Today’s guest blog post, on the topic of characters – and an interview with one of hers – is brought to you by Jean Henry Mead.
Like Marja McGraw, I include humor, romance and murder in my mystery / suspense novels, so I decided to interview one of my protagonists, who, after six books, seems like old friend that I eavesdrop on during the writing process. Sarah Cafferty is one of two senior amateur sleuths who hasn’t been her usual cheerful self since completing her latest adventure in Murder at the Mansion.
Author: Sarah, why are you so cranky? You’ve shown good humor in my previous Logan and Cafferty novels. You’re too old for PMS.
Sarah: Cranky? What do you expect? First you destroy the mansion. Then you send us flying off to Texas to escape the killer. And if that wasn’t bad enough, you allow a questionable character to talk us into hiding in a mountain cabin in the Alaskan outback, which is even more dangerous.
Author: I’m sorry, Sarah. I know it was traumatic, but you have to admit that it was suspenseful.
Sarah: Where were you when we nearly froze to death in the tundra? Sitting in your comfortable chair thinking up ways to get us into deeper trouble?
Author: That’s my job. Would you prefer that I replace you and Dana with younger sleuths?
Sarah: Dana and I are only in our early sixties. Not some elderly widows with walkers. We can do everything that younger sleuths do.
Sarah: With the possible exception of skateboarding and scaling tall buildings.
Author: If that’s true, I think I’ll have you bungee jump in the next novel.
Sarah: Unless you’re joking, Dana and I are taking a hiatus from your mystery series.
Author: What about our readers? You don’t want to disappoint them, do you?
Sarah: Haven’t we done enough? In The Village Shattered you send a serial killer after us. In Diary of Murder a vicious drug gang. In Murder on the Interstate you have a homegrown terrorist group kidnap us while they’re planning to take down the entire country. And if that wasn’t enough, you have a wolf killer cause us to wreck Dana’s Escalade and then stalk us on Gray Wolf Mountain. (Taking a deep breath.) Then you send us to Texas in Murder in RV Paradise where you have me wading into a lake to retrieve a woman’s body, only to be suspected of the murder. I don’t call that paradise.
Author: I’ve got some ideas that will knock your socks off.
Sarah: That settles it! You can email us in Argentina. That’s where we’re going on vacation. If we don’t answer, you’ll know that some other novelist has decided to adopt us and treat us fairly.
Author: You’ll be bored within a week and out of a job in a month. Novelists who are nice to their protagonists don’t last long in the publishing business. Readers want suspense as well as mystery.
Sarah: I’ve got a great idea. You take my place and I’ll write you into some mysterious and suspenseful situations. You’ll love bungee jumping over a crocodile pit or waking up with rattlesnakes. I can think of lots of exciting scenarios to place you in.
Author: Point taken, Sarah. From now on we’ll concentrate on mystery and go easy on the suspense.
Thank you, Jean. I loved it!
Jean Henry Mead is a former news reporter and photojournalist.
She’s the author of 21 books, half of them novels, which include the Logan & Cafferty series, Hamilton Kid’s mysteries, Wyoming historical novels, and nonfiction interview and history books, one of which served as a college textbook.
She has also served as a news, magazine and small press editor, contributor to the Denver Post, and has been published in magazines domestically as well as abroad.
- and from this blog, my guests who have written on the topic of characters are… Anne O’Connell, Armand Rosamilia, Carol Crigger, Chris Redding, Christopher Starr, Ditrie Sanchez, Graham Smith 1, Graham Smith 2, Jane Davis, Jerry Last, Jo Barney, John Harper, Morgen Bailey, Nina Munteanu, Paul Lell, Rebecca Chastain, Sandra Humphrey, TJ Perkins 1, and TJ Perkins 2.
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