Today on my blog I have a guest post from Joan Livingston, the author of Redneck’s Revenge. Make sure you keep scrolling down as there is a giveaway to enter!
Her next case. She’s in it for good.
Isabel Long is in a funk months after solving her first case. Her relationship with the Rooster Bar’s owner is over. Then the cops say she must work for a licensed P.I. before working solo.
Encouraged by her ‘Watson’ — her 92-year-old mother — Isabel snaps out of it by hooking up with a P.I. and finding a new case.
The official ruling is Chet Waters, an ornery so-and-so, was passed out when his house caught fire. His daughter, who inherited the junkyard, believes he was murdered. Topping the list of suspects are dangerous drug-dealing brothers, a rival junkyard owner, and an ex-husband.
Could the man’s death simply be a case of redneck’s revenge? Isabel is about to find out.
Author Bio –
Joan Livingston is the author of novels for adult and young readers. Redneck’s Revenge, published by Crooked Cat Books, is the second in the mystery series featuring Isabel Long, a long-time journalist who becomes an amateur P.I. The first is Chasing the Case.
An award-winning journalist, she started as a reporter covering the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts. She was an editor, columnist, and most recently the managing editor of The Taos News, which won numerous state and national awards during her tenure.
After eleven years in Northern New Mexico, Joan returned to rural Western Massachusetts, which is the setting of much of her adult fiction, including the Isabel Long series.
Social Media Links –
Giveaway – Win a paperback copy of Redneck’s Revenge (Open Internationally)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Joan’s Guest Post
No, It Didn’t Happen
How much of it’s true? That’s the number one answer I get about my fiction. It’s an honest question, and I will give an honest answer, especially since much of my fiction is set in the hilltowns of rural Western Massachusetts, where I’ve spent a good deal of my life. That includes my latest mystery, Redneck’s Revenge.
Redneck’s Revenge is the second in my Isabel Long mystery series. The first was Chasing the Case. (The third will be released next year.)
Yes, I have been inspired by people and places I know, in particular Worthington, Massachusetts, where my family and I lived for twenty-five years. (After that I moved to New Mexico for eleven years and returned last year to a different town in Western Massachusetts.)
Isabel lives in a town called Conwell, a name that has a connection to Worthington. But is it really Worthington? No.
There are other no’s. Did a man really die in a house fire after he was passed-out drunk? No. What about the characters surround that mystery such as his daughter, who inherited his junkyard and garage? Uh, no, again.
I will admit there is a lot of me in the protagonist Isabel Long. The mystery is written in the first person, so I couldn’t help myself there. We’re both nosy, sassy women. But she’s a widow and I’m not. She has three kids and I have six. She got canned when her newspaper went corporate. I didn’t. And after leaving the newspaper biz, I haven’t become an amateur P.I. as she did. Frankly, I am not that brave.
As for the other characters, I do model Isabel’s 92-year-old mother, her ‘Watson,’ after my own mystery-loving mom. (She was amused.) But my mother doesn’t live with me. Isabel’s three kids are inspired by a few of my own. Yeah, there’s a lot of my own spouse in Isabel’s late husband.
Here’s an excerpt that shows the relationship Isabel has with her mother. Lin Pierce, a P.I. that Isabel works for, asked her to take photos for a personal injury case. He wants proof the man is faking it. Isabel’s mother comes along for the assignment. I can almost imagine my mother and I doing the same thing.
We’ve been outside Wilson Barry’s address for forty-five minutes. Luckily, there are a number of parked cars on this city street, so mine doesn’t stand out. I’m getting a bit cold sitting here, but I don’t want to run the engine too often. At least, it’s warm enough to have melted the ice from that storm the other day.
My mother taps my arm.
I check the photo Lin emailed me.
“If it’s not him, it’s got to be his twin brother. Hey, he’s getting in his car. It’s about time.”
Barry uses a cane as he walks around his car. He’s maybe in his early thirties or younger. He’s dark-haired, and although it’s hard to say from the heavy jacket he’s wearing, I believe he’s on the thin side. I snap a shot as he throws his cane and gets in the front seat. I wait until he’s driven halfway down the block before I follow. My mother is the navigator.
“He taking a right,” she warns me before I do the same. “Slow down, Isabel. He’s stopping at the convenience store.”
I pull over and wait. Minutes later, Wilson Barry has a lit cigarette between his lips, likely his reason for stopping. He doesn’t use a cane. Snap.
Then he’s back in his car. I do my best to keep up without being obvious, letting a vehicle or two get between us. I’ve seen enough cop shows and movies to figure out this part. We are at a city park, and I trail his car to a basketball court. He’s shed his jacket and is wearing a sweatshirt. He calls to the guys already on the court. One guy shoots the ball toward Wilson Barry, and I’m shooting as he dribbles and does a nice floater off the rim. Snap some more.
“Got you, you bastard,” I say.
I keep shooting from the car until I believe I’ve got enough for Lin to present as evidence.
“Are we done?” my mother says.
“Yes, ma’am. Let’s go buy some groceries.”
But the rest of the characters — including the gossipy men in the general store’s back room to the clients at the bar where Isabel works part-time to the bar’s owner — are made up. I repeat they are made up.
As a humorous aside, I’ve had people who know me personally try to guess who could be who in this series.
I once had a New York agent who wanted me to write a tell-all nonfiction book about my life Worthington — something on the order of Peyton Place. He read the first couple of chapters and wanted a whole lot more dirt. But I couldn’t do it. I loved the people and the town too much.
So instead I write fiction. I use what I’ve experienced, as I’ve said many times before, and have my way with it. I believe this is true of many or most fiction writers.
But I’d like to think I write with enough authenticity that one could believe it happened. The same goes for Redneck’s Revenge.
Please do go and check out the other blogs that are contributing to this tour, they are all listed below.