Please contact E. B. Davis at for information on guest blogs and interviews. Interviews for August: (8/3) Dianne Freeman (8/10) Daryl Wood Gerber (8/17) E. B. Davis's Review of Granite Oath, James M. Jackson's new novel (8/24) Rose Kerr (8/31) V. M. Burns.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

An Interview With Gretchen Archer

by Grace Topping

When Janet Evanovich writes that Gretchen Archer’s book is “Outrageous, outlandish, and impossible to put down,” I have high expectations for that book. Not only did the books in Gretchen Archer’s A Davis Way Crime Caper series deliver on those expectations, they surpassed them. With the very first one I read, I was captivated and happy there were more in the series to enjoy. Often agents and publishers talk about an author having “voice.” It’s one of those things no one is able to describe, but you recognize it when you read or hear it. Gretchen has a terrific voice—one you immediately fall in love with. Her books are quite humorous, but don’t let the humor lead you to expect a lightweight story. According to Publishers Weekly, Gretchen’s stories are “… interspersed with moments of surprising emotional depth.” The ninth book in the Davis Way Crime Caper series, Double Trouble, comes out on June 9, and legions of Gretchen Archer’s fans are anxiously awaiting it, including me. 

Double Trouble
Back Cover Copy

Davis Way Cole smells T-R-O-U-B-L-E when she’s fired from half of her part-time job at the Bellissimo Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. The quarter-time job she’s left with is lulling her to sleep, exactly what she’s doing when Birdy James, centenarian director of the casino’s Lost and Found department, disappears. With five million dollars. Davis just can’t help believing Birdy didn’t do it, if for no other reason, she’s too old to spend it. If Davis doesn’t find the little old lady and the money fast, she’ll lose what’s left of her job, at which point, there goes her Bellissimo everything. What she needs is a good luck charm. What she gets is her home invaded by hard-headed women, a soft-hearted little man, and major carpet troubles, the combination of which sends Davis’s already suspicious mind into overdrive, landing her between a jailhouse rock and a very hard place. A little less conversation and a lot more action are called for if Davis has any chance of saving herself, her family, her marriage, her job, and the heartbreak hotel she calls home. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Welcome to Writers Who Kill, Gretchen. 

What inspired the Davis Way Crime Caper series and the setting of a gambling resort and casino?

Gretchen Archer
 For my fortieth birthday, my husband took me to the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. It was my first casino vacation, and not much of one, because he told our teenagers they could both invite a friend. And our son was in a stroller. (Yep. Baby at forty.) My husband went straight to the casino, leaving me with four teenagers and a baby. Happy Birthday to me. Fast forward two days. I was past ready to go home. My husband tracked me down at the kiddie arcade, passed me $200, and said, “Go to the casino. Relax. I’ll help with the kids.” (What a prince.) I won $40,000. It made quite the impression. Enough of an impression for me to choose a glitzy glamorous casino setting for my series.

Readers learn a lot about casinos, gambling, and gambling equipment through your books. Dare I ask how you gained your knowledge about those things?

Do I not have the best research EVER? I appreciate that readers might find the casino details of my stories credible, but one thing I can tell you without hesitation is that it’s not the result of direct knowledge. Casinos do not spill their secrets. So what I can’t learn by observation, Internet research, or casino gossip (everyone has a jackpot story to tell), I totally fabricate. 

Using the term caper immediately gives a clue that the books will be humorous. Did you set out to write humorous books?

Not at all! The very first words of editorial feedback I received on Double Whammy were, “You’re funny.” It surprised me. I didn’t feel funny. I never set out to write humor. It was Kendel Lynn at Henery Press who suggested attaching the term caper to the series. I remember my agent, Stephany Evans, saying, “If you’re going to call it a caper, it’d better be funny.” (Oh, the pressure.)

With nine books in the Davis Way series and some short stories, how do you keep the characters and the storylines fresh?

Keeping the storylines fresh isn’t a problem because casinos lend themselves to endless shenanigans. With 1,700 hotel rooms, a dozen restaurants, Olympic-sized pools, and a huge casino to write around, I can always find somewhere to stash a body. Keeping the characters fresh, for me, means moving on with their lives. Davis has gone from single to engaged, then married, and now she has twin daughters. What’s next for Davis? I can’t wait to see. 

