Apart From Love: Murderous Sparks and Murderous Rages

It’s my pleasure to have as my guest today Uvi Poznansky . While she doesn’t write murder mysteries, according to Uvi her characters do harbor murderous thoughts. Here’s what she has to say about them:

Laurie:  Your novel, Apart From Love, is a cross between Contemporary Romance and Family Saga. Tell me a little about it.

Uvi PoznanskyUvi:  My novel, Apart From Love, is an intimate peek into the life of a uniquely strange family: Natasha, the accomplished pianist, has been stricken with early-onset Alzheimer’s. Her ex-husband Lenny has never told their son Ben, who left home ten years ago, about her situation. At the same time he, Lenny, has been carrying on a love affair with a young redhead, who bears a striking physical resemblance to his wife–but unlike her, Anita is uneducated, direct and unrefined. This is how things stand at this moment, the moment of Ben’s return to his childhood home, and to a contentious relationship with his father.

Laurie:  Tell us about the Anita, the girl in the midst of a firestorm of passion in this story.

Uvi: Anita is has been dabbed “a diamond in the rough” by one of my reviewers. She is so direct, sultry yet naive, and most of all, different… How, you may wonder out loud, did she spring from my mind?

The answer is a bit odd. At first I decided to model her as the-opposite-of-me. By which I mean a lot more than just her use of language (talking in sentences laden with ‘like’ and the dreaded double-negatives.) Anita was to become a bold and spontaneous spirit, anything but repressed. She would be promiscuous. Her voice would be shockingly direct:
“In my defense I have this to say: When men notice me, when the lusty glint appears in their eyes, which betrays how, in their heads, they’re stripping me naked—it’s me they accuse of being indecent.
Problem is, men notice me all the time.
How can a girl like me ever claim to be innocent? Even if I haven’t done nothing wrong, I’m already soiled, simply because of their dirty thoughts.”
And from the beginning she would move quickly to get what she wants:
“The minute our eyes met, I knew what to do: so I stopped in the middle of what I was doing, which was dusting off the glass shield over the ice cream buckets, and stacking up waffle cones here and sugar cones there. From the counter I grabbed a bunch of paper tissues, and bent all the way down, like, to pick something from the floor. Then with a swift, discrete shove, I stuffed the tissues into one side of my bra, then the other, ‘cause I truly believe in having them two scoops—if you know what I mean—roundly and firmly in place.
Having a small chest is no good: men seem to like girls with boobs that bulge out.”
I don’t even know how it happened, but once Anita started talking in my mind—which she did for nearly a year—I started to like her more and more. I asked myself, how would she play against Ben, who is a complex character, hesitant, highly sophisticated? How would she play against Lenny, a would-be author who is so proud of his refined expressions, when her background is so different from his? To my surprise, Anita ended up taking over not only the story, but also me.

Laurie: What kind of relationship starts forming between her and Ben?

Uvi: Facing a woman that brings memories of his mother to his mind, a woman who is married to his father yet is younger than him, Ben’s mind plays tricks on him. Here is how he describes his reaction to her:
“I open my eyes and at once, fear awakens in me. No, not just fear—but something more severe, something like a rage, a murderous rage. Right now it is a vague emotion, still without form.
“I do not even want to know at whom it is aimed—but I recognize that it is fueled, in part, by desire. It turns me white with anguish, as if I have just walked through glass, shattering it—or let my fingers spread open, dropping an egg to the floor, or a fossil, the fragile fossil of a fetus.
I move the knife away from me and—trying to avoid any rush moves—I turn to take a look at Anita: her outline is framed, for an instant, by the kitchen door. The next instant she is gone.”
Anita, for her part, can sense the murderous spark in his eyes:
“I pity him, seeing how consumed he is by desire. His entire body is like, burning up. And his eyes, they’re fluttering around me until—like a moth heading, in a roundabout way, into a light source—they connect with mine. I can sense his hate sometimes, and at once pull back from him, ‘cause I spot how hard his jaw is set, and even, how murderous the spark right there, in that shadow under his lashes, which reminds me of some animal, getting pretty tense, like, getting ready for the kill.”

