I grew up on the west side of Cincinnati. When I think back to my childhood, I realize it’s no wonder I became a mystery writer. My parents, younger brother and I lived in an old two-story house with all kinds of good places to play Hide’n Seek. The basement was an especially scary place; the foundation had thick stone walls, a fruit cellar and a coal bin. We had a large backyard and, at the end of it, a woods extended as far as the eye could see with a cemetery just barely visible in the distance. It was the perfect breeding ground for a young girl, who loved to read Judy Bolton and Nancy Drew mysteries, to develop a fertile imagination.
Did the inspiration for your characters and/or plot come from people you know, a specific place or personal experience? If not, what got you started?
The initial idea for Mixed Messages came to me one day, shortly after I’d moved into a new apartment. I went for a walk in the neighborhood and spotted an old Victorian. I remember standing there, gazing up at the house, captivated. I’ve always loved old houses; they have so much character. Every old house has a history; people have lived there and, in many cases, died there. I never missed an episode of the show, “If Walls Could Talk,” when it was on TV. The stories of the people who had lived in those homes fascinated me. As I looked up at the Victorian, I found myself wondering what those walls would say if they could talk. The plot and characters developed from there.
Did you plan your series before or after you wrote the first book in the series?
Actually, in the middle of writing the first novel, Mixed Messages, I decided to write the sequel. The decision to create my Malone mystery series came after I finished the first draft of the sequel, Unfinished Business. I realized that my characters have so much more to say and do and I want to give them ample opportunity to do that.
Can you tell us about Mixed Messages?
I think the blurb from the back of the book says it best.
“It’s estimated that there are at least twenty to thirty active serial killers in the United States at any given time. There’s one on the loose on the west side of Cincinnati.
It’s the week of Halloween and Ann Kern struggles with several issues. Her primary concern is her marriage which, like her west side neighborhood, is in jeopardy. Her husband is drinking heavily and his behavior toward her is erratic. One minute, he’s the kind, loving man she married and, the next minute, he’s cold and cruel.
Ann dismisses a psychic’s warning that she is in danger. But, when she receives a series of ominous biblical quotes, she grows nervous and suspicious of everyone, including her own husband.
As the bizarre and frightening events unfold, Ann discovers a handmade tombstone marked with her name, pushing her close to the edge. Will she be the Westwood Strangler’s next victim?”
Do you have a website we can visit? And, where can we buy your book?
Thank you for inviting me to be here today. I hope you’ll visit my blog at:
Mixed Messages is available at: