Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Author: Annette Dashofy

About the book

Paramedic Zoe Chambers is used to saving lives, but when she stops a man from running into a raging inferno in a futile attempt to rescue his wife, Zoe finds herself drawn to him, and even more so to his ten-year-old daughter. She invites them both to live at the farm while the grieving widower picks up the pieces of his life.

Vance Township Police Chief Pete Adams, of course, is not happy with this setup, especially when he finds evidence implicating Zoe's new houseguest in murder times two. When Zoe ignores Pete's dire warnings, she runs the very real chance of burning one too many bridges, losing everything--and everyone--she holds dear.

Interview with Annette Dashofy

Annette, what’s the story behind the title Bridges Burned?
Besides the obvious series of fires that take place in the story, several of the characters cross lines that may or may not burn some bridges behind them. I’d been toying with variations of Burned Bridges, Burning Bridges, etc., when one of my critique partners, Jeff Boarts, who we tease because he frequently breaks into Yoga-Speak, suggested flopping the title around. I loved it and so did my editor. Hence: Bridges Burned.

Tell us about your series. Is this book a standalone, or do readers need to read the series in order?
The Zoe Chambers mystery series is set in rural southwestern Pennsylvania. Zoe is a paramedic and deputy coroner which places her in the heart of the action, dealing with life and death. She has a sort-of love interest with Pete Adams, a Pittsburgh police officer turned small town chief of police. While there are threads (such as the Pete/Zoe relationship) that continues and grows throughout the series, the books can be read out of order without the reader becoming lost.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in southwestern Pennsylvania on a farm very much like the one where Zoe lives. In fact, I still live on ten acres of what used to be my grandparents’ 150 acre dairy farm.

What do you love about where you live?

I love being surrounded on three sides by nothing but pasture and woods. Living a half hour’s drive from anywhere worth going can be an inconvenience, but after spending time in the city, I need that drive to decompress. I’ll always be a farm girl at heart.

Have you been in any natural disasters?
Only if you consider the flood created by Hurricane Ivan. We’re well inland, so we didn’t get the brunt of the storm, but I sat in my house watching our little creek, which is ordinarily about three-feet across and a couple hundred yards behind my house, turn into a raging river that tore out all our fences and came within twenty-five feet or so from my back door. Our road was washed out both north and south of us, so if I’d had to evacuate, I wouldn’t have been able to drive out.

What makes you excited?
An invitation by one of my horsey friends to go riding! Hint hint.

How did you meet your husband?
I was working at a local western shop and he was one of those guys who comes in and picks up the salesgirls!

Was it love at first site?

Honestly, no. After our first date, I remember telling my mom I liked him as someone to hang out with, but didn’t think it would become anything serious. That was thirty-five years ago!

If you could only save one thing from your house, what would it be?
My cat. Provided my husband was okay. Or maybe I’d give him the cat and I’d grab my laptop!

Would you rather be a lonely genius, or a sociable idiot?
Ha! I’m an introvert, so “sociable” isn’t a great draw. Definitely a lonely genius!

If you could live anywhere in the world, where in the world would it be?
New Mexico. Or Colorado. I grew up watching westerns with my dad and fell in love with the “wild west.” I finally traveled there a couple of years ago and, like John Denver’s song, Rocky Mountain High, I felt like I was “coming home to a place I’d never been before.” I went back last fall and am planning a third trip.

How did you create the plot for this book?
There had been a natural gas explosion near here and sadly, a young girl died in the fire. Early news reports suggested the explosion and death hadn’t been accidental. Those reports were quickly proven false, but they made me wonder, what if . . . After some research, I had my story.

Who are your favorite authors?
Craig Johnson, Julia Spencer-Fleming, Hank Phillippi-Ryan, and Lisa Scottoline. Not in any particular order.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)? I’m currently reading my fellow Agatha Award nominees for Best First Novel. I read Finding Sky by Susan O’Brien on my Nook, and I have Tracy Weber’s Murder Strikes a Pose on my e-reader, too. I’m reading the paperbacks of Tagged for Death by Sherry Harris and Well Read, Then Dead by Terrie Farley Moran.

Do you have a routine for writing?

I wish. My “dream” routine, which happens about once, maybe twice a week, is to write all morning, then spend the afternoon on other writing business or promotional stuff. But more often than not, I have to spend the day with my mom, so I do an early morning writing “sprint,” just to keep the forward progress going.

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
As I mentioned, I usually prefer to write in the morning. I have an office in my home where I’m most productive, but my husband and I have a small camp on the Youghiogheny River in Confluence, PA. During weekends in April through September, he fly fishes all day and I write. Since I don’t have any other obligations when we’re there, I get a LOT of work done.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received about your writing?
An older gentlemen recently emailed and told me, like Pete, he’d fallen in love with Zoe! That was just about the sweetest thing any fan has ever said to me!

That is a great compliment! Where is your favorite library, and what do you love about it?
My little local library, because my folks took me there as a youngster. It was in that small building that I discovered my love of books and of writing. Mom always thought I’d become a librarian, but I took a similar, but different path!

What would your dream office look like?
Oh, great question. My current office is small and cluttered. I would love one with lots of storage space and even more bookshelves with a neat desk and the one thing I don’t have right now—a comfortable reading corner IN my office.

Why did you decide to publish with Henery Press?
I’d been trying the agent route for a number of years. I had two different agents for another series, which didn’t sell, and parted company with both of them. I was at that point of constantly hearing “she’s on the cusp of being published,” but couldn’t quite make it happen. I finally decided, after over ten years of beating my head on the publishing wall, to give myself some deadlines. I would query Circle of Influence to agents for six months. If nothing happened, I would shop it around to some presses. If still nothing happened, I was going to self publish it . . . and probably give in to my husband’s nagging to get a real job. No agents showed any interest, but ten days after I submitted to Henery Press, they offered me a three-book contract. I’ve loved every moment with them.

What are you working on now?
Bridges Burned is the third of that three-book contract, but I’ve since signed with Henery Press for three more Zoe Chambers mysteries. I’m currently working on the fourth in the series.

About the author

Annette Dashofy is the Agatha nominated and USA Today best selling author of the Zoe Chambers mystery series about a paramedic and deputy coroner in rural Pennsylvania’s tight-knit Vance Township. Circle of Influence (Henery Press) was published in March 2014, followed by Lost Legacy, which was released in September 2014, and Bridges Burned, available in April 2015. Her short fiction includes a 2007 Derringer Award nominee featuring the same characters as her novels.

Connect with Annette:
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