Today I am pleased to introduce Roxe Anne Peacock, whose first mystery, Leave No Trace, is now available in trade paperback and ebook from Whiskey Creek Press. It’s intended audience includes teen through adult readers.
You can find Roxanne on Facebook. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Rockford Writers Guild.
Choosing a Location and Settings by Roxe Anne Peacock, Guest Blogger
For several years, I did extensive research on rappelling caverns with the intention of writing a mystery series. Along the way, I fell in love with Carlsbad Caverns National Park. My first book of the series was to begin there.
The series changed to a stand alone when I heard a news flash about Raffi Kodikian barely alive, killing and burying his best friend, David Coughlin in Rattlesnake Canyon, Carlsbad National Park, New Mexico.
In the summer of 1999, the two best friends set off on a cross country road trip. One of the stops was at Rattlesnake Canyon where they lost their way in the desert without enough water and provisions.
The plot wouldn’t be centered around rappelling caverns. It would include The Flight of the Bats where hundreds of thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats enter and exit a gigantic hole in the earth. The bat flight talks are scheduled from Memorial Day weekend through September.
I grew up with the river directly behind my house. My family fished every chance we could get with bats always looming overhead. It is my desire to include a river scene in all the books I write; hence the inclusion of the infamous Flume and Pecos River.
The Flume was once featured in Ripley’s “Believe it or Not” as the river that crosses itself. The Flume was originally completed out of wood in 1890, but was destroyed in a flood in 1902. It was then rebuilt in concrete which was the inspiration for the book cover art.
In keeping with the Kodikian and Coughlin best friend theme, my protagonist, Jessica Waters, finds herself a reluctant detective when her best friend, Sandra Adams, disappears after prom.
Jessica is an athletic, independent eighteen-year-old honor student looking forward to attending college in the fall with her best friend. She is an only child living with protective middle-class parents in Carlsbad, New Mexico.
Mutual classmate, Jason Harris, had secured Jessica, Sandra and another classmate, Marcia Collins, all a summer position at Sally’s Diner where he works and Jessica needs the money to help pay college expenses.
When Sandra disappears, Jason is the last known person to have seen her and the number one suspect, but Jason isn’t the only suspect in the tight-knit community of Carlsbad. Sandra disappeared after confessing to having an affair with her teacher and cross country coach, Carl Lundstrum.
What better way for Jessica to investigate her friend’s disappearance than working at Sally’s Diner where everyone in town knows it is the best place to find out the latest gossip. Gossiping diners are something I personally know about. My father and grandfather both owned diners when I was younger, and my first job was a waitress at the age of fifteen.
With the help of Sally Cooper, owner of Sally’s Diner, and a Hispanic waitress, Rosa Martinez, Jessica musters up the courage to confront diner customers about their whereabouts when Sandra disappeared; this includes Jason and Carl. If they are indeed innocent, she hopes it doesn’t cost their friendship. If they know what happened, she hopes she isn’t the next person to disappear.
Sally’s Diner is booming with business. She might even be able to take a vacation for the first time ever with all the local gossip mongers eating at her establishment. However, when Rosa goes out back for her usual smoke and the media flashes their cameras in her face, that is the last straw. She comes back into the diner in less than a minute. Sally tells her she took the fastest break she has ever seen.
Rosa informs Sally, “There are many media out back flashing cameras in my face. I can’t see, I can’t think. Maybe I give up smoking this day.”
Jessica and Sally begin laughing. “Rosa, maybe we both can break our habit if the media stays much longer.”
“I think I quit work first. I rethink the giving up smoking. I just think your smoke alarm in the ladies room will go off soon,” Rosa said, with a Spanish accent.
Thanks so much, Roxe Anne, for being my guest today. I was also interested in the note on your website that you and your husband have signed with an agent to place your History Lovers Cookbook. I wish you lots of luck, and hope you’ll come back to tell us all about it when it’s published.
Visit Roxe Anne’s website for more information about her and her novel. Roxe Anne and Tom’s blog, Civil War Reenacting and Cooking, has recipes. I scrolled through and found one for bread pudding, my greatest weakness. It looks yummy.