Laurie: When you write a book, is the place where the story takes place important to you? Give me an example of the setting in Apart From Love.
Apart From love
Uvi: I find that you more likely to gravitate towards a story if the place is familiar to you–you have your own memories of it, perhaps–or if it sweeps you away to a distant place, a place you have never visited, or even envisioned before?
Here is an excerpt from Apart From Love, where the protagonist, Ben, talks about coming back to town, and seeing San Vicente Street with fresh eyes–seeing it as it is and as it was then.
” The reason I know this place, the reason it ignites such emotion, such passion in me, is not the sight of these homes—but the majestic trees, whispering in the night air. Planted at regular intervals along the median, as long as the eye can see, they are named Naked Coral Trees. Naked because—according to my father—they shed their leaves annually.
During our walks that spring, dad would point out the tree: Its fiery red flowers, that looked like fat pinecones at the tips of irregular, twisting branches, and the seeds, which in certain species were used for medicinal purposes by indigenous peoples. The seeds were toxic, he warned, and could cause fatal poisoning. I learned that mature Coral trees should be watered frequently—but not during the summer months. In fact, he said, the less water in summer, the more flowers you can expect the following spring.
I cross two lanes of traffic, come closer to one of those Naked Coral Trees, and with great awe, brush my fingers across the trunk. It is a contorted, elephantine thing, with a roughly textured bark, and thick roots clinging fiercely to the earth. This being early October there are no flowers, no leaves, even. The tree seems to take on a humanoid appearance, as if it were the body of a character, or even several characters, mangled beyond recognition.
It is a stunning sight, which has fascinated me since childhood. Above me, the bare limbs—some of which have been pruned recently—are branching apart, and looking at them you can imagine a knee here, an elbow there, someone wrestling, someone in embrace.
As you walk past them, the trees seem to tell you a story line by line, scene by scene. In one tree I could see a man and a woman, kissing; in another, a father and son.”

Find out more about this talented author and artist at these sites:

Blog: http://uviart.blogspot.com


Mondays Are Murder interviews Sabrina, the protagonist from Run Into The Wind

Mondays Are Murder has started something different! I will be interviewing protagonists from novels about murder. Today I’d like to introduce to you Sabrina, created by author Lynn Hubbard.

Laurie: Good morning, Sabrina. It’s wonderful to have you with me today. Please give us a little introduction to the story you star in.

Sabrina: Ummm Hello, I’m Sabrina and Run into the Wind is about my life. My mama always called me a “free spirit”. I guess that means I don’t like doin’ housework. I’d rather be off fishing or helping the hands with the spring foals. Life was good until them outlaws came to town. They murdered my family and would have killed me if I didn’t sneak off to go fishing. If I would have had my shotgun on me the story would have ended there.

Laurie: Oh, my. What a horrible thing to happen! What did you do then?

Sabrina: After my folks died, I ran away from my domineering brother and headed west. He hired every two-bit bouty  hunter to come after me, so I hid out in Oklahoma. Of course a lone girl in Tulsey sticks out like a new penny. So I became “Will” and dressed as boy.

Laurie: What an an ingenious plan. How did you get by?

Sabrina: There was an opening at the corral so I took it. Horse’s have more sense than most people anyway, so I felt right at home. I’d rather be shoveling horse crap any day than gussied up at some fancy ball.

Laurie: I’m with you there. I love horses. So tell us, what’s it like for you, living there?

Sabrina: It isn’t easy, however, Life never is. I like working and it helps to keep my mind off of the past. It’s hard to think about losing my family. I have nightmares some times, but the horses don’t mind. They bring me comfort.

Laurie: Who are your supporting cast – family, friends, neighbors, etc.?

I try to keep to myself mostly. The less town folks noising into my business the better. But Mr. Swanson, my employer is a good guy. And Mac the bartender is the nearest thing I could call a friend. There aren’t too many women in Tulsey. The saloon girls are alright, but Sally Reynolds, the Doctor’s daughter makes me want to spit nails. She acts like she can’t do anything. And she’s always prancing around town in new dresses from the east. Blech!

Now we have gotten a new sheriff recently. Brock. He’s a bit different than the rest. And to tell you the truth, he makes my toes curl. Of course he thinks I’m a boy. As I said, Life is hard.

Laurie: Yes, it does sound as though life is hard. But you’ve managed to work things out. What are your best attributes?

Sabrina: My green eyes.  I wish I would have inherited my mama’s golden red hair as well, but I don’t have the best of luck.

Laurie: What are your character flaws, and do they sometimes help you?

Sabrina: Sometimes I talk without thinkin’ first. Mr. Swanson is always getting on to me for that. And I might be a bit impulsive. But I’d probably be dead now if I wasn’t.

