Hart Johnson is one of those wonderful folks I met online way back when I first discovered social media and discovered what it takes to build a blog and attract visitors. And who wouldn’t want to visit a blog called Confessions of a Watery Tart? Now here she is, promoting her first published novel, and traditionally published at that.
Writing cozies for Berkley Prime Crime as Alyse Carlson, Hart also writes darker stuff which she hopes to place with a publisher soon.
Congratulations, Hart, and welcome to my blog.
The Beauty of an Amateur Sleuth by Hart Johnson
I want to start off giving Pat a huge thanks for having me here! I was an admirer of Pat’s mysteries before it even occurred to me mystery might be a genre I could write. One of the things that made me SO CERTAIN I couldn’t write mysteries, is… I didn’t know anything.
I mean… I know SOME stuff… but all that police procedural stuff… forensic evidence… detective tricks… the LAW… There seemed such a vast array of things a person needed to be expert in to write an intelligent investigator.
Now me… my expertise… I’m a statistician by day. I’m sure you can imagine what glorious fiction that would be. Can you think of a single book with a statistician for an MC? Let alone a mystery (let’s, see… the odds are…) I do have other fields I know something about. I have degrees in journalism and psychology, so I’m not completely clueless… but all that crime-related stuff? Yeah, I got nothin…
Enter the amateur sleuth.
And what IS an amateur sleuth? A person who does something else for a job who happens, for personal reasons, to get roped into solving a murder. In my case, Cam Harris handles the public relations for the Roanoke Garden Society (and boy is murder bad for publicity!) Her first murder, she gets involved because her brother-in-law, who she’s hired to cater, has been accused of the murder—her sister begs her to help because the police seem to think it’s an open and shut case… there is the compulsion to get involved…
And Cam, as an amateur, has no need to already know about blood spatter, or rigor mortis, or how to collect blood from a soil sample (though she is more observant than the average bear… publicity being about the details…). What SHE knows, though, is the people at the event and how to snoop out information with a goal of damage control.
As she learns she can get better—it would be silly if she didn’t. Her boyfriend plays baseball with a cop and Cam makes friends with him and learns to use him as a resource (though the two bicker—Jake being a by-the-book guy). But she doesn’t need to know it all at the start. And she NEVER needs to become an expert (she really just learns who can help figure out what).
It’s so freeing as a writer. And honestly, it adds some opportunity for humor, which Cozy Mysteries are known for. A person who doesn’t really know what they’re doing bumbles along a bit. Makes some mistakes (some funny, some dangerous).
I’d love to build my knowledge base enough to write a more legitimate sleuth at some point, but this one sure has been fun!
Begonia Bribe Blurb
Roanoke, Virginia, is home to some of the country’s most exquisite gardens, and it’s Camellia Harris’s job to promote them. But when a pint-sized beauty contest comes to town, someone decides to deliver a final judgment …
A beauty pageant for little girls—the Little Miss Begonia Pageant—has decided to hold their event in a Roanoke park. Camellia is called in to help deal with the botanical details, the cute contestants, and their catty mothers. She soon realizes that the drama onstage is nothing compared to the judges row. There’s jealousy, betrayal, and a love triangle involving local newsman—and known lothario—Telly Stevens. And a mysterious saboteur is trying to stop the pageant from happening at all.
But the drama turns deadly when Stevens is found dead, poisoned by some sort of plant. With a full flowerbed of potential suspects, Cam needs to dig through the evidence to uproot a killer with a deadly green thumb.
Thanks so much for being my guest today, Hart. I hope you’ll come back soon.
Hart (aka, Alyse Carlson) writes books from her bathtub and can be found at Confessions of a Watery Tart, on Facebook (author page, profile), Twitter, or Goodreads. Book links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble