We are thrilled to welcome USA Today-bestselling author Annette Dashofy. Annette’s popular Zoe Chambers mysteries have been nominated for multiple Agatha awards. The latest in the series, Fair Game, is out this week!
Ever since I revealed the cover for Fair Game, I’ve been hearing a lot of comments, from those who love the colors (so do I!) to those who think a wrecked school bus is sad and tragic.
No no no!
I keep forgetting that most of the world has no idea that school bus demolition derby exists. The bus on the book cover did not win.
Let me go back to the genesis of the idea for this book. I drive past our county fairgrounds at least once a month. Sometimes once a week. A couple years ago, my brain was working on ideas for a new story the way some computer applications work in the background, sludging up the program you’re trying to hurry through. I noticed the fairgrounds, and my brain screamed, “That’s it!” I pulled over at the main gate, currently deserted because it was January, and stared at the grounds, picturing summertime and rides and horse shows. It’s a world I grew up in. But where could I place a dead body? As soon as I asked the question, I knew.
At the school bus demo derby!
Every year at the fair, one night is dedicated to the county’s high schools. There are cheerleading demonstrations and the Battle of the Bands. And then comes the event with possibly the biggest draw of the week.
The old, out-of-service buses have been stripped down and parked at the fairgrounds earlier in the week. Students from each of the area school districts paint their bus according to a theme selected by last year’s winner. Of course, messages of team pride sneak in there too. Then, once the judging of the bands has been completed, the buses hit the racetrack’s infield for the demolition derby.
It’s a lot like any other demo derby. Just louder. And slower. But not much.
Think bumper cars. Only buses.
When I mentioned the idea to some old friends from my horse show days, their reaction was enthusiastic.
Which brings me back to the cover. I’d taken photos of the post-derby buses at last year’s fair for my cover artist to use as a guideline and was thrilled with the finished product. So I was surprised when some folks saw it and thought it represented a traffic accident involving children.
No no no!
I mean this is a murder mystery and there is a dead body. But trust me—no children were injured in this school bus.
Annette Dashofy is the USA Today best-selling author of the Zoe Chambers mystery series about a paramedic and deputy coroner in rural Pennsylvania’s tight-knit Vance Township. A lifelong resident of Washington County (PA), Annette has garnered four Agatha Award nominations including Best Contemporary Novel of 2018 for CRY WOLF. She’s a member of International Thriller Writers, the Pittsburgh Chapter of Sisters in Crime, and is on the board of directors of Pennwriters. FAIR GAME (May 2019) is the eighth in her series. For more information, please visit www.annettedashofy.com.