. . .Agent Healy Harrison doesn’t want to accept this case. She has her own demons and likes her quiet life, lived in the anonymity of St. Louis. But Tucson is where she finds herself—with instructions to “Have an adventure! Have a romance!” Things get interesting when she meets handsome Pinkerton detective, Aaron Turrell. Is this the romance she’s meant to have, or when their two cases intersect, will it drive him away?
For the next few days, Wild Women Authors is pleased to welcome back an old friend: Patti Sherry-Crews. This time she’s part of the creative team responsible for The Good, The Bad and The Ghostly with The Ghost and the Bridegroom and has brought along detective, Healy Harrison. As usual, we'll begin with Healy.
Where are you from? The Show Me State, Missouri, which is ironic because you don’t have to show me anything. I see dead people so you don’t have to convince me ghosts exist.
Tell us a bit about The Ghost and the Bridegroom. I work for the PSI agency in St. Louis, which handles unwanted paranormal occurrences. Much against my will I’m sent to Tucson, AZ (literally. I’m drugged and kidnapped). The case waiting for me is a rancher who is so haunted in the bedroom, he is unable to consummate his marriage with his new mail-order bride.
What did you think the first time you saw Pinkerton Detective, Aaron Turrell? I thought he was a ghost!
A ghostly detective Hmm. And your second thought? A most attractive man. Sexy you would say.
Okay, now we're in business. Did you feel it was love at first sight? In retrospect, yes. But at the time, I attributed my strange feelings to something else. When I’m in the presence of a ghost my heart hums. Same thing happened with Aaron, only stronger.
Cool. What do you like most about this heart humming man? He’s so manly! And I don’t see dead people when I’m with him.
Which must be a relief at times. How would you describe him? Take charge, brave, a bit rough, and solid--I add the last because he’s not a ghost.
Very nice, but how would Aaron describe you? Exasperating but irresistible.
What made you choose detective work as a career? The career chose me. I’ve always been able to see and talk to ghosts. It was either shut myself away or make my gift work for me.
What is your biggest fear? Going to parties. I’m not comfortable in social situations.
How do you relax? Oh, I never relax! I’m an anxious person. But that was the old me. Aaron has opened up a new life to me and makes me feel grounded. I love riding out into the country and sleeping under the stars--with Aaron, of course. The west is so beautiful. I used to read a lot to escape life. Aaron read a book once. Now we’re too busy living life to read.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Nancy Drew. I understand the challenges a young lady detective faces.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Go have an adventure. Go have a romance!” That was on the note left for me when the drugs wore off.
This has been great fun, Healy, thanks for coming. Now it's Patti's turn.
What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer? Too many books to name. But since he came up in conversation lately, I’m going with Ray Bradbury. He was an early hook in my life as an avid reader. I remember feeling like I was right inside the stories in October Country. He gives great writing advice, too.
What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? Something very close to me. I named my agent after my daughter Healy Harrison Crews. When she was born I thought I was being very clever to give her a first and middle name that were surnames from her maternal line. I didn’t foresee she’d have to spend the rest of her life correcting people who call her Kelly, Hailey, Kayleigh, etc. Agent Harrison has the same problem.
Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? Prairie Rose Publications. When I wrote my first historic western romance I had a chance Twitter encounter with a western writer and blogger. She suggested PRP because they’re good to writers and very creative at marketing. The three women who run it are incredible and so supportive. They not only created a publishing house but a community.
What project[s] are you working on now? Finishing up The Lake House which is contemporary romance. This story is based on an experience a friend had when she and her husband were stranded in a remote location with another couple whose marriage exploded while they were all on vacation together. Only in my story the second couple are strangers to one another--that’s where the romance comes in. I’m also working on my first medieval romance for PRP.
What's up next for you? Once I finish The Lake House I want to spend time trying to sell it in the traditional publishing route. Then I have a few older works in progress I want to get back to.
Patti brought us an excerpt from The Ghost and the Bridegroom:
The air burned as hot as a fever out here on the porch. The windmill in the yard creaked and creaked. Tumbleweed rolled past, carried on the same breeze turning the windmill. The porch smelled like hot, old wood.
Healy pinched the bridge of her nose, dislodging her glasses. Over the layer of perspiration covering her face, a fine coating of gritty dust stuck to her skin. She’d gone so parched; she had to work her lips off her teeth—where they were stuck—to utter a word.
“Yes, we’ve already established that fact, and as I’ve already had this conversation with the ranch hand you sent to fetch me, I’m finding this conversation about my gender rather tedious.”
He studied her with his gray eyes. “You’re a woman.”
“Oh, my…now that we’ve ascertained I’m not a man are we going to have to now go through this whole process again, establishing I’m a woman. I suggest we move on from this topic and talk about your problem, Mr. Foster.”
He ran a hand through his sandy brown hair. “I can’t talk to you about this. I thought you’d be a man. This is a delicate matter.”
“Mr. Foster, I assure you I’ve seen everything. There isn’t anything you can tell me I haven’t heard before. What is happening to you has happened to many before you.”
“That’s just it. I’ve heard about it happening to other men, but it’s never happened to me before.”
“Ah, I see. Well, this too is a common reaction. Many don’t believe in ghosts until they experience the phenomenon themselves. You’re not alone.”
He looked down. “I’m not talking about ghosts.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I can’t talk to a young lady about this.”
“You can! Nothing you say will shock me.”
“Are you a…spinster?”
Healy huffed. “I don’t see how my marital status is relevant, but yes, I am not a married woman.”
“So you don’t have experience….”
“Please, I have traveled a long way under the most trying circumstances to help you. You’ve already paid the agency, and here I am! Let’s just start at the place where you encountered the haunting?”
Abbott sighed. “In the bedroom.”
“You’re lucky in that sense. Some ghosts follow people around and make all kinds of mischief.”
“Naw, you ain’t catching my meaning.”
“Aw, all right.” He took a long pause, studying his boots before he looked up again. “I’m a newlywed….”
“Yes, but here’s the crux of the matter. The ghost will not allow me to…consummate my marriage.”
Healy felt her face burn red. “Oh, I see. Well, that is a new one on me. Never heard of that one before. How is it that the ghost has power to stop…the act?” “Ever since I brought Erline—that’s my bride—home, things don’t work right.”
She put a hand on his arm. “Are you sure you’re consulting the right expert? Have you talked to your doctor?”
His face went beet red with frustration. “It’s having a ghost in my bedroom gumming up the works.”
“You have to be more specific. I need details.”
He shuffled his feet in the dust on the boards of the porch. “I think about Erline all day. She’s so pretty. I can’t wait to go to bed. I get in next to her all cocked and ready to fire—and she’s eager too--I can tell, but then when I put….”
Healy put up her hand. “I don’t mean those kinds of details. Tell me about the ghost.”
Wow. This one, like all the stories in TGTBTG looks like a winner
To learn more about Patti Sherry-Crews and the stories she creates, go to:
To purchase The Good, The Bad and The Ghostly, go to: www.mybook.to/GoodBadGhostly