Q) Have you created characters so attractive that you hate to kill them off and miss them when they’re gone from the book?
A) Absolutely! First of all, I adore Billy, Sam Moore’s little brother who died at age 11 in Healey’s Cave, and who still comes into play in the rest of the series. Although he’s dead, he still is influential in the series. In LeGarde Mysteries, it was very difficult to kill off Elsbeth, the sweet and fiery wife of Gus LeGarde. I had the chance to bring her “back” so to speak in the prequel to Double Forte’ (where she’s already been dead for four years) in Tremolo: cry of the loon. It was nice to get to “see” her alive and active as an eleven-year-old in this lakeside summer prequel that takes place in 1964 in the Maine lakes region.
Q) Are there some characters you find yourself disliking, even though you may not have intended that?
A) There are some characters who frustrate me, like Jaxson, in The Seacrest, or Freddie (Gus LeGarde’s daughter) in Double Forté. It takes her a long time to reject her philandering husband, Harold. I hate that she tolerates his abuse for so long. Most of the time, however, I feel deep and strong connections to all my characters, whether they are heroes or villains, straight or gay, powerful or weak. They are all so “real” to me that I probably could be committed tomorrow based on my feelings toward this parallel universe.
Q) Do you find it difficult to create an attractive, likeable but truly villainous villain?
A) I hope I’ve done this with Jaxson, Finn’s brother in The Seacrest. He’s just awful, but he’s also rather charming in some ways. In the past, my villains have been understandable but really nasty. Sort of like operatic characters.
My colleague Sonya Bateman does this so well, I always admire the fact that she’ll get me hating and fearing her villain in the beginning, but feeling a camaraderie and sympathy for him in the end of the story.
Q) How much of real people do you put into characters? Could they recognize themselves or do you mix and match?
A) If they were still alive, these characters would be quite outraged, or terribly complimented. Most of the people who appear in my books have passed away, like my grandparents or my father. The rest are admittedly often based on my wife and my grandchildren. I love them all and can’t help but include scenes from our lives or aspects that are poignant and meaningful to the stories. Parts of my wife were the inspiration for Camille Coté, Elsbeth Marggrander, and Rachel Moore, in various aspects. My grandmother Coté was the inspiration for Maddy Coté in LeGarde Mysteries. My two maternal grandparents were the models for Oscar and Millie Stone, in the same series. The other characters, however, are completely imaginary.
Q) What kinds of research have you done regarding paranormal happenings?
A) I hate to admit it, but most everything I include in my books stems either from my own experience or my mad imaginings. Of course, I can’t help but be influenced subliminally by movies and books. So I’m sure the paranormal aspects (like time travel) are influenced by movies such as Frequency or Lightning. If you read my favorite list of movies, you will see themes that are often prevalent in my books, such as unrequited love, an innocent being accused of something he did not do, or other stories with wonderful twists and turns. I love surprises, and frequently introduce them in my series.
Q) Have you ever had an experience in your life that you consider paranormal?
A) When my father died, I am certain he visited me three days after his death to assure me he was okay. I also feel his presence under certain circumstances and have had “conversations” with him while driving to work and in dreams. I know it sounds nuts, but there are very strong experiences which I truly believe are “real.” I have never, however, experienced time travel or met a ghost, per se. Once my daughter, Melanie, and I were in a concert hall listening to a piece that was one of my father’s favorites to play on the piano. It was Debussy. I felt my father’s presence so strongly…it was really amazing. My daughter later told me she felt his presence—before I mentioned it. She didn’t know it was one of his favorite pieces, so I am quite convinced he stopped by for a visit with us while all three of us listened to the Debussy!
Q) Do you outline a book on paper, make voluminous notes, or do you just have a general direction for the story?
A) I have never outlined except after I wrote a book to help create the synopsis. I am a detailed planner in “real” life, but for my stories, I just have a vague idea about themes and twists, and such. Then I let my fingers fly and the characters lead me through the story, frequently changing my original plans.
Genre - Romantic Suspense
Rating – R
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