ANN CHARLES: I WANTED TO MIX DEADWOOD’S HISTORY WITH FICTION
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
The award-winning author Ann Charles shined with her Deadwood series. The next part of the adventures Meanwhile, Back in Deadwood will be published on July 31. We are using the occasion to meet with our next guest and to dig a little bit into the origin of her inspiration.
Let’s say welcome to Lady Ann Charles.
– What is your next book Meanwhile, back in Deadwood about?
– Meanwhile, Back in Deadwood … the mystery and mayhem continue. Between the butchered body parts, creepy killers, dogged detectives, ghoulish ghosts, and ever-present TV cameras, Violet Parker’s purple boots are itching to skedaddle.
But there is no escaping another murder investigation or her new deadly reputation. Not even if both risk the lives of those she loves most.
I’d tell you more, but I don’t want to give away any of the story or the mystery around which this book centers. I will tell you, though, that the mystery involves Ol’ Man Harvey’s ranch this time.
– How did you decide to write the story Deadwood series?
– When I was around twelve years old, my mom and stepfather moved to Deadwood, South Dakota. I spent my summers in the northern Black Hills, hanging out in Deadwood and exploring many of the surrounding mining towns, several of which were ghost towns. I spent a lot of time learning about the area’s history and having fun with the local residents. Many years later, when I was pregnant with my second child, I was visiting Deadwood and the idea of writing a story about a single mom of twins came to me. I knew from the start I wanted to include true elements of Deadwood’s history mixed in with fiction. The story came to me quickly, eager to be told.
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– Writing a story that the local people of Deadwood (and those of the northern Black Hills area where Deadwood is located) would enjoy. Since this series takes place where they live, it was important to me that they like it and would support it.
– Tell us something more about your main character Violet? Is she close to someone from your real life?
– Violet is not based on anyone I know. She has a lot of things in common with me, such as her inability to cook well, her love of John Wayne and Humphry Bogart, and her sense of humor. Oh, and we both have purple cowboy boots. Other than that, she is someone from my imagination who I have a lot of fun spending time with on the page.
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– Each book in the Deadwood Mystery Series takes about a week or two to brainstorm, about four months to write, and another month to edit and format for publishing. So, in total, a Deadwood book takes me about 6 months from start to publish.
– What the fans will expect from your new A Dig Site Mystery series?
– This new series stars Quint Parker, the brother of Violet Parker, who is the heroine in my Deadwood Mystery series. Quint’s series is a mixture of mystery, action/adventure, suspense, humor, and a little romance. With this new series, I’ll be mixing historical facts about the Maya civilization with fiction, creating an archaeology mystery of sorts in each book in the series.
– Who are you?
– I’m a daydreamer who tries to balance being a wife and a mother with a career in writing fiction. I love to watch movies, read books, take road trips, and eat dark chocolate. Most days, my life consists of cleaning up after my kids, pampering our sassy cat, and sharing laughs with my husband.
– What are your writing habits?
– I like to plot my books chapter by chapter as I write them. I enjoy the excitement of not knowing what is going to come next and finding out as I type. I tend to write wherever and whenever I can, including on the road while traveling to and from book signings. I don’t try to limit my books to a certain length or word count, I just let the words come out and fill the page. I also enjoy cliff-hangers, both in the movies that I watch and books that I write.
– Are you satisfied by the sales of your books?
– I’m very satisfied. I am now able to make a living from my storytelling. I feel very grateful and fortunate to have found so many people who share a sense of humor with me and enjoy my style of writing and storytelling.
– What was your first reaction after you receive the news of winning Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence?
– I was very surprised. I had not written a Thank-You speech in preparation because I was certain I was not going to win. So, when I won, I was shocked and had to come up with my speech on the fly. Since then, I always plan ahead and write some notes for a speech even when I don’t think I’ll win. I learned my lesson that night in a wonderful way.
– What are you doing to promote your book by the best possible way?
– I do a lot of advertising through various sources. I also spend a lot of time interacting with readers who reach out to me on social networking and via my website and email address. I think it’s very important to thank people who have been generous enough to take time from their lives to read my books.
– When we will see your next novel after Meanwhile, back in Deadwood and would you unveil something more about it?
– The next book I will be writing after MEANWHILE, BACK IN DEADWOOD is the fourth book in my Jackrabbit Junction Mystery series. It will be called, THE ROWDY COYOTE RUMBLE. This series takes place in the southeastern corner of my home state, Arizona. I am looking forward to heading down to the Sonoran Desert again and having fun with the characters in that series.
As for unveiling something more about it, this fourth book in the series will be full of more fun and adventures with the three Morgan sisters. It will include uncovering even more illegally stolen goods and causing even bigger problems.
– Would you share the nicest words by a reader that you receive as a feedback?
– That’s tough, because every day I receive either an email, a message on Facebook, or a comment on my website saying very kind and wonderful things about my writing, my characters, and my stories. I’d have to say some of the most wonderful feedback has come from people who are dealing with something emotionally hard or tragic in their personal lives and they tell me they used my books to escape. The stories have helped them to laugh during dark times. My main goal from the start has always been to make people smile or laugh.
– Deadwood TV series is one of my all time favorites. What do you think about them and is there any link between the series title of your most acknowledged books and the TV production?
– I love the Deadwood TV series. I was very sad when it came to an end. It was a fun and exciting series that mixed fiction with history, something I love to do myself. The actors were great and the writing was entertaining.
As for a link, both the TV series and my books take place in Deadwood, South Dakota. However, while the series takes place in the past, my books are centered in present day Deadwood and incorporate elements of the area’s history. I mention names like Seth Bullock, Charlie Udder, Calamity Jane, Wild Bill Hickok, and many other people from history because I like to teach readers more about the area’s past as they enjoy the present day story about Violet Parker and her adventures.
– If you may ask yourself one question in the interview what it will be?
– Let’s see … Okay, how about this: Ann, you are currently writing three different mixed genre mystery/humor/romance series. Do you have any other series you plan to publish in the next five years?
My Answer: Yes, I have two other series that I have planned out and would love to get started writing; however, I need to continue building the three series that I already have rolling first.
Check out her books:
Nearly Departed in Deadwood (Deadwood Mysteries, Book 1)
Meanwhile, Back in Deadwood (Deadwood Humorous Mystery Book 6)
Look What the Wind Blew In (A Dig Site Mystery Book 1)
Dance of the Winnebagos: A Jackrabbit Junction Mystery, Book 1
The Old Man’s Back in Town: Short Story (Goldwash Mystery Book 1)