Thank you for having me on Shelly’s Book Case. I’ve always gravitated toward mystery books when looking for something to read. The first two books I wrote back when I didn’t know anything about writing and the business were mysteries. But to find writing help, I gravitated to writing romance.
My writing career started as a western romance author. I now have 20 published novels, 5 novellas, and 3 anthologies. My tag line is: “Tales of intrigue and romance starring cowboys and Indians” By using this tagline, I can weave my love of Native American ideals into my books.
The yearning to write mystery books wouldn’t die, and even though I’d already written in more genres than one author should, I couldn’t let the idea of writing mystery go. Many writing friends said it wasn’t a good idea to add one more genre. I’d lose readers. But my heart, from the first novel I wrote all those years ago, was in mystery.
To stay true to my “branding” the female amateur sleuth in Double Duplicity the first Shandra Higheagle Mystery is half Nez Perce. After years of her mother and step-father having her hide her Native American side, she is finally starting to seek her roots only to have the one person who can guide her the most pass away. Her grandmother, whom she’d only visited once as a teenager, had a special request. That Shandra attend her Seven Drum Ceremony after the funeral. Shandra does and when she’s caught up in murder, her grandmother comes to her in dreams showing her clues to the murders.
I’ve had a wonderful time bringing my fictional ski resort town of Huckleberry, Idaho to life. Adding three-dimensional secondary characters with a few quirks to keep this an entertaining cozy read has been the most fun. Each book—there are three so far—I add a new full-timer and enjoy the way they interact with the rest of the populace. My two favorite secondary characters are Sheba, a dog as big as a bear but a bit like the Cowardly Lion, who is Shandra’s companion, and Lewis, the orange cat that is usually draped around Crazy Lil’s shoulders. Lil is Shandra’s Jill-of-all-trades who, like the stray cat, came with the property Shandra purchased on Huckleberry Mountain. She bought the land because of its good clay pockets. Shandra is a potter who sells her vases as art.
My brother has worked in the art world since getting out of school. He sculpts, pours, welds, and patinas bronze art work. A story he told me about a particular statue he was putting a patina on for another artist stuck in my mind, and I knew one day I’d use it in a story. That information my brother told me was the whole premise that started Double Duplicity.
On the eve of the biggest art event at Huckleberry Mountain Resort, potter Shandra Higheagle finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. She’s ruled out as a suspect, but now it’s up to her to prove the friend she witnessed fleeing the scene was just as innocent. With help from her recently deceased Nez Perce grandmother, Shandra becomes more confused than ever but just as determined to discover the truth.
Detective Ryan Greer prides himself on solving crimes and refuses to ignore a single clue, including Shandra Higheagle’s visions. While Shandra is hesitant to trust her dreams, Ryan believes in them and believes in her.
Can the pair uncover enough clues for Ryan to make an arrest before one of them becomes the next