Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Guest Blog by Lesley Diehl

Welcome to Mysterious Writers, Lesley. Tell us about your latest release.

This is the second in the Big Lake Mysteries (the first was Dumpster Dying) featuring Emily Rhodes, retired preschool teacher and bartender turned amateur snoop.

It seems as if Emily is destined to discover dead bodies.  This time she finds one of the contestants at the local barbeque cook-off dead and covered in barbeque sauce in a beer cooler.  She should be used to stumbling onto corpses by now and the question of who killed the guy should pique her curiosity, but Emily decides to let Detective Lewis handle this one, at least until she figures his theory of who did the deed is wrong, wrong, wrong.  

Lewis’ denigration of Emily’s speculations is condescending enough to stimulate her dormant snooping skills.  As the two of them go on their separate paths to find the killer, Lewis’ old partner, Toby the dirty, tobacco-spitting cop interferes in the investigation leaving Lewis with the wrong man in jail. Killers, bootleggers, barbeque and feral pigs—it’s a lethal game of hide and seek in the Florida swamp.

A Biased Review of My Writing

Author’s note:  My protagonist, Emily Rhodes insisted on writing this blog.  She said she had a right to tell it from her point of view.  So here’s what she thinks of my writing:

I’ll probably get in trouble with the author, but I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about what I like in her books and what I don’t like.  You’ll note from my remarks that some of what is positive in my character and my situation can also be problematic.  Let me get right to it.

She created me as a senior which is great because it gives me a wealth of experience upon which I can draw for my understanding of others.  It doesn’t quite make me a wise old woman, but it gives me some heft, and people listen to me perhaps more than a twenty year old—even twenty years olds listen to me, but maybe that’s because I’m a groovy, with-it kind of retired person. 

My career as a preschool teacher was both a plus and a minus.  It taught me how to wrestle three and four year olds into behaving nicely, a great trait which can be applied to seniors who are just as unruly at times and to men.  Those I’ve met can use a little wrestling into submission.  Read on about the men thing.

On the other hand, all those years of experience also point up some of my less admirable traits.  I picked the wrong guy in college and ended up pregnant.  And some might point out that I picked the wrong guy in my senior years and ended up alone, but that happens whether the guy marries you or not.  In my case, I think Fred was a little too na├»ve about how fit he was at age sixty-five or so.  It’s best to make a will and make it early!

Because she has profound respect for women and is one herself, the author gave me some of the best friends any gal could ask for.  They are supportive, adventurous, noncompetitive and truth tellers.  Of course, she also created some gals I don’t give a hoot about, especially the one who accused me of trying to take her man.  What I didn’t have a chance to say to that one was, why would I want him? 

I have a next-door neighbor who bakes like a dream and since I’m just a little thing, I can get away with eating anything she makes.  Unfortunately, the author isn’t so fortunate, and she’s a little snarky right now as she’s been dieting to take off those unwanted winter pounds, a difficult task when you’re nudging seventy (don’t tell her I told you that).

Then there are the guys she wrote into my stories, two of them in particular, a detective who’s cute enough to make my toes curl and a bass fisherman, sarcastic enough to make my head hurt.  Both of them like me, perhaps too much.  After Fred, my life partner died leaving me with nothing, I’m really not in the mood for another relationship.  I know, I know.  Women say that all the time, but that’s younger women.  At my sage age, it’s true.  A gal wants to think long and hard about getting involved with someone who has a lot of miles on him.  And these two guys do. 

The detective is a real know-it-all.  He thinks he’s an expert on human nature and therefore a great sleuth, but what he understands about women probably wouldn’t fill a shot glass at my favorite cowboy bar.  Yet he tries to pull rank on me all the time.  You’d think after I solved two murders he would show a little respect, but all I get is an evening with candlelight and wine.  Well, and a bottle of shower gel.  I might share it with him.

The bass fisherman is too prickly to get too close although he did save me from an alligator once.  For that he expects me to be grateful.  I have him where I want him.  I’m the bar manager at the Big Lake Country Club, and he works as a part-time bartender for me.  It does not set will with him.  I can tell.  What really rankles him is the detective.  I think he’s displaying something like jealousy but it’s hard to tell with him.  It could just be indigestion.

So that’s the pickle this author put me in. Stuck with experience that might make me smart but surrounded by two guys determined to dummy down my insights and skills.  I’ve heard she intends to do a third book.  I hope in this one she realizes I don’t need the help of these two guys.  Although the story might be better if she kept them in it.  Oh, well.

Here’s a hint:  She says she thinking of entitling the next one Scream Muddy Murder.  Unlike the others, she says she won’t have me blunder onto a body.  This time it will only be part of a body, the head.  Oh goody.

So thanks for letting me talk.  See you around the cowboy bars. And stay out of the swamps!

Respectfully submitted,

Emily Rhodes, Protagonist in Dumpster Dying and Grilled, Chilled and Killed


Angel Nicholas said...

What a great post, even if it wasn't written by Lesley. Don't you love when your character's get too big for their britches? Your book sounds like a fun read. :)

Dixie Lee Brown said...

Great post, Lesley..uh, I mean Emily. How nice to hear your take on things! Sounds like a great story and another good one to come. Maybe the author will introduce another guy who will be more to your liking! Lol!

Patricia said...

Totally enjoyed this character interview and most of the time I don't like them. This one was done so well and I felt like I got to know the character AND the author.
And I love the titles of your books.

jrlindermuth said...

Totally love character interviews. That's where you get to know the people who--well, you know--can tell you what's what. We writers are only their mouthpieces.

Patricia Gligor said...

Thanks for making me laugh, Lesley. Emily is quite a character. I've enjoyed reading about her antics in two books now. Can't wait for the third!

Linda R said...

Okay, Emily, you sound like a fun gal, but I don't like the way you implied that my friend Lesley has "extra winter pounds" to shed. Sheesh. She's as slim as a bean in her photo! Better behave yourself, or the next man in your life might be a real troll.

Gloria Alden said...

Loved your interview, Emily. I want to get to know you better now. Maybe we can hang out sometime - that is if I ever get to Florida.

Lesley Diehl said...

I'm glad I let Emily have her own way because she's an expert at dealing with stubborness so I knew there was no point in forbidding her. As for being as slim as a string bean, the truth is I look more like a string bean that should have been picked two weeks ago. Thanks for all your comments. I love writing about Emily and her men. The guys are actually pretty great guys who care for her very much. Someday she'll have to choose between them. Someday I'll make her choose.

Glenn Nilson said...

It never occurred to me that a character might want to get a word in about the process and even about the author. From now on I'm going to be very careful what I say around my characters, and maybe even think twice about the situations I put them in. Loved the blog.

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Tony said...

Can't wait to read. I read Dumpster Dying, it gave me a whole new outlook on FL. Good luck