Tag Archive | books

Heather Blanton–Lady in Defiance

Heather Blanton ph    Heather Blanton––Lady in Defiance

Heather said, “I believe Christian fiction should be messy and gritty, because the human condition is … and God loves us anyway.” –

A former journalist, and avid researcher you skillfully weave truth in among fictional story lines. I understand you love to explore the American West.

Yes, especially ghost towns and museums. I’ve walked parts of the Oregon Trail, ridden horses through the Rockies, climbed to the top of Independence Rock, and even held an outlaw’s note in my hand.

No wonder your books bring our western culture to life.

You write Christian Westerns. Besides your love of the west is there another reason?

I get to write about strong pioneer women and men who struggle to find God and then live out their faith in real ways. Romance is always a strong element in my stories because it is such a beautiful gift from God, and a perfect reflection of how he loves His children: sacrificially and lavishly.

You have been able to write Christian Westerns without being preachy or cheesy.

Like good old-fashioned Westerns, there is always justice, a moral message, American values, and lots of high adventure, unexpected plot twists, and more than a touch of suspense. I think readers find my stories heart-warming, realistic, illuminating and glorifying to God.

Where do you think this love for the west stems from?

I think it’s because I grew up on a steady diet of Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and John Wayne movies. My fondest childhood memory is of sitting next to my father, munching on popcorn, and watching Lucas McCain unload that Winchester!

I can relate to your love for the old west. I loved the western movies growing up. Every Saturday afternoon was movies and then home to recreate those Roy Rogers and Gene Autry movies. We loved that era.

You are the bestselling independent author of several Christian Westerns, including the Romance in the Rockies series.

This  series, Intrigued by the concept of three good sisters stranded in a lawless Colorado mining town, caused a few notable Hollywood producers to request the script for my first book in that series.

trio of heather    book1    book 2

You’ve been called “A Lady in Defiance” and your writing is gritty and realistic. In fact, your books have been compared to AMC’s Hell on Wheels series, as well as the legendary Francine Rivers book, Redeeming Love. You just released Romance in the Rockies Books 1, 2, & 3 Plus The Lost Chapters.

Readers now can get all three of the bestselling Defiance books in ONE collection, along with a BONUS, never-before-published prequel novella, The Lost Chapters.

Heather, we wish you continuing success in your writing. We enjoy reading your work so we can’t wait to read this one.

Thank you for visiting with us today.

 

To learn more about Heather visit her website: https://ladiesindefiance.com/ and get her newsletter.

https://www.facebook.com/heatherfreyblanton https://twitter.com/heatherfblanton
https://www.pinterest.com/heatherfblanton/

 

Once A Judge–Goldstein-Now Author

authorphoto_debrahgoldstein  Debra H. Goldstein is the author of Should Have Played Poker (A Carrie Martin and the Mah Jongg Players Mystery) that just released in April and the book, Maze in Blue.

Are you still a sitting judge?

No. Although I remained a sitting federal Admaze-in-blueministrative Law Judge after my first book, Maze in Blue, was published. I decided to step down from the bench and pursue my passion – writing.

 

Do you
draw from the cases you have presided over? 

At this point in my writing, I haven’t felt comfortable drawing from the cases I presided over, but I occasionally use bits and pieces from my past experiences for scenes or steal characteristics from people I have met during my legal career.

For example, in my first published story, Legal Magic, two lawyers think a courtroom is empty.  Suddenly, they hear the voice of the judge who is to hear the case fill the courtroom like God speaking on the mountain. Looking around, they realize the judge is lying down behind rather than sitting at his bench. This exact scenario happened to me when, as a litigator, I appeared in front of a judge who injured his back, but wanted to continue hearing his docketed cases until the date of his scheduled surgery.  Because he couldn’t sit, he placed a cot behind the bench and held court lying down.  Eerie as the actual experience was, it was a perfect scene to incorporate into a story.

I think that is probably the most unusual thing I’ve heard a judge do, and I agree, it is eerie but funny. Might make a good trilogy!

What has been the biggest surprise to you in writing a novel?

