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

June Interviews

6/3 Gretchen Archer, Double Trouble
6/10 Kaye George, Deadly Sweet Tooth
6/17 Annette Dashofy, Til Death
6/24 Adam Meyer

Saturday Guest Bloggers

6/6 Mary Keliikoa
6/13 William Ade
6/20 Liz Milliron

WWK Bloggers:

6/27 Kait Carson
6/30 WWK Writers--What We're Reading Now


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!

WWK is proud of our four Agatha nominees. Kaye George for Best Short Story--not her first time to be nominated, Connie Berry and Grace Topping for Best First Mystery Novel, and Annette Dashofy for Best Contemporary Novel--her fifth nomination! All are winners but without Agatha Teapots. Onto 20121!

Look for Kaye George and Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Kaye's story is "Life and Death on the Road" and 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.

Kaye George's second novel in the Vintage Sweets mystery series, Deadly Sweet Tooth, was released on June 2. Look for the interview here on June 10.

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

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!


Sunday, May 26, 2019

An Interview with Annette Dashofy by E. B. Davis

Paramedic Zoe Chambers hoped a week at the Monongahela County Fair, showing her horse and manning the ambulance, would provide a much-needed diversion from recent events that continue to haunt her. An old friend, a bossy nemesis, and a teenage crush from her 4-H days fail to offer the distraction she had in mind. But ever the caregiver, she soon bonds with a troubled teen and a grieving father.

Back in Vance Township, a missing woman turns up dead, leading Police Chief Pete Adams into a journey through her mysterious final hours. With each new clue, the tragic circumstances of her death grow increasingly muddied.

A cryptic phone call leads Pete to join Zoe for an evening at the fairgrounds where the annual school bus demolition derby concludes with a gruesome discovery and a new case that may or may not be connected to the first. Pete’s quest for the motive behind two homicides—and Zoe’s stubborn determination to reunite a family—thrust them both onto a collision course with a violent and desperate felon.

One aspect of Annette Dashofy’s writing is her humorous mental notes that characters confide in the reader fostering a close relationship. What’s that? Here’s an example:

“Through the open door, he heard Nancy direct the visitor in his direction. A moment later, [Detective] Baronick strode in, a cup of Starbucks in each hand.

Pete was making progress in his attempts to train the detective.”                                       Kindle Loc. 3444

I love that Pete is mastering the too cocky younger detective and by hiring his little sister, Pete ups the competition. But the two know their priorities and cooperate to bring down the perps. But it’s those asides which made me love Annette’s writing.

In Fair Game, Zoe confronts her past and some hard truths, which impact her and Pete’s future. The main action occurs at the county fair, and for those of us who grew up in a rural area, the county fair was a big deal.                E. B. Davis

Is 4-H a big organization for kids in your area of PA? What does 4-H stand for?

I’m not sure if it’s as big now as when I was young, but it’s a wonderful organization and not just for farm kids. However, the number of 4-H livestock exhibits at the county fair seems just as high as ever. 4-H stands for head, heart, hands, and health. The pledge goes: I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living for my club, my community, my country, and my world. And no, I didn’t have to look it up! 

Are all Quarter-horses geldings? Is a Quarter horse one who specializes in racing the track one time, as in a quarter of a mile?

A gelding is a castrated male animal, so no, not all Quarter horses are geldings. A stallion is a male breeding animal. A mare is a female. Zoe’s Windstar is a gelding because he’s based on a real horse I raised, and he was also one. The “real” Windstar wasn’t nearly as well behaved as the one in the books.

What is an “open-halter” class?

An “open” class is one that anybody can enter, as opposed to a 4-H class in which participants must be members. A “halter” class is one in which the horse isn’t ridden but is shown in halter. Often in these, only the horse’s conformation is being judged but sometimes the handler is judged on their ability to show the horse as well.

Zoe feels that she’s shown poor judgment in choosing men until Pete. She doesn’t like Patsy’s current flame, but she also knows she can’t say anything to Patsy about the guy. Why?

Partly because, as you point out, Zoe hasn’t had a great track record with men either. And partly because of the age-old conundrum that if you trash-talk a friend’s chosen mate (even when he’s a jerk) you’re likely to drive that friend closer to the jerk just so she can prove you wrong. Zoe’s wise enough to know Patsy would likely come to Shane’s defense rather than heed Zoe’s warnings.

Zoe seems half-hearted about competing in a horse show. Why did she do it? Are her horse-show days over?

She thought they were over years ago! Showing is a lot of work, and she’d much rather simply trail ride. However, Patsy wants to show her horse, and the other two boarders at Zoe’s barn are 4-Hers going to the fair, which would leave Windstar home alone. Horses are herd animals and don’t fare well by themselves. Plus, Zoe thinks the change in scenery and routine might distract her from a lot of the “stuff” going on in her mind these days.
Being around people from her youth, who are still associated with the 4-H club, Zoe finds some of her past perceptions of those people are true, but others have changed or never were who she thought they were. Does time change our perception of the past or is our past frozen because of who we were then?

