Caroline and her husband live with their menagerie of rescued pets on a small acreage in North Central Texas. She has two grown daughters and is the award-winning author of ten fiction books, three novellas, and two family books. Caroline writes full time. When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with family, reading, traveling, researching genealogy, or browsing antique malls and estate sales.
Welcome back to my blog, Caroline. Please tell us about your cozy mystery, Digging For Death.
Here’s the blurb: Garden center manager Heather Cameron is DIGGING FOR DEATH to prove her old family friend, mentor, and employee, Walter Sims, is innocent of murdering the meanest man in town. Heather can’t trust the police to find the real killer when all clues point to poor Walter. The dead man was beaten to death with Walter’s shovel several hours after they were overheard arguing, and the two men had a long history of enmity. Walter definitely looks guilty, but Heather is sure—well, almost positive—okay, she certainly hopes her friend and mentor is innocent.
Heather is compelled to scour the fictional North Central Texas town of Gamble Grove to exonerate her old friend. She’s encouraged when the new police detective in town, Kurt Steele, shows interest in helping her look for clues. The deeper Heather digs into the dead man’s life, the more she justifies his ruthless reputation. Walter is indicted, but police begin to suspect the victim’s stepson as murderer. Heather is convinced the stepson couldn’t have murdered anyone either—although it’s clear no love was lost between the two men. The attempted murder of the victim’s real son creates a new twist. Can Heather solve the murder without becoming the killer’s next victim?
Where did you get your inspiration for this novel?
It came to me when my family and I were at Weston’s Gardens in Fort Worth. Weston’s is a family-run center and they do landscape design and have a nice garden open on special days. You know how it is once your mind starts going “what if” and you come up with a cast of characters who just won’t stop talking to you. ☺ Then when my family were in Jefferson, Texas, I spotted the house that would be perfect for my book. I took lots of photos so I could be certain to remember it, but they weren’t necessary because the house exactly matched the one in my head.
That is so interesting. What kind of research did you do for this book?
I loved flower gardening, until our electric water well got too low to have a successful garden, and I used to spend several hours a day working on my plants and lawn. Roses are my favorite flower, and at one time we had almost fifty roses across the front yard. Now we just have a few of the new Earthkind drought and disease resistant roses plus a pink wild rose my daughter brought me from her acreage east of Dallas. I have a friend, Jeanmarie Hamilton, whose family used to have a garden center, and I picked her brain. My eldest daughter is a Master Gardener and helps me also. I visited garden centers, especially Weston Gardens, and read gardening books. I also read about some of the heirloom and trendy plants, how they’re marketed, and generally immersed myself in gardening books.
I love it when authors add real life situations to their stories. Do you ever put real experiences in your books and why?
Sort of. The great-grandmother in DIGGING FOR DEATH is based on a cross between my mom and a friend who is currently 104. My mom was decorous until she was in her late 80’s, then she said whatever popped into her head -- whether it was nice or not. Don’t get me wrong, she was a wonderful woman and mother who worked hard all her life. I suppose she was entitled to be eccentric after all that time.
In addition, Linda, I believe we compress our life experiences and extricate whatever we need for our books, don’t you? We each have experienced anger, sadness, determination, and many other feelings on which we can draw for writing. We pull out this characteristic or that backstory and use it, but we aren’t using the whole of any person’s identity or events.
Thank you so much for this interview, Caroline. I really enjoyed it. This is an ebook giveaway and we have many other ebooks below to enter. Have fun checking them out.