Hello and welcome to my blog for another round of Meet the Characters! Today I am featuring a guest blogger who has graciously agreed to let me do a character interview, which is my favorite kind of interview. Join me in welcoming author, Cathy Perkins, and her characters from So About the Money. It’s a fantastic amateur sleuth mystery with wonderful characters so without further ado here is the interview with Holly Price, the heroine from So About the Money.
How did you first meet your writer?
That crazy woman was hiking beside the Snake River with her husband. I don’t know what they were thinking—aren’t there trails for hiking? Anyway, they ended up in this tangle of bushes and the next thing I know, she’s grinning over her shoulder, saying, “Wouldn’t this be a great place to find a body?”
Mystery writers have dark and scary minds is all I can say.
What are your favorite scenes in your book: the action, the dialog or the romance?
The best part of this book was the verbal sparring with JC Dimitrak. Dammit, I’m still attracted to the guy—I think I put it as:
“Was she still seriously attracted to him? Not the casual, if you can forget all the bad karma, we had great sex back then, but I’ll never, ever, follow up on it fantasies she’d secretly harbored. But the whoa, this guy totally turns me on kind of attraction.”
I’m still seriously angry with him over the way our relationship blew up after college. While the author threw me into way too many tense situations, I sorta recognize JC has matured into an interesting adult who, yeah, can definitely turn my crank. He’s also intelligent and capable of great verbal warfare.
Did you have a hard time convincing your author to write any particular scenes for you?
Let’s just say I thoroughly hate Lee Alders. You’ll have to read the book to find out why.
What do you like to do when you are not being actively read somewhere?
I love hanging out with my friends, going to dinner or one of the great local wineries. Don’t tell anybody, but I have fantasies about having time to curl up on the sofa—did I tell you I’m renovating a house? I can see a soft leather sofa in front of the fireplace, a cashmere throw, a fire and a book.
Yeah, that isn’t happening.
Are you happy with the genre your writer has placed you in?
Her publishers shelve her as romantic suspense, but I agree, this story should be housed with the amateur sleuth mysteries. The thing with JC? Yeah, seriously fun. I can’t wait to see what happens next with him, but the story really is who killed Marcy—and why?
If you could rewrite anything in your book, what would it be?
Marcy would not be dead. I get that there wouldn’t be a book if there wasn’t a crime, a mystery to investigate, but Marcy really didn’t deserve what happened to her. I’d also find out more about what was going on in her life—and how I could help—while she was still alive.
Would you be interested in a sequel, if your writer was so inclined?
There better be a sequel! I really need to see where things are going with JC. My author tells me there’s already a novella written and somehow I get dragged into my cousin Tate’s drama in the second book. What is it with me and my family?
What is your least favorite characteristic your writer has attributed to you?
Seriously, I’m not as uptight as she occasionally makes me seem. And Rick, my chief manager and best ally, tells me I’m better with the staff than I think, but I do have to remind myself not to scare them.
I may be a bit driven. I have a lot on my plate, what with Dad having his mid-life melt-down and bailing on Mom. I ended up putting my career in Seattle on hold while I help out. Mom expects me to bring in new business, train the staff to handle the project work, and keep the rest of the practice running. Then this murder—I admit, at first it was about clearing my name and keeping that ridiculous reporter from destroying the business I’d built. But then it became all about Marcy…
What is your greatest fear?
Up until the past few weeks, I’d have said, spiders. I hate spiders. And spider-webs. But on my God, after this week, my biggest fear is either falling in love with JC again or someone shooting me.
What do you wear when you go to sleep?
Yoga pants and a t-shirt are my ‘go-to’ after-work and sleep wear. My best friend Laurie finds it hard to believe, but I never hooked up with the guys I worked with in Seattle—too much professional liability there—so it isn’t exactly like I need a drawerful of sexy lingerie. Although I wonder what JC would think about a little lace number?
When Holly Price trips over a friend’s dead body, her life takes a nosedive into a world of intrigue and danger. With an infinitely sexy cop—Holly’s pissed-off, jilted ex-fiancé—threatening to arrest her for the murder, the intrepid accountant must protect her future, her business…and her heart…by using her investigative skills to follow the money, before the killer decides CPA stands for Certified Pain in the Ass…and the next dead body is Holly’s.
Holly Price never expected to be back in Richland, Washington. She bolted out of the small town in eastern Washington for college—with no intention of returning. She also never expected her father to have a mid-life brain-fart and run off with his yoga instructor. His defection stranded Holly’s mother both personally and professionally. Without Holly’s CPA license, her mother would have to close the family accounting practice.
And absolutely the last thing Holly expected was for a hike to turn into the date from hell:
[Holly] followed [her date], but stopped a cautious two feet from the dropoff. Below her, Alex scrambled toward the mushiest patch of ground she’d seen since moving back to godforsaken eastern Washington. “Why are we going down there?”
“That’s where the bird went.” His teeth gleamed against his tanned skin. “Stay close.”
Feet sliding on the rocky soil, he charged after his bird dog and vanished into the tangled foliage lining the Snake River.