Laurie: It sounds as though your “flaw” is what saved you. Think about the author who created you. Is she anything like you?

Sabrina: Heck No! I don’t think Lynn has ever caught a fish in her life! As far as riding a horse, well let’s just say it’s harder than it looks. But she is a pretty good story teller.

Laurie: Are you satisfied with the way the book ended?

Sabrina: Oh yes! I was very, very happy if you know what I mean. Of course Lynn’s fans weren’t too happy it ended. They wanted to hear more. So Lynn wrote “Chase the Moon”. Why she named it after Brock’s loud mouth brother, I’ll never know. As if his ego wasn’t large enough already.

Laurie: It’s good to know there’s a sequel available. If you could change the ending to your story, how  would it be different?

Sabrina: I lost another one of my friends. Brock says I shouldn’t blame myself. But who else is there? He died protecting me, it just isn’t fair.

Laurie: I can’t imagine how awful that would be. Will there be more books about you?

Sabrina: Well “Chase” of course and Lynn has been mulling over a new adventure if she ever finishes the Revolutionary War book she’s working on. She’s been piddling with it for ages.

If you want to read my whole story visit Lynn’s Site and sign up for her newsletter.

Lynn’s  website,   BlogFacebookTwitterGoodreads or sign up for my Newsletter!

Run into the Wind -Amazon

Chase the Moon –Amazon (Free with Prime!)

FREE FOR 5 DAYS: MURDER BY PLANE Author T.E. Avery on writing, flying, and the roaring 30’s

Good morning everyone! It’s a beautiful Tuesday morning here in the land of aloha. Due to family issues, I got off track with my MONDAYS ARE MURDER interviews. But I’m back today with author T.E. Avery to talk about his novel, MURDER BY PLANE. The book is available FREE on Amazon for the next 5 days so be sure to download your copy! If you don’t have a Kindle device, download the Kindle app to your phone or computer. Happy reading!

Laurie: I’m so happy to have this chance to talk to you, Tom. First, please tell us about your protagonist, Reginald St. John.

Tom:  Reginald was a flying ace during the First World War, but he dislikes talking about it and has nightmares about the war.  He flew after the war as a Hollywood stunt pilot and then became a star of silent movies.  Reginald had stage training as a young man.  This allowed him to make the transition to talking pictures.  Reginald had been engaged to an actress, but she died in a plane crash.  Reginald was the pilot.  He lives with the memory and guilt of her death.  He drinks too much and this has all but ended his career.

Laurie: As an actor and a pilot, how is Reginald in a position to solve a mystery?

Tom: Reginald worked behind enemy lines during the war and learned to use his smooth voice to interrogate prisoners.  Reginald can even hypnotize people who are not especially strong willed.

Laurie: Is there a lot of yourself in St. John?

Tom: No way.  Reginald is brave and cool.

Laurie: Are you a pilot?

Tom: I was a private pilot as a young man and owned a Cessna 150.  My grandfather was a WW1 pilot.

Laurie:  Why did you choose the 1930’s as a setting for your story?

Tom:  I have always loved the films from the 1930s, especially mysteries and screwball comedies.

Laurie:   What kind of research did you have to do to write the book, especially considering it takes place during an era you don’t remember yourself?

Tom: I wrote the draft and then did my research on the internet and from books and film.

Laurie:  Was there anything surprising you discovered in your research about life the 30’s?

Tom:  I’m always surprised by the strength and the skills of that generation.  I do not think I could have done as well, back then, as they did.  I loved researching the swing music.

Laurie: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Tom: Murder By Plane will be free for the next five days on Amazon Kindle. http://tinyurl.com/c4rthp4
My reading and writing life as inspired by classic films and books: http://tinyurl.com/7nobfeo
Contact me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/reginaldstjohn

Author Patricia Paris talks about romance and murder

It’s a beautiful morning in Hawaii for Mondays Are Murder. Today I have with me author Patricia Paris.

Laurie: Good morning, Patricia. So glad you could talk with me today. I know you are basically a romance novelist, but this blog is about murder, so I’ll focus on your book, A Murderous Game. The plot makes it sound like a typical crime thriller. Is that what it is, or is this book a romance that happens to contain a murder?

Patricia: I am a romance novelist, and write two different types of romances. The first are contemporary romances that are both sweet and passionate. In these, the hero and heroine are faced with difficult decisions that threaten their new found love. My Cedar Cove Series: This Time Forever and Letters to Gabriella are examples of these. The second are romantic suspense, like A Murderous Game.

