Sister and brother Holly Simason and Rick Copp write Hayley Powell mysteries under the nom de plume Lee Hollis. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Bringing home the ‘Bacon’ Brother-sister mystery team hitting stride

BAR HARBOR — Growing up in Trenton and Bar Harbor, Rick Copp and Holly (Copp) Simason had no inkling that years later, the friends, neighbors, coworkers and community would become inspiration for a popular series of pocket murder mysteries. All feature heroine and sleuth Hayley Powell.

The run of paperback whodunnits from the brother-sister duo, who write under the pen name Lee Hollis, will hit 10 early next year. New in bookstores and online right now is number 7, “Death of a Bacon Heiress.”

“Death of a Pumpkin Carver” is due out Aug. 30.

So far, the Haley Powell Murder Series has managed to break free of being pigeon-holed as just a quick beach read. Earlier this month, “Bacon” was ranked number 29 on the Barnes & Noble Mystery & Crime Best Seller List of Nook books. “It was snuggled between mega-stars James Patterson and Janet Evanovich,” explained an excited Rick Copp.

Copp was in Bar Harbor recently and revealed the title of the next two books. Book nine, an “Eggnog Murder,” has been written with authors Leslie Meier and Barbara Ross. It will feature three novellas in a single book and is slated for release in November “just in time for Christmas,” Copp noted.

Getting to the bottom of the mystery of book 10 took some more prodding.

Simason, a former receptionist and cooking columnist at the Mount Desert Islander, now lives in Maysville, N.C. She tracks the plot of each food-themed book and roughs out a first draft. In between his other writing projects, Copp takes it from there and adds some additional plot elements and polish.

So far, all the books have been published in paperback and e-editions, although a deal to have some come out in hardback is in the works, Copp said.

Copp, who honed his writing skills as a staff writer on the hit TV show “Golden Girls,” has written numerous other books and produces a hit web video series “Where the Bears Are.”

“It’s the ‘Golden Girls’ meets ‘Murder She Wrote’ but with big, hairy gay men, and it is intended for a mature audience,” Copp said. The series has over 20 million views online and a worldwide following.

It has been running for five seasons and has earned him invites and personal appearances around the globe. There’s an ongoing Kickstarter campaign running now for season six.

According to Copp, he and Simason are looking forward to putting out even more books as they explore relationships with other publishers and in the transition to hardcover. “It started out as kind of a lark, and it has really taken off,” he said.

So what’s the title of book 10, due out next year? Hint: it’s once again focused in Maine. The title: “Death of a Lobster Lover.”

Earl Brechlin

Earl Brechlin

Editor at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander editor Earl Brechlin first discovered Mount Desert Island 35 years ago and never left. The author of seven guide and casual history books, he is a Registered Maine Guide and has served as president of the Maine and New England Press Associations. He and his wife live in Bar Harbor.
Earl Brechlin

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