Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Summer of Interviews: Amy Bennett

Today I'm pleased to welcome Amy M Bennett!

1.       What was your inspiration for your book? Can you tell us about how your own experiences influenced this story?

My books (“End of the Road” and “No Lifeguard on Duty”), or rather my entire Black Horse Campground series, were inspired by my love of mysteries.  Being a long-time fan of Mary Higgins Clark and her romantic suspense novels, set in her beloved stomping grounds of the NYC area, I decided that I would like to write a book or series set in my own neck of the woods—south-central New Mexico—and hopefully share that love with readers as effectively as she has (one of my bucket list goals is to visit NYC and find the restaurant that inspired her fictional Neary’s!)

2.       Would you classify this series as plot driven or character driven?

Definitely character driven.  When I was thinking of writing a book, the first thing that came to mind was the characters.  What happened to them, how they reacted, and how they dealt with the situations that arose came later.  At that point, I could have been writing a mystery, a romance, just about any type of story.  If I didn’t care about the characters, I don’t think I could care about the story.  The characters, to me, ARE the story.

3.       Can you tell us a little about your main characters?

There are three main characters: Corrie Black, the owner of the Black Horse Campground in fictional Bonney County, New Mexico.  She’s struggling to make a success of the campground left to her by her late father.  Then there is Rick Sutton, Bonney County sheriff and childhood friend and former high school flame of Corrie’s.  Circumstances drove them apart romantically years ago, but, as is common in small New Mexico towns, their bond remains strong.  Lastly, J.D. Wilder, a former lieutenant with the narcotics division of the Houston police department.  In the first book, “End of the Road”, he arrives at the Black Horse campground under circumstances that make him a suspect, but he ends up being an integral part of Corrie’s life and Bonney County in general.

4.       Without giving away too much, tell us about the main conflict.

Of course, I write murder mysteries, so the main conflict is “Who killed the victim?” However, there are conflicts among and within the characters themselves, particularly with the romantic triangle that is developing among Corrie, Rick, and J.D.  I try not to make it the central focus of the story; rather, it’s more of a complication or side plot.  However, many of my readers have made it clear that the mystery they are most interested in seeing resolved is which man Corrie eventually chooses!

5.       What do you hope readers take away from this book?

A strong sense of family, a sense of home, a sense of old-fashioned values that still exist in the hearts and souls of the people who care about their friends and neighbors.
6.       What song best describes your writing style?

Don’t laugh; “Believe It Or Not” by Joey Scarbury, the theme song from the old TV series, “Greatest American Hero”… “who can it be? Believe it or not, it’s just me.”  I think many writers start out by trying to imitate their favorite or the most popular writers.  It’s only when they realize that just being themselves is more than good enough that they begin to find their true voice and they tell the stories that they are meant to tell.  That’s when they find their audience.

7.       Night Owl or Early Bird?

For years, I’ve been going to work (at the Walmart bakery) at 2 in the morning!  That’s my favorite time of the day to work, when there are no people around (not the best attitude for someone in retail, but…) and I can focus on what needs to be done without interruption.  That’s always been my best and most productive time of the day.

8.       Skittle or M&Ms?

M&Ms.  And please don’t mix them in the candy jar with Skittles.  Please.

9.       Who are your favorite authors?

Hands down, I love Mary Higgins Clark, but I’m also a huge fan of New Mexico mystery authors, including Aimee and David Thurlo, Steven F. Havill, Mike Orenduff, and Michael McGarrity.  But I also love other authors, mostly mystery authors, too numerous to name.

10.   Can you tell us about any other future projects?

Besides the continuation of the Black Horse Campground series, I’ve also got a couple of projects in the works: a Catholic YA series and perhaps a romance novel that I drafted many years ago.  But who knows what else I may decide to pursue?

Meet Amy Bennett:
Amy M. Bennett was born and raised in El Paso, Texas and has lived in New Mexico since 1988.  Her debut novel, “End of the Road”, won the 2012 Dark Oak Mystery contest, and launched the Black Horse Campground mystery series.  The second book, “No Lifeguard on Duty”, was published in April 2014 and she is currently working on the third book, “No Vacancy”. When she isn’t writing, she works full-time decorating cakes at Walmart of Ruidoso Downs, part time slinging vino at Noisy Water Winery in Ruidoso, and enjoying life in general with her husband, Paul, and son, Paul Michael.

Connect with Amy Here:




More about “End of the Road”:
Corrie Black, owner of the Black Horse Campground, hopes for a successful start to her summer season but the discovery of Marvin Landry, a long-time guest, shot dead in his own RV, along with $50,000 in cash missing, does not herald a good beginning… especially since the victim’s handicapped wife and angry stepson seem to have little interest in discovering who murdered him. Was Marvin’s murder planned or just convenient? And is the appearance of a mysterious biker with a shadowy past that includes a recently deceased wife merely a coincidence? Despite opposition from former flame, Sheriff Rick Sutton, Corrie is determined to find out who murdered her guest. But will she find out who is friend or foe before the murderer decides it’s the end of the road for Corrie?

More about “No Lifeguard on Duty”:
Summer is coming and at the Black Horse Campground in Bonney County, New Mexico that means warm sunny days, a cool refreshing pool...and murder? Corrie Black and her friends are ready to welcome the summer camping season with a party to celebrate opening the swimming pool... but murder becomes an unwelcome guest! The shock of discovering Krista Otero's body in the pool the morning after the party is bad enough... what's worse is that Krista's death wasn't an accident. And what's more confusing is that Krista's closest friends all have something to hide. Despite opposition from Bonney County's finest, Corrie is determined to find out who used her swimming pool as a murder weapon and who is using her home as a base for illegal activities. But someone wants to keep Corrie out of their business... even if it means killing again!