I wouldn’t call A Murderous Game a thriller, more so a mystery. The heroine, Abby Carpenter, is going through a difficult divorce. Her husband is a master at bullying her into concessions and embarrassing her through a string of public infidelities. As a way of dealing with her anger and frustration over his continual demands, or “exorcising the demons” as her best friend, Rachael, calls it, Abby imagines different ways of killing her soon to be ex. Her life is turned upside down when the man turns up “really” dead, and Abby becomes the primary suspect in the murder.

Her newly developing romance with Gage Farriday, a powerful man from her past, who was awarded a multi-billion dollar development contract that her dead husband had also bid on, leads to further complications when Gage also becomes a suspect. As the detective on the case begins to narrow in on the case, the murderer tries to cover their tracks, putting Abby right in the line of fire.

Laurie: That sounds both intriguing and exciting. What kind of person is your protagonist, Abby Carpenter?

Patricia: I see Abby as a very independent, career-minded woman who tries to make the best of whatever life throws at her. She has a wonderful, occasionally biting, sense of humor, but most of it self-directed. Despite becoming the target of a sleazy reporter’s expose, she finds a way to face the world with her head held high—at least until she can return to her townhouse each evening where she believes herself to be safe. She’s a bit of a dreamer, with a kind heart, but she has a quiet strength that serves her well when she needs it most.

Laurie: How do you come up with the characters in all your books? Are they based on people you know, or are they purely fictional?

My characters just come to me. Oftentimes, they take on different attributes and behaviors as I write the first draft and they begin to get more flushed out. None of my characters are based on actual people, although I will sometimes give them a characteristic, habit, or a quirk of people I’ve encountered over the years, like my hero, Blake in This Time Forever, who has a definitive habit of sticking his tongue in his cheek when he’s pondering something. For the most part, they’re purely fictional, but as they come from my head, I’m sure a bit of me has spilled over into each of them somewhere.

Laurie:  When did you begin your writing career?

Patricia: I’ve been writing since I was a little girl. As a very young child I wrote stories about animals, imaginary friends, or taking some wonderful adventure. I wrote my first novel in high school. It was horrible! I still have it in a box in the basement, and it’s amusing to look back on it every decade or so. I also wrote poetry in high school and was often a contributor to the school newspaper. My first published novel, This Time Forever, which was released about nine months ago, took me over three years and dozens of rewrites before I was satisfied with it. But there were several written both before, and in between, that I have stuffed away in file drawers waiting to be pulled out to see if I want to rework them.

Laurie: How much time do you put into writing?

Patricia: I spend most of my time writing. I’m fortunate in that I don’t work outside the home, so I can devote as much time as I have energy for on my writing. I do some form of writing almost every day. When I get stuck on plot, or my characters aren’t cooperating, I’ll sometimes take a break from my WIP for a few days or more to let things brew. While that’s bubbling on the back burner, I’ll usually work on another book, either outlining or flushing out what I’ve already written.

Laurie: What are you currently working on?

Patricia: I have two WIP’s going at the time. One is the third installment of my Cedar Cove Series, titled: Return to Cedar Cove. My primary focus right now however is on the sequel to A Murderous Game, which is titled: Run Rachael Run. It is also a romantic suspense, but slightly darker and a little edgier than A Murderous Game (AMG). The heroine, Rachael Gooding, was Abby’s best friend in AMG, and she’s a real corker! I can’t tell you how many readers contacted me to ask if I was planning to write a book for Rachael. She’s a high-spirited, in-your-face if she has to be, heroine. Her stunning good looks make men drool in her wake, but they cause her more problems than they’re worth, including murder. Run Rachael Run is set to be released in the Spring of 2013.

Laurie: Your fans clearly have a lot to look forward to! Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Patricia: I’d like to thank you, Laurie, for inviting me to spend time with you to talk about A Murderous Game. Although I’m a romance novelist at heart, I love all genres, and am an avid reader, especially mystery; so it was fun for me to focus on my story through the mystery lens as opposed to the romance one which I generally do.

Laurie: Find A Murderous Game and all of Patricia’s books on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/A-Murderous-Game-ebook/dp/B0057ZF5I0

Follow her blog at: http://patriciaeparis.com/wordpress/

Author David Bishop Talks To Mondays Are Murder

The Hawaiian sun is setting on this Monday, but it’s never too late for murder. I am pleased to have with me the author of a number of excellent books, David Bishop.

