I’m so excited to have author Sharon Woods Hopkins here today for the launch of her latest book, KILLERFIND. She’s agreed to answer a few questions for us as well. Now the first thing you might notice (or maybe not) is that Sharon and I have the same last name. And although I would be proud to call Sharon and her husband Bill, family, there are no ancestral ties of which I’m aware. I met them through facebook and am happy I did. They’re both an inspiration.
KILLERFIND is the second stand-alone novel featuring, Rhetta McCarter. I just read it recently and enjoyed it immensely. Rhetta just doesn’t seem to be able to stay out of trouble and even managed to get herself arrested. She and her cohorts are a little quirky which makes for a fun read.
Now on to the Q&A:
You and the heroine of your novels, Rhetta McCarter, have a lot in common. For instance, you’re both in the mortgage loan business, you both have husbands who are judges, and you both drive a restored ’79 Camero. Tell us how the two of you differ? Other than taking on terrorists and murderers — assuming you haven’t of course.
Hi Rhonda, Thanks for having me as your guest today. As to our differences, Rhetta married late in life, has no children. She has a troubled past with her father. She is a runner, a fashionista about her clothing, is very nosy, impulsive, brave, and has a strong sense of duty and justice. The nosy and impulsive is what drives her to get involved, the sense of duty and justice and the brave side of her character is what propels her to solve the mysteries she finds herself involved in.
How we are alike, is of course in what we do for a living and that we are both married to retired judges. That’s about where the similarities stop. I am not brave, abhor running, prefer to wear pants or jeans and don’t even own a dress. I have dogs as well as a cat, and children, all grown. My wonderful son Jeff is my car advisor and chief mechanic. My husband, Bill, has three children and we have seven grandchildren. Rhetta and I both drive a beautiful restored ’79 Camaro named Cami. Rhetta drives her car every day, while my Cami sits in a garage and comes out only to primp and preen at car shows.
Speaking of preening at car shows…
Why did you decide to go the indie route to publish your books? What do you like about being your own publisher and what do you dislike?
The main reason I decided to go the indie route was to get my book into print. Sounds simple enough. But I found the time frame waiting for publishers so long, as to be discouraging. When I was in negotiations with a couple of publishers for Killerwatt, my first book, none of them could promise me a publishing date before mid 2012 or early 2013, and this was in the fall of 2010! They indicated that they had their book releases planned at least 2 years in advance. Frankly, I just didn’t want to wait that long.
I guess what I both love and what I don’t like about being my own small publisher (Deadly Writes Publishing, LLC) is the same thing—being in control of my final product.
I like that I have the final word on cover design, interior design and editorial discretion. But that means I have to work harder to get the best graphic artists, editors, copy readers and proof readers that I can find. It might be easier to just hand over the manuscript to a publisher and let them edit, then execute the re-writes and sail on into the next writing project, and let someone else worry about the final product two years down the road. But that wasn’t for me. I wanted to have a really nice book, a good story and get it done.
That time frame thing is what made me decide to go indie as well. I’m not getting any younger and I don’t want to wait another two+ years to see my work available to the public. So I completely understand your decision. If you weren’t writing, what do you think you would be doing?
I’ve worked at a lot of different things in my career, from retail management to horse training and judging, and in between I was a flight attendant, Realtor, business owner, (a title company) and a few other jobs along the line. I don’t look at writing as a job. It’s creative and fun and truly appeals to my artistic creative side. I’m committed to my writing, and to the written word. I absolutely love it, so at this point in my life, I don’t really see myself not writing. I can easier see myself NOT mortgage banking instead.
I love how you’ve used your experiences in your stories. It shows in the details of your writing. So, tell us something you’d like us to know about you that no one’s asked you yet.
I don’t know if anyone has even given it any thought to ask about, but I hold dual citizenship, Canadian and American. I was born and raised in Canada, but moved to the US and became a naturalized U S citizen in 1972. I am very proud of both of my countries and love them dearly. It’s non-stop celebrating for me from July 1 (Canada Day) to the 4th! I wave lots of flags and shoot off lots of firecrackers to celebrate our freedom! I am also fluent in French.
