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Dana Bowman interviews author Sharon A Crawford

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

I suppose all fictional characters, especially in adventure or heroic fiction, at the end of the day are our dreams about ourselves. And sometimes they can be really revealing.

  • Alan Moore

Dana Bowman sits before me, sketch pad and charcoal in hand. She is going to give me the third-degree interview.

Dana: I understand you and my brother Bast share a career background.

Me: Journalistic, yes. I am a former journalist for 30 years, so a bit longer than your twin. I did write a few crime-related articles but my beats were the arts, health, seniors, and profiles of all kinds of people.

Dana: How and why did you switch from journalism to mystery fiction?

Me: That’s really two questions. First, the journalism one – it wasn’t really a switch. I just got tired of all the work for newspaper and magazine stories for little pay. Guess I ran out of steam but I am still interested in people and writing their stories, so profiles aren’t off the table completely.

Dana: But why mystery fiction?

Me: Because that’s what I like to read and watch on TV. I grew up with Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys and from age 12, Agatha Christie. And my late mom and I used to watch the Perry Mason TV series – the original one in black and white. From all that I got hooked on the puzzle – why people do what they do, why it brings them to murder and who the heck is the guilty party. I also have a sense of justice – people who do the crime should do the time – in one way or another. That doesn’t seem to be happening anymore in real life, even back in your days in the late 1990s.

Dana: As Bast would say, let the record show, that Sharon is referring to the timelines in Beyond Blood and Beyond the Tripping Point. So, Sharon, can you tell us how you, well created Bast and I? Are you and I similar in any way?

Me: That’s two questions again. I see that’s how you operate.

Dana: You started it all.

Me: Right.

Dana: How are we similar? Especially with our height.

Me: Yes, you and I are shorties, but I have a couple of inches on you.

Dana: Why did you make me 4’11”? Couldn’t you have brought me up to 5 feet at least?

Me: Too close to me. Actually the idea of both yours and Bast’s height came from an aunt and uncle on my dad’s side. Aunt Marguerite was 4’ll” and Uncle Miles was 6’2” But I did give Bast an inch. But I gave you some qualities and traits I don’t have. You own and drive a car. I couldn’t drive a car to save my life.

Dana: Would you want to?

Me: Very occasionally but seldom. I know I would be guilty of roadkill, so it’s safer if I’m never behind the wheel of a car. Also you have a cell phone and I don’t. Sure, it would come in handy in emergencies but cell phone technology is a whole lot more complicated in 2014 than in the late 1990s. And I gave you the gift of being able to draw because I can’t draw a straight line even with a ruler.

Dana: A little jealousy here?

Me. Maybe, but I wanted you different than I. And you and your brother evolved over 15 or 16 years of on and off writing, now definitely in the on stage.

Dana: And Bast? Why did you make him gay?

Me: Because when I first started writing Beyond Blood back in the late 1990s, gay people were just coming out more. The annual Pride parade was just starting up in Toronto. And I wanted a character that was different than what was being published. I know there are now gay (male and female) mystery characters, but how many of them are a fraternal twin?

Dana: True. What about my son David? Where did he come from?

Me: Well, I do have a son, who is now in his mid-thirties and I too was a single parent, so I suppose some of that originated there. And I had issues with being a working mom and wanted to bring that out in the stories.

Dana: Okay. Now, moving along. You mentioned that you want justice done in this world. Is there anything in your background, particularly when growing up, that made you feel this way?

Me: Several things. I was bullied as a child by both one of my best friends and also by a nun in grade school. Never beaten up – it was more verbal. Also I read a lot in the newspapers about 11 and 12-year-old girls getting murdered and that really upset me. I was the same age then. You have to remember this was around 1960 when things were supposedly stricter. Well, they were at school and church – I grew up a Catholic and so there was this belief in the bad being punished for their bad deeds, even an eye for an eye. So, if you killed someone, you deserved to die. But Canadian justice seemed to be getting too liberal. Many convicted murderers were getting their executions (hanging in Canada back then) stayed. I remember in grade 11 at high school class discussion on capital punishment – it was around the time that the government was considering dropping the hanging sentence. I was one of the few in the class who wanted Canada to keep the death penalty. We all know that didn’t happen and a lot of the criminal law got too much in favour of the criminals since then. Sure, some harsh sentences remain, but the convicted killers get jail credit for time spent in prison leading up to and during the trial. The bottom line is I don’t think justice for the victim is being given. But in a mystery novel you can have this happen – one way or the other – even with any lenient laws.

Dana: Wow. That sounds familiar. That’s me; that’s how I feel. And now understand better why I do what I do.

Me: Well, remember I may have created you, but you go out on your own in my stories.

Dana: Oh, so you give me enough rope to hang…. sorry, bad choice of words.

Me: Right. We don’t want you getting killed. It would kill the stories.

Dana: Of course. And I thought it was because you like me.

Me: I do.

Dana: Okay, that’s it for this time. Bast wants to interview you next week.

Meantime click on my book cover above – it will lead you to my publisher Blue Denim Press’s website. Scroll down and you can see where Beyond Blood is currently available, including at www.bluedenimpress.com.

And check my website www.samcraw.com – click on Beyond Blood. I constantly update the gigs etc. on that page.

 

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

 

 

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Come to Sharon A Crawford’s Book Launch Sunday Oct.19

Sharon A Crawford author of the short story collection Beyond Blood published by Blue Denim Press

Sharon A Crawford author of Beyond Blood published by Blue Denim Press

Fiction is about stuff that’s screwed up.
– Nancy Kress

 

Dana is scurrying around The Attic Agency Office when Bast walks into the room.

Bast: What are you doing?

Dana: Getting ready for the big launch.

Bast: Our agency opening reception. I thought all was…

Dana: No, no, not that. Sharon A. Crawford’s book launch. You know the author who created us?

Bast: Of course. That is coming up already?

Dana: Yes, this Sunday. October 19. We have to get the word out Bast about her book Beyond Blood.

Bast: You mean before our agency opening?

Dana: Yes, and Sharon’s book launch has to happen first so that Beyond Blood can happen.

Bast: You mean our actual launch, the kidn…

Dana: Sh. Bast, don’t give it all away. People have to come to the book launch and buy a copy of Beyond Blood to find out what happens.

Bast: Right. And we should also mention what else is happening at the Book Launch.

Dana: Yes. The book launch is also for another first time mystery novelist, Klaus Jakelski’s book Dead Wrong. It’s a medical mystery.

Bast: Yes. And Klaus is a medical doctor in Sudbury, Ontario.

Dana: And Sharon, like you is a former journalist, although she covered health as well as some crime stories.

Bast: Sharon is also short like you. In fact, she has a couple of inches on you.

Dana: Bast. Leave my height out of it.

Bast (chuckling): Okay, if you wish.

Dana: What I wish is to find that poster that Blue Denim Press, Sharon’s and Klaus’s publisher, had printed. Have you seen it?

Bast: Yes, right here on my desk.

Dana and Bast grab the poster, hold it up and together announce:

Blue Murder with Blue Denim Press:

Join in the murderous mayhem at the launch of two debut mystery novels:

Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford

Dead Wrong by Klaus Jakelski

More mayhem provided by guest readers Rosemary McCracken and Nate Hendley

Launch presented by Blue Denim Press.

Mayhem provided by all.

Location:     Paintbox Bistro

555 Dundas Street East (at Parliament St.) Toronto (parking inside building), Ontario

http://paintboxbistro.ca/contact

Time and Date: 3 p.m., Sunday, October 19, 2014

Bring a guest or two if you wish.

There is an entrance cost of $15. per person. That entitles you to a copy of a Blue Denim Press book-. Your guest(s) can choose another book published by Blue Denim Press. No charge for children 16 and under.

See you there.

Cheers.

Dana Bowman

Bast Overture

And

Sharon A. Crawford

And check out Sharon A. Crawford’s Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sharon-A-Crawford/412730865439394

Linked In profile http://ca.linkedin.com/in/sharoncrawfordwordssparkle

Sharon A. Crawford’s website www.samcraw.com and click on Beyond Blood for all the details of Sharon’s gigs.

And visit Sharon’s publisher Blue Denim Press at http://www.bluedenimpress.com to see that poster.

 

Cover of Dead Wrong by Klaus Jakelski, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Dead Wrong by Klaus Jakelski, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

 

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Beyond Blood’s twin PIs receive ominous phone calls

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

Fiction is about stuff that’s screwed up.

  • Nancy Kress

 

Dana speaking into her cell: What do you want?

Voice on the other end: Hello to you too. Just want to touch base and see how you are doing.

Dana: Right, after three years. What about David?

Bast speaking into his cell: Hello. Yes. Who is this?

Muffled voice on the other end: Someone from your past to tell you I will be at your detective agency opening this coming Friday.

Bast: It is an investigative agency. We’re in Canada.

Muffled voice: I know that.

Bast: Who are you? Identify yourself.

Muffled voice: You don’t need to know now who I am. Expect me at your investigative agency opening.

Click:

Bast: He hung up.

Dana, looking over at her brother: Who was it?

Bast shrugs his shoulders: I don’t know. He disguised his voice.

Dana: Maybe it’s a she.

