As part of the Blog Tour de Force, I’m happy to interview Ann Charles, an award-winning romantic mystery author who really knows how to carry off a cowboy hat. Today she stops by to tell us a little bit more about her Deadwood Mystery series.
Describe yourself in one tweet (140 characters).
AC: Wonderfully witty, quite quirky, and quick to laugh with a twist of determination and an insatiable hunger for success.
Tell me about the Deadwood Mystery series. How did you come up with the setting?
AC: My mother moved to the Deadwood area the summer I turned thirteen. I spent every summer after that until I graduated high school traipsing about Deadwood and the surrounding Black Hills. I fell in love with the town back then while wandering the streets every day to kill time until she’d get off of work. The place’s history captured me, even though my teenage brain was full of boy crushes and pop songs, and my affection for the place has never waned. Even now, as I sit in rainy Seattle, all I have to do is close my eyes and think of Deadwood, and I can see the place, hear the sounds of the wind in the pines and the tires rolling over the bricks lining Main Street, smell the fresh air. I have visited Deadwood almost yearly since my teenage years, always bummed to leave when the time comes to say good-bye.
Do you and main character Violet Parker have a lot in common?
AC: Unfortunately for Violet, yes we do. While she and I don’t look alike, we both suffer from a love of Elvis, peanut butter fudge ice cream, daisies, ornery old guys, and tall men. And we both ask too many questions for our own good.
Tell me about the first book of the series, Nearly Departed in Deadwood. What is your favourite scene?
AC: Nearly Departed in Deadwood is a story about a single mother of twins who’s moved to a new town and is trying to start over in a new career. Unfortunately, Violet Parker doesn’t realize there are real-life boogie monsters roaming about the Deadwood area until she’s already settled in and financially stuck.
My favorite scene? That’s tough. They are all fun to write. I love the write scenes with Harvey in them because I laugh out loud as the words flow. I love the scenes with sexual tension because they feed that hunger inside of me that craves romance. I love the scenes with Natalie, Aunt Zoe, and the kids because the bond of friendship and family is sacred and fun to show on the page. And I love weaving the mystery throughout, trying to keep the reader guessing about who is doing what and why. It’s like a chess game. If you tied me to a chair and threatened me with a sharp stick, I’d have to say my favorite scene is any one with Violet in it.
I love the cover of Nearly Departed. Whose handiwork is it?
AC: Thank you, and me, too. I sleep with it on the pillow next to me many nights. The cover was drawn by artist C.S. Kunkle, who also happens to be my brother. He’s very twisted in a wickedly fun way, and for years we’ve talked about collaborating on a project. When I finished Nearly Departed in Deadwood, I knew that he was the one I wanted to help me breathe life into the scenes in my head. When the print version of Nearly Departed in Deadwood comes out, you’ll see more of his handiwork in several illustrations sprinkled throughout the book.
What does your family think of your writing?
AC: My family all read my books, whether they like it or not. Ha! Seriously, they really do read my books, and they are each pitching in to help me succeed in whatever way possible. I often use familiar names in my stories, and they enjoy reading to see who or what is going to show up where. I’m often humbled by their love and support and try to thank them as often as I can in both words and deeds—if only they’d remove those restraining orders they’ve filed against me.
How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?
AC: I’m writing my ninth book, which is the third book in the Deadwood series. I really enjoy writing both this series and a series I created before the Deadwood mysteries which takes place in a fictional town in southeastern Arizona. The first of the other series is called Dance of the Winnebagos, and the plan is to release that book later in 2011 to offer my readers something to chew on while they wait for the third Deadwood mystery novel to come out in early 2012.
What future projects can we expect from you?
AC: I plan to work on the Deadwood Mystery series for awhile. I have many more books planned as I take Violet on a journey that will change her life forever. I also will continue to add to the Arizona mystery series. I have another series that I would love to write (it’s planned out on paper already), which is a mix of mystery, romance, paranormal, and a touch horror. Yes, I love my genres how I love my drinks—mixed.
That’s it from me. Any last words?
AC: Thank you, Anna, for taking the time to interview me and offer this opportunity to share more about Violet, Nearly Departed in Deadwood, my projects, and my wacky life. Now, I’m off to irritate my children and frustrate the cat. Take care!
Many thanks to Ann for stopping by! If you’re curious to learn more, you can visit Ann Charles over on her website, http://anncharles.com.