Get Lost with Christine Finlayson & Tip of a Bone

A Pacific Northwest Mystery

When a town is shrouded in secrets

Sometimes those secrets are best left buried

by Christine Finlayson

Buried bones, a missing eco-activist, and a deadly fire?

It's not what Maya Rivers bargained for when she moved to the coastal city of Newport, Oregon t reunine with her brother, Harley.  Yet when Harley is accused of an unthinkable crime, Maya insists on adding amateur sleuth to her career options.  It isn't long before she discovers an eerie clue . . . but the closer she gets to the truth, the closer a murderer follows.  

What the reviewers are saying . . . 

An intriguing, fast-moving mystery. Tip of a Bone is layered with taut writing and smart dialogue…”
--Robert Dugoni, NY Times Bestselling Author of Murder One.

A lively mystery, set at the beautiful Oregon coast, with environmental themes woven skillfully through a tale of family loyalty… strong characters, an unusual setting, and a plot that will keep you guessing.”
--Ann Littlewood, author of EndangeredNight Kill, and Did Not Survive

“A page turner… Finlayson keeps the reader hanging on for dear life.”
–Coast Weekend book review

Please welcome Christine Finlayson
DONNELL:  Christine, welcome!  Wow a review that says keeps the reader hanging on for dear life? Fantastic.   I’m still in the midst of judging two contests, but Tip of a Bone is first on my pleasure reading.  I visited the Pacific Northwest often while my daughter lived there. If I wanted to get rid of a body, I can’t think of any greater hiding place.  Why did you choose the Pacific Northwest?

CHRISTINE: Thank you for having me here today.  The Northwest is home—I grew up in Washington and now live in Oregon. I love our green forests, snowy mountains, rivers, and beaches; the whole “Keep Oregon Weird” vibe; and even the rain.  And you’re right: we have plenty of remote lands for hiding bodies!

Tip of a Bone is set on the Oregon coast, a wild and stormy spot. But it’s also full of good memories—my husband and I honeymooned there.

DONNELL:  Based on the blurb and your opening, this sounds like a cross of a hardcore mystery.  How does an amateur sleuth fit in, and explain to us what expertise your sleuth holds that she should willingly get involved?

CHRISTINE:  It’s not that hardcore! Maya Rivers is the ultimate amateur sleuth—rather than having a career that leaves her stumbling over bodies, she gets involved because of an emotional connection. When her brother gets accused of a horrible crime, Maya is devastated and must decide if he’s worth fighting for. She doesn’t start the book with much expertise—just raw determination and a fearless attitude—but by the end, she’s earned her skills.

DONNELL:  Obviously a lot of research went into writing this book.  What is the most interesting piece of research you discovered while writing this book?

CHRISTINE: Every March, the community in Newport hosts events to kick off the ocean-fishing season. During the Blessing of the Fleet, decorated fishing boats pass through the bay while a chaplain offers a prayer for the vessel and crew’s safety. That same day, fishermen participate in timed competitions to test skills such as knot tying and crab-pot heaving—as well as the Survival Suit Races that appear in Tip of a Bone. These events were fascinating to watch, but it was sobering to learn about the dangers of commercial fishing: since 1900, more than 120 local fishermen have been lost at sea.

DONNELL:  When you’re not writing, where will we find Christine Finlayson?

CHRISTINE:  Reading. I love to read, probably more than I should if I want to be a productive writer. J You may also find me enjoying the outdoors with my family, doing nature photography and crafts, or training for my favorite sport: triathlon. 

DONNELL:  Are you strictly a mystery writer or do you write any other genres?

CHRISTINE: My second book (in progress) is a suspense novel. For both writing and reading, my tastes are changing from classical mysteries to suspense, in part because the “Why’d he do it?” question is even more interesting to me than the “Who-dun-it?” Also, I enjoy writing in multiple points-of-view and using different character voices—a great fit for suspense novels.

DONNELL:  Name the most unusual thing you keep in your closet.

CHRISTINE:  We live in an old bungalow with surprisingly big closets, used to store many things—from baby shoes to fabric pieces I’m absolutely going to use someday. But the most unusual thing would probably be my triathlon wetsuits, hanging in mesh bags next to my clothes.

DONNELL:  If you could meet anyone, past or present, living or dead, who would it be, and why?

CHRISTINE: You mean I have to choose between Daniel Craig and a dozen favorite authors? Tough call! Actually, it would be amazing to meet Stephen King and talk writing with him. His approach is so different than mine (way more freeform), but I’ve gleaned some great lessons from his book On Writing. And then—if I can travel through time, I’d want to meet the early suffragettes, plus Amelia Earhart, Vincent Van Gogh, Alfred Hitchcock, and . . . oh, wait, I’m supposed to pick one!

DONNELL:  Yes, that pick one is problematic.  Now it’s your turn to ask readers a question. 

CHRISTINE: Thank you again for having me here, Donnell.  I’d like to ask readers: What personality traits do you look for in a strong female character?  What makes her interesting? And what keeps you reading?


Contact Links:  Web site  Facebook  Nature blog  

Thanks for being our guest, Christine!  Best wishes with Tip of  a Bone!


  1. The Oregon Coast is amazing -- and with intriguing characters -- I'm in! Looking forward to getting lost in the book.

  2. A strong female character must be intelligent, feisty & have integrity. I don't need to identify with her, but she must be interesting. If she makes ALL the wrong choices I will just get annoyed with her.



  3. Welcome to GLIAS, Christine. The Oregon coast is one place I've only seen pictures of and I'm itching to visit here in the states. Best of luck with your book !!

  4. I think someone smart, kind and loving. She doesn't have to make the right choices ALL the time but I wouldn't want her to be too silly and do all the wrong things...

  5. Christine, welcome! I prefer a heroine who is compassionate, smart and doesn't act outside the character the author has designed. Or is she takes a silly risk simply because the author needs her to go down in the basement even though a killer may be waiting. She needs a darn good reason to go into that basement. All boils down to her goals, motivation and conflict, doesn't it. Best wishes with Tip of a Bone!

  6. Enjoyed the blog and the book...now I really want to go to the Oregon Coast!
    My favorite heroine is one with doubts/fears that she battles through anyway - to do what she believes is right.

  7. Donnell, thank you so much for having me here today! It's wonderful to hear from readers about the ideal heroine---I'm taking notes for my next book. :) You're right about character motivation. Sometimes we need that heroine to enter the basement, but she's got to have a valid reason--or at least a personality that makes her act first, think later. It's a pleasure to be here at Get Lost in a Story. Thank you!

  8. Hi Mary and May,
    Thank you both for sharing your ideas on what makes a strong female character. I'm writing down your adjectives! Making good choices is important. One thing I found challenging when writing Tip of a Bone is that the main character/sleuth, Maya Rivers, is younger than me and in order to stay true to her POV (which lacks the wisdom that comes with age!), she does make some decisions I wouldn't. But it was also fun to let loose with her character and think, what might I do if I weren't constrained by my natural cautiousness? Maya is definitely feisty and bold, but determined to do the right thing.

  9. Christine FinlaysonFebruary 28, 2014 at 3:19 PM

    Thank you, Angi, Steve, and Cady! You should definitely plan a trip to the Oregon coast -- it's beautiful year-round, even when buried in fog or mist. And thanks to everyone for your comments. I'm about to head out of wifi range (forest), so will check back later!

  10. like a smart heroine; continue to read the book based on how she acts

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  11. Christine, my setting is Hatteras Island, which also has a Blessing of the Fleet Day. Strangely enough, they have it in the fall.

    I like honest and strong characters who have to operate normally while all around them strange events are occurring. I'll have to pick up your book. It sounds like a wonderful read!

  12. Hi E.B., Thank you! I would love to read your book on Hatteras Island, especially now that you've told me they hold a Blessing of the Fleet concept, too I'm adding "honest" and "strong" to my list of key adjectives. I think my heroine in Book Two may have to be a superhero!

  13. Bn100, I'm seeing a strong theme here... smart/intelligent heroines and ones who make good decisions came up in several comments, including yours. I wonder if there is a place for heroines who make terrible decisions?? (The train wreck in progress...)

  14. Train wrecks can be interesting in a that-could-be-me kind of way. But I think in the end, that type of character must have an arc that redeems her before the final crash. They must be sympathetic, not merely pathetic.