If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

August Interviews

8/5 Lucy Burdette, The Key Lime Crime

8/12 Maggie Toussaint, All Done With It

8/19 Julie Mulhern, Killer Queen

8/26 Debra Goldstein, Three Treats Too Many

August Guest Bloggers

8/8 Leslie Wheeler

8/15 Jean Rabe

August Interviews

8/22 Kait Carson

8/29 WWK Authors--What We're Reading Now


Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!

Look Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.

Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Allan J. Emerson Interview By E. B. Davis

The cover art of Allan J. Emerson’s Death of a Bride and Groom made me anticipate a comic farce, and after reading the first few chapters that notion was confirmed. But due to the title, I also expected a M. C. Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth type of novel. After reading the novel, I decided it was both.

The small Canadian town where the mystery is set has reconfigured itself into Honeymoon Falls, a newlywed destination catering to their romantic whims, after the town’s single industry, the mill, fails. The town is in transition. The rivers, lakes, and forests seem ideal for a romantic setting yet the teaming political and entrepreneurial locals provide a spectacular environment for a murder spectacle. Allan’s main character, the local police chief is endearing and my favorite character, one you’ll want to champion.

Welcome to WWK, Allan.                             E. B. Davis  

Thank you, E.B. I enjoy WWK and it’s a pleasure to be here!

Are you a plotter or a pantser, Allan? (Don’t read ahead to the next question—tell it like it is!)

I’m a pantser whose dearest wish is to be a plotter. I would love to know what happens in Chapter 26 when I’m still trying to find my way through Chapter 12.

One of your victims, Iris Morland, is a detestable woman who belittles and destroys those she can influence. I wish she had been the villain, and in a way she was, but she only “gets hers” by becoming a murder victim. Her profession—she’s a novelist. Are plotters evil?

Iris is a horrible human, isn’t she? You’re right, she’s a novelist (and no, she’s not based on anyone I know). I have a sneaking affection for her; I can hear her cackling when she pulls the rug out from under one of her victims. I’m sure she’s a plotter when she writes, because she wants control.

As to whether plotters are intrinsically evil, who cares--what’s a little character flaw like that if you can figure out ahead of time what happens in Chapter 26?

What was the theme of Iris’s novels and what was she testing in reality?

Iris wrote novels exploring characters’ behavior when they were suffering through what she called “elemental emotions” like anger, hatred, and jealousy. Her real life actions provoked all those emotions. She treated people like experiments in a mad doctor’s laboratory, and as happens with most mad doctors, one of her victims finally turned on her.

How did you manage to have five amazing writers, Mary Daheim, Alice Duncan, Kate Kingsbury, Tamar Myers, and Liz Zelvin read and provide comments on your manuscript?

They are amazing aren’t they?

After Death of a Bride and Groom was accepted for publication, my publisher told me I needed quotes from other well-known writers for the cover.  There was one small problem with this: at the time I knew 0 writers. So I started thinking about writers whose books had something in common with mine—quirky characters, humor, lots of twists and turns.

Mary, Alice, Kate, Tamar, and Liz filled the bill. I contacted them all, explained my situation, and asked if they’d consider reading my manuscript and providing a cover quote. It was an enormous favor to ask—I was basically saying “will you spend a couple of hours reading a book that hasn’t been published yet by some guy you’ve never heard of?”

I figured the likelihood of hearing from any of them was about the same as winning the lottery, and the best I could hope for was polite refusals. Maybe, if I was really lucky, one of them would agree. But because they’re not only amazing writers but terrific people, they made me a five-time lottery winner.

Although your main character, Police Chief William Halsey, isn’t stereotypical, the vice he uses to compensate for his life losses is, but for some reason it makes him all that more appealing. Why did you choose that vice for William?

Some cops drink, some smoke, some dabble in drugs. Halsey’s addiction is truly embarrassing for a cop…it’s…well…doughnuts. He’s acutely aware of the cliché of the doughnut-eating cop, and he does his best to keep his predilection under cover, but now and again it surfaces in spite of his efforts. I chose doughnuts, rather than something dramatic, because I think life makes us all the butt of a joke sometimes, and Halsey’s no exception.

Turning down advancement in Vancouver, William moved to the small tourist town of Honeymoon Falls. But it’s a paradoxical move. Why?

Halsey was in line for a significant promotion in a large city. Then his world collapsed when his wife left him for her movie star lover, and only a complete change of scene could make life bearable again. To achieve it, he accepts the job as Police Chief of the three-person force in Honeymoon Falls, the town where he grew up.

William almost succumbs to temptation with a witness. I was shocked, and yet there are other shocking scenes, like the ninety-something year old actress contemplating her romantic nude scene in a movie that is being filmed in the town. Why does sex shock us?  

