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Alison Sweeney Talks the Next Chapter of Hannah Swensen Mysteries 

Alison Sweeney Talks the Next Chapter of Hannah Swensen Mysteries

As Hallmark Movies & Mysteries has shifted its Mystery Wheel franchises to newer series, sometimes by necessity as talent moves on, we’re so grateful that Murder She Baked evolved into Hannah Swensen Mysteries, and it will continue this year, despite the network departure of Cameron Mathison. If you’re like me, you hoped that news wouldn’t end the eight-film series, and very thankfully, it isn’t.

Instead, series star and executive producer Alison Sweeney has pivoted, adding writer to her hyphenate title with the just-announced ninth installment (and fourth Hannah Swensen Mystery), “One Bad Apple,” which completed filming last month in Vancouver with “A Zest of Death” director Shannon Kohli returning. The first written by credit for Sweeney is an adaptation of Joanne Fluke’s “Apple Turnover Murder,” and will include returning fan favorites Gabriel Hogan, Barbara Niven, Tess Atkins, and Lisa Durupt — and welcome Hallmarkies favorite, and Sweeney’s The Wedding Veil co-star, Victor Webster (who had his own franchise in Matchmaker Mysteries), into the Lake Eden family. We love this news so much!

Wedding Veil

Here’s the logline of what we can expect:

Hannah Swensen has been asked to teach a baking class at the college in town, but her equipment is tampered with causing an explosion that the fire department rules an accident. Soon, a colleague ends up dead and Hannah begins to put together the puzzle of the mysterious circumstances surrounding the murder. Hannah leans on her friends and family to collect the breadcrumbs of foul play and put them together, and meets a different side of law and order when Lake Eden’s prosecuting attorney Chad Norton (Webster) enters her life.

A Zest for Death: A Hannah Swensen Mystery

Earlier today, I chatted with Sweeney about Love & Jane, which premieres this Saturday, and we spent a few minutes talking about Hannah Swensen. She was as delighted as we are to continue Hannah’s story. “It was so thrilling to get the opportunity to write a script and the support I received from Hallmark and everyone on this project [as] my first writing was very exciting, and nerve-wracking,” she shares.

“But the brilliant performances that I worked with every movie with Barbara Niven and Lisa Durupt, who plays my sister Andrea, and Tess Atkins, and and Gabe Hogan, who plays Norman … I felt like I was cheating because I could just hear their voices and performances in my head. I felt like it wrote itself. They were just acting in my mind the whole time. “So when we finally got the set, I just was watching it and giggling in the corner, and they said, ‘Are you laughing at your writing?’ and I said, ‘No, it was always you. I just put it on paper. You’re funny.'”

Sweeney embraced getting to architect the next chapter of the series she’s shepherded for the last nine years, and develop a new character from the ground up. “The challenge and thrill for me of writing Victor Webster’s character was just so exciting,” she explains.

The Wedding Veil

“He’s so talented, such a great guy. I loved working with him on The Wedding Veil and having the opportunity myself to write his character, and bring his character into Hannah’s world was really fun for me. And a good exciting challenge for me to tackle myself.”

“First of all, Victor’s a talented actor, so I knew I had all these options. He could have done anything. Then I looked at the world that Hannah is in. I of course have these 30 books that Joanne Fluke has written to play with and all these different characters and these men that come in and out of Hannah’s life over the course of her very busy life solving these mysteries.”

“So I wanted to honor that and work with Joanne’s vision for Hannah. And I thought this character of a prosecutor would be a really fun character to bring into her world. And Hannah’s gonna have to up her game a little if she’s gonna keep solving these crimes because Victor’s character has some high standards.”

A Zest for Death: A Hannah Swensen Mystery

One Bad Apple: A Hannah Swensen Mystery will premiere later this year on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. But first, check back this week for the rest of my interview with Alison Sweeney about Saturday’s premiere of Love & Jane, which I previewed here.

Photos courtesy of Hallmark Media.

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