We’re thrilled to have Loretta Ross as our guest today! Loretta’s Auction Block Mysteries have been called “fresh and enjoyable” by Mystery Scene Magazine and “charming” and “lively” by Publishers Weekly. The fourth in the series, Death and the Viking’s Daughter, is out February 8 from Midnight Ink.
Last week I got the author’s copies of my fourth book, Death and the Viking’s Daughter, and realized, to my dismay, that in my perpetual airheadedness I never actually turned in the acknowledgements. I considered, briefly, using this opportunity to thank all the usual suspects—you know, my agent, my editor, the cop who tells me when my ideas are stupid and/or illegal, etc. But then I realized that there’s another group of people I should probably thank but whom I will never, ever, under any circumstances mention in the front of one of my books.
You see, every book begins with a dream and when you write murder mysteries, every book begins with a certain kind of a dream. So, with your kind indulgence, allow me to tell you about all the people who inspired my writing by giving me reason to want to kill them.
- This list has to begin with my half-brother. Seriously. He’s an ass. You probably imagine that this is really masked affection. It’s not. My first memory of him is of him bullying me. He was a teenager. I was three. I understand that fratricide is not currently a viable option, but if he ever magically transmogrifies into a cockroach I am totally going to smack him with a phone book. And not a Tightwad phone book. A real phone book, with yellow pages and everything.
(No, really. Tightwad. It’s a place. I swear.)
- When I was in high school I was on the speech team. At one competition the judge dissed my reading of Longfellow’s The Children’s Hour because I “mispronounced lower (sounds like blower) to rhyme with hour.” LOWER (rhymes with hour) IS A WORD! The two words are spelled alike but pronounced differently and have different meanings. It’s been decades and this still makes me grit my teeth. I just want a chance to sit down with that misguided person, explain to them the error of their ways, maybe share a cup of tea, and then beat them to death with a dictionary.
(Tightwad, Missouri. Google it. It’s at the junction of 7 highway and PP.)
- I used to have this boss who was a monster. Everybody has at least one, right? He was a lazy, manipulative, narcissistic misogynist who took advantage of his employees and smarmed his superiors into thinking he actually contributed to the business. One time he scheduled me to work 24 out of 27 hours and when I complained he said, “You’re just lazy. You should have my job.” And he was right. I should have had his job. Because I was the one who was doing all his damn work. This guy, at least, is going to get what’s coming to him. One of my author friends was looking for a name for a horrible person with a short life expectancy so I gave her his. She’s promised to give him a gruesome death because the writing community is awesome like that.
(Not that there is a Tightwad phone book. If there was, it’d be more a phone pamphlet. A phone memo, maybe?)
- People who can’t turn without coming to a dead stop in the middle of the highway and then creeeeping slooooowly around the corner. I had to stop for one on my way to work this morning. It should not take five minutes to make a left turn into the Tightwad C-Store.
(It’s called the Tightwad C-Store even though it’s actually just outside the city limits. If you can dignify 67 people and a Dollar General with the term “city.”)
- Joe Buck. If you know who he is you probably understand, even if you don’t agree with me. If you don’t know who he is, you probably don’t want to.
(There’s also a bank at Tightwad but it’s out of business because of course it is. It’s at Tightwad. Everyone keeps their money in their socks.)
- The guy who inspired my character Eric Farrington. If you’ve read my work you know who I mean. Eric’s a sleazy, bombastic jail guard who is only employed and barely tolerated because his uncle’s the mayor. He’s based on a real person. I’m sorry. Not that I based a character on a real person, but that he exists. It’s out of my hands, y’all.
I’m sure there are more. My day job is in retail, after all. But you get the idea. So thank you, horrible people I have known, for helping me to achieve my dreams. Truly the pen is mightier than the sword because if I tried with a sword half the things I’ve done with a pen I’d be spending the rest of my life in an entirely different kind of pen indeed.
Loretta Ross is a writer and historian who lives and works in rural Missouri. She is an alumna of Cottey College and holds a BA in archaeology from the University of Missouri – Columbia. She has loved mysteries since she first learned to read. Death and the Viking’s Daughter is her fourth published novel. You can learn more at http://lorettasueross.com/.
Next on Wren and Death’s Appraisal List:
Item #1: An Old Family Feud.
Item #2: A Missing Woman.
Item #3: A Body in the Rosebushes of their Dream House
Auctioneer Wren Morgan and her private eye fiancé Death (pronounced “Deeth”) Bogart are ready to settle down together. But their sleuthing days are far from over. While Death and Wren are helping prepare auction items at an old supper club, a Viking reenactor nearly dies at the historical settlement next door. The cause? Seeing the ghost of his daughter, who went missing twenty years ago.
As Wren looks into what happened to the Viking’s daughter, Death is hired to investigate the theft of historical items that have high sentimental value. When their respective investigations turn out to be connected, the couple gets caught in a deadly conflict.
Thank you Loretta for stopping by—and for your honesty. What about you guys? What type of people make your blood boil? Micro-managers? Know-it-alls? People who don’t hold the elevator when they see you coming up? And, more importantly, have any of you ever been to Tightwad?