Interview: Annette Dashofy

Please welcome Annette Dashofy, author of the Zoe Chambers Mystery series.

Circle of Influence Cover FrontWhat’s your idea of a perfect day?
A perfect work day would be one with no phone calls and no family obligations so I could write undisturbed. A perfect day off would sunny and warm, but not humid, and spent in the woods on horseback.

Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase, or meal?
I tend to wear a lot of turquoise. The color, but also the stone. Until recently, I even drove a turquoise car!

Excluding family, name three people who either inspired you or influenced your creativity.
Only three? That’s tough because I’ve been surrounded by wonderful influences over the years. I’ll say Nancy Martin, who woke me up to the reality of how much work I had–and continue to have–to do to create good fiction; Timons Esaias—I enjoy simply sitting and listening to him lecture, absorbing all his genius; and Hank Phillippi Ryan, whose work ethic puts me to shame.

Do you listen to music when you write?
Only if I’m trying to work while Hubby has the TV volume cranked up in the next room. I prefer quiet so I can listen to the voices in my head. Mwahahaha.

If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
Dark with lots of nuts. That’s pretty self-explanatory, isn’t it?

What made you interested in writing this particular story?
Several years back there was some local political bickering going on, and I overheard the line, “Someone should just kill him and put him out of our misery.” It occurred me this is NOT the kind of line you should say in front of a mystery writer—or a cop. My brain immediately started spinning out the idea for the story. The line made it into the book, and was of course, said in the presence of the chief of police.

What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?
Families—and not just the standard biological type—and redemption. Also, it’s been pointed out to me that I have a…shall we say DISTURBING…fascination with death, but mostly how it affects those left behind.

Tell us about your main character’s psyche or personality. What led her (or him) to be the person s/he is today?
Zoe lost her father when she was eight and has been seeking male approval ever since. That’s led her to make some very bad choices in her life. Now those choices and secrets are coming back to bite her in the—well, you get the idea. She’s been on her own for a long time, and she’s chosen a career (paramedic) that provides excitement, but also a chance to take care of those who are most vulnerable.

Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
That’s a tough one. I asked one of my critique buddies for help with it, and he said “Vic” from the Longmire series. More the TV version than Craig Johnson’s books, I think. So I’d have to say Zoe might be the love child of Vic and “Johnny Gage” from the old TV show Emergency! and she LOOKS like Jenna Elfman in her Dharma and Greg years.

If you could host a mystery-author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
Craig Johnson, Aimee Thurlo, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Julia Spencer-Fleming, Robert Parker, and John Lawton. I’ve met Craig, Hank, Julia, and John and they’re all fantastic story-tellers. I wish I’d met Ms. Thurlo and Mr. Parker before they passed, so I’d love a chance to pick their brains.

What’s next for you?
Zoe Chambers Mystery #2, Lost Legacy, is scheduled for a September 16, 2014 release. “On a sultry summer afternoon, Paramedic Zoe Chambers responds to a call and finds a farmer’s body hanging from the rafters of his hay barn. What first appears to be a suicide quickly becomes something sinister when Zoe links the victim to a pair of deaths forty-five years earlier. Her attempts to wheedle information from her mother and stepfather hit a brick wall of deception, one that brings into question everything Zoe knows about her late father, who died in a car crash when she was eight. Or did he?”


Annette Dashofy, a Pennsylvania farm gal born and bred, grew up with horses, cattle, and chickens. After high school, she spent five years as an EMT for the local ambulance service, giving her plenty of fodder for her Zoe Chambers mystery series including Circle of Influence (Henery Press, March 2014) and Lost Legacy (Henery Press, September 2014) Her short fiction, including a 2007 Derringer nominee, has appeared in Spinetingler, Mysterical-e, Fish Tales: the Guppy Anthology, and Lucky Charms: 12 Crime Tales (December 2013).

Facebook: /annette.dashofy
Twitter: @Annette_Dashofy

16 thoughts on “Interview: Annette Dashofy”

  1. Welcome Annette! I don’t have to say I’m a fan, because you know that already. And Hank’s work ethic puts us ALL to shame! I can’t wait for more Zoe and Pete. Your fictional Monongahela County is so real, it even made me check a map. Could you tell us a little about how you came up with the location and how you were able to make it so “true to life”?


  2. Annette,
    I was so excited to see you were going to be on Mysteristas and just thrilled to read more about you and your books. Your character, Zoe, sounds fantastic and I can’t wait to read about her.


  3. Thanks, Sherry and Kristi! I’m thrilled to be here.

    Mary, coming up with the location was easy. I live here. I created a fictional county and fictional towns in southwestern Pennsylvania, but based them on real places that I rearranged and mashed together. I love that you looked for Monongahela County on the map!


  4. Great answers to great questions, Annette!

    Those of you who haven’t read about Zoe and Pete are definitely in for a treat! Fantastic book! (Or dare I say “books” since I had the privilege of beta-reading the second one.) Seriously, if you haven’t bought Circle of Influence yet, I don’t know what you’re waiting for!


  5. Annette, Enjoyed your interview. Your books sounds great. Isn’t Craig Johnson a great writer? I love his style. I haven’t had the pleasure to listen to Timons Esaias yet, but do use the text they put out from the MFA program at Seton Hill University, where he’s an adjunct, I think. I want to go horseback riding with you! Haven’t since I was a teenager–except for that disastrous adventure in Egypt, but never mind that.


  6. This reminds me of the movie The Conversation. A snippet of dialogue overheard by the wrong person can lead to…??? Who knows! Good luck with Circle of Influence. Can’t wait to read it!


  7. Great interview–thanks for visiting and sharing. I would LOVE to be at that dinner party, for sure. After the SinC Crime Bake conference this past fall, Hank sat with a group of us for over an hour, talking about how she fits everything in and answering questions. Amazing, inspiring, and humble. Gotta love her! Looking forward to reading the book.


  8. Thank you so much for visiting, Annette! Wonderful interview. And your dinner party sounds amazing. Best wishes with Circle of Influence–I’m looking forward to reading it as soon as possible.


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