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Monday, March 24, 2014
Author Annette Dashofy discusses new release, Circle of Influence
It’s a thrill to welcome author Annette Dashofy here today to talk about CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE, the first book in her new Zoe Chambers Mystery series which was just recently released by Henery Press.
Zoe Chambers, paramedic and deputy coroner in rural Pennsylvania’s tight-knit Vance Township, has been privy to a number of local secrets over the years, some of them her own. But secrets become explosive when a dead body is found in the Township Board President’s abandoned car. As a January blizzard rages, Zoe and Police Chief Pete Adams launch a desperate search for the killer, even if it means uncovering secrets that could not only destroy Zoe and Pete, but also those closest to them.
Join me in welcoming Annette, who has graciously answered some questions about her book and her writing. Welcome, Annette.
Mason - What motivated you to write this story?
Annette: There had been a news story stirring up a fuss during a time when I was trolling for ideas. It wasn’t the story itself that sparked my interest, but rather one of the responses to it. The comment I overheard was, “Someone should just kill him and put him out of our misery.” Well, you don’t say something like that in front of a mystery writer without creating all sorts of ideas. Everything else in the book stemmed from that line.
Mason - What type of research did you do in preparing to write your story? Was it a task you enjoyed or just a necessity for the plot?
Annette: I participated in two different Citizen’s Police Academies and had so much fun! I love that kind of research. I went on a police ride-along, toured the morgue and a crime lab, participated in firearms simulation, all part of the CPA experiences. Plus I picked the brains of a lot of experts. I don’t claim I get everything right, but I do my best.
As for the emergency medical stuff, I worked as an EMT on our local ambulance service for several years when I was fresh out of school. I asked some paramedics and did some online digging on procedures and equipment that’s changed over the years, but I lived that life, so I tapped into my own memories for the emotional stuff and general experience of being a first responder.
Mason - Looking over the completed novel, were there any surprises (good or bad) along the way?
Annette: My characters are forever surprising me. I’m a plotter, but consider my outlines to be roadmaps to a final destination. Often my characters take a side road or go completely off-road. Most of the time, they take me on a much better path than I’d planned. Mason - Writing can be a very demanding job, what do you do to relieve stress and keep your writing muse happy?
Annette: I practice yoga to keep my mind and body from falling apart while sitting for hours and hours at my computer. And since I no longer own any horses, I’m always begging my friends who do to take me riding! A day in the woods on horseback is the best therapy for clearing my head.
Mason - What can you tell us about your main characters in CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE that we won’t discover in the book?
Annette: This is the first in a series, so there are lots of things you may not discover in this one, but will learn about in future books. For instance: Pete’s father suffers from Alzheimer’s and is being cared for by Pete’s sister. You’ll learn more about them in the next book.
Mason - If CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE was made into a movie tomorrow, who would you like to see portraying the lead characters and why? Annette: This is a tricky question because I picture Zoe looking like Jenna Elfman when she played Dharma on Dharma and Greg. And I see Pete as Mark Harmon from his West Wing days. Clearly I need to find some younger actors to play the roles now! I can tell you this: after seeing the new show Intelligence, I would seriously consider Josh Holloway to play Pete. I’m open to suggestions for Zoe. Mason - What can readers look forward to next from you?
Annette: The second Zoe Chambers mystery, LOST LEGACY, will be out this fall and deals with a hanging that may be a suicide or may be a homicide. But it’s clearly linked to a similar crime that transpired 45 years ago and involved members of Zoe’s family. At the same time, we get to meet Zoe’s mother and stepdad as she looks into her father’s death 27 years ago. So the cases span decades, but are very relevant to Zoe and Pete’s present and future.
Annette, thanks so much for joining us today and sharing this behind-the-scenes look at CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE. I have to agree with you about any time you can spend on horseback clears your mind. Horseback riding is a wonderful way to relax.
For those who aren’t familiar with Annette, let me give you a bit of background.
Annette, a Pennsylvania farm gal born and bred, grew up with horses, cattle, and chickens. After high school, she spent five years as an EMT for the local ambulance service. Since then, she’s worked a variety of jobs, giving her plenty of fodder for her lifelong passion for writing.
She, her husband, and their two spoiled cats live on property that was once part of her grandfather’s dairy.
Her short fiction, including a 2007 Derringer nominee, has appeared in Spinetingler, Mysterical-e, and Fish Tales: the Guppy Anthology. Her newest short story appears in the Lucky Charms Anthology (December 2013).
For more on Annette and her writing, visit her website and connect with her on her blog.
Hi, I'm Mason Canyon and I love reading and that is why I do reviews. I post them here, as well as several other sites such as Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you are an author who would like for me to review your book or you would like to guest blog here, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org These reviews are done for the love of a good book, not for monetary rewards.