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