with my hair wet so they can style it, so I didn’t have to worry about blow-drying before I left home. I chat with the ladies as they’re prepping me, and James, my co-star, arrives. His prep takes less time than mine, and we’re finished about the same time.
7:00 a.m. – Back to my trailer for wardrobe. The 2nd Assistant Director (AD) comes by to check me in and give me the latest call sheet and script changes for the day. Being a regular on a TV show means that sometimes I have to incorporate last-minute script changes as the writers tweak their work down to the wire. Our writers are fantastic, and I appreciate that they work so hard to make our show a success.
7:30 a.m. – Once wardrobe is sorted out, I go to the catering truck for breakfast and another coffee. There is a big crowd scene today with a lot of background actors, so the place is swarming with people. I say hello to a few crew members, take a plate of eggs and fruit, and head back to my trailer to go over lines.
8:30 a.m. – James comes to my trailer so we can run lines. We have a bigger scene today, and neither of us want to screw it up – if we do, we could be here for ages. It’s weird working with him since we broke up recently, but we both soldier through. While we’re working on lines, the crew is getting the set ready, lighting the scene, readying sound and video playback, determining the shot with the Director of Photography and the Director, and walking through it with the second team (stand-ins), and generally getting everything set so the actual shoot will go smoothly. Much of the time on a film set is spent waiting while the crew sets up scenes, and although my days are long, the crew members have a much more difficult job as they are constantly working.
10:00 a.m. A Production Assistant (PA) comes to my trailer to get me for the scenes we’re shooting here. After chatting with the stand-ins, the actors rehearse the scene to get our blocking. Then we film. Then we stop. We film again. We stop. Camera angles are changed. We sit in our director chairs at video village, which is where the Director and the rest of the production crew watch the scene live on screens while we’re filming. Second team is called in to stand in for lighting. Then we film again.
1:00 p.m. The 1st Assistant Director calls lunch break, and I go back to my trailer to rest and eat. My assistant brings me a salad from one of my favorite lunch spots, then leaves to go run errands. It’s hot today, and I’m glad we only have one more angle to shoot before we return to the studio lot.
2:00 p.m. Lunch break is over. The crew jumps into gear and readies the scene. This is the big one with a lot of background, so it takes a little longer to shoot, but everyone nails it.
3:00 p.m. The 1st AD announces that we’re wrapped on this location, and everyone starts packing up to go back to the studio. The scenes there are smaller, so the background actors are released and there will be just a few of us going back to our set. I go to my trailer, change out of wardrobe, grab my bag, and am loaded into a car to be ferried back to set.
5:00 p.m. We are definitely going into overtime today. It took about forty minutes to get back to the studio from the location shoot, and while everything here is getting set up, I lie down in my trailer to conserve my energy. We only have a few more scenes to do here, and I’m hopeful that this won’t take too long.
6:00 p.m. Another PA comes to get me and take me to set. We are always escorted to set by a production assistant. I feel like someone could just send me a text and I’d be happy to walk myself there, but this is a convention in the industry. I’ve gotten used to it, but at first, it was so odd. Like, “I’m here to walk you to school. I know you’re a grown woman and it’s thirty feet away, but we want to make sure you get there.” Then more filming, changing camera angles, rehearsing, filming, stopping, changing angles, changing scenes, and so on. This takes longer than the Director had hoped, and I can tell he’s frustrated.
7:00 p.m. Dinner break is called. We had all hoped to be done by now, but since we’re not, production has to abide by union rules for meal breaks. I am handed a script with a few changes, so back to my trailer I go to run lines and eat a sandwich.
8:00 p.m. Dinner break is over, and fortunately the setup for the scene is already done. We move through second team rehearsal, first team rehearsal (us), then shoot the scene. After two takes, we switch angles, then mercifully, the 1st AD calls a wrap on the day.
9:00 p.m. I return to my trailer, change into my sweats, and a production assistant delivers the call sheet for the next day and script changes (sides). Mercifully, since we ran late today, we have a later call time tomorrow because of union rules about overnight turnaround time – to avoid paying penalties, the crew must have a twelve hour rest between end of day and beginning of next day.
10:00 p.m. I arrive home, clean litterboxes, and fall asleep on the couch. Yes, I’m exhausted, but I can’t believe I get to live this life. And tomorrow I get to do it all over again!
About Amy Young
Amy Young is an author, comedian, and actor based in Cleveland. After spending a decade in Los Angeles working in the entertainment industry and writing her debut novel, The Water Tower, she returned to Ohio to be closer to family. Amy is working on her second book, a thriller, and in her free time she enjoys going to the theatre, bingeing reality TV, and spending time with her husband and many, many cats. She has a B.A. in English from Kenyon College.
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