Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries. The eleventh installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series, Cancelled Vows, is scheduled for release on January 28, 2016, and available for pre-order on Amazon.
Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real Gnarly) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.
Gnarly’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/GnarlyofMacFaradayMysteries
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Happy New Year, Mystery Lovers! Fans of the Mac Faraday Mystery series are in for a few treats in 2016!
One, Cancelled Vows, the eleventh installment in the Mac Faraday Mysteries, will be released on January 28! It’s available now for pre-order!
Treat Number Two: For this Deep Creek Lake mystery, I am taking fans on a field trip to the Big Apple. (Sorry, we’re getting there a little late to see the New Year’s apple drop. Maybe next time.)
The murder case in Cancelled Vows had to take place outside of Deep Creek Lake. Days before his wedding to Chelsea Adams, David O’Callaghan discovers he’s already married to an old girlfriend. So, David, Mac, and Gnarly rush off to New York City to get David’s wife to sign the divorce papers so he can marry Chelsea that weekend. Of course, murder shoots a bullet into their plans—quite literally. (Lesson to be Learned: Never go through a drive-thru in Las Vegas when you’re drunk.)
Treat Number Three: Fans are going to meet a new character—and a character she is!
Readers may wonder why I would be adding a new character to a series that is already established. The answer is simple really. A series that stays the same book after book tends to go stale, not just for readers, but for the writer as well.
In many ways, mystery writers are like movie directors. After coming up with the basic storyline for our murder mysteries, we “cast” the parts to characters. Luckily, we don’t have to deal with agents, lawyers, or actors unions. If a character doesn’t work out—the writer can simply kick a character to the curb and create another character to fill the role.
If the writer is lucky, the character will come completely to life and take the mystery in a whole new and exciting direction.
When putting together the plotline for Cancelled Vows, I needed an investigative journalist who would stand out in New York City, which in itself is the heart of diversity. Not only did she need to be different from the city slickers, but she also needed to be different enough to attract Mac’s and David’s attentions. Who better to stand out than a country girl—but not a sweet Southern flower—a tough Texan thirsting to uncover the truth about her mother’s disappearance.
I was still working on my character’s personality when I started searching for names. Several years ago, I had seen an interview with Elmore Leonard, novelist, short story writer, screenwriter (you name it!), in which he recounted working on a story in which he had a character from New Orleans, who he had given a French name. He said that as he wrote, this character wouldn’t say anything. Then, Elmore Leonard decided to change his name. From that point on, he couldn’t get the character to shut up.
Still in the process of developing this character’s personality and backstory, I was searching for a name when I came upon Dallas.
Okay, I confess! I read an interview with actress Bryce Dallas Howard, daughter of director Ron Howard, in which she stated that her middle name (Dallas) was after the city in which she was conceived.
Hmmmmm, I thought. How intriguing. How about the first name of Dallas, named after Dallas, Texas, where she was conceived? A search on the Internet bought up Walker as a popular surname in Texas.
As soon as I gave this character the name of Dallas Walker, she was born. Like the character in the Elmore Leonard book, I couldn’t get her to shut up—she insisted on telling me everything—all with a thick Texan accent, liberally mixed with little euphemisms and sayings that are really adding a lot of levity to the case.
Dallas Walker is one sassy character who won my heart, along with the rest of the cast from Deep Creek Lake, the second she shot upon the page. I’m sure you’ll love her, too, as you meet her in this excerpt from Cancelled Vows below.
In this scene from the middle of Cancelled Vows, Dallas Walker has spent the night sleeping on the sofa in Mac and David’s hotel suite after a murder at the news studio where David’s wife worked. Not having time to go home and change, she freshens up in David’s bedroom before returning to the studio the next morning:
David was aware of Dallas’ following him into the bedroom and closing the door, but he didn’t think anything of it. After all, she needed his undershirt and a place to change her clothes.
Taking the white undershirt out of his suitcase, he said, “This may be a little big in the shoulders, but it should do.”
He turned around to find her standing on the other side of the bed. She had taken off the double-breasted top of her pantsuit. Above the waist, she wasn’t wearing anything but a chocolate-brown silk-and-lace bra. The hue of her underwear matched the brown in her eyes. With a toss of her head, she shook her hair back behind her shoulders, letting it spill down her back, and held out her hand to take the shirt.
Stunned by her lack of modesty, David made no move to give it to her.
“Let’s see how this looks.” She snatched the shirt from his hand. After pulling it on over her head, she unzipped her pants to tuck it in. Frowning at her image in the mirror, she put on the stark-white button-down shirt and fastened the bottom buttons. Cocking her head, she studied her reflection. “Whatta ya think?”
She turned to David, who was trying to get the image of her perfectly toned body out of his mind. He swallowed. “Good.”
Turning back to the mirror, she furrowed her brow. “You can see my bra underneath.”
With her calling it to his attention, David had to agree she was right.
“That won’t work.” In one movement, she pulled both white shirts off over her head. While David’s mouth hung open, she undid the bra’s clasp between her breasts and shrugged out of it.
As much as he did not want to take in her beautiful, plump breasts, he couldn’t resist uttering a gasp of surprise. “Obviously, they don’t teach modesty in Texas.”
“I grew up surrounded by rough and burly ranch hands. I would have never survived being prissy and modest.” With a naughty grin, she tossed the bra to David, who caught it with one hand. “Souvenir of your trip to New York,” she said with a wink.
“And all I was looking to take back to Deep Creek Lake was a divorce.” David tossed the bra into his overnight bag.
She had already pulled both shirts back on over her head. “How is it that Yvonne was married to a hunk like you and never told anyone?” While tucking the undershirt into her pants, she turned to David and looked him up and down. “If I was your wife, I’d shout it from the rooftop.”
“Neither of us knew.”
Hands on her hips, she cocked her head at him. “Dude! How do you get married and not know it?” Her tone was filled with doubt.
“Picture it,” David said. “Drunk in Vegas.”
Her hand shot up. “’Nuff said!” She strapped the belt that she had previously worn on her pants around her waist to cinch in the men’s white button-down shirt that hung down low enough to cover her hips. She left the top four buttons undone to show the white undershirt beneath.
With only a few pieces of clothing, she had transformed her look into stylishly casual. Without asking, she picked up David’s comb and ran it through her thick locks. “Wish I had time to wash my hair. Do you have a rubber band, sugar?”
David went into the bathroom to go through his shaving kit. He returned with an old, worn rubber band to find that she had begun French braiding her hair from the crown. “I have no idea where this came from.” He held out the band to her.
Because she was using both hands to work the braid, she was unable to take it. “Take a tater and wait, sweetie.”
“What?” David asked her.
“It means don’t get your boxers in a wad,” she said to his reflection in the mirror.
He stared back at her reflection for a moment before shaking his head. “I don’t understand half of what you say…but you sound good saying it.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment, handsome sir,” she replied to his reflection in the mirror.
Here’s the link to the book trailer:
Here is the link to my upcoming tour schedule:
To enter the drawing for an ebook
advance reading copy of Cancelled Vows
by Lauren Carr, just leave a comment
below—in honor of Dallas and her
fondness of reciting Texan sayings (like
“take a tater and wait”) please provide
a Texan euphemism and/or saying.
Who knows, Dallas may end up using
it in a future mystery 😉 There will
be three winners and the winning
names will be drawn on
Monday evening, January 11th.