Welcome to Books and Brews!  Over the last five months, I’ve been hosting Books and Brews with Laura Vosika on AM 950 here in the Twin Cities.  Each month, I’m joined by co-host Michael Agnew and a local author.  To read about more of our programs–and listen to them–CLICK HERE.


LISTEN to Books and Brews with Guest Lorrie Holmgren.

Some post-show thoughts:

From Lorrie:

I am delighted to be a guest on the Books and Brews radio program that broadcast on Sunday, May 28 on 950 AM. At a quick-moving taping session earlier this week, I talked with Laura Vosika, author of the popular Blue Bells Chronicles, and with Michael Agnew, craft beer expert about Murder on Madeline Island, an Emily Swift Travel Mystery.
One of the many topics we discussed was the theme of loyalty.  When Laura asked me how that idea was developed in Murder on Madeline Island, I said that the idea of conflicting loyalties is interesting to me.  People may be loyal to their immediate family, their team, their employer, or the larger community and their sense of right and wrong.
But what if these loyalties come in conflict?   How do they decide?  Where do they draw the line?  In Murder on Madeline Island, Emily realizes how loyal Chet is to his family. But she wonders if it would lead him to cover up a murder or hide the truth from himself?
Michael came up with a fascinating way to link four delicious beers to the history of Madeline Island.   You can buy Murder on Madeline Island on Amazon as a book or Kindle or at Once Upon a Crime Bookstore in Minneapolis.
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Or my website at www.lorrieholmgren.com

From Laura:


What a fun show!  And what fun to meet Lorrie and talk about Madeline Island–a rather unique place set in Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands, and home of La Pointe, Wisconsin, one of the earliest European settlements in the area, having started as a trading post in 1693.
I was excited to talk to Lorrie about it because I’ve actually been there–driving across the ‘ice bridge’ which becomes the road to the island in the winter.  Unfortunately, it was late, and we did little more than drive through a dusky La Pointe and return to Bayfield.
We did discuss briefly how travel and spending part of a childhood overseas impacts writing, as Lorrie spent a year living in Milan when she was 8 and 9, and I lived in Germany until I was almost 6.
There was, of course, not enough time to really dig into everything.  The idea of loyalties and split loyalties is one that no doubt most, if not all, of us face at some point in our lives.  What happens when our loyalty to family requires us to sacrifice loyalty to our ideals?  Or loyalty to one person requires us to break faith with someone else to whom we had also given our loyalty?
Why does one person choose one path, and someone else chooses the opposite?  What is it in their lives or character that drives that choice?  Some choose based on fun or what’s easiest, on which choice will cause the least upheaval in their lives.  That would be the Shawn we met in the opening pages of Blue Bells of Scotland.
Others choose based on morality, justice, kindness, courage, and other noble qualities.  That sounds more like the man Shawn became during his two years in medieval Scotland.  The jury remains out (and let’s not even ask which century they’re in!) on whether he will backslide in his modern life and ultimately choose for his own good, or whether he’ll remain a man who makes his choices based on the good of others, regardless of what those choices cost him.
These are the questions we ask as writers, and the questions we should ask as human beings.  Just as we should ask questions like: how does one match beer to a murder mystery?
I was dying to see how Michael did it!  And I was quite impressed!  He researched Madeline Island and matched his four beers to the four periods of occupation of the Island: the Native Americans who once lived there, the French, the English, and finally the colonists.  We drank our way chronologically through Madeline Island’s history.  Fortunately, the samples were on the small side!
Given that there was no fermented beverage during the Native American period, he relayed an old tale and chose a beer based on wild rice.  We finished up with a hard apple cider that evoked Johnny Appleseeed–and learned that in fact he was planting apples for cider, not for pie!
To hear Michael’s expertise, tune in to Sunday’s Books and Brews with Laura Vosikaand Michael Agnew and Lorrie Holmgren.


  • Sunday, June 18, 10 am: Books and Brews with Scott, owner of Eat My Words Bookstore
  • June 24, 2017, 3 to 5 pm: Reading at Eat My Words Books with Michael Agnew
  • October 2017: Author Talk and luncheon at Lawrence University
  • October 16, 2017: speaker at Fox Cities Book Festival in Appleton, Wisconsin
  • January 9, 2018: Talk with the Osseo Book Club
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