Today I turn over my blog to Annette Dashofy. Annette writes the Zoe Chambers Mystery series. With a Vengeance is the fourth book in the series and will be released May 3rd.
Thanks so much, Kathy, for having me here.
One of the questions I’m frequently asked—as are all writers—is where do our ideas come from. For me, anything can trigger a story plot or thread, but quite often they come from the news. Such was the case for With a Vengeance, although I can’t recall when or where the event occurred. That’s okay. My plots aren’t “ripped from the headlines” or “based on a true story.” I prefer “inspired” by actual events. There’s a difference, I think. “Ripped from the headlines” or “based on a true story” suggests there will be a few recognizable facts, although creative license is taken with the telling of the story. “Inspired” means I heard something that sparked my wild imagination.
In this fourth book of the Zoe Chambers mystery series, someone is staging accident scenes and calling 9-1-1. When the heroic first responders arrive on the scene, the villain picks them off with a high-powered rifle.
When I started writing it, I didn’t need to look up the exact article or find the television footage. Good thing. I tried doing that just now and it’s scary how many stories pop up when you Google “paramedic ambush.” Instead, I had a vague recollection of an event with which to play “what if.”
Having worked on an ambulance and shown up first at some desolate locations, something like my scenario is all too plausible. And all too terrifying. It wasn’t hard to imagine what Zoe and Police Chief Pete Adams were going through as they responded to calls in which their own colleagues had fallen victim. Nor was it hard to imagine the resulting trepidation they and other emergency responders felt every time a call came in, knowing the sniper was still out there.
In case you’re wondering how a story like this could fall under the cozy umbrella, I won’t kid you. I write “gritty” cozies. Hank Phillippi Ryan once dubbed them “not-quite” cozies. But there are definitely elements of humor woven throughout.
I’ve populated Vance Township with a number of offbeat new characters who may or may not be involved in the killings. There’s the cranky hermit survivalist and his seven-car-pile-up gorgeous daughter, Loco Lucy. There are the auto repair shop owner and his mechanic, who are way too happy to overcharge Zoe every time her battered pickup conks out. And there’s bad-guy-wannabe Snake Sullivan (real name: Eli) who still lives with his mother.
Hopefully, With a Vengeance will keep you on the edge of your seat turning the page while giving you a laugh or two along the way. If it does, my job is done.
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