I’m asked a lot if my sleuth, Delanie Fitzgerald, is me. I wish. She’s my alter-ego. She runs toward dead bodies, and I run away from them. She’s a redhead who drives a Mustang and gets into way more trouble than I do. (I’ve had two or three Mustangs through the years.) We like a lot of the same things, but she’s not me. However, there is a lot of me in my novels and stories.
I set all of my books/short stories in Virginia. I write where I know. I’ve lived in the Commonwealth all my life, and I want everyone to know about all the great places, history, and culture of the area. I grew up in Virginia Beach as a CK (Cop’s Kid). It was the best place to be a teenager. We live in Central Virginia now outside of Richmond. And there are so many local attractions, festivals, and restaurants that are fun to include in stories.
A lot of my interests (e.g. reading, traveling, history, and pop culture) end up in my work. I am an 80s girl, so you’ll often find a lot of references sprinkled in.
I have always loved to people watch when I’m out and about. Snippets of conversation and descriptions often end up in my work. My family and coworkers aren’t safe. Stuff they say appears all the time. You’ll never know who or what will end up in the next book. I keep a notebook with me, and I jot down quirky things all the time.
I have two crazy Jack Russell terriers (terrors). The female, Disney (the brunette), has had two dog characters based on her — Darby in “Diggin’ up Dirt” in To Fetch a Thief and Bijou in a cozy that I’m working on. Her brother Riley was the model for the JRT in Secret Lives and Private Eyes. My Uncle’s Rottie is the model for the dog in “The Fast and the Furriest” in the next Mutt Mystery.
So while my characters aren’t me, there are a lot of my interests (or things I want to try) in my writing. In the latest Delanie mystery (that I’m still working on), she gets involved with some drag queens, contraband pet dealers, and historic artifact thieves.