A Twist of Poe character: Jessie West

Back Cover

Back Cover

In the last week or two my first mystery, The Purloined Skull, has received three five star reviews. Two on Amazon and one from the Arkansas Book Reviewer.

Here’s an excerpt from the last one: “With zigs and zags, The Purloined Skull mystery will keep readers excited and eager to find out “who done it” while the heated attraction between the main characters will keep it sizzling and fast paced. A great first mystery by talented author, Velda Brotherton. I hope to see more mysteries from her. (Sexual content)”

So I decided to interview my female character Jessie West, and see what really makes her tick. She has some scary secrets and maybe we can get her to talk about them.

Q. I understand that you had quite a reputation in Los Angeles and were on your way up the ladder as an investigative reporter. Why did you leave all that behind to come to a small town in Grace County, Arkansas and go to work at a weekly newspaper?

A. I didn’t know you were going to ask me questions about my personal life. I had good reasons for leaving California that I’d rather not share.

Q. Okay, then tell us a little about yourself. You are actually from this area, aren’t you?

A. Yes, but my parents left here when I was small and moved to California. I have a lot of relatives here, and friends too. We came visited regularly.

Q. How does it feel to move back after all these years?

A. I like it here. The lifestyle is way laid back. People are nice. In a small town everyone knows everyone’s business…or they think they do. In Los Angeles you’re pretty much an unknown entity.

Q. I understand you got in quite a bit of trouble with Dallas Starr, the hot new deputy, when you tried to unearth his secrets.

A. I broke into his house, yes. But he didn’t arrest me when he caught me there. Sure was mad at me, though. But then when I didn’t reveal what I learned, I guess he forgave me. Anyway, I’ve reformed from being that sort of reporter. Learned my lesson from what happened in California. Now I write feel-good features and a historical column for the Observer.

Q. But then you snagged the story about the skeleton a farmer’s dog dug up. I hear you jumped at the opportunity to cover an old murder case. Did you hope it would help you re-establish your ruined career?

A. No, I don’t want to go there ever again. At first I didn’t want this story, but we’re a small paper and the editor was busy with other stuff. He asked me to do it.

Q. And that’s when you and Dallas Starr tangled, isn’t it?

A. He doesn’t exactly like reporters. Being from Dallas, and he was an undercover cop, he has good reason not to want me tagging along on his cases.

Q. What’s your relationship with Sheriff Mac Richards?

A. He was one of my grandfather’s best friends, and he’ll tell you he dangled me on his knee when I was in diapers. Since my parents were killed and my grandfather has passed on, he’s taken me to raise, as he likes to put it.

Q. What is the relationship between you and Dallas Starr now?

A. We’re friends. Good friends. We work together now that he understands that I know the rules. That I won’t write about anything in an ongoing case until Mac releases the information. We still have some squabbles over what I can become involved in.

Q. Isn’t it true that you’re a little more than friends?

A. There you go, getting personal again. But I’ll answer that because I’m not ashamed. We are much more than friends. But sex is a healthy outlet, isn’t it?

Q. So I’ve heard. Do you two plan to marry, then?

A. Not that I know of. I’m sure Dal would tell you the same thing. We enjoy things the way they are. It’s pretty wild to have sex near a crime scene, or in pursuit of a witness or perp. I mean we don’t plan it that way, it just…(grin) happens.

Q. Perp? Does that mean the criminal who committed a crime?

A. Oh, yeah. When we went after Cave Man Jake, and this was after we caught the perp, we didn’t know what we were gonna find in the middle of the night. Creeping around in the woods in the dark with some looney tunes chasing you and calling your name raises your serotonin levels and gets the adrenalin pumping.

Q. That does sound exciting. Does that happen to you a lot?

A. (Shrug) Does to me. I think I’m too nosy. Can’t leave well enough alone. I like to prove I can solve the mystery all by myself, and that tends to get me in tight spots. Irritates the hell out of Dal, but that doesn’t stop him running to my rescue. Makes him feel like a big, strong man. Which he is, by the way. He also senses stuff that scares me. Knows what people are thinking which he pretty much controls, but he can read a crime scene like no one I’ve ever known. Digs into the spirits of the people who were involved, including the dead ones. Creepy as hell. Took me a while to believe it, then I saw it happen. My skin crawled.

Q. Yet you’re still friends with him?

A. Well, yeah, he’s not dangerous or anything, just weird. And so beautiful, inside and out. Once he stayed with me at my house for days when my life was threatened.

Q. My goodness. Someone threatened to kill you? I thought you said these folks were laid back.

A. They are, but you know how that is. There’s always a bad guy lurking somewhere willing to break the law, steal something, shoot someone, commit assault or worse. (grins) Usually they’re not from around here, though.

Q. That’s a joke, isn’t it?

A. It’s what local people always say when a terrible crime is committed. He’s not from around here. Nine times out of ten, it’s true when it comes to the small town of Cedarton. All of Grace county only averages five or six murders a year. Everything else is minor. Usually. Dal and I can manage to get involved in some pretty crazy adventures, though.

Q. Well, it sounds like you’re enjoying your new life in a small town. Thanks for talking to me. I’ll be on the lookout for your next adventure. Something about stolen diamonds, isn’t it?

A. Yes, that’s right. And what a mixup of suspects. Even the crime involves much more than meets the eye. Diamonds are only the beginning.

Thank you, Jessie, for talking to me today. Buy Link.

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About veldabrotherton

I'm primarily a writer, but I also speak and teach workshops and co-chair a large critique group. My brand is SexyDarkGritty and that applies to my western historical romances, mysteries, women's fiction and horror novels. After almost 30 years in this business, I still have something to learn and attend conferences to network with other writers, publishers, editors and agents.
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