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Posts tagged ‘Texas’

Interview with Julie B. Cosgrove, Author of Baby Bunco

Today’s guest on Inner Source is author Julie B Cosgrove. Besides being an award-winning suspense and cozy mystery writer, Julie is also an internet missionary for Campus Crusades Canada. The articles and devotionals she writes and edits reach over 600,000 people a month and lead many of them to contact mentors who guide them through life issues and into a deeper relationship with Jesus. She writes for several other faith-based devotional sites as well, and her blog Where Did You Find God Today has readership in ten countries.

Welcome to Inner Source, Julie. I’m so glad to have you here today. My first question has to be about the game of Bunco. In your cozy mysteries, I get an idea of how the game is played, but how did you come up with it as a backdrop for a cozy mystery series?

Thanks, Fay. I am honored to be asked to be here. I play Bunco with other Christian ladies whenever I can, so it seemed like a different theme…and a fun way to bring in all the characters.

A senior community in Texas is also a very good backdrop and allows you to create some sweet and quirky little characters. Did this setting spring from any experience or did you just make it up and run with it?

I had a book booth at a festival several years ago at one of these graduated retirement communities and toured their facilities. These communities are really popping up as all of us Baby Boomers get up in years. So I asked an editor at a writers’ conference, where I was holding a workshop, if that would be a unique setting. Her eyes lit up, so I went with it. The first in the series, Dumpster Dicing, came out in August, 2016 and won Best Cozy Mystery by the Texas Association of Authors.

In Baby Bunco, the mystery deals with quite a serious subject. I don’t want to give the story away because it is definitely worth the reader waiting to find out what’s going on. In the backdrop of this sleepy little area, which I understand is growing but sits out away from some the metropolises in that area of Texas, do you find a lot of crime to draw from in your stories?

We raised our son in one of these bedroom communities in Central Texas, and as it grew (from 4,500 to 50,000 in eleven years), our security and sense of safety diminished.  It became “new territory” for crime gangs whereas those territories are often well established and marked out in metropolitan areas. Also because these towns are spread out, it is easier for the crime syndicates to go unnoticed, believe it or not.

And I have to ask this one because I interviewed her on Monday. Janie is a former police officer’s wife, and she’s pretty handy with getting herself into trouble while doing some pretty mean investigative work. Is Janie based upon someone in your life?

No, not really. I think she is a composite of who I’ll want to be in another decade or so, along with some pretty gutsy Texas matrons I have known through the years. I basically wanted to show that just because you have gray hair, it doesn’t mean you have dementia or are feeble. With many folks living well into their eighties and nineties, seventy is the new forty.

I know that you have a new novel in the series which is about to be released. Would you like to tell us a little about it? When can we expect it? I’d also love to hear about any other works in progress we can look forward to seeing from you.

There are two more Bunco Biddies Mysteries under contract, in various stages of being edited and proofed.

Threes, Sixes and Thieves, God willing, will launch later this summer. The publisher has had scheduling and staff issues. I chose the title because when three sixes are rolled in Bunco the game ends. But “Three Sixes” didn’t exactly work for a Christian fiction title (for obvious reasons.) So the Editor in Chief came up with the new title.

In Sunset Acres, some of the condos with threes and sixes in their house numbers are being robbed. The police see it as random, but Janie thinks otherwise. When she and her Bunco friends catch the thieves red-handed, one of the robbers is arrested. However, the next morning he is found hung in his cell. With her son-in-law, Chief Detective Blake, on vacation, can she trust anyone in the department to reveal what really happened?

Early in 2018, number four, ‘Til Dice Do Us Part releases. Yes, Bunco Biddies fans, there is a wedding in the works at Sunset Acres. But while decorating for the bridal shower, Ethel falls from a ladder. While in the ER, she overhears a crime being plotted. Janie believes her, but will anyone else? When the two of them get the groom-to-be involved in their hospital sleuthing to keep him from seeing the bride on their wedding day, he disappears along with a hospital employee. Can Blake, Ethel and Janie, along with the security guards, find them both alive before the organ cranks up the wedding march?