Laurie: Thank you so much, David, for taking the time to answer a few questions this evening. You’re a very prolific author, with five books recently published and two more planned for release in the next several months. How long does it take you to write each book?

David: I began seriously writing mystery fiction in 2003. I delayed coming to market with my books because I wanted to study the craft and write-write-write before inflicting my early efforts onto an unsuspecting readership. By the time I brought The Beholder, a Maddie Richards Mystery to market, I had four novels finished, subject to the constant tinkering that authors do. As my study of the craft gave me greater skill, I went back and reworked each of the novels to reflect the lessons learned. I wanted to launch with several books to establish myself as a quality writer capable of supplying loyal readers with a continuing stream of stories.

Laurie: You proceeded with a great amount of patience—much more than a lot of authors do. Your write about a number of different protagonists. Do you foresee any of them reappearing as part of a series in the future?

David: The short answer is yes. In fact, this process is already started. The leading man of Who Murdered Garson Talmadge, a Matt Kile Mystery, will star in a second novel that will come out in June, The original Alibi, a Matt Kile Mystery. The Blackmail Club, a Jack McCall Mystery, is my second mystery starring Jack McCall; the first was The Third Coincidence. These two McCall stories are already available. The Beholder, a Maddie Richards Mystery, has been very popular. My second mystery featuring Maddie Richards will come out in the spring of 2013. The working title is Empty Promises, a Maddie Richards Mystery. Maddie will be joined by Ryan Testler who costarred beside Linda Darby in The Woman, a mystery well flavored with romantic suspense. So, yes, I love series characters and my readers will continue to see Matt Kile mysteries and Maddie Richards mysteries.

Laurie: Your fans definitely have something to look forward to. How much of your own personality do you put into your main characters?

David:  I suspect every author slips a little of himself or herself under the front door of his fiction. I certainly do. My sense of humor is definitely in evidence. Matt Kile is the protagonist through whom I most displayed the humor, but it is in all the stories to some degree. Also, I am a romantic so I strive to deliver enough of a romantic side story to please my female readers without being too much for men folk.  Beyond that my twenty plus years as a financial analyst gives me the attention to detail which comes into play as I plan the crimes, the salting of clues, and the solutions. I am also a big believer that justice should prevail, in some fashion; however, the justice doled out is often not in the traditional structure.

Laurie: It’s quite a trick to write a book that appeals to both genders. What about your secondary characters? Are any of them  based on people you’ve known? How do you come up with your characters?

David: Some characters are based, at least in part, on people I know. Sometimes the victims are based on people I don’t like. I encourage my friends to be nice to me so they won’t end up on the floor of one of my mysteries. Life and living brings us into contact with people constantly. Also I am a great observer of people. I see tics and talents I find interesting and often these are brought out in my characters.

Laurie: Now you’re going to have all your acquaintances in a who’s who guessing game. In Who Murdered Garson Talmadge, there is a dog named Asta. Are you a dog lover? Do you own a dog?

David: Asta was a fictional dog owned by Nick and Nora Charles in the wonderful book, radio, and movie series, The Thin Man. I used Asta as an historical drop-in to bring a smile to those readers who saw the connection, yet structured it so it would not be distracting to readers who did not see that connection. I do like dogs, have owned several, but not at the moment.

Laurie: I’m a dog lover myself, and saw the connection right away.

Would you name some of the authors who inspire your work?

David: So many who have come and gone, sticking to my own genre: Dashiell Hammett (Sam Spade and the Thin Man), Raymond Chandler (Philip Marlowe), Mickey Spillane (Mike Hammer), Willard Huntington Wright (Philo Vance), Earl Derr Biggers (Charlie Chan), Rex Stout (Nero Wolfe), and, of course, Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I shy away from mentioning living authors as there are so many whose works I admire.

Laurie: Do you have any writing pet peeves?

David:  I interpret that question to mean pet peeves with how other writers do a certain thing. If I did them, I’d just stop, thereby avoid the pet peeve. Like most readers, I am turned off by overly lengthy descriptions of almost anything, the exception being tense scenes. These should be broken down into inches and seconds to present the heightened stress at a nearly real-time pace. Two-thirds of a page describing a sunset or a bush or whatever is too much. We’ve all read books where we find ourselves skipping ahead to the next paragraph when the writer falls victim to diarrhea-of-the-mouth descriptions. As a reader, I also lose patience with stories which start too slowly, and keep that pace too long. For me, those books become wall bangers just before I pick up a different novel. I don’t want my books to be wall bangers for anyone.

Laurie: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

David: Yes, if I may, a statement to everyone reading this posting. The last several years I have been writing well enough to allow me to say: My stories are good. Take a journey with me. Laugh. Hold your breath. Cheer. Boo. The characters are rich, and the plots are grabbers. I promise most of you that you will be very glad you came along. I’d promise all of you, but nothing is liked by everyone. Some people don’t like golf, or chocolate, or apple pie, or even a hearty laugh. But I’ll bet you like some of that stuff and I’ll bet you’ll like my mysteries.

Yours Very Truly, David Bishop




History’s Most Famous Murder by Proxy, with Rachelle Ayala

Today in Mondays Are Murder, I’m excited to be featuring a very different kind of book. It isn’t a crime novel or a mystery whodunit, but a story about a murder, nonetheless. In fact, one of the most famous murders of all time. I think you’ll be as fascinated as I am by the tale Rachelle Ayala tells in Michal’s Window.

Laurie: Good morning, Rachelle. I am so pleased you could join me to talk about your fascinating book. Please give us a brief description of your debut novel, Michal’s Window.

Rachelle: Michal’s Window is an experiential treatment of the life of King David through the woman who loved him first. On the surface it is a historical romance, but as in real life, nothing is straightforward and love does not always triumph. Michal loves, loses, celebrates and grieves, but is vindicated in the end by the love of God who would never leave nor forsake her.

Laurie: Without giving away too much of the plot, tell us about the murder that transpires in your novel.

 Rachelle: The murder of Uriah is the most famous murder by proxy in history. David, the king, commits adultery with Uriah’s wife and impregnates her. When Uriah fails to cover up by sleeping with his wife, David orders his commander to put Uriah in a dangerous position and then withdraw the rest of the forces so he would die.

Laurie: For those who are familiar with the Biblical story, what surprises will we find in Michal’s Window?

Rachelle: Oh, I’ve embellished it so much, you’d have to have the Bible open as you read along to separate fact from fantasy. Let’s just say there’s a disturbingly hunky Philistine warrior, a goddess worshipping priestess, magic spells and henna painting, a hand-fasting scene with double serpents and a crimson rug of love.

Laurie: It sounds like a story that would appeal to readers of all genres, whether or not they have a particular interest in the Bible. What was it about this particular Bible story that touched you so strongly that you felt you must write a full length novel about it?

Rachelle: While David’s affair with Bathsheba is probably the second most famous Bible story, after David and Goliath, Michal’s role in David’s life has been diminished by Bible scholars, most of whom were men. Here was a princess who fell in love with a lowly servant, who was the only woman the Bible mentions as loving a man, and who sacrificed her comfortable lifestyle, position, family ties, and ultimately her husband David’s love to save him from her father. She lost everything she held dear when she let David escape from her window. Take a moment and realize that Michal saved the line to Jesus Christ. Yes, she made mistakes and was not the perfect wife, but the Bible immortalizes her love for David in two places, and I believe David immortalized his love for her in 2nd Samuel 3:5.

Laurie: There are many stories in the Bible of God using women to bring about epic historical changes. Let’s get back to the murder. How did Michal react to David doing away with Uriah?

Rachelle: She pretty much suspected David of having had an affair with Bathsheba, but the murder of Uriah caught her by surprise and she was horrified. For the first time, she actually walked out on David and refused to play along with his schemes. She matured as a woman and would no longer settle for a one-sided relationship.

Laurie: What about Bathsheba? How did she feel having to marry the man who murdered her husband?

Rachelle: Bathsheba was not a main character so I didn’t delve deeply into her psyche. She appeared aloof and lukewarm during her tenure in the harem. Later on, her grandfather led the conspiracy against David. I would imagine she would have been bitter about losing her husband and put all her hopes into her son, Solomon, to become the next king.

Here’s what she says in a fight with Michal over the Queen’s crown:

“You think I want it? It has cost me. Everyone. I. Love.” Her raging breath spit in my face as she detangled the crown from her hair and smashed it into my cheekbone with a bruising clunk. Ahinoam and Haggith broke us apart. Bathsheba sobbed in Ahinoam’s arms. I picked up her queen’s crown and looped it on my arm. Ayala, Rachelle. Michal’s Window (Kindle Locations 10091-10093). Amiga Books.

