My Wild Rose Press sistah, Julie Howard, is having a busy week. She’s having a 99cent book sale on one of her fabulous mysteries, and also has a brand new release out in the book reading world. She stopped by recently to chat about her “happy place” in life.
Choosing my happy place
Okay, this is going to sound terrible. I’ll say it anyway. My happy place is dark and dreadful, filled with people who lie and cheat, and do almost anything – including murder. Only on paper though, and only fictional people. In real life, I’m terribly nice, with a wonderful family and a small dog at my side. I’m a good driver, say please and thank you, and visit my parents often. But when I sit down at my computer, my imagination takes off and my fingers obey.
I love writing a good mystery and they don’t necessarily all include murder. For me, the puzzle is what’s important. I’m a crossword puzzle fan and also enjoy “seek-and-find” games where you have to discover pictures hidden in plain sight. In crosswords, coming up with a word is easy, but that’s only the first step. There’s a strategy in where you lay down a word –trapping a competitor into making the wrong move can make the difference in win or lose. Oh, the satisfaction when they fall for it! Similarly, in those seek-and-find games, I love how an item can be so very obvious, but the artist has drawn the scene in such a manner that my eyes can’t at first recognize it for what it is.
Creating a mystery is comparable. I must lay clues, but not so obvious or difficult the reader gets bored or frustrated after the first few chapters. The motivation and strategy of a criminal must be evident but not too much so. There must be the perfect challenge.
There are other elements I enjoy in a mystery too. The characters are paramount. I do tend to care about all the “people” I create, especially my heroines. By the very nature of the genre, they fall into danger and I work my very hardest to save them. The women I write about feel like real people to me – with flaws, hopes, fears and strengths. I enjoy developing their strengths as a story progresses – and if my heroine is in a series, I develop her character’s depths more through each book. Like real people, my heroines must fight their own internal battles along with story’s villains. Often, my characters save themselves.
My latest release, coming December 4, finishes the story of Meredith Lowe, an abused woman who fantasizes about killing her husband. The first book, Crime and Paradise, is on sale this week for 99 cents. The latest book, Wild Crime, explores her past as she seeks to unveil a family mystery, and stumbles across a possible murder. Through all three books is a slow-burning romance.
Mystery, murder, romance? Yes, this is my happy place.
Blurb for Crime and Paradise:
Meredith has been uprooted to the middle of nowhere with two kids and an abusive husband. After she fantasizes about ways to kill him, he ends up dead. Despite all the evidence pointing to her, Meredith finds an unlikely supporter and friend in the county sheriff. Together, they uncover some ugly truths about her husband and this small, isolated town.
Can Meredith make this place a new home for her family, or will the real secret behind her husband’s death send her away for good?
Buy links for Crime and Paradise (now 99 cents for a limited time)
Blurb for Wild Crime:
“I’m a murderer. I’m a murderer. I’m a murderer.”
Those three repeated words discovered in an old letter propel Meredith Lowe in a cross-country pursuit to unveil her mother’s murky past. Danger stalks Meredith back to Hay City, Idaho as she peels apart the mystery: who is her father, and did her mother kill him? In finding the answer, will a growing love slip through her fingers?
Past merges with the present as the story races to its stunning conclusion.
Her hair fell below her waist, ripped free of its ties and weighed down by the warm, lashing rain. The sky-blue dress, so carefully chosen for this night and tried on so many times in her bedroom, was ruined. One strap had torn from her shoulder and dangled down her back. Mud splattered the hem. Sweet Cantaloupe lipstick, a lovely coral that heightened the green in her eyes, was smeared like a bruise on one cheek. She ran.
The high school gym behind her, decorated in crepe paper and curtains, vibrated with electric guitars and teen-aged hormones. Couples gyrated on the dance floor and then disappeared into dark corners. It was late and the Spring Dance was in full throttle. No one would miss her for hours.
Before her, trees dripped moss, barely visible in the darkness. She envisioned the moss brushing her shoulders, low branches snagging in her hair, the possibility of snakes both at her feet and above; this made her hesitate. It would take one scream, one gasp, and he would find her.
Buy links for Wild Crime:
Julie Howard is the author of the Wild Crime series. She is a former journalist and editor who has covered topics ranging from crime to cowboy poetry. She is a member of the Idaho Writers Guild, editor of the Potato Soup Journal, and founder of the Boise chapter of Shut Up & Write. Learn more at juliemhoward.com.
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