I believe our perceptions are always colored by our own situations and beliefs. I’d hate to think our pasts are frozen. Most people grow and change with what life throws at them. Of course, old hurts still sting and take more work to overcome!

When Zoe goes to autopsies, she wears butcher-shop chic. What makes up such an outfit?

Different coroner’s offices dictate different attire. In my fictional Monongahela County Coroner’s Office, Zoe wears surgical scrubs, a surgical gown, a waterproof apron, layers of Latex and Kevlar gloves, and rubber boots.

The first victim’s death was due to a subdural hemorrhage, bleeding in the brain. It can be caused by falling or by being beaten. Alcohol is often involved when a fall happens. But the effects of a subdural hemorrhage often make the victim appear drunk. Do they then test for alcohol in the bloodstream, which in and of itself may not reveal what happened?

Yes, they test for it, but lab results take time. And you’re right. The presence of alcohol doesn’t tell the whole story.

Zoe encounters her best-friend, Rose Bassi with her children at the fair. Rose has returned home to marry Detective Miguel Morales, who lives in New Mexico, as does Rose. She wants Zoe to be her maid of honor. Does this put pressure on Zoe and Pete or is it just Sylvia again?

I think Zoe definitely feels some pressure. She’s never been married and now her best friend is engaged for a second time. Pete’s already under his own internal pressure, but Sylvia sure isn’t helping!

Earl is also working part-time with Zoe at the fair. His daughter wants to join 4-H and his older boys want to experience the fair without constant parental supervision so they can troll for girls. They meet up with Luke, a boy their age, who is the son of a floozie and substance abuser Zoe knew from 4-H. Why is Zoe sympathetic to Luke?

Zoe sees a lot of herself in Luke. The kid loves horses, is something of a troublemaker, and doesn’t have a father in his life. Zoe understands (or thinks she does) where he’s coming from.

Cody DeRosa, a one-time heartthrob of Zoe’s youth, seems to be an outstanding man. He’s a judge for some of the horse contests. But he throws Zoe into a panic when he offers her a generous price to buy her horse, Windstar. What is there for Zoe to consider?

Zoe’s been conflicted for a while, struggling to make ends meet with her rundown farm and the expenses in keeping a horse. Pete wants her to sell the money pit and stay in town with him. Selling Windstar would be the financially smart thing to do. However, she’s had this horse since he was born and can’t imagine who she would be without him. Being a horsewoman is a huge part of her persona.

I’ve never heard of a PA school district allowing even junked buses to be used in a demolition derby. Is that done at the Monongahela County Fair?

It’s an annual event at the real Washington County Fair on which the Monongahela County Fair is based. And there are other school bus demo derbies around. You can do a YouTube search and find examples. Years ago, I did a story on our local one for Pennsylvania Magazine.

Throughout Fair Game, Zoe questions her judgment. Why? How can she investigate if she can’t trust herself?

In earlier books in the series, and especially in Cry Wolf, Zoe’s good sense has often taken a backseat to her desire to find family, either real or created. Losing her dad when she was young has impacted virtually every aspect of her life. She follows her heart more than her head. Yes, she needs to change that if she intends to be an effective investigator, but she’s still a work in progress. Aren’t we all?

What’s next for Zoe and Pete?

I’m in revision phase of the ninth book in the series (Under the Radar, coming February 2020), which finds Zoe and Pete investigating what may (or may not) be a case of an adult victim of bullying seeking payback against his tormentors. Oh, and Kimberly, Zoe’s mom, returns and tries to take over their plans for the future.


Jim Jackson said...

Congratulations on your most recent success.

It's interesting to me to see how different authors handle similar situations. Your Zoe and my Seamus both lost their fathers when they were young, and it has affected them in similar and different ways.

I hope to see many more wonderful books from your "pen."

Annette said...

Thank you, Jim.

Zoe and Seamus should have dinner sometime to commiserate!

KM Rockwood said...

I love Annette's books, and am looking forward to the next one.

Annette said...

Thanks, KM! I'm looking forward to visiting your book club in a few months too!

Grace Topping said...

Terrific interview, Annette and Elaine. I find the 4-H aspects fascinating. I grew up in a city, but I always wanted to join a 4-H group.

Annette said...

Thanks, Grace. I don't know about when we were kids, but I know 4-H has programs for city kids too these days. It's a great organization.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Congratulations! Looking forward to reading the whole series this summer.

Annette said...

Wonderful! Thanks, Margaret!

Kait said...

Loved Fair Game! I was a Girl Scout, we didn't have 4H where I lived - too close to the city,but all my country cousins belonged and I loved getting involved with their projects in the summer. Well, except the chickens.

OK, everybody, read this book!

Annette said...

Ha! Don't get me started on chickens.

Thanks, Kait!