When he’d invited her to Big Flats, she’d heard “hike,” while he meant “hunt.” Given the glorious fall day—sunshine and a blue sky that went on forever—she’d expected another picnic. Two weeks ago, Alex had taken her to a mountain meadow. A sandwich and a bottle of wine later, they’d kissed like teenagers and she’d thought about throwing both caution and her clothes to the wind.
Today, he’d morphed into some kind of Neanderthal maniac—me mighty hunter, you Jane. It was a mixed metaphor, but a slow burn started in her belly. She’d tried to be a good sport, but this was ridiculous.
She checked the land behind her—a dry plain dotted with stunted sagebrush, cheatgrass, and jumbled rocks—as if a giant “exit here” sign might appear.
No such luck.
She could probably find the parking lot.
Ditching Alex held a huge appeal, but the thought of quitting chaffed as badly as the grit in her boot.
Hands spread for balance, she eased down the goat trail to the boggy tract. She dodged some blackberry canes and stepped onto a line of broken reeds that marked the path through the underbrush.
Alex had been so proud of the first rooster he’d shot that morning. He’d held it out, expecting praise the way her mother’s cat, Fonzie, did when he laid something brown, furry, and dead at her feet. All Holly had seen was the beauty of the mottled breast feathers, the brilliant bands of neck color, and the lifeless flop of the pheasant’s head.
She sighed, resigned. Chasing birds and shooting at them didn’t even register on her Fun Things To Do list. She and Alex really didn’t have much in common. Maybe she shouldn’t keep dating him.
Even if he was fun.
When he wasn’t playing with guns.
She shoved further into the thicket and followed the faint trail of bent stalks. Getting lost was so not on her agenda. She never had trouble with directions in the city, but out here she couldn’t tell one bush from another.
The trail split, the narrow ribbons churned to muck by hunters’ boots. She glanced behind her. She didn’t have any breadcrumbs to mark the way back to the cliff.
Only vague thrashing sounds answered her.
Okay, she could figure this out. The left-hand side looked slightly more trampled, so she pushed past the leaning cattails. Willows, canes, and some kind of bushes towered overhead, crowding the boggy track. Soft mud sucked at her boots. The air stank of rotting vegetation and gulls squabbled in the distance. A dozen yards later, the trail divided again.
She peered forward and behind. “Alex,” she called, louder this time. “Where are you?”
She might be the commitment-phobe in this relationship, but surely Alex wouldn’t leave her out here. Everywhere she looked, dangling leaves and dried canes blocked her path.
She edged past a mushy spot. A harsher tang that reminded her of the dead fish they’d passed earlier grew stronger with each step. Nose covered with her hand, she rehearsed choice phrases to unleash on Alex when she finally found him, starting with a sarcastic, “Thanks for your concern,” before descending rapidly to “asshole.”
Something big rustled in the dense undergrowth behind her. Heart pounding, she spun around and peered into the thicket. They had coyotes out here. And drug grower/dealer guys. The only person they’d seen between the gravel parking area and this jungle was an Aryan Nation skinhead dude. Her heart stutter stepped. Oh, crap. What if this was his territory?
The noise from something plunging through the brush grew louder, closer. Blindly, she turned and crashed through the tangled foliage.
The rushes ended at a mound of dirt. She staggered into the clearing, her gaze zeroing in on Alex. Leaning over something on the ground, he tugged at Duke’s collar. The dog struggled, twisting his body in a muscular objection.
“Alex. Thank God.” Her knees felt weaker than she wanted to admit. “I heard something in the bushes back there.”
“Probably a deer. Stay back.” He wrestled the dog to the side.
His brusque tone shattered her mini-panic.
Well, don’t I feel silly.
A quick glance around registered the details. A drooping cottonwood canopied the clearing. Sunlit water lapped at the muddy shore. Gulls whirled overhead in a protesting flurry, lingering in a swirling complaint of dirty white feathers. The clearing looked like a teenagers’ party spot. Tattered food wrappers and empty beer bottles littered the ground. Filthy, torn clothing formed a soggy heap at the water’s edge.
The wind gusted off the inlet, carrying a stench across the clearing.
“Phew.” As bad as it smelled, she wondered if a dead fish was caught in the trash. A few birds remained near the river, their wings raised high, voices screeching defiance.
The pile of clothes had female-shaped contours. Eyes narrowed, Holly gave it a closer look. A pale, mud-streaked foot extended toward her. “Is that a woman?”
Buy the Book:
An award-winning author, Cathy Perkins works in the financial industry, where she’s observed the hide-in-plain-sight skills employed by her villains. She writes predominantly financial-based mysteries but enjoys exploring the relationship aspect of her characters’ lives. A member of Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America (Kiss of Death chapter) and International Thriller Writers, she is a contributing editor for The Big Thrill, and coordinates for the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense.
When not writing, she can be found doing battle with the beavers over the pond height or setting off on another travel adventure. Born and raised in South Carolina, the setting for CYPHER, HONOR CODE and THE PROFESSOR, she now lives in Washington with her husband, children, several dogs and the resident deer herd.
Connect with Cathy:
As s special treat, Cathy is giving away an e-book copy of one of her books off her backlist to one lucky commenter. So be sure to include your EMAIL so Cathy can contact you if you win. (Email will not be used for spam or any other purpose other than to notify the winner).
Thank you for joining us today! I hope you enjoyed this round of Meet the Characters and will join us again next week!