The biggest surprise is actually hearing the characters’ voices – especially if I start veering from where they think the story should go.

Has developing plots and scenes been easier for you because of your experience?

For me, plots and scenes grow out of my imagination spurred from chance encounters, overhearing a conversation, reading a news headline or almost anything enhanced by my various life experiences. My legal experience is especially helpful in fleshing out twists that involve courtrooms or issues of law.  It makes it possible for me to avoid common fictional legal mistakes and to know odd things that might move a story along.

My writing reflects the totality of my life experiences rather than simply my legal career. This becomes clear if one analyzes the character of the protagonist, Carrie Martin.  She is a young corporate attorney whose father moved into the Sunshine Village Retirement Home because he has mild dementia. Although what happens to Carrie on the job never happened to me during my first legal job with a major corporation, I pulled upon that experience as the starting point to write about Carrie’s responsibilities, challenges and interaction with co-workers. In the same way, I used my mother-in-law’s reaction to the initial stages of Alzeheimers, research I did when a family member was considering moving into an assisted living facility and memories of my mother’s long term Mah Jongg game to make the story realistic.

poker  Your newest book, Should Have Played Poker, tell us where the idea came from.

Writers are always told to write what they know.  In my case, I started thinking of my relationship with my mother.  Unfortunately, it makes for a boring story to say my mother desperately wanted a daughter, loved me unconditionally, and encouraged me in everything I did.  Consequently, I decided to write the opposite of what I knew – a story about a woman whose mother abandoned her when she was a child and how that impacted her as she grew into adulthood. This concept opened up doors to the characters who helped raise her, her internal and external emotional ability or inability to relate to others, and her reaction to how her father’s dementia will eventually change their relationship.  The problem at this point was that Carrie’s life story was pretty heavy.  I needed a counterbalance for the story to be enjoyable for the reader.  As I thought about it, I remember the retirement home Mah Jongg players I used in my first published story, Legal Magic, and realized they would be the perfect comic foil for Carrie.  Once they came into the picture, the story flowed.

Tell us about your main characters in that book and how you chose them.

The main character in Should Have Played Poker is Carrie Martin, a twenty-nine-year-old corporate attorney who is precariously balancing her job and visiting her father in the Sunshine Village Retirement Home. After having abandoned her family twenty-six years earlier, her mother returns and leaves her with a sealed envelope and the knowledge she once considered killing Carrie’s father.  Before Carrie can discover what is in the envelope or why her mother returned, her mother is murdered at the retirement home where Carrie’s father lives.  When the detective assigned to her mother’s case, Carrie’s former live-in lover, doesn’t seem to be doing much, Carrie feels compelled to intervene in the investigation.  Needing help, she enlists the Sunshine Village Mah Jongg players to help her sleuth.  I chose to use the Mah Jongg players because each has a separate personality but together they come together as a family – something that is important to Carrie.

What is the one thing you enjoy most about writing?

The most fun of writing is creating a story that entertains readers, but while I enjoy the process of seeing a story unfold from my imagination, I also am having a blast interacting with readers and other authors.

What authors do you like to read?

Of all the questions you’ve asked me, this is the most difficult one to answer.  I love to read and read everything I can get my hands on, but that means I have no one favorite author. Recent authors whose books I have enjoyed include Kristen Hannah, Linda Rodriguez, Hank Phillippi Ryan, T.K. Thorne, Janet Evanovich, and Jane Mayer.

What’s next for Debra H. Goldstein?

For the next few months, I will be traveling and speaking to book clubs, libraries and other groups about Should Have Played Poker. I am in the process of revising a new book, One Taste Too Many, that I hope will find a home in 2017, and I recently signed a contract for a new short story to appear in Alfred Hitchcock Murder Magazine.

01-sw-cover-july-2016-rev There is an excellent interview article about you in Southern Writers Magazine’s July/August issue. An interesting excerpt to me was…“T wo days after graduating early from the University of Michigan, Debra H. Goldstein went to the Big
Apple with two goals: obtain a job in publishing and get on Jeopardy. “In case things didn’t work out while I pursued these goals, I spent each evening during the first
few weeks typing applications to enter law school in the fall”. If you would like to read the interview visit  http://www.southernwritersmagazine.com/subscribe.html and order the July/August 2016 edition. Or email annabelle@southernwritersmag.com and order it.

I read your book, Should Have Played Poker and enjoyed it very much as did my husband. Looking forward to your next book.

Thank you for visiting. 

Be sure and visit Debra Goldstein at http://www.debrahgoldstein.com/ she will be delighted to hear from you. If you want a good read, order her books.

 

Niles Reddick-A Real Storyteller

Niles Reddick head shot Niles Reddick is the author of a collection of stories titled  Road Kill Art and Other Oddities which was a finalist for an Eppie award, his novel Lead Me Home was a national finalist for a ForeWord Award, a finalist in the Georgia Author of the Year award in the fiction category, and a nominee for an IPPY award. His work has appeared in anthologies, and  been featured in many journals. His new novel, Drifting too far from the Shore, releases in September 2016.

We are delighted you could join us Niles. 

drifing4,203,200_ (1) Winston Groom, author of Forest Gump  said, “Chocked full of humor, “Drifting Too Far From the Shore” is a beautiful story that makes you feel like you have been transported back to small town America.”

That is quite a compliment. Tell us about your book.

I think readers will fall in love with my character Muddy “Charlotte” Rewis, a sassy yet reserved southern woman who has a cane and ain’t afraid to use it. Muddy believes she is in her last days and longs to reunite in heaven with her deceased husband, Claude, But when Muddy’s grandson shoots out a neighbor’s front window, an old friendship is renewed, and troubling mysteries irresistibly revived.

Can’t wait to read it. I like the character already.

I understand Drifting too far from the Shore has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, a PEN-Faulkner award. So I want to congratulate you on the nomination. That is quite an honor. And it has also been nominated for a ForeWord award in fiction.

You’ve written several books..

Yes, I have Easy Loving which is a short story about college friendships;easy loving517I4e0fMKL

lead me home51-Uwe7F6zL._SX310_BO1,204,203,200_ Lead Me Home . A glimpse of a pragmatic, surreal and spiritual Southern journey back to his roots shows Max Peacock that one can come back home.

Then there is Road kill Art and Other Oddities.road kill51XKWLyLGrL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ It’s a collection of short stories. I’m told people  laugh out loud at the eccentricities of the characters and their peculiar situations. Set in the rural past and the strip mall world of the New South. These stories offer readers glimpses into every day experiences through the eyes of a manic narrator who survives and thrives on the oddities of the modern American South.

I have to tell you, I have read some of your post on your blog, and I love them. I am putting your blog link here so others can check them out.  http://nilesreddick.com/gallery/

I am so glad you visited with us today Niles.  Having read a number of things you’ve written, I think you are going to be one of the writers people will gravitate to. You give your reader enjoyment but most important you give your reader that feeling of realness.

Congratulations. I look forward to this new book. Come back and visit.

Be sure and visit Niles at his blog and also on his website http://nilesreddick.com/ He loves to hear from his readers.Don’t miss reading one of his books or his blog, it give you that certain something we all need each day.

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/niles.reddick.9

Elaine Marie Cooper on Road to Deer Run

elaine marie cooper 451MtQNdo0qL._UX250_We are delighted to have Elaine Marie Cooper visiting with us today. Elaine is an author and speaker who became fascinated with the American Revolution growing up in Massachusetts. 

I describe myself as a history geek. You will find my bookshelves filled with volumes about the American Revolution.

Your  book, Road to Deer Run, tell us about the story and the books in the series.Road-to-Deer-Run-Cover-197x300

It’s a historical romance set in Colonial America in 1777. This book was published in December 2015. The war has already broken the heart of Mary Thomsen, a nineteen-year-old colonial woman from Massachusetts. Her brother, Asa was killed by the King’s army, so when she stumbles across a wounded British soldier, you can imagine her sense of right and wrong is challenged. Inside she’s battling the “Should I help a soldier of the enemy who took my brother’s life, or let him die, cold and alone?”

The war has  broken the British soldier Daniel Lowe’s spirit. He’s severely wounded and a prisoner of war, he escapes his rebel captors while on a death march to Boston. As the pain in his injured leg worsens, he wonders if the young woman looking down at him is an angel or the enemy.

So the question becomes, what will they find on the Road to Deer Run? This book was highlighted in Southern Writers Magazine.

The second book, Promise of Deer Run was just published in June of this year.

promise of deer run

It is set in 1790 and the American Revolution is over, but a battle still rages in the hearts of survivors. Painful memories of war haunt one young veteran. He still waits for a father who never returned from battle and feels the sting of betrayal from a former love. Withdrawing into his own world, he clings to one hope — perhaps his father still lives.

There is only one person in Deer Run who seems to understand him, Sarah Thomsen. She’s nineteen- year- old who struggles to bury her own war memories. The veteran’s search for his father touches a chord in her, as she feels the loss of a father she never knew. While the couple begins to find hope in a mutual affection, others are determined to destroy it. Slander and misunderstandings ignite a fire of doubt and mistrust, destroying any faith they had in each other.

The next book, the third one in this saga will be released in December, 2016.  Can’t wait to hear more about the third book. We hope you will come back and visit and share information on this book and also information about the new historical novel that will release in October, 2016 which is Saratoga Letters. I understand that book is set in 1777 and 1977. Can’t wait to hear more about that one.

You also wrote a book called Fields of the Fatherless.

Yes and it won a few awards.

It won the Winner of the 2014 Selah Award, YA Fiction, right? 

Yes and it won the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Award, Best Religious Fiction
Winner of the 2014 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award and Best YA Religious Fiction .

The  Fields of the Fatherless is based on a true story.

fields of fatherless51yq+jk+SsL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_  In the early months of 1775, war is brewing in the American colonies. Although frightened, eighteen-year-old Betsy Russell (an ancestor to actor Kurt Russell) of Menotomy Village, Massachusetts, wants to be prepared in case of attack by British troops. Her father, prosperous farmer Jason, is the fourth generation of Russells on this land yet their very rights as British Colonials are being stripped away one by one. Will the King of England take their land as well? Tensions are growing here in the countryside west of Boston and the outbreak of battle seems a certainty. Jason desperately wants to protect his family–– his wife, children and grandchildren and their future. Betsy makes every attempt to be prepared for the worst. But not even the American militia could have predicted the bloody massacre that was about to occur right on the Russells’ doorstep. If Betsy loses everything she holds dear, are the rights of all the Colonists endangered?

And this is based on a true story?

Yes, on the first day of the American Revolution, the worst battle did not occur at Lexington or Concord. It took place at the home of Jason Russell in Menotomy Village, MA. “Fields of the Fatherless” brings this true story to light as seen through the eyes of Jason’s daughter, Betsy.  Although written for a YA audience, it has received positive reviews from its many adult readers.

No wonder this novel has received several awards and continues to find new readers more than two years after its release. Thank you for sharing this with us.

It was great having Elaine here today to share her books. Be sure and check out her website

http://www.elainemariecooper.com/

and visit her blog

http://www.elainemariecooper.com/blog/

 

 

 

Diane Kelly Romance Writer

Diane-Kelly-headshot-e1427808949837  We are so pleased to welcome Diane Kelly today. Her books have been awarded the prestigious Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® Award and a Reviewers Choice Award. Currently she is the president of Romance Writers of America. 

Tell me about your work as a former tax advisor and how you went from that to becoming an author.

I inadvertently worked with white-collar criminals.So I wouldn’t  end up in an orange jumpsuit, I decided self-employment would be a good idea. My fingers hit the keyboard after that and thus began my“Death and Taxes” romantic mystery series.

death taxes and a french manicureDTAFM-Cover-flat-cover1-115x188My first book in that series was Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure released in November 2011.Eleven books have been released in that series. Book number twelve, death taxes51yjnUJ0pXL._SX304_BO1,204,203,200_Death, Taxes and a Satin Garter, will release in August of this year.