And, I am under contract for a spin-off series, The Case Files of Jack Manson, set in the Austin area in the 1970’s when Janie is a newlywed and her sleuthing skills are just beginning to develop as she helps her husband climb the police ladder from beat cop to detective. Look for Blame Games, Same Games and Name Games to launch in 2018-2019 through Write Integrity Press.

More About Baby Bunco:

Who would leave a newborn baby in the bathtub of a condo in Sunset Acres, a retirement community, and why? And was a young woman slain behind the convenience store across the highway it’s mother? Janie and the Bunco Biddies want to find out, but soon they discover sleuthing can get a bit dicey.

Julie’s First Book in the Bunco Biddie’s Mysteries is Dumpster Dicing.

As Janie and Betsy Ann go for their morning jog, the city sanitation vehicle follows its normal five-mile Tuesday morning route through their retirement community of Sunset Acres. The two Bunco-playing biddies spot a leg dangling out of the dumpster when the truck lifts the trash container high in the air. Someone diced up one of their newest residents—a grouchy loner named Edwin Newman. Did he unpack too much of his dicey past when he moved in last weekend?

About Julie’s next release, Three, Sixies and Thieves

In Sunset Acres, some of the condos with threes and sixes in their house numbers are being robbed. The police see it as random, but Janie thinks otherwise. When she and her Bunco friends catch the thieves red-handed, one of the robbers is arrested. However, the next morning he is found hung in his cell. With her son-in-law, Chief Detective Blake, on vacation, can she trust anyone in the department to reveal what really happened?

If you missed our interview with Janie Manson, the heroine of the Bunco Biddie’s Mysteries, you can find it here.

Author Interview: Nike Chillemi

NikePixInner Source welcomes author Nike Chillemi. Like so many writers, Nike started writing at a very young age. She still has the Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned (colored might be more accurate) as a little girl about her then off-the-chart love of horses. Today, you might call her a crime fictionista. Her passion is crime fiction. She likes her bad guys really bad and her good guys smarter and better.

Nike is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and is its Chairman, a reader’s choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She writes book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She was an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category and a judge in the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories. Her four novel Sanctuary Point series, set in the mid-1940s has won awards and garnered critical acclaim. Her new contemporary whodunit, HARMFUL INTENT, is scheduled to release in the spring of 2014.

She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Christian Indie Novelists (CHIN) and the Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers (Ning). You can meet up with Nike on her blog, Crime Fictionista, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Nike I have to tell you that I read Harmful Intent in almost one sitting. I enjoyed it very much.

This first question is one that I’ve been wanting to ask since we met online. Your first and last name are very unique. What is their origin?

My parents were looking for a name beginning with an “N” in honor of my uncle Nicolas who died in the Pacific during WWII. He was in the Air Force and his plane went down in the ocean. We’re of Eastern European stock (Ukrainian, Czechoslovak, and Yugoslavian). Among the Eastern European community at that time, Natasha was an extremely common name or girls, much like Chloe or Madison are today. So, they chose an obscure Greek name with an “N” ~ Nike. They were aware of the Nike of Samothrace when they named me, as they knew a bit about mythology. I’ve only met a handful of women named Nike and they were all born in Greece. Chillemi is Italian and is my husband’s surname. It’s not uncommon, but it’s also not the “Smith” of Italy.

Because I know you’re a New York gal, and you like the nitty-gritty of the big city in your stories, I was surprised to find your character facing her dilemma and her mystery in Abilene, Texas. How in the world did one of your characters end up down South?

It started due to a writing challenge I came upon. I started playing around with it thinking how interesting to put my heroine out of her geographical element. At the most, I thought I’d have a short story. Then the idea of the series hit me and I thought HARMFUL INTENT would turn into novella (about 35K words) introducing the series. Well, as sometimes happens with my characters, they started running away with me and before I knew it, I had 66,000 words.

The series I’m envisioning is quite ambitious. There will be four couples who are all involved in law enforcement or who have military backgrounds. Each couple will have their own novels, solving murder cases, terrorism threats, and the like. A main character in one novel may show up as a secondary or minor character in another.