 Laurie: Do you write full time now?

Rachelle: I’m a retired software engineer, so between my duties as mother and wife, you could say I write full time, although being an indie author, promotion and marketing consume a significant portion of my day.

Laurie: I can sure understand all of those issues. What are you currently working on?

Rachelle: I’m absolutely in love with my current work, Broken Build. It takes my experience as a software engineer and transports it to new levels of danger and excitement not found in the green and grey cubicles of my former life. Let’s just say it’s a Romantic Suspense with a touch of comedy and lots of broken bodies, code, and lives. You can find out more about it at my blog.  http://www.rachelleayala.com/p/wip-broken-build.html

Laurie: Hopefully you’ll come back again to talk with me about your new book. What authors inspire your work?

Rachelle: This is actually a difficult question. I read so widely. There’s Agatha Christie, Michael Crichton, Diana Gabaldon and definitely Lisa Gardner, absolutely love her! But these days I read almost nothing but indie work.

Laurie: Lisa Gardner is one of my favorites, too. Wonderful that you support other indie authors–we need all the support we can get.  Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Rachelle: David’s life is a lesson on God’s love and mercy. He can take a premeditated murderer and give him two sons, Solomon and Nathan, who lead physically to Jesus Christ. David was far from perfect, but his repentance and dependence on God is an object lesson for all of us.

There is no hole too deep Your love cannot fill, no place too far You cannot go.” Michal’s prayer over Tamar, David’s daughter who was raped by his son Amnon.

Canadian author R.E. Donald talks about highway mysteries and horses

Aloha `auinala. Good morning from beautiful Hawaii. Today I’m talking with Canadian author Ruth E. Donald.

Laurie: Ruth, it’s great to have you with me for Mondays Are Murder. Let’s start with Hunter Rayne. An unusual twist on the typical protagonist, he’s a retired police detective turned truck driver. What kind of person is he? How does his personality make him unique?

Ruth: Given he had been a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for over twenty years, you could say Hunter “retired”, but in fact, he prematurely walked away from his chosen career as a homicide detective even though he was not  only an excellent detective, he was also passionate about solving crimes.  Why?  He’s somewhat of a perfectionist, and bit by bit his life as a police officer, husband, and father of two teen girls, had started falling apart.  His wife complained because he spent so much time away from home, both on the job, and in a bar reasoning with his long-time friend and fellow RCMP detective, Ken Marsh, who was struggling with alcoholism and severe depression.  Within a short time span, Hunter’s wife filed for divorce and his best friend committed suicide.  Deeply hurt, Hunter found he couldn’t focus on his job, and a chance meeting with a truck driver who told him that to be a long haul driver “you have to like being alone” made him decide to go on the road.

Hunter is a relatively serious guy, soft spoken, polite, intuitive and intelligent.  He’s trying to keep his life simple, and feels that the solitude of his life on the road is helping to heal his emotional wounds, but he also remains driven by that passion for justice that made him a good detective.  Although he tries to remain aloof, he is a compassionate man and so allows himself to be drawn into investigations where his friends are concerned.  It’s mainly his boss, tough talking dispatcher Elspeth Watson, who persuades him to become involved in helping out people in trouble.  His uniqueness stems from him not being your typical tough cop or smart ass detective.  He’s polite, neat and almost stoic.  He feels things deeply, but doesn’t like to show it.

The character of Hunter Rayne was actually inspired by my late husband, Jim Donald, who worked in the trucking industry for many years, including several as a driver.  People who knew Jim will probably see some resemblance, although Hunter has taken on a life all his own in my imagination.

Laurie: As a woman, why did you choose to write from a male point of view? Do you ever find it difficult, getting into a man’s head?

Ruth: When I started writing my mystery series, it never occurred to me that it would be difficult to write from a male point of view.  One of the maxims of a novelist, or any writer for that matter, is to write what you like to read.  Two of my favorite mystery writers at the time were Martha Grimes with her Richard Jury series, and Elizabeth George with her Thomas Lynley series.  (In fact, several years ago I did a workshop with Elizabeth George in California to improve my novel writing skills.)  For some reason I prefer reading mysteries with male protagonists and strong female support characters, representing multiple points of view.  To write effective characters, a writer has to understand what motivates people.  I remember in my very first writers’ group, a male colleague remarked on how well I nailed the motivation of a male character in one of my short stories.

