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.