Diane is also a graduate of her hometown’s Citizen Police Academy and writes the funny K9 Cop “Paw Enforcement” series. 

PawEnforcement_300-114x188The first book in that series, Paw Enforcement, released June 2014. Five books in that series have been released.

against the paw In May, Against the Paw was released. The next book in the series  is due out in December of this year, titled, AboveThePaw-115x188Above the Paw.

Sappy love stories513D-sZaKFL._SX311_BO1204203200_-118x188Your book, A Sappy Love Story is a stand alone was released in January of this year. Tell us about it.

A Sappy Love Story is a short story inspired by my breakfast of banana pancakes and maple syrup one Saturday morning. Occasionally, you’ll hear someone call a love story “sappy.” The play on words with “sap” and “sappy” popped into my head, and developed into an idea for a romance centered around a maple syrup business.

Was it fun to write?

Definitely! I performed a lot of research on how maple syrup is made. It’s an interesting process. And since I live in the south, it was fun to virtually venture into the snowy northern woods with my characters. 

How long did it take to write?

Only about ten days, since it’s a shorter story. 

Is there a purpose behind it?

To entertain and warm a reader’s heart, much like the spiked hot cocoa the hero and heroine drink in the story. 

Where did the idea for a series with police dogs come from?

After I began my IRS agent series, I realized how much I enjoyed writing female characters in law enforcement. The idea of a female cop came to mind, so I signed up for my town’s citizen police academy to learn more about police work. The night a handler did a demonstration with his K-9 partner, I was hooked. I’ve been a dog lover since my family got our first dog when I was an adolescent, and I have three dogs now, each with their own quirky personalities. I realized how fun it would be to write a female K-9 team, especially when I could write from both the police officer’s and dog’s points of view. 

What kind of research did you have to do to write this series?

I attended a conference for K-9 handlers in law enforcement and also interviewed police K-9 handlers in my hometown. They gave me all kinds of great information and let me try on the suit they use for bite demos. They were incredibly helpful. 

The books in the series, do you develop plots so the cases encountered in each book stands alone?

Yes, I write each book so they can be read as a standalone crime/mystery novel. However, there is a romantic arc that spans the books, so for those readers who enjoy the romantic angle of the series, reading them in order is a good idea. 

What is the most fun about writing these books?

Writing the chapters from K-9 Brigit’s point of view is an absolute blast. I love getting into the mindset of a smart, somewhat snarky dog, and telling the story from her viewpoint. I often find myself laughing out loud as I develop her chapters. 

Okay, I’m hooked now. I have to read these books. 

We thank you Diane for visiting and for you readers be sure and drop by Diane’s website site and Facebook page and say hello. She loves hearing from her readers.

may cover 2See her in May/June 2016 Southern Writers Magazine issue.

 

http://www.dianekelly.com/

https://www.facebook.com/DianeKellyBooks/

PHYLLIS MCMANUS TURNS LOSS TO RAINBOWS

Phyllis McManus  We welcome Phyllis McManus today. She is an author who turned painful loss into rainbows. Will you share with us your story?

My writing started as therapy when I lost both my parents in a car wreck in 2002. My world stopped and I wanted to stop with it. Finally, I went to my doctor and he suggested I start writing every emotion I was having down on paper. I took his suggestion to another level and decided to write about my momma and daddy and the things they had shared with me all my life.  There were more tears falling on my paper than words.  I kept my parents’ names, but changed the book from nonfiction to fiction.

My writing came  from my heart. I’m told this shows in my characters.

How long did it take to finish?

 

forever girl51C81saeIIL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Within six months, my first book, Forever Girl was finished. This first book turned into seven books, and I am still writing. Eventually I learned my journey of writing had turned into a passion.

Writing has been the rainbow in my cloud that God has given me, and I thank Him every day.

Was it hard for you to begin speaking?

Several organizations asked me to share my experience. I never thought I could stand before a group and talk about my feelings, but soon learned I enjoyed helping other people find themselves once again, as I did.

