As a member of the editorial team for The Big Thrill magazine and member of Thriller Writers International, in this eighth installment I had the honor of interviewing, Miranda Parker to talk about her latest novel, SOMEONE BAD and SOMETHING BLUE.
In this book, the reader joins the heroine, Angel Crawford on a man hunt as she tries to solve a murder, chasing throughAtlanta’s secretive speakeasy society, the annual Running of the Brides, and a romp around the Okefenokee Swamp with a hot U.S. Marshall. All this while on the cusp of a budding romance with her sidekick/pastor/crush, Justus Too-Hot-to-Be-Holy Morgan.
Selena: What do you think readers will love about your heroine, Angel Crawford?
Miranda: In this sequel readers get to spend more time with Angel. She’s not just chasing down a few bad guys. This time she’s being a mom, a reluctant bridesmaid, a devoted friend, and finally softer to Justus. My readers wanted Angel to give Justus a break and treat him better. Here we see that and we understand better why she is so standoffish with him.
Selena: Is there a “too-hot-to-be-holy” person that you’ve met which inspired you to create Justus?
Miranda: Yes. Years ago when I was covering a feature article on a gospel recording artist I was introduced to a new pastor of a growing church who was jaw dropping handsome. He was warm and nice to talk to, but it was difficult for me not come across as flirty or disrespectful. Although we both weren’t married at the time, I’m too southern to be that forward. LOL. After that experience I wondered what would happen if a guy like that met and instantly fell for the worst possible candidate to be his wife? I don’t know how a pastor could convince his church to accept his single mom bounty hunter fiancée. The thought made me chuckle and so here we are.
Selena: What has inspired you to write in the mystery genre?
Miranda: I have a twin brother. We grew up pretending to be in either a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys book. Some of our favorite shows growing up were Remington Steele and Moonlighting. I’m not sure if it was a child of the late 70s or what, but I’ve been drawn to whodonits for a long time.
Selena: What is the most interesting tidbit you can share, regarding research for your book?
Miranda: My dad is a retired U.S. Marine Sharp Shooting instructor (Paris Island,SC.) He let me pick his brain about the correct way Angel would stand, in order to be a successful shooter.
Selena: What is the hardest part when writing a mystery? Planting red herrings? Ensuring the reader doesn’t guess who the villain is?
Miranda: I write the ending first, because if I don’t know the conclusion then it’s hard for me to pitch it to my editor. However, my biggest challenge is taking out too many clues in the book. Because I didn’t want my series to be formulaic, whereby every book would be Angel chasing down some bad guy, I decided to switch up Angel’s ticking clock. In ANGEL ON THE BACK PEW she had to find the real killer before her sister confessed to a crime she didn’t commit. In this novel, SOMEONE BAD and SOMETHING BLUE, Angel has to catch a hit man before he murders her friend and child. So the type of chase changes and thus the way the mystery is built… and thus, the design of reader participation and red herring dropping changes. I am horrible at removing all the clues and not giving the reader enough gimme clues to get them interested in trying to figure this thing out. Thank God for editors and my mom. My mom loves old mysteries and simple reads. If she can’t give me a clue, then I know I have to go back to the drawing board. I need her to believe that she can solve the mystery, as well, or else it will be too complicated for folks to want to continue to the end. I don’t want them mad, because they didn’t find a clue.
A great example of my weakness is in the movie ALL ABOUT PETE with Sandra Bullock. She was a crossword puzzle creator for the local newspaper. One day she made an obscure puzzle that not one newspaper subscriber could solve. The reason they couldn’t solve it is because the clues had no universal meaning. It was ALL ABOUT STEVE. Only she knew who Steve was to her.
So I try to make sure that my clues can be identifiable by the end of the novel.
“Angel is a good girl in a fast paced, kick butt, bad boy chase, sexy thrill-ride. Can’t wait for the next man hunt.” –ReShonda Tate Billingsley, The Secret She Kept (Simon & Schuster)
“This novel has been a long time coming, and there will be many more knock-outs from Miranda Parker—one of the brightest authors on the horizon.” –Creston Mapes, Author of Dark Star and Nobody (Random House
“This book takes you on a dance and never lets you sit down!” –Emerge VA Magazine
“Warm, relatable, and funny.” –RT Book Reviews Magazine