Sunday, October 11, 2015

#ZoeSharpChat – short answers to shorter questions

My next blog will be about the Raleigh Bouchercon experience, but for now a little brief fun. One of my publishers, Felony & Mayhem Press, wanted to do an interview in real time on Twitter, and as with that old quote, “I’m writing you a long letter as I don’t have the time to write you a short one,” they sent me a sample of questions ahead of time so I could prepare some short answers.

I didn’t check to make sure these hit the Twitter character-count maximum, but as other people joined in and the thing went back and forth like a game of team tennis, I thought it might be fun to reprint them here.

Q: Was she always a [badass]?
Q: She’s mellowing. Now she’ll pause briefly before she shoots you.

Q: How do you imagine her childhood?
A: She never quite fitted in and never quite knew why.
A: Never the son her father wanted. Never the girly girl to please her mother.

Q: Are you a badass?
A: Leave my bottom out of this!
A: I learned a lot of dirty tricks and am prepared to use them. Does that count?

Q: How did you come to write about someone like Charlie?
A: I couldn’t find a female protag I could root for, so had to write my own.

Q: Were there other things you wrote about first?
A: Wanted to write children’s adventures when I was still a child.

Q: When you started writing about Charlie, what was the first thing that came to mind as defining the character?
A: The fact she had a trigger point where violence could take over from reason.

Q: Was there anything that you imagined about her at the start that you’ve since discarded?
A: Originally she lived on a riverboat. That didn’t survive past the first draft.
A: I lived on a yacht for years, so that idea may resurface elsewhere.

Q: What are some regular person things Charlie does? Like, does she ever watch TV, and what would she watch?
A: She doesn’t own a TV, but bet she would have liked The Long Way Round with Ewan & Charley.

Q: Describe a day when Charlie isn’t punishing bad guys; what’s a fun Sunday for Charlie?
A: Probably going out on her motorcycle, balancing risk against skill. Busman’s holiday.

Q: Where does Sean as a romantic hero come from? Would you like to be with Sean?
A: No way! He lives on a razor’s edge. Great as a lover. Terrible boyfriend material.

Q: We know there have been times when Charlie & Sean haven’t been together; what’s another kind of guy she’d go for?
A: Her boss in NYC, Parker, has a definite soft spot for her, and she him.

Q: Tell us more about Charlie’s mother; in Killer Instinct she is something of a villain.
A: Not really a villain. Just makes bad decisions for the right reasons.
A: Charlie’s mother really comes into her own in THIRD STRIKE: book 7.

Q: These books can be very dark; Charlie does kill people. Where do you find that darkness in yourself?
A: Not very far under the surface.
A: Killing people is a serious business. Charlie has the capacity for violence but it marks her.

Q: How do you imagine Charlie in her later years; at 70 say? Is she still alive and kicking?
A: Growing old disgracefully, I hope. Still riding her motorcycle and giving ‘em hell.
A: Either that or she’ll die young on the job. Bodyguards are known as bullet-catchers for a reason.

Q: I love The Blood Whisperer; tell us more about Kelly and how she is different from Charlie.
A: Kelly is an ex-CSI turned crime-scene cleaner who went to prison for a crime she can’t remember.
A: She’s been toughened by her experiences, but possibly lacks Charlie’s killer instinct

Q: You have written some good villains; who’s been the most fun villain to write?
A: They all are. Don’t want to give away any spoilers!
A: Your protag is only as good or as strong/clever as the foe they face.

Q: Are female villains different from male ones?
A: I hope every villain is different.
A: Female villains probably have to use more guile and less brute force to get what they want.

Q: You say in your bio that you wrote your first novel at 15; what did you write in those early days?
A: Books about horses, then stolen horses, then straight crime. Quick progression.

Q: Are there other kinds of stories or settings that you’d like to write?
A: Working on first supernatural thriller and would love to do historical.


  1. You want to write an historical? Based on your personal experience? Surely you're not THAT old? Oh, wait...

    1. I'm older than I look, but I have this painting in the attic ...

  2. Your publisher has her finger on the pulse of the Twits.

    If that's how they're described. Someday I'll have to put aside my buggy whip and get out into the real world. Teach me.

    1. Hey, if you want the kind of instruction that involves a buggy whip, Jeff, you're on your own ...