I understand you wrote a poem.

Yes, I wrote a poem titled, “The Edge of Darkness”. It focused on Alzheimer’s which is what my mother had to live with. It won 1st place nationwide in a poetry competition.

Congratulations, that’s wonderful.

Tell us about book Southern Patchwork Quilt.

quilt 51wseJKv61L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Southern Patchwork Quilt is a mixture of short stories, flash fiction, poetry, memories, recipes and quotes. Even though the majority of the work is fiction many are written straight from my heart and as true as our sweet Southern breeze on cool afternoons.It released in May of this year.

What about Do I Know ME? 

Sunny Miller enjoyed a top paying business career in New York until she received a letter letting her know her momma, Tessa, needed her. She got on a plane and rushed back to her home town of Monroe, North Carolina. Arriving home and talking to her momma,
she realized her momma’s mind was changing. She had Alzheimer’s. A lifelong friend and sister by choice of Tessa, was determined to stand by her side. They told Sunny about secrets they had hidden away. This book is filled with laughter, understanding secrets, rebuilding relationships, and finding true love. It also deals with the understanding of Alzheimer’s and how it takes a group of caring people to help deal with the journey of this dreadful disease. It was released in November 2016.

The book you released in February 2015. What about it?

southern secretsSouthern Secrets is a sequel to The Southern Belle Breakfast Club. The ladies had no idea how their life was going to change after they buried their best friend, Gracie. Gracie had been called by the others the “mystery lady,” and this was certainly true, even after her death. She had written letters to the others that could only be opened when she died. Each letter held a secret that she had kept her entire life. She needed her friends to help her take care of unfinished business. The mystery that followed Gracie to her death was soon to bring a challenge to her friends. Their friendship of over thirty years would continue even after death.

These all sound heart-felt and the type of book I would like to sit down and have a whole day to read all of them.

Thank you for stopping by. Let us know when your next book releases. Be sure and get her books if you want to truly have a wonderful reading experience.

You can reach Phyllis at:

https://www.facebook.com/phyllis.mcmanus.54

 

TERRY SHAMES-THE SAMUEL CRADDOCK SERIES

 

Terry Shames 3 photo by Margaretta K. Mitchell Terry Shames is the author of the award-winning best-selling Samuel Craddock series, set in the fictitious town of Jarrett Creek, Texas. MysteryPeople named Terry Shames one of the top Five Texas Mystery authors of 2015!

Welcome Terry, I am excited you are here and anxious to hear about this series. 

What brought about the writing of this particular series?

 I had been struggling to find a publishing niche for several years. I took time off when my son was in middle school and high school and when I went back to writing, I took a weekend workshop that changed my writing life. In it, one of the workshop leaders spoke passionately about the need to find your own voice. I had heard this advice before (“Find an empty space on the bookstore shelves and fill it,” and “Write the book that only you can write.”). Maybe I was ready to hear the advice, but a month later I sat down and thought about the book only I could write. I had written a few short stories set in the fictitious town of Jarrett Creek, which was based on the town where my grandparents lived when I was growing up, and I thought it would be a natural setting for me. And when I thought of a main character, there was really no question. I was very close to my grandfather. He was no angel, but he had a strong sense of fairness and responsibility. I thought those qualities would be excellent in a protagonist who solved crimes. The first book in the series poured out of me as if it had been waiting to be told.

I love the rural life you create your story in and the Texas setting. It’s that small settlement feeling, where everyone knows everyone. And the characters you create just come to life.

killing-at-cotton-hill-175  This book, A Killing at Cotton Hill, was a finalist for numerous awards and won the Macavity for Best First Mystery, 2013.

For those who don’t know The Macavity Award’s name is the “mystery cat” of T.S. Eliot (Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats). Each year the members of Mystery Readers International nominate and vote for their favorite mysteries in four categories.

Is there a purpose behind the story that you want your readers to know?

I have heard it said writers have one main story to tell, or one main idea to explore. I am always interested in the way secrets affect people. The person keeping the secret isn’t able to fully be part of a family and community. I’m not talking about small secrets (when you stole a lipstick from the drugstore when you were nine), I’m talking about the big ones. Big secrets ripple all the way through the community. Sometimes an entire community has made the decision to ignore an open secret. When I was growing up, there was a woman in our community who was a kleptomaniac. Everyone knew it and was complicit in allowing her husband to quietly return purloined items.

nonie-blake-175    Families sometimes simply don’t talk about the family member who is a little “off.” In my latest book, The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake, the family has chosen to hide a family member who did something terrible by sending her to a mental facility. But as the book reveals, there’s more to it. Liars keep secrets in order to save face. And sometimes they even kill to make sure the secret doesn’t overwhelm them.

What was the most challenging part in writing this story?

For some reason The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake didn’t present the challenge I talked about in the prior answer. It seemed to unfold easily. But in that book most of the challenge was in researching how mental illness would have been described and handled twenty years ago.

dead-broke-175  Every book seems to present a challenge at some point. Usually for me it’s the plot resolution. I know how I want it to end, but I don’t know exactly how to get there. My third book, Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek, lead me astray until I had a complete mess. Finally I went back to the middle and realized where I had gone wrong. Sometimes it’s when you try to force your characters into roles they don’t want to inhabit, but sometimes it’s not exerting enough control over your story. It’s a delicate balance. 

death of jacklast-death-175 The Last Death of Jack Harbin was a Macavity finalist for Best Mystery, 2014 and named one of the top ten mysteries of 2014 by Library Journal and top five of 2014 by MysteryPeople.

Tell us about this book.

 Right before the outbreak of the Gulf War, two eighteen-year-old football stars and best friends from Jarrett Creek, Texas, signed up for the army. But Woody Patterson was rejected and stayed home to marry the girl they both loved, while Jack Harbin came back from the war badly damaged. The men haven’t spoken since.

Just as they are about to reconcile, Jack is brutally murdered. With the chief of police out of commission, it’s up to trusted ex-chief Samuel Craddock to investigate. Against the backdrop of small-town loyalties and betrayals, Craddock discovers dark secrets of the past and present to solve the mystery of Jack’s death.

Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge When I finished my fourth book, A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge, which came out last May, the end didn’t satisfy me. It was empty and didn’t give me the resolution I wanted. My editor told me to keep thinking about it. Finally I appealed to my agent, and she told me that one scene didn’t quite work for her. I immediately realized that what was in my head hadn’t fully made it onto the page. Fixing it required a whole new scene and a big expansion of another scene. When I was done, I knew it was right.

 I read A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge. Could not put it down. Loved the twist you created in the story. In fact, I liked it so well, my husband decided he wanted to read it. He too could enjoyed reading this book and liked your story style.

Did the writing require a lot of research and if so what kind?

All the books require some kind of research. I do “backwards” research, which I fear one day will get me in trouble. I usually write my books the way I “think” things would go. If I have a question about the way law enforcement works, how an autopsy would be handled, or the type of gun someone would carry, for example, I write it the way I think it would be and put big stars around it. When the first draft is done, I go back to find the stars and research how it would really happen—to make sure I haven’t made any glaring mistakes. In a couple of books, I’ve had to go back several years to find out how things would have been done.

In book three, I relied on an official website for information about law enforcement. After the book was edited, I had the good fortune to attend a talk at Heart of Texas Sisters in Crime, given by a veteran detective. I asked him about the protocol. He laughed and told me that officially it was supposed to work that way, but in reality it was handled much differently. I instantly phoned my editor. Fortunately, it wasn’t too late to make the few lines of changes. Here’s the thing: it wouldn’t have really mattered if the book had been published with the error. I doubt that anyone would have quibbled. But I knew that it was wrong, and I wanted it to be right.

Thank you Terry for visiting with us today. We have enjoyed learning more about your writing and books. I recommend them for other readers, knowing they will enjoy your stories and writing style.

Be sure a visit Terry Shames at:

http://terryshames.com/

http://terryshamesbooks.blogspot.com