That is so cool. It’s been a great week with all the celebrating, hasn’t it? Your husband, Bill Hopkins, is a writer as well. Any competition there?
My husband, Bill, is a terrific writer, and his first mystery novel, Courting Murder, comes out in October, or possibly late September, from Southeast Missouri University Press. He is my mentor and best friend, and is an absolute treasure to have around. He can edit my work, and I can edit his. We read each other’s work and help each other a lot. There is no competition between us. We support each other, and truly, his faith in my work is what urged me into Killerwatt, then into Killerfind and now I’m writing Killertrust.
I love to hear about relationships like that. And I look forward to reading COURTING MURDER when it comes out. Maybe we can even get Bill to visit my blog. 🙂
In the series, Rhetta has a best friend, Ricky who is a realtor and who also restores classic cars. Is she, or the other characters in your books, based on people you know?
The only character in the books who bears a strong resemblance to anyone I know is the character of Woody. I work with a gentleman upon whom Woody is loosely based. The other characters are totally from my head. The “real” Woody does the funny things I describe throughout the book, and he and I banter a lot like Rhetta and Woody do.
I have no best friend mechanic/Realtor. My son, Jeff is my real-life mechanic. We have a small business together called S & H Dream Machines, where we restore muscle cars.
Randolph, Rhetta’s husband is nothing like my husband in real life, as I am truly nothing like Rhetta.
I think it’s awesome that you and your son restore cars together. Very cool. My dad is a mechanic and loves the classics. He passed that love down to me – just not the mechanical part. LOL I’m pretty much mechanically-challenged.
You have 4 rescue cats in your book – do you have cats or other pets at home? Are any of them rescues?
We currently have a wonderful little black cat named Harriet, who is a rescue cat. Someone dropped her off at the end of our lane when she was half-grown. She’s a mole hunter extraordinaire. Harriet lives outside, but spends inclement winter days in a little cat apartment we fixed for her in our garage. I’m jacksonvilleproweb com allergic to cats, or I would have her in the house.
We had two dogs until recently, when we had to put down our wonderful little girl Schnauzer, Violet, who had cancer. We have one holy terror Yorkie now. Both of those dogs were rescue dogs. I guess love and concern for rescue animals is another trait I share with Rhetta.
Oh no! I’m so sorry about Violet. I know losing a pet is like losing family. I have a new rescue kitten that somehow found its way to my garage. She’s a cute little thing. My garage seems to attract strays.
Can you tell us where you got your ideas for Killerwatt and Killerfind?
My husband and I always talk a lot when we travel by car. On one of our trips, we kept noticing what seemed like miles of electric lines criss-crossing the countryside, and remarked how vulnerable they seemed. Then one Tuesday following a long weekend, my loan officer, the real “Woody,” revealed that he’d received a phone message from a Muslim customer and played the message for me. That scene described in Killerwatt was exactly how it happened. After that, my imagination kicked in and I asked, what would terrorists even want in a sleepy southeast Missouri community? The answer seemed obvious: destroy the electric grid.
The plot for Killerfind, and now the plot for Killertrust came entirely from my wicked little brain.
(KILLERWATT IS FREE ON AMAZON TODAY!!!)
Speaking of KILLERTRUST, when can we expect to see this next book in the series available?
Killertrust should be out early next year.
Thank you so much for being my guest today, Sharon. I’m enjoying this series and look forward to the next book. For those of you reading, check out the links above next to the book covers. I don’t think you’ll be sorry you purchased either of Sharon’s books. They’re fun reads with a lot of action and the suspense keeps you turning the pages.
Have questions for Sharon? As you can see she’s had a variety of jobs, is now an indie author, restores muscle cars and even trains horses and judges horse shows. Lots of interesting things to talk about. Sharon will be checking in throughout the day, so ask away. 🙂