Genre(s): Fiction > Mystery > Crime
Wellton, Arizona. Population 2,864… and falling. Something – or someone – is killing the kids in town, and the Wellton Police Department is called in to investigate the untimely deaths.
Officer Trent Buckley has lived in Wellton since the day he was born, and he’s been trying to get out of the small, dead-end town ever since. Just when he has a shot at a transfer to Tucson, a disturbing case lands in his lap, one that has him working with Yuma Sun reporter – and ex-lover – Sarah Goodwin. Trent is forced to push aside his resentment for Wellton and settle his own personal demons to focus on keeping more kids from dying in his town.
Chief John Walker has lived in Wellton for over thirty years. When kids start getting sick and dying, it takes all his courage to face his own past and solve the case. With the help of his best cop, Officer Buckley, Walker is determined to stop the deaths in his town, and keep them both alive in the process.
As the pair discovers what, or who, is behind the mysterious deaths, will two small-town cops be able to stay alive long enough to put a stop to it before any more kids have to die?
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I currently live in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, and have always lived in Orange County, CA. I am a wife and a mother of three. I work full-time as a Marketing Manager for a high-technology company and write for hobby in my spare time. I love to stay healthy by running and practicing the art of Israeli self-defense, Krav Maga. Krav keeps my body fit and my mind focused, and makes me feel like a badass, which is a nice bonus. I read. A LOT. My favorite novels are character-focused, contemporary fiction.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
Defending Wellton is a mystery novel that follows two small-town police officers as they investigate mysterious deaths of children in the desert town of Wellton, Arizona. Defending Wellton began in 2006 as a writing exercise for practicing my skills with dialogue. I had established the main characters and the premise of the story in a three-page conversation between two of the characters, Officer Trent Buckley and Hospital Director Thompson.
I set the story aside, but I always planned to come back to it one day. I liked Officer Trent and wanted to see what he was going to do about these deaths. In 2012, my 18-year-old niece passed away. I began considering my own mortality and what I would leave behind when it was my time to go. Having always wanted to author a novel, I decided it was time to start. I didn’t want to have any regrets at the end of my life.
So I started writing Defending Wellton based off those three pages I had written six years earlier. That conversation between Trent and Thompson is now found in Chapter Three of the novel.
How do you create your characters?
I have a general idea of my characters at the start. They evolve and grow as I write. I think about their past, how they grew up, what kinds of things happened to them to make them who they are today. I consider those things when I write them acting and reacting to situations in the story.
When speaking with anybody I know, I look for their back story – everybody has one – and sometimes I take interesting pieces from their lives and add them to my characters’ back story. There comes a point, though, when these characters come alive in my mind. I may present a situation within the story, and my characters just react on their own. I am just there to record their actions on paper.
What inspires and what got your started in writing?
I was writing for as long as I can remember. My mom saved some of my early stories when I was just in elementary school. When I read them today, I laugh. Those are good memories. My very first typed, completed short story was written at age eleven. It was called Buckwheat III, and was about a serial killer bearing the same name. It was a comedy about a would-be killer who constantly flubbed his attempts at murder, and the victim always got away.
I write today for hobby. It’s comforting to escape into another world for a while. My life is very structured and very busy, so it’s nice to “vacation” in somebody else’s at times.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
I can write anywhere. With three kids, I am constantly on the go. I write while laying on the couch with SpongeBob blaring on the television. I write while waiting at my son’s Tae Kwon Do classes. I write when I can’t sleep and just have to get out of bed and do something. I write on the very few occasions my husband will take the kids somewhere and I actually have an hour at home by myself. I try to write every day, but sometimes I hit a block and won’t write for two weeks! But I always come back to it. I think for me writing is a form of stress relief.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
I can get an idea from anywhere – an interesting person I meet on the street, a family member with an amazing life, the nightly news. There are interesting events happening every day on our planet, some that the human mind couldn’t even imagine. There are always things to write about.
Currently, I have about six stories I’m writing. The subject matter varies greatly. One is a continuation of the Wellton series. One is about a high school girl who is torn between two boys. Another is about a CIA agent trying to take down Russian spies. One is about a magical Native American and his apprentice. Who know if any of these will become published novels, but the practice of writing in various voices and themes is exciting to me.
What do you like to read?
I usually read contemporary fiction – some romance, some fantasy, some young adult, some detective novels. I am open to any story that has good characters. If it has memorable characters, I’m in. Some of my favorites are Coleen Hoover’s Hopeless, Jessica Sorensen’s The Secret of Ella and Micha and The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden, and J.A. Redmerski’s The Edge of Never. Currently I’m reading the Marnie Baraniuk series by A.J. Aalto, which is my first dive into urban fantasy, and I’m really enjoying it.
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
I would say to just enjoy the process. Once writing becomes something you have to do, it changes, it becomes too structured, too forced. I can sometimes notice when I read a sequel, if the author was under a deadline by her publisher, or if she really took her time and enjoyed the process. Sometimes, it’s very evident in the writing. So my advice would be to try to keep it fun. You started writing in the first place because it was fun.
Anything else you’d like to share?
While researching for Defending Wellton, I actually went to Wellton, Arizona and spent a lot of time with the officers of the Wellton Police Department. What I said earlier about things happening on our planet that the human mind couldn’t even imagine, it was very evident while I was interviewing the police officers in that town. In the hours of recorded interviews with the officers, I got more than enough material to write an entire Wellton series.
Sometimes, research is the most entertaining part of the writing process. Don’t underestimate the value of good research. You might miss out on meeting some very interesting people.
8 total views