Welcome Lesley to my little Reading Journey. I’m excited to talk a little about Old Bones Never Die.
Before we get too deep into the bones of the story can you tell us a little about yourself.
In my former life (before I retired to write mysteries) I was a professor of psychology and university administrator. I took an early retirement to move with my husband to New Mexico. He grew up in the West and always wanted to retire there, but somehow we eventually ended up spending half the year in Upstate New York and the other half in rural Florida. We’re both mystery writers and love writing in both locations. Since I spent much of my career in New York, the river valleys and mountains there speak to me and find their way into the setting of many of my books and stories. The same is true for rural Florida with its swamps, fields of grazing cattle and abundant wildlife. I love to cook, garden and work on the 1874 cottage we bought set on a trout stream in the Butternut Valley in Upstate. In Florida we enjoy exploring this unusual part of the state. I like being able to offer readers a setting they are unfamiliar with.
How did you choose Florida as the location of the Eve Appel series.
I chose rural Florida, off from both of its coasts because it is an environment not yet spoiled by too much development. It is a gem isolated in time, a ranching and farming area where spurs still jingle in the post office and you can rub elbows with a handsome cowboy doing a little boot scootin’ on the dance floor of a local country bar. Life here has been altered little by the developers—no condominims, but a lot of ranches, farms, fish camps and RV parks. The people are country folks who work hard and play harder. I thought it would be a great place to drop my sophisticated, Connecticut-raised protagonist and see how she fared fitting in. She seems to be doing well. She’s won the hearts of many of the locals, but also offended a few as she sticks her nose into murders.
I see that Eve is one busy girl. How many books are in the series?
Old Bones Never Die is book 5 in the series. A Secondhand Murder was the first followed by Dead in the Water, A Sporting Murder, Mud Bog Murder, and now Old Bones Never Die. In each book Eve takes on a killer with the help of a motley crew of family and friends including a Grandmother, Eve’s best friend, a hunky detective, a mob boss, a handsome Miccosukee and his grandfather and assorted ranchers, and, of course, some very bad dudes.
I haven’t had the chance to read any of the previous books. Does the reader need to read the books in order to get a grasp of the story?
A reader can read them in any order, although, because I’ve had Eve change and grow as she’s adjusted to life in the swamps, I think the reader might like to follow her growth and that of the other characters in the books.
I am always curious what the author thinks of this question. What actress would you place in the role of Eve.
I’m not crazy about that question because I don’t see many movies. I prefer looking at Netflix, the British programs, and I don’t think there are any English actors who would do Eve or any of the other characters in the books.
What hunky actor would play Sammy?
The same goes for actors. There are few American actors who I see playing a Miccosukee and too few Native Americans available for the role especially because Sammy is so much taller than most Indians. Although he is part white, his soul is essentially Miccosukee. I think that demands someone part Indian.
I always enjoy getting to know some of the sub-characters in a book. And I choose my favorite when I write a review.
Do you have a favorite in Eve’s circle of friends and would be sleuth’s?
I like Eve’s mob boss friend, Nappi Napolitani because I let the stereotype of a crime boss lead the reader into making assumptions about him, but most of them I take on and reveal how untrue they are. Nappi is a warm, supportive, loving man, a gentleman with a lot of “connections,” yet he’s never been found guilty of a crime. It’s also doubtful that he’s ever been responsible for killing anyone. The most egregious crime we see him commit is helping Eve do some breaking and entering in the first book. Along with Eve’s grandmother, Nappi just “gets” Eve and supports her snoopy nature. He uses his reputation as a tough guy to threaten people into cooperating with him. He rarely loses his temper or gets physical with anyone. At one point in this book Eve realizes she doesn’t know much about him and she begins to wonder if he really is a mob boss.
I really enjoyed reading Old Bones Never Die can you tell us how you came up with the title?
The bones uncovered by one of Sammy’s relatives date back over thirty years. The person responsible for burying them hopes they never will be unearthed because of what they say about a crime committed then, but these old bones may be buried, but their story will never die.
Eve always does seem to get into some fixes and I am sure there is another installment coming soon. Can you tell us if there will be any new character’s added to the cast?
I like to keep the old characters that I’ve developed as important in Eve’s life, but I also think a story can be kept fresh if new ones are introduced. There are new ones coming in eh future, people from Eve’s past who reenter her life in unexpected ways.
Back to busy girls. I see that Eve isn’t your only sleuth. Do you have any intentions of
introducing Eve to any of the other ‘sassy country girls’. Maybe working a case together?
I’m afraid that might be too much sass, but it would be interesting to see whether the sass of each gal gets in the way of the others. I suspect there might be some competition for center stage because they are all such bold characters. Hera Knightsbridge, the brewer in my microbrewing series set in Upstate New York thinks she can go it alone and doesn’t need anyone’s help until she realizes her brewery needs an injection of cash to stay in business. Her application for a loan is refused when she becomes the prime suspect in the murder of a brewing competitor. Hera becomes determined to find the killer so she can clear her name, but she might just need the help of an old lover and the present sheriff in the county. Hera sounds a little like Eve in personality, doesn’t she?
Both Dr. Laura Murphy, the professor in the Laura Murphy series and Emily Rhodes, the retired preschool teacher turned bartender in the Big Lake Murder mysteries are unlike Eve in physical make-up—she’s tall and slender and they both are short and a bit chubby—but they reflect Eve’s tenacious determination to take out the bad guys (and gals). So that a lot of estrogen fueled power surges in one room if I paired even two of them!
I did a blog once where I brought some of my women together to talk about me. It was great fun and I might try that again. Most of them thought I was quite a boring person, but they seemed to like one another.
I guess I should let you go now so you can get back to Eve and the gang!
Thank you so much for chatting.