Our Book Club Friday guest author today is Sharon Woods Hopkins, author of the Rhetta McCarter Mystery Series. Sharon is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, the Southeast Missouri Writers’ Guild, and the Missouri Writers’ Guild. Her short story, Death Bee Humble, appeared in the SEMO Writer’s Guild Anthology for 2012. Killerwatt, her first Rhetta McCarter book, was nominated for a 2011 Lovey award for Best First Novel and was a finalist in the 2012 Indie Excellence Awards. Learn more about Sharon and her books at her website.
Sharon is offering a a hard copy of Killerwatt to one of our readers who posts a comment. Please either leave your email address in your comment or check back on Sunday to see if you’ve won. Our guests can’t send you your winning books if we can’t get in touch with you. – AP
I find it intriguing to talk to other writers and learn how they get their ideas for their books and stories. At a recent book signing event shared with several authors, the ideas ranged from, “I had the germ of this idea since I got out of diapers,” to “One day the Lord spoke to me and told me to write.” Fascinating.
For me, the idea of writing fiction had been swirling around my French Canadian head (In both English and French) for a number of years. My husband Bill, who is also an author, (Courting Murder) writes prolifically. He has a head full of ideas. Me, not so much. I had always written non-fiction. I couldn’t settle on an original idea. That is, until one day at work, when something happened that propelled me into the story that became Killerwatt.
My real life business is mortgage banking—not a particularly exciting field. One day following a holiday, my loan officer received a strange phone message from a Muslim customer for whom we were completing a refinance of his very elegant home in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The gentleman had the wrong number; he was looking for the man who was teaching him how to fly a plane. (I reproduced this scene nearly verbatim in Killerwatt.) That set my mind reeling with “what if’s?” What if we had a terrorist cell right here in the Midwest? What is there to terrorize in our Ozark Mountain foothills? I began to write.
I found it easy to put my protagonist in my own line of work. That saved me a lot of research. Like me, Rhetta is a mortgage banker who drives a 1979 restored Camaro with a Corvette engine, which she calls Cami. She is married to a retired judge. While we share the similarities I listed, that’s where all comparisons between me and Rhetta end. I don’t honestly think I could do what Rhetta does. Although I own the real Cami, I don’t drive her every day like Rhetta does.
My series takes place in semi-rural Southeast Missouri, and surrounding areas. Murder, terrorism and mayhem can happen anywhere, if you just think about it.
About Killerwatt: After one of her mortgage clients dies in a mysterious car accident, Rhetta McCarter stumbles upon evidence of a terrorist plot to wipe out the entire Midwest power grid. No one believes her—not the FBI, local law enforcement, or her husband. Rhetta convinces her assistant and loan officer Woody, a former Marine, to help her stop the attack. Problems mount, and time begins running out, leaving Rhetta alone to stop the bad guys. Can she do it?
About Killerfind: When Rhetta McCarter's '79 Camaro is destroyed in a fire, she locates a perfect replacement in an old barn. There’s only one problem: the body buried beneath it.
Thanks for joining us today, Sharon! Readers, if you’d like a chance to win a copy of Killerwatt, leave a comment. And don’t forget to stop back on Sunday to see if you’ve won. -- AP