ABOUT THE BOOKAs darkness blankets the holy city of Charleston, South Carolina, Brack Pelton, an Afghanistan War veteran, steps out of a rundown bar after a long night. Before he gets to his truck, he finds himself in the middle of a domestic dispute between a man and a woman on the sidewalk. When a little girl joins the couple and gets hit by the man, Brack intervenes and takes him down. But the abuser isn’t finished. He pulls a gun and shoots the woman. Brack saves the little girl, but his world has just been rocked. Again.
The next day, while sitting on a barstool in the Pirate’s Cove on the Isle of Palms, his own bar, Brack scans the local paper. The news headline reads: Burned Body of Unidentified Hispanic Man Found at Construction Site. Nothing about a dead woman in the poor section of town. Brack feels a tap on his shoulder and turns around to see an eight-year-old girl standing behind him. She’s the little girl he rescued the night before, and she wants him to look into her sister’s shooting.
Violence and danger make up Brack’s not-too-distant past. Part of him craves it – needs it. And that part has just been fed. Things are about to heat up again in the lowcountry. May God have mercy on the souls who get in the way.
ABOUT THE CHARACTER
Brack Pelton is a widower, an ex-Marine from the Afghanistan War, and an ex-racecar driver. Six-foot, two-hundred-ten pounds, dark hair and dark eyes, he smokes Cuban and Dominican cigars and drives very fast cars while chasing the bad guys or when trying to get away. He also owns a beach bar and does a very poor job of keeping out of trouble and from being shot at.
INTERVIEW WITH BRACK PELTON,
main character in Burning Heat
Brack, how did you first meet your writer?
Funny story. It was about fifteen years ago. David and some friends were in the Pirate’s Cove, my uncle’s bar on the Isle of Palms. At the time, I worked summers there during college to help my uncle out and to get beer money. Plus it was the beach so of course I’m going to pick the beach. David, drunk, stumbles between two guys about to fight. Everyone laughed at him. He got there before I could and diffused the situation. After that, he always got a free beer. He’s a teetotaler now, but back in the day, well . . . Anyway, a few years ago, I haven’t seen the guy in more than a decade, he comes around and interviews me to be a character in his book. And here we are.
Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.
When Mutt and I “borrowed” Jon-Jon’s Ferrari and left it in Myrtle Beach. Now that was fun!
Did you have a hard time convincing your author to write any particular scenes for you?
More like I had to have a serious talk or two with him about NOT including a few scenes. Just because something happens doesn’t mean it has to be included in the book. David argued that it wasn’t fair to the “reader” not to include the whole story. I’m not sure what that’s all about, but he seemed adamant so I let it slide.
What do you like to do when you are not being actively read somewhere?
Spend time on the beach with my dog, Shelby. Some of the junk that has happened in my life, like my loved ones dying and war, make me appreciate the little things that much more. I’d be a basket case without Shelby.
If you could rewrite anything in your book, what would it be?
That’s like saying if I could relive something differently. Yes, there are some things. I tend to lose the really good women in my life. I wish that weren’t the case.
Tell the truth. What do you think of your fellow characters?
Brother Thomas can be a real pain in the rear, sometimes. But he’s usually right. His heart is the biggest thing about him, and that’s saying something — he’s like six-three, three-hundred-and-fifty pounds.
Mutt is a desert dog, like me. A real scrapper. He’s saved my bacon more than once. I think he’s forgiven me for knocking him out when we first met. Or he’s just waiting for a chance to get me back, one of the two.
Darcy is Darcy. Anything I say about her could be held against me so I’ll plead the fifth.
My Aunt Patricia is the only family I’ve got left. At least, the only family I still talk to.
Do have any secret aspirations that your author doesn’t know about?
I want to get back into racing. Now that I have some time and a little money, the track is calling.
If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?
That mostly describes my life these days. That is, until Brother Thomas comes calling with some crazy scheme and I get shot at again.
What are you most afraid of?
Losing someone else I love.
What’s your author’s worst habit?
He needs to get out of the house more. Spends too much time behind his laptop. I’ve asked him to hang around the bar again, maybe get shot at once or twice. Could change his whole outlook on life.
What aspect of your author’s writing style do you like best?
I hate to admit it, but he’s got the story down cold. Even the parts I’d rather not talk about.
Describe the town where you live.
I live on the Isle of Palms. It’s paradise, and I’m not joking. We’ve got the ocean, a great beach, million dollar homes. The city of Charleston is only a few miles away. Talk about history! There is no place on earth like the lowcountry of South Carolina. So, stop by my bar, the Pirate’s Cove. It’s beach front!
Will you encourage your author to write a sequel?
Well, Burning Heat is the sequel. I thought I was done with all that nasty business after the first book, Southern Heat. But then the whole thing about Willa Mae happened. And, unfortunately, more has happened since. David is putting the finishing touches on the third book. Don’t want to give anything away, but I’ll just say my life has a whole lot more going on than just suntans and beaches.
ABOUT THE AUTHORDavid Burnsworth became fascinated with the Deep South at a young age. After a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tennessee and fifteen years in the corporate world, he made the decision to write a novel. Southern Heat is his first mystery. Having lived in Charleston on Sullivan’s Island for five years, the setting was a foregone conclusion. He and his wife along with their dog call South Carolina home.
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