Laurie: Are you working on another Hunter Rayne mystery? Tell us about your works in progress.

Ruth: I’m currently working on the third Hunter Rayne highway mystery.  As astute readers may have noticed, there’s the name of a highway in the title of each book.  The new one is called Sea to Sky and is set in the winter resort of Whistler, British Columbia.  It is set up in the second novel, Ice on the Grapevine, when Hunter meets an attractive female lawyer in Los Angeles, and she invites him to come skiing with her during her winter vacation in Whistler.  (Can you say “sexual tension”?)  I intend to have the novel ready to release this fall.

I have long term plans for Hunter Rayne.  Characters who have not yet been fully introduced figure prominently in his future, including the widow of his late friend, Ken Marsh.  There are many highways for him still to travel, including such intriguing names as the Top of the World, the Yellowhead, and the Beartooth highways, and even the Kamehameha Highway on Oahu.

My goal is to write one novel per year, and I’m delighted that some of my readers are already impatient for the next one.  (You know who you are!  Thanks for the encouragement!)

Laurie: I’ll definitely be looking forward to the next one, and I can’t wait to see what a Canadian truck driver is doing on Kamehameha Highway. Your books are true whodunits, classic mysteries. What authors inspire your writing?

Ruth: I love to read mysteries that keep me guessing who the murderer is, so I try to craft complex plots with multiple suspects and a surprise ending.  I’ve read and enjoyed the Dorothy L. Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes mysteries, and Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe mysteries, not to mention Agatha Christie’s classic series about Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot.  I’ve been lucky enough to meet some more contemporary writers that I have admired at writers’ conferences; I sat beside the late Tony Hillerman on a bus to the Seattle Bouchercon, for example, and met Anne Perry and John Lescroart at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference.  And of course, I did that workshop with Elizabeth George at The Book Passage in Corte Madera.

Laurie: John Lescroart and his wife sat down beside me in a hotel lobby and struck up a conversation. After a few minutes, I realized who I was talking to (he never mentioned being a writer) and my jaw dropped mid-sentence. Nice man.

Being a horse person myself, I have to throw this in. What kind of horses do you have? What are their names? Do you breed and train them?

Ruth: Thanks for asking!  We horse people like nothing better than to talk about our horses!  I first read about the Canadian Horse breed in 1997, and like most other people, had never heard of them.  They are descended from the first horses sent to the French colonies in Quebec by King Louis XIV in 1665.  Bred in isolation and surviving in the harsh Quebec winters for well over a century, they became strong and hardy all-purpose horses resembling foundation Morgans.  I was surprised to learn that at one time, the Canadian Horses were almost as well known in North America as the Quarter Horse is today.  The Union Army bought and used many thousands of them during the Civil War, and consequently Canadian Horses are used by some of the Civil War cavalry re-enactors in the United States today, notably the North West Cavalry Association in Oregon, who did an excellent demonstration at the Northwest Horse Fair recently.    In 2001, the Canadian Horse was officially recognized as the National Horse of Canada.  Visit www.chhaps.org for more information on the breed.  (Sorry, I can’t help it!)

We have three Canadian mares: Cherry Creek Danzon Gina (Gigi), her daughter Tickety Boo Prince Riella (Really), and Naro Haras Nisa (Nisa), but the herd “boss” is a palomino Quarter Horse gelding we call Rambler.  My husband, Gilbert Roy, does train horses for a living, but our four horses are part of the family.  We both trail ride, and Gilbert, a French Canadian cowboy, likes to do cutting and penning.

Laurie: That’s very interesting. I can’t say I’d heard of Canadian Horses before.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

Ruth: My first two novels are currently only available as e-books, but I plan to have print editions of Slow Curve on the Coquihalla and Ice on the Grapevine available later this spring.  I’ll be announcing it to the world via Facebook, Twitter and on my site at redonald.com as soon as they’re ready.

I’d like to say a big thank you to you, Laurie, for giving me the chance to talk about two of my favorite things: mysteries and horses, and to congratulate you on your own novels.  I’ve been to Oahu many times, and envy you for being able to wake up to a tropical sunrise every morning.  I’m looking forward to the day I can do some first-hand research for my Kamehameha novel in your part of the world!

Laurie: Mysteries and horses are two of my favorite things, too. It’s been a pleasure talking with you and maybe one day I’ll see you here on Oahu.