Throughout the series, Davis faces a number of crises, including a hurricane. She even went through a short period in prison and a hunger strike. Where does she get the strength to survive all that she faces?

I'm a panster. I totally buy into the benefits of outlining beforehand, and I've tried it several times, but by Chapter Two, my outline is out the window. What I do instead is forever ask myself what could possibly happen next. The answers are usually nothing short of calamitous. Which puts me in the position of having to write Davis out of the predicaments I've written her into. Davis is strong because it takes strength to survive catastrophes.

I hope to always write Davis as a woman who knows how to pick herself up, dust herself off, and keep going.

With Davis facing so many serious challenges, how do you manage to keep the stories humorous?

I let the characters around Davis carry the humor. Davis is never the funny or the target of the funny. The funny comes from the outrageous cast around her.

Through each book, Davis is left hanging onto the Bellissimo. Does the Bellissimo represent something more in her life besides employment? 

Davis landed her job at the Bellissimo after a long stint of unemployment, and that after having been fired by her own father. She met her husband there. She lives and works there. She’s raising her children there. She’s very attached.

Writers talk about a setting that is so important to the story that it becomes another character, which is the case with the Bellissimo. Is the Bellissimo based on a resort/casino that you are familiar with, or did you create it?

The Bellissimo is absolutely based on a real casino, and Gulf locals who read me know exactly which one, the Beau Rivage.

How much were you involved in the audio production of your books? Did you get to select the narrator? The narrator, Amber Benson, does a fabulous job bringing your characters to life.

In the beginning I wasn’t involved at all. As a new author, I had very little say. The studio hired a wonderful and accomplished narrator who was, unfortunately for my Southern caper, born and bred on the Jersey Shore. It…didn’t work out. With Book Two, Double Dip, we landed Amber. Hail to the QUEEN, my agent Stephany, who negotiated the second edition of Double Whammy’s audio, and it was re-recorded by Amber. Five years after the fact, my series audio is solid Amber. (Who is from Birmingham, Alabama. And gets Davis.)

Have you written anything in addition to your Davis Way series?

I write grocery lists often. I'd say bi-weekly. 

What’s next for Davis Way? Any plans for a new series?

As we speak, Davis is trapped under a crazy golfer’s tour bus, so my immediate plan is to get her out. Some days I think I’d like to write a new series, but then I think of Joanne Fluke. Janet Evanovich. Nancy Drew. Surely I have more Davis in me.

Thank you, Gretchen. 

To learn more about bestselling author Gretchen Archer and her Davis Way series, visit her at or follow her on Facebook. And be on the lookout for Double Trouble, which is being released in hardback, paperback, digital, and audio on June 9. 


Kait said...

Welcome, Gretchen. Picture me in the corner rubbing my hands together just waiting for your book to drop on June 9th. Davis is one of my favorite characters. I'm looking forward to spending some quality time with her.

Gretchen Archer said...

Thank you, Kait!

KM Rockwood said...

Sounds like a fun series! And now is exactly the right time to try it out.

Annette said...

Hey, Gretchen! Great interview! And you know how much I love Davis and your books. Can't wait for the new one!

Susan said...

Sounds like a hilarious series. Congratulations on your upcoming launch.

Gretchen Archer said...

Thank you so much KM, Annette, and Susan!

KM Rockwood said...

If anyone's interesting in giving this series a try, Double Dog Dare is on sale in Kindle at Amazon for 99¢ today. (I just got it.)

Gretchen Archer said...

Yes, it is, KM! WOOF!

Cynthia Kuhn said...

Yay! Love love love this series! Cannot wait to read the latest...and what a terrific interview, too.

Gretchen Archer said...

Thanks for stopping by, Cynthia! xo

Shari Randall said...

A new Davis Way? Lucky us! Thank you, Gretchen and Grace, for such a fun interview.

Gretchen Archer said...

Thank you, Shari, and thank you for having me, Writers Who Kill.

Grace Topping said...

Thank you, Gretchen, for the interview. It was a pleasure getting to know you better. Good luck with your new book. I believe the "odds" are in your favor.

Gretchen Archer said...

Thank you so much for having me, Grace and Writers Who Kill.