What Carolyn J. Rose talks about on my blog today is so true. As writers, we create our characters and often lose control of them after they make an appearance on the page. But that can be a good thing. As they grow and develop, their flaws, idiosyncrasies, and general outlook on life give them a depth that grabs the readers and has them anticipating the next mystery in the series. Meet Kate Dalton, protagonist, of Carolyn's Deadly Duo Mysteries.
Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of SEA OF REGRET.
an author, I’m used to having my characters “talk” to me in the middle of the
night or while I’m driving or spending “quality time” in one of the smaller
rooms in my house. (You know, the rooms with all those plumbing fixtures.) But
until Kathleen mentioned that I might interview one of my characters, the idea
hadn’t occurred to me.
Sea of Regret is my most recent
release, I thought I’d quiz Kate Dalton and see what she had to say about herself
and some of the other characters in this suspense novel.
you’re smart and you’re stubborn. Those two attributes are often in conflict. Why
do you think that is?
LOL Because that’s the
way you wrote me?
Seriously, you gave me
intelligence, rigid parents to rebel against, a strong sense of social justice,
and a tendency to speak my mind. That wasn’t just a series of accidents, was
but it seems to me that as a story unfolds, a character takes on a life of his
or her own. How much of what’s revealed about you is the result of what I
intended when I plotted the book? And how much is due to the way you react to
circumstances and then to the consequences of your reactions?
I think it’s at least
50-50, and possibly as much as 30-70. We get far more insight into people when
we see them in action or facing tough situations and decisions. The same is
true of fictional characters.
For example, you knew
I would survive the fight in the opening pages of An Uncertain Refuge, but
when you were plotting the book you didn’t imagine all the repercussions of
that. It wasn’t until you wrote past the scene that you started to see a domino
But to get back to
smart and stubborn being in conflict, I think that’s true for a lot of
fictional characters, and real people as well. If we’re smart, and especially
if we’re pragmatic, we clash with people who see only one way to do things or
people who embrace power for the sake of being powerful.
you clash because you think your way is the right way?
Sometimes. But mostly
we clash because I think their way is the wrong way.
came to love Jackson Scovell at the end of An
Uncertain Refuge, and you’re with him in Sea of Regret, but you’re often in conflict. Why?
Jackson is a strong
and capable man, but he has a military background and sometimes falls back on
that and expects his orders to be followed without question. I see us as a
team, as two people with different skills. We struggle with the
chain-of-command concept throughout the book—sometimes in humorous ways and
Jackson also tends to
rely too much on his strength. When his physical condition deteriorates, he
deals with that by denial and procrastination. That creates more conflict,
especially in the final scenes.
about Evie Hopkins, the woman who runs the wildlife rehabilitation center where
you all live, what are your conflicts with her?
Evie is even more
stubborn than I am and more in denial than Jackson. She’s willing to go all-out
for what she believes and she’s able to narrow her focus to the task at hand.
Those attributes allow her to devote an enormous amount of time and energy to
caring for the creatures she takes in. But at the same time those
characteristics give her tunnel vision or blind spots where the rest of the
world is concerned.
As the story unfolds,
Evie wrestles with the questions of whether she should change and whether she can
what about Way-Ray, the boy orphaned by violence in An Uncertain Refuge? What are his characteristics and how do they
Way-Ray is a boy
coming up on eleven, getting taller and stronger every day. Like many kids that
age, he’s pushing the envelope with adults—pretending he doesn’t hear,
deliberately misinterpreting, dragging his feet about doing chores, talking
back, etc. Jackson and I don’t have experience raising children, so we don’t
always have the “right” response. All of that creates conflict, sometimes of
the amusing variety.
In addition, Way-Ray is
still working through the trauma of his mother’s death and the abuse of his
father and uncle. He’s fragile, but he also lashes out.
do your intelligence and stubbornness help you in the final scenes of Sea of Regret?
Well, I don’t want to
give anything away or you might decide you’re done with me as a character, but
I will say that you put me in a position where I had no one to depend on except
myself. Beyond that, you created dire consequences for giving up.
In order to survive, I
had to be determined to overcome a killer. I had to be smart enough to
recognize opportunity and seize it. And I had to be willing to do whatever it
might take to get out alive.
seems that’s also good advice for writers—be determined, recognize opportunity,
and do what it takes.
It is. Now get back to
your work in progress. The sooner you get that one finished, the sooner I can
find out what happens to me next.
Rose is the author of several novels, including Hemlock Lake, Through a
Yellow Wood, An Uncertain Refuge,
Sea of Regret, A Place of Forgetting, and No
Substitute for Murder. She penned two humorous cozy mysteries, The Big Grabowski and Sometimes a Great Commotion, with her
husband, Mike Nettleton.
She grew up in New York's Catskill Mountains, graduated from the University of
Arizona, logged two years in Arkansas with Volunteers in Service to America,
and spent 25 years as a television news researcher, writer, producer, and
assignment editor in Arkansas, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington. She founded
the Vancouver Writers' Mixers and is an active supporter of her local
bookstore, Cover to Cover. Her interests are reading, gardening, and not
determined to hold onto her land.
sharks out to make a killing.
life-or-death struggle by the SEA OF REGRET.
A year after
the violence and tragedy of AN UNCERTAIN REFUGE, Kate Dalton’s life is
shattered again. Developers want Evie Hopkins’ former dairy farm on the Oregon
Coast, want it bad enough to sabotage the Castaway Beach Wildlife Rehabilitation
Center she runs there. Aligned with developers and hoping to cash in on his
inheritance early, Evie’s son claims she’s losing her mind and intends to prove
that in court.
center is both home and place of healing for Kate, for Jackson Scovell who
traded alcoholic oblivion for life with her, and for Way-Ray, a boy orphaned by
murder. They fear for Evie and the sick and injured birds and animals she
rescues and nurtures, but they vow to support her decision—whether it’s to sell
or to fight.
agonizes over her choice, protests and politics divide the community. Threats
and violence escalate. Then two hired killers trap Kate, Jackson, and Way-Ray
at a remote cove. And time runs out.
Thanks, Carolyn and Kate, for being my guest today. Carolyn is giving away a copy of SEA OF REGRET. Just leave a comment for a chance to win.
Labels: female sleuths, giveaway, mysteries, mysteryseries, trivia