Having been a foster mother and adoptive mother of children who had been in foster care for some time, I’m keenly aware of what long-term damage can be done to children due to parental neglect and abuse. So, as a subtheme in this series, at least one member of each couple will be emotionally damaged due to some type of childhood trauma. Naturally, as I usually do, I will be crafting characters who are likeable in spite of their flaws. And as always, some of my characters will be quite quirky.

I love Deputy Sheriff Dawson Hughes from his Stetson hat to his very Southern moniker. Is he sketched from someone you know, from an actor, or from any other venue or does he solely come from the imagination of Nike Chillemi?

Dawson Hughes came solely from my imagination. At the beginning of the novel, Ronnie thinks he looks like a famous country-western star she saw on the cover of People magazine who looks fabulous in a tux. However, I leave it entirely up to the reader who that singer might be. Hughes evolved as I was writing him and became deeper emotionally. In the second draft, I went back and layered in the trauma of his divorce. He’d always been a decent man, but having survived a nasty divorce during which he made some mistakes, he grew into a truly honorable man.

This novel is not an in-your-face Christian mystery/suspense, but it works, and it works well. In your novel is there a key scripture or biblical concept that you explore? If so, what scripture or concept do you hope to bring to the light for your readers?

Neither Ronnie nor Dawson are committed Christians, although I do have committed Christians in the story as secondary characters who walk-the-walk. I use Ronnie and Dawson to appeal to Christians who have backslidden or to those who come from a loosely Christian background. Dawson’s faith was shaken during his short marriage. I won’t explain exactly why as I feel that’s a bit of a spoiler. He tells Ronnie the Bible won’t do her wrong, but she doubts he spends much time reading it. There are moments he wishes he had more faith, but then life sweeps him up and he functions by rote. Ronnie is angry at God, doesn’t trust him due to her childhood trauma. But she asks a lot of spiritual questions as the novel unfolds. She wonders about the comfort of God. She’s not quite a seeker. She’s just beginning to admit to herself there is One she might want to seek.

I want to first of all thank you for naming a character in Harmful Intent after me, but do you think you could have made her a bit nicer.  J

Oh, yes, La Mayor. Faylene Hunt. She marches rather than walks, sort of like power walking. Her red framed glasses sit on her pug nose and she’s got harshly cut razored bangs. Hughes thinks they look like someone put a bowl on her head and wacked them off. She’s a manipulator as the mayor of Arroyo and in her personal life as well. She likes to play power games, that’s for sure.

Sorry I didn’t make your name sake nicer, but she’s so much more fun this way.

Do you have any future projects in the works, and if so, what issues do your characters deal with?

When HARMFUL INTENT ends Ronnie’s adulterous husband has been deceased only a little over two weeks. She’s falling in love with Hughes but is definitely not ready to jump into another relationship. She plans to come back to Texas for their mutual friends’ Thanksgiving wedding. And Hughes intends to travel to New York City for Christmas. However, as book two starts at the end of August, Hughes finds himself on the east coast in an official law enforcement capacity and gets drawn into a missing child case Ronnie is working on that might have terrorism implications. And that one is entitled DEADLY DESIGNS.

That sounds like it might be a page turner just like Harmful Intent. I hope you’ll come back and visit with us to share the Inner source on Deadly Designs.

Sheriff's CarAbout Harmful Intent (Soon to be Released):

Betrayal runs in private investigator Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels’ family. So, why is she surprised when her husband of one year cheats on her? The real shock is his murder, with the local lawman pegging her as the prime suspect.

Ronnie Ingels is a Brooklyn bred private investigator who travels to west Texas, where her cheating husband is murdered. As she hunts the killer to clear her name, she becomes the hunted.

Deputy Sergeant Dawson Hughes, a former Army Ranger, is a man folks want on their side. Only he’s not so sure at first, he’s on the meddling New York PI’s side. As the evidence points away from her, he realizes the more she butts in, the more danger she attracts to herself.

Be sure to meet Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels.