by Carolyn Haines,
February isn’t one of my favorite months, but this year I have excellent news to share. The paperback edition of BOOTY BONES has been released by St. Martin’s Press, and my alter ego, R.B. Chesterton, also has a trade paperback release—THE SEEKER.
A lot of people ask me why I write both dark and light fiction, and the simple answer is that I read both types of books. I grew up on the mysteries of Edgar Allan Poe and Sherlock Holmes (which are pretty darn dark sometimes!) and the short stories of Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, and Doris Betts (who are funny but also dark). I grew up in a family who tormented each other with ghost stories, and parents and a grandmother who enjoyed a good prank or two. All of this opened up and excited my imagination, and I think it’s one of the key reasons I’m a writer today.
Long before I ever thought to scratch down a word, I loved to read. My mother was often scolding me—“Get your nose out of that book and come help with supper.” I grew up in Lucedale, Mississippi, a town of about 2500, and it was a good thing I loved to read because there wasn’t a lot of other activities for young people.
I often say that I had the last golden childhood. I was free to ride my bike to the creek to swim, and we played softball almost every afternoon in our big back yard. I had an older and a younger brother, and neighbors who had children close to my age. We built forts in the woods, and rode bicycles to the Lucedale Drug Store for a fountain drink and comic book and to watch the older teenagers flirt. Everyone in town knew us, and if we stepped one inch out of line, my mother knew about it before we got home. Yet we were safe. Snug in our little community. Though it was an illusion, it was also a golden time.
Some of my most visceral memories come from the delicious thrill of hide-and-seek played at night among the heritage camellias and azaleas around our big old house. My older brother, Andy, would sometimes hide in the hall closet and when I walked down the hall, he’d open the door quietly and grab me into the closet, scaring me silly.
We were a family of practical jokers, and we also loved to laugh. Telling stories on ourselves and each other was a dinner-table pastime. And one of my very best qualities is that I am a magnet for unusual people. If I am in a restaurant, it isn’t uncommon for someone to come over and talk to me. Someone I’ve never met before.
I worked for years as a photojournalist, so I was exposed to a lot of different people and situations. I find the basis for many of my novels stem from a tiny seed of an incident planted years before.
I write the darker books (creepy but not gory—think gothic thrillers) under the pseudonym R.B. Chesterton. I chose a pseudonym so there would be no confusion between these books and my popular mystery series. Because this is a new name, I’m offering a special to promote the paperback release of THE SEEKER. I have a short story, “The Hanged Man” which is set in New Orleans. If you’d like to sample my darker style of writing, I am offering the story FREE for a short time. Visit this link: Free Copy of “The Hanged Man”. If you like this story, then you might want to try THE SEEKER.
Sarah Booth Delaney and the Zinnia, Mississippi, gang of friends, have a large following, and the paperback edition of BOOTY BONES delights me. BOOTY BONES was named one of the top mysteries of 2014 by Suspense Magazine. Most of the Sarah Booth stories are set in the Mississippi Delta, but this one takes place on Dauphin Island, Alabama, and involves hidden treasure and pirates.
Sarah Booth is a sassy private investigator, aided by her partner Tinkie Bellcase Richmond (a true Daddy’s Girl), and her friends, Cece Dee Falcon, a transsexual society editor, Millie Roberts, owner of the small town’s diner, and Madame Tomeeka, a school chum with precognitive dreams and psychic abilities. And don’t forget Jitty, the resident ghost of Sarah Booth’s ancestral home, Dahlia House. Jitty keeps Sarah Booth on the straight and narrow.
I wouldn’t say the Bones books are woo-woo. Jitty is a link to Sarah Booth’s past, to the land, to the history of the Mississippi Delta, which is both elegant and harsh. Jitty is never involved in solving the mysteries. She is Sarah Booth’s touchstone.
BOOTY BONES is the 14th in the on-going series. BONE TO BE WILD will be released May 19, and of course I’m working on the next book in the series. If you’d like to sample the BONES series without committing to an entire novel, there are two short stories available as e-stories— “Bones on the Bayou” and “Shorty Bones.” These books are written under Carolyn Haines.
I’m a huge animal advocate, and I post a lot of information on my FB pages: Official Carolyn Haines Page and Carolyn Haines Fan Page. I run a small rescue with 22 animals (cats, dogs, and horses). For those interested in cookbooks and helping our spay/neuter program, you can check out the BONE-A-FIED DELICIOUS, Recipes from Zinnia’s Finest Chefs—it’s a fun cookbook and all proceeds go to the animals.
I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day.