Today I'm delighted to welcome author Paty Jager to my blog to share her love of writing mysteries...
My writing career started as a western romance author. I now have 21 published novels, 5 novellas, and 3 anthologies. My tag line is: “Tales of intrigue and romance starring cowboys and Indians” By using this tagline, I can weave my love of Native American ideals into my books.
The yearning to write mystery books wouldn’t die, and even though I’d already written in more genres than one author should, I couldn’t let the idea of writing a mystery go. Many writing friends said it wasn’t a good idea to add one more genre. I’d lose readers. But my heart, from the first novel I wrote all those years ago, was in mystery.
To stay true to my “branding” the female amateur sleuth in Double Duplicity, the first Shandra Higheagle Mystery, is half Nez Perce. After years of her mother and step-father having her hide her Native American side, she is finally starting to seek her roots only to have the one person who can guide her the most pass away. Her grandmother, whom she’d only visited once as a teenager, had a special request. That Shandra attend a Seven Drum Ceremony after the funeral. Shandra does and when she’s caught up in murder, her grandmother comes to her in dreams showing her clues to the murders.
I’ve had a wonderful time bringing my fictional ski resort town of Huckleberry, Idaho to life. Adding three-dimensional secondary characters with a few quirks to keep this an entertaining cozy read has been the most fun. Each book—there are three so far—I add a new full-timer and enjoy the way they interact with the rest of the populace. My two favorite secondary characters are Sheba, a dog as big as a bear but a bit like the Cowardly Lion, Crazy Lil, Shandra’s Jill-of-all-trades who, like a stray cat, came with the property Shandra purchased on Huckleberry Mountain. She bought the land because of its good clay pockets. Shandra is a potter who sells her vases as art.
My brother has worked in the art world since getting out of school. He sculpts, pours, welds, and patinas bronze art work. A story he told me about a particular statue he was putting a patina on for another artist stuck in my mind, and I knew one day I’d use it in a story. The information my brother told me was the premise that started Double Duplicity.
On the eve of the biggest art event at Huckleberry Mountain Resort, potter Shandra Higheagle finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. She’s ruled out as a suspect, but now it’s up to her to prove the friend she witnessed fleeing the scene was just as innocent. With help from her recently deceased Nez Perce grandmother, Shandra becomes more confused than ever but just as determined to discover the truth.
Detective Ryan Greer prides himself on solving crimes and refuses to ignore a single clue, including Shandra Higheagle’s visions. While Shandra is hesitant to trust her dreams, Ryan believes in them and believes in her.
Can the pair uncover enough clues for Ryan to make an arrest before one of them becomes the next victim?
READ AN EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK:
“I think that would be a good idea.”
Shandra’s neck popped as she jerked her head to look up at the voice. Damn! Poor timing. Detective Greer stood over them holding a clear plastic baggie of ice. He handed it to her and knelt next to Naomi.
“Mrs. Norton, now would be a good time to tell me what you want to get off your conscience.” His soothing voice didn’t fool Shandra.
“Naomi, you haven’t done anything wrong. There isn’t any reason—”
Detective Greer shot her a glare. “Mrs. Norton are you the one who tossed a file about your sister into the dumpster behind the donut shop?”
Shandra couldn’t stop her friend’s reaction. Naomi shot to her feet as if to run, then dropped into the chair and cried into her hands.
“Are you happy?” Shandra spat at the detective. “It’s taken her months to get over her sister’s death, and you bring it up with about as much tact as a rhino in rut.” Shandra put an arm around her friend. “I don’t want you asking her any more questions until you get her husband over here.” She leveled an unwavering glare on the detective.
He sighed and rose to his feet. “If you try to sneak her out of here while I get the husband, I’ll find you both and haul you in for obstruction of justice.”
She continued to glare at him.
“Am I clear?”
“Yes.” Shandra wanted to keep glaring at him, but as he walked away she had to admit, he could have pressed Naomi for information.
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Award-winning author Paty Jager and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. On her road to publication she wrote freelance articles for two local newspapers and enjoyed her job with the County Extension service as a 4-H Program Assistant. Raising hay and cattle, riding horses, and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.
She has published twenty novels, three anthologies, and seven novellas. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Her penchant for research takes her on side trips that eventually turn into yet another story.
You can learn more about Paty at her blog; Writing into the Sunset her website; http://www.patyjager.net or on Facebook; https://www.facebook.com/#!/paty.jager , Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1005334.Paty_Jager and twitter; @patyjag.