Perhaps the reason these scenes startled you is that they’re unexpected—the story takes an unconventional turn. The witness is an intelligent, beautiful woman who is attracted to Halsey and decides to act on that attraction. Halsey is divorced, lonely, and human. He doesn’t cross the line, but he gets close to it. (And don’t forget, she plied him with doughnuts just before things got interesting…)

With regard to the ninety-something actress, Hermione Hopkins, there’s no actual depiction of the film’s nude scene, but the very idea of her doing one shocks others in the town. Hermione knows it’s a tremendous risk, but she’s reached an age where she doesn’t worry much about what others think. And besides, as she tells her sister, people are going to see nudity in films anyway, so why should the bodies shown always be young and perfect?

Mayor Selena is on meds. Having met the town council, I can understand why. Politics is hard work. Is she the only one on the town council without an economic motive, or am I naïve and she, too, has self-interest as her agenda?

You’re right, the town council would drive anyone to meds. Selena has no economic motive for being on council, but she does have a major emotional reason that keeps her riding herd on the fractious councilors—the loss of her lover to Iris, the evil novelist. It’s a bit too complicated to explain fully here, but her ex-lover’s actions doomed the town to extinction, and Selena finds comfort from using her influence as mayor to rejuvenate it.

William’s deputies are adorable. They go from one extreme to another. Do opposites attract?

Sometimes. I’m glad you liked the deputies—their battles were fun to write. John Larsen is only 25 and his naïveté is in sharp contrast to Lydia Bailey’s cynicism as the divorced mother of a teenage daughter. Bailey’s hard-boiled approach clashes with Larsen’s willingness to accept people at face value. When they have to work together on the murder investigation, sparks are bound to fly.

Will there be more Honeymoon Falls novels? What impact will Five Star’s decision to drop its mystery line have on your writing?

I’m writing the next in the series now, and looking for another publisher to help keep the road to Honeymoon Falls open. And there’s always self-publishing, which is starting to look very freeing.

I have a feeling I know the answer, but I’ll ask anyway—do you prefer the beach or mountains, Allan?

Mountains, mountains, mountains—I’m not a beach person.

Allan is giving away a free Kindle copy of his book. Please leave a comment for Allan--I will choose from those posting and reveal the winner's name tomorrow on the WWK marquee on the homepage. Good luck! It's a fun read.                                                                                           E. B. Davis              


Jim Jackson said...

Hey Allan, welcome to Writers Who Kill. Sounds like a fun story. All the best with it.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Weddings make great mysteries. Looking forward to reading your book.

Shari Randall said...

You had me at "plied him with doughnuts"! Best wishes for much success with your series.

Gloria Alden said...

Welcome to WWK, Allan. I've written it down on my TBO books. I'm hoping you'll be a Malice so I can buy your book there, but if you're not, I'll order it online. I'm a pantser, too, and I'm indie published, and it's kind of nice being that way.

E.B. I don't have a Kindle so pass on the free book to one of the others.

Claire (Clamo88 online) said...

The book sounds like a hoot, Allan. I'm sure I'd have a blast reading it. And I'm not afraid to laugh out loud on occasion.

Maris said...

Great interview Allan. I learned a little more about the book and about you. I hope you find a home for the next book in the series.

Allan J. Emerson said...

Thanks, everyone. I'm a little slow responding today, but I've been following the comments.

Jim, I had a good time on your blog too, a while back. Gloria, thanks for your support. I can't make it to Malice this year, but maybe next.

Shari, you sound like my kind of gal--I'll bring the doughnuts; you bring the coffee (or whatever beverage you prefer). And Claire, I like a reader who likes to laugh! Thanks for the good wishes, Maris--I've learned a lot from your blog, by the way.

It's fun being interviewed by Elaine. She gives you such interesting questions to play with! I'll be back later to see what's happening.

KM Rockwood said...

A fun blog about what sounds like a fun book!

Have to put it on my TBR list.

Allan J. Emerson said...

Glad you enjoyed the post, KM, and hope you enjoy Death of a Bride and Groom.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Allan,

A wonderful in depth interview! I enjoyed reading it as I very much enjoyed reading your novel and recommend it to fellow mystery readers.

E. B. Davis said...

Thanks for the interview, Allan. I enjoyed reading your book and hope you find a publisher to continue the series.

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

great interview Allan!
Good luck and God's blessings.

Allan J. Emerson said...

Thanks everyone, and special thanks to Elaine for the interview. This is a fun place to hang out!

Lida Sideris said...

What a lively interview for what sounds sure to be lively book! I look forward to reading, Alan, and love the title. How wonderful that you happened to be five time lottery winner! Sometimes all it takes is asking. :)

Allan J. Emerson said...

Thanks, Lida! You're right--sometimes all you have to do is ask. Other times, it doesn't matter what you do, nothing works. I was lucky to be in the former situation. All the best and hope you enjoy the book.