KAREN’S KILLER BOOK BENCH: Welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench where readers can discover talented new authors and take a peek inside their wonderful books. This is not an age-filtered site so all book peeks are PG-13 or better. Come back and visit often. Happy reading!
DEATH OF A BRIDE AND GROOM
A Honeymoon Falls Mystery
BY ALLAN J. EMERSON
Before we get started talking about your writing, tell us a little about yourself, where you’re from, what you do for a living (if you’re not a full–time writer) what hobbies you have, etc. Whatever you’d like to share to introduce yourself.
I’m a Canadian writer who was born in Saskatchewan and brought up in small towns there and in British Columbia. When I was a kid, I used to make up stories to amuse my younger brother. I was a very obliging storyteller—if he didn’t like a plot line or a character, I’d change them, unless it was going to ruin the story. (Turned out to be good practice for dealing with editors later on.)
People who’ve never lived in small towns often think nothing happens there, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. My personal experience of life in small towns provided the inspiration for my series, which is set in the fictional town of Honeymoon Falls.
1. What genre(s) do you write and why?
I write mysteries with a liberal helping of dry humor, because I enjoy reading them. My current novel is Death of a Bride and Groom. You know those people who show photos of their grandchildren and tell you how wonderful they are? Well, I’m the same way about my books. Good-looking? Here’s the cover–judge for yourself!
Smart and funny? Take a gander:
Blurb: When the body of writer Iris Morland is discovered in full bridal array atop a gigantic wedding cake parade float, the little resort town of Honeymoon Falls is left reeling. Not only is its reputation as “the Romance Capital of the World” at risk, its very survival is threatened. Murder, it seems, has a chilling effect on those considering venues for potential nuptials.
Iris enjoyed betrayal, which makes half the people in town potential suspects. Among them is her husband, Kenneth, whose faltering grip on a mechanical mouse plunged him into a hideously embarrassing scene with Iris and her latest lover, television host Arnold Reifel. Arnold was finding the affair burdensome, and his wife, Marjorie, was seething because Iris had turned Marjorie’s interior decoration schemes into a very public humiliation. Then there’s haughty French film director Pierre Blondin, in town filming his adaptation of Iris’s novel. Did Iris trigger his murderous wrath by opposing a nude scene featuring ninety-five-year-old actress Hermione Hopkins?
Captain Will Halsey, head of Honeymoon Falls’ three-person police force, has to find the killer in the crowd of Iris’s enemies, while coping with small-town politics, feuding among his subordinates, and the ferocious attentions of the media.
2. If you were to choose one superpower, what would it be?
Invisibility. Come to think of it, I may already have achieved this—I can never get a sales clerk’s attention in a department store.
3. Do you ever get stuck when you’re writing a book? What do you do to get “unstuck”?
I do occasionally get stuck. When I do, I force myself to write something—anything—to prime the pump. I might write a description of a dream I’ve had, or the items in a bakery window, or someone I saw on the street. Somehow, the act of writing unlocks the word flow and lets me get going again.
4. What is your least favorite part of writing?
Writing the first draft is my least favorite part of writing. It’s an enormous amount of work erecting the plot structure that’s going to be the framework supporting everything else—the characters, the surprises, the twists and turns that will keep the reader intrigued until the end of the story. I’m much happier working on subsequent drafts because I’ve got the foundation in place.
5. If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?
First course: Pepto Bismal (because I like you and I’m sorry you have to eat my cooking).
Second course: A casserole I made from a recipe I found in the paper. Oxtail Surprise, it’s called. I haven’t cleaned the oven for a while and there was a bit of a fire, so it didn’t take nearly as long to cook as the recipe said it would.
Dessert course: Alka Seltzer
Or we could order Chinese, which I highly recommend.
6. What is your typical day like?
Well, the early part is pretty much a fog—my body gets up around 7:30, but my brain sleeps until 10:00. After coffee and the newspapers, I notice it’s daylight and perhaps some sort of activity could begin. I’ll answer emails, run errands, and maybe re-read what I wrote previously. The latter is often a deflating experience—the brilliant idea that enthralled me last night has turned into this on the page? After dinner, I might re-write some of what went wrong, or just plunge into the next part of the story that beckons. After a while, I notice it’s got awfully quiet. And dark. And so to bed.
7. What is most difficult for you to write? Characters, conflict or emotions? Why?
Probably emotions, because it’s easy to overdo and have characters come across as maudlin or self-indulgent. (“You’ve broken my heart,” she cried, her tear-stained face twisted with sorrow. “You forgot to buy Rocky Road, and now you tell me we’re out of waffles? I’ll never forgive you—never!”)
8. A penguin walks into your office, right now, wearing a sombrero. What does he say to you and why is he here?
“Why did you cut me from the story after I spent all that time learning the Mexican hat dance? I demand to be put back into the ballroom scene!” **stomps on sombrero and flaps stubby little wings aggressively**
9. If you could wave a magic wand, what ill in the world would you solve and why?
10. Tell us about your next book & when is it being published?
My next book, is called Death of an Action Hero.
There’s big excitement in Honeymoon Falls when tough-guy movie star Arne Skarsgard comes to town. The little town that bills itself as “the romance capital of the world” watches his every move, wondering if he’ll be vulnerable to its over-the-top romantic charm.
It isn’t Cupid’s arrow that pierces Skarsgard’s brawny chest, however, but a real one, silent and deadly, that brings his publicity stunt at the town’s waterfall to a horrifying conclusion in front of a crowd of honeymooners.
Police Chief Will Halsey and his three-person force must find Skarsgard’s killer before the town’s romantic image is destroyed, while his old enemies from the media hound his every move.
Publication date is uncertain as I’m in the process of changing publishers. While I negotiate with a new publisher, you can read Death of a Bride and Groom, the first in the series. Each book is a complete story in itself.
Allan Emerson is a Canadian writer who was born in Saskatchewan and brought up in small towns there and in British Columbia. He lived in Australia and New Zealand before settling on the west coast of Canada. As his mother could tell you, he’s been making up stories since he was a little kid.
Death of a Bride and Groom is the first book in the Honeymoon Falls series. Although the town of Honeymoon Falls and all its inhabitants are purely fictional, the idea of marriage and murder in close proximity came to him when he was visiting Niagara Falls, and wondered about the lives of the permanent residents. Visit Allan at http://www.allanjemerson.com/
Links to Allan’s website, blog, books, etc.
**SPECIAL GIVEAWAY**: Allan is giving away an ebook (Kindle Only) copy of DEATH OF A BRIDE AND GROOM to one lucky reader who comments on his Karen’s Killer Book Bench blog. Contest closing 12:00 Midnight Mtn/Denver time, August 6. Thank you, Allan, for sharing your story with us.
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!