Sometimes not long after the initial introduction and pleasantries of meeting someone new, you discover the two of you have much in common. You quickly become fast friends. It happens often among authors, but wouldn’t they be surprised to learn that’s also the case when their characters meet each other? It certainly was for me and Samantha Newman.
Samantha is the amateur sleuth protagonist in the Samantha Newman Mysteries. Like me, the reluctant amateur sleuth of the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, she often finds herself reluctantly dealing with dead bodies (Neither of us is a cop, coroner, or mortician. So dead bodies shouldn’t be part of our normal lives!) In addition, we both often lock horns with law enforcement because they rarely value our sleuthing skills. We also both have men in our lives who may possibly be involved with clandestine government operations. Talk about coincidences!
Anyway, while Lois Winston, my author, and Gay Yellen, Sam’s author, were at a recent writers’ conference, Sam and I met up for coffee and conversation where we spent much of our time grousing about those two writers who have turned our lives upside-down.
So, Sam, any theories on why Lois and Gay yanked us out of our quiet lives and dropkicked us into a fictional world of constant murder and mayhem?
Samantha: I wish I knew, Anastasia. There I was, working my way up the ladder at a global corporation, when Gay took over and made the story about corporate greed and murder. The people at the top were arrested, the company cratered, and my life spiraled down from there. Lost my job, my house, and my reputation. Only bright spot was meeting Carter Chapman.
Anastasia: She’s done this to you in three books so far, right? How much longer do you think she’ll continue to drop dead bodies in your path? Lois is up to twelve already in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, and once she returns from this conference, she’ll start pecking away at number thirteen.
Sam: Twelve? Yikes! She’s really run you ragged. Solving murders is exhausting, especially when the police think I’m a suspect, too. I know Gay is thinking about putting me through the wringer in two more books. The next one’s supposed to be at a winery.
Anastasia: See if you can talk her out of it. Wineries are nothing but trouble. Zack and I recently returned from vacationing at one. Some vacation! Not only did we encounter more dead bodies in A Crafty Collage of Crime, but this time we nearly became victims ourselves.
Sam: Been there. Frankly, I’d rather go to the beach. Right now, I’ve landed in a better place than I’ve been in years, and I want to keep the good vibes coming.
Anastasia: Same here. My life is finally on the road back to normal after the fallout I dealt with after my first husband’s death. If only the dead bodies would stop finding me. And there’s also my pain in the patootie communist mother-in-law. At least you’re not stuck with someone like Lucille living with you. On second thought, I guess I still have a way to go before I see normal again.
Sam: Maybe we could revolt somehow. Go on strike, like the actors and writers did in Hollywood.
Anastasia: My commie mother-in-law would be in protest heaven if it weren’t for the fact that she’s become a reality TV junkie. I don’t think she cares about either the writers or the actors.
Sam: Actually, I tried protesting once. While Gay was writing The Body Next Door, I could see what was coming and tried to stop her. She had me in the elevator of the high-rise apartment I was borrowing, and I refused to leave. Just stayed in there for two weeks until she figured out how to get me out. It was a little claustrophobic, but I was proud of myself.
Anastasia: But what if they ignore us? They could always write new books with new characters. Then we’d be...
Sam: We’d disappear!
They are silent for a moment.
Anastasia: Zack and I would...
Sam: Plus, I really like my new job. And Carter. I suppose I could get used to being an amateur sleuth, if that’s my destiny.
Anastasia: Maybe this is like the devil you know? We really have no control over our own destinies, do we? I guess we’ll just have to grin and bear it and hope for the best. (And did I just use four cliches in two sentences? Yikes! I guess it’s a good thing I’m the amateur sleuth and Lois is the author. She’d never write four cliches in two sentences.)
Anyway, it was great grousing with you. We should stay in touch. Amateur sleuths need to keep together.
Sam: You bet!
All Samantha Newman wants is a good job, a place to call her own, and a chance at love. But in her rollercoaster life, things don’t come easy. Just when success seems possible, a dead body show up and Samantha's in the hot seat. If she didn’t have a sense of humor, she’d really go crazy. In the Samantha Newman Mysteries—The Body Business, The Body Next Door, and The Body in the News—you’ll laugh and maybe shed a tear as she wades through minefields in search of the life she wants to live.