Bast: No, I’ll bet my interest in the business that it’s a man. Just don’t know who. And who are you talking to?

Dana, covering up her cell: Ron, my ex.

Bast: That jerk. What does he want?

Dana: Don’t know and don’t care. I’m just letting him ramble.

Bast: Is that wise?

Dana: He didn’t even ask about his son? He leaves us on our own and…wait.

Ron: … so that’s why I’m late with the support payments.

Dana: So, what’s new? You are always late – when you send them.

Ron: Now listen here.

Dana: No, you listen. I want all the support payments you owe me up to now and I want them here before the end of this month. Do you hear?

Ron: I hear but I just told you why I’m late this month. Weren’t you listening?

Dana: If it were just this month, I might listen and give you some leeway. But it is always this way, excuse after excuse.

Dana hits the off button on her cell and starts swearing.

Bast: Hold on Dana. Take a deep breath. It’s just pre-opening jitters.

Dana: Yes, but look at who has been here – in person or by phone. I don’t trust Lois or Ray Chalmers as far as the end of my desk. Debbie looks like a ghost and now we have Ron and some unknown muffled voice. Methinks the opening will not go well.

Bast: We’ll just have to hope for the best. And stay calm. Look why don’t we focus on something else.

Dana: Like what?

Bast: What about the author of our novel Beyond Blood? She has a big book launch coming up soon.

Dana: Very well. Tell me more about it.

Stay tuned for next week’s blog where Dana and Bast provide details about the Beyond Blood book launch with a unique twist.

Meantime check out my books. The book cover of Beyond Blood at the top of this blog post links to Amazon. Click on Sharon A Crawford for my profile. Be the first to review Beyond Blood.

For those of us with a Kobo, here is that link for the e-pub version. http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/beyond-blood-1 And check out my updated web page at www.samcraw.com and click on Beyond Blood. Scroll down to Sharon A’s Gigs to see where I will be appearing with Beyond Blood.

 

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

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They’re back – PIs Dana Bowman and Bast Overture in Beyond Blood

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

Ideally, I like to integrate the human issues into the suspense story itself.

  • Jeffery Deaver

 

As the book launch for my prequel mystery novel Beyond Blood is gearing up for October 19, 2014, Dana Bowman and her fraternal twin Bast Overture are back here on my blog post. So are some of the other characters carried over from their four linked short stories in Beyond the Tripping Point. The time is August 1998 and the scenarios coming up now and the next few weeks are supplements to Beyond Blood.

In this session, Dana and Bast are mulling over the opening of their Attic Investigative Agency upstairs in their house, when… well, you’ll have to read on here to see what happens.

Dana enters the Attic Investigative office where Bast is hunched over his computer.

Dana: Still sending out invitations for our open house reception? Or, do we already have some business?

Bast: No just emailing for some more publicity.

Dana (frowning): That’s what I’m concerned about.

Bast: Publicity? Thurston may be a large town but not everyone knows what everyone else is doing. Have to get the word out to get business.

Dana: Yes, I know and that’s what I mean. I really want to do this but I’m still having concerns about our location.

Bast: Dana, we’ve been over this before many times. We are centrally located, a few blocks in from Main St. in downtown Thurston. And having the business in our home keeps us close to David.

Dana: That’s it – close to David. He is a six-year old and I’m still not sure if the top floor of the house he lives in is safe for him. We will be dealing with criminal cases, probably interviewing some shady characters, and…

Bast (swings around to face his sister): Whoa! Hold on there Dana. The office is separate upstairs with a closed door. David will be downstairs or outside with one of us or Debbie when she comes over to babysit. Sometimes she’ll take him to her apartment, as she does now. And David will be in school full days starting next month.

Dana: I suppose. But I keep getting this funny feeling in my gut.

Bast: You’re just hungry. You need to eat more. You’re

Dana and Bast: too skinny.

Dana: Let’s leave my weight out of it.

Bast: You are under 100 pounds.

Dana: I’m also under 5 feet short. No, food won’t remove that gut feeling.

Bast: We have an alarm for the office.

Dana: Yeah, but you haven’t tested it yet have you?

Bast: No. All right. I’ll do it now.

Bast goes over to the alarm, sets it, leaves the office, and returns.

The sounds of silence fills the office air.

Dana: See what I mean.

Bast: All right. All right. I’ll call the alarm company.

He has just done so when loud footsteps are heard on the stairs and two figures rush into the office.

The sound of the alarm vibrates inside the office. Both Dana and Bast jump up.

Dana: What are you two doing here?

 

Stay tuned for next Thursday’s blog post to find out just who did rush into the room and why.

Meantime check out my books. The book at the top of this blog post links to Amazon. Click on Sharon A Crawford for my profile.

For those of us with Kobo’s, here is that link for the e-pub version. http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/beyond-blood-1 And check out my updated web page at www.samcraw.com and click on Beyond Blood. Still more updates on my reading gigs to be added as I get them.

 

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Fiction Characters Interviewing Fiction Characters – Part 45

Amazon.com link to Sharon A.'s short story collection

Amazon.com link to Sharon A.’s short story collection

All fiction is about people, unless it’s about rabbits pretending to be people. It’s all essentially characters in action, which means characters moving through time and changes taking place, and that’s what we call “the plot.”

– Margaret Atwood

The missing Bast has suddenly appeared at the dining room table with Robbie Stuart and the ghosts of Roger Stuart and Susan Stuart. Bast looks pale.

Dana, staring at the dining room table: Bast, are you okay? How did you get here?

Swan: Yeah, how? Did Robbie make you materialize somehow?

Fielding: Shut up Swan. You’re in no position to ask questions. Bast, answer your sister’s questions.

Dana, slightly agitated: Wait a minute. I need to ask Mr. Swan a question first. Who is sitting at the table with Bast?

Swan: Why Robbie Stuart of course.

Dana: Nobody else?

Swan: Who else would there be? The rest of us are over here. That’s why I want to know…

Fielding: I said shut up, Swan. Now, Mr. Overture, please answer your sister’s questions.

Bast: I’m fine, a little tired and weak. I had help getting here from Susan and Roger.
Swan: Wait a minute. You’re telling us that a couple of dead people helped you?

Bast: Yes. Susan and Roger are sitting right with me here. I gather you can’t see their spirits.

Susan’s Spirit: Bast, you’re right. Both Dad and I working together managed to keep you out of harm’s way temporarily and bring you back safely here. Sorry, Dana and you three cops, but we couldn’t say anything until you had Swan under control for Bast’s safety.

Dana: But you are really back, Bast?

Bast: Yes.

Fielding: Now, Mr. Overture, you have some explaining to do.

Bast: What Susan, Roger and Robbie said is true. Robbie has a memoir accepted for publication and I was to do another newspaper article on it with a sort of update. What you don’t know is Robbie also wanted me to write the Forward to the book. Both these, particularly the newspaper article, would give details of Swan’s shenanigans in the past and current. And he didn’t want that happening, so he took measures. Susan and Roger helped me. (He turns to them). Thank you. But you know me, Dana, the old crime reporter, I have to find out what is going on, so sorry, I had to disappear from Susan’s protection to find out and I couldn’t tell you for safety’s sake. Swan caught up with me and tried to use David’s and Aunt Doris’ safety as a lever. You know the rest.

Dana: So, you will be writing the story?

Bast: Oh yes, but maybe it will be delayed for a bit until Hutchinson or Fielding take Swan into custody.

Hutchinson (standing up): Get up Swan. I am arresting you for kidnapping, pointing a firearm, blackmail, uttering threats. And there will be more added later. You have the right to a lawyer…”

After Hutchinson finishes his spiel, Dana stands up and walks over to the table: Thank you Susan and Roger and Robbie, too.

Susan and Roger: You are welcome.

Susan: Now that we see justice is being done, we will leave you. But I will be keeping an eye on you Dana and Bast and your family. If you need me, just touch the painting in the library boardroom and I will appear.

Roger: Yes, it feels good to finally come clean with the full story. Now, as Susan said we must leave.

Susan’s and Roger’s spirits disappear. Dana sits down beside Bast.

Swan: What just happened? Are you all nuts? I see just Bast, Dana and Robbie at the table.

Hutchinson: Shut up, Mr. Swan.

Robbie looks up finally and glares at Swan: My sister and Dad didn’t keep you in the spirit loop because you are bad. And I’m glad I wrote the memoir to set the record straight.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Dana, Bast and the others will take a rest for a bit. But they will be back with more original stories based on the stories and characters in Beyond the Tripping Point.

Next week’s blog will talk about fiction writing – short story versus novel, particularly when both use the same series characters. So, in a way, Dana and Bast will be back to illustrate some ideas here. Watch for upcoming posts with guest bloggers. Stay tuned. Meantime…

Sharon A. Crawford’s prequel novel Beyond Blood, featuring the fraternal twins will be published fall 2014 by Blue Denim Press. Stay tuned.

Meantime, you can read more about the characters and their stories in Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to Sharon A. Crawford’s profile – including book reviews – at http://www.amazon.com. The book is available there in print and Kindle. For Kobo e-book go to http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/beyond-the-tripping-point or go to any bricks and mortar store and order in a print copy. Spread the word.
More info on Sharon A.’s upcoming gigs, workshops, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html

 

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