Welcome, Allan! It’s great to e-meet a fellow Five Star author. I’m looking forward to learning more about your new book, DEATH OF A BRIDE AND GROOM, especially since I was a groom a little over a year ago.
So, what can you tell us about your novel?
Well, first let me say I’m happy your experience as a groom didn’t mirror the events in my book!
Death of a Bride and Groom is set in Honeymoon Falls, a small resort town that bills itself as “The Romance Capital of the World,” and celebrates everything nuptial. It’s Parade Day, and the parade’s centerpiece is an enormous wedding cake parade float. Unfortunately, the bride and groom mannequins atop the float have been replaced with two dead bodies dressed in wedding apparel.
The victims, writer Iris Morland and mill owner Connor Tarlech, are widely despised, which means half the people in town are potential suspects. Police Chief Will Halsey has to solve the murder while coping with small-town politics, feuding between his two officers, and the ferocious attentions of the media. There’s a little sex, a little humor and some surprising relationships—kind of like the author’s life, except for the murders.
What inspired you to start writing fiction, and how long have you been at it?
I’ve always loved telling stories from the time I was six or seven years old (my younger brother was my first audience). That must be…ahem…twenty years ago…well, could be thirty…okay, okay, forty. That’s as far as I’ll go.
I can relate–I was ten when I fell in love with storytelling, and my brother was also my first audience. What genre do you prefer reading, and who is/are your favorite author(s) in that genre?
Mystery is my favorite genre and I have a lot of favorite authors, including Ian Rankin, Louise Penny, Robert B. Parker, and P.D. James.
Parker was the master of witty dialogue, and James of the clash between good and evil. Rankin’s warts-and-all depiction of Inspector Rebus has made his Edinburgh sleuth’s transition from middle age to retirement mirror real life convincingly. Penny writes the entertaining Chief Inspector Gamache series that features a close-knit Quebec village that’s not on any maps, but is often the backdrop for murder.
Along that same line of questioning, have you ever read an author who has had a lasting and positive impact on your life?
I have learned a few things about writing from authors, though. Agatha Christie made me appreciate a clever plot; Raymond Chandler the importance of voice (“I don’t mind if you don’t like my manners. They’re pretty bad. I grieve over them during the long winter evenings.”)
How many hours per day do you devote to writing?
I don’t try for a set amount of time; I go for word count, and my goal is pathetically low. If I can get a thousand words written, I’m happy. That might take a couple of hours, including coffee breaks, and research on the internet. Unfortunately, I get sidetracked easily on the internet–did you know Roy Rogers’ real name was Leonard Slye, and a macaw can live for eighty years?
Can you describe a typical day in the life of Allan Emerson?
Yeah, but even I wouldn’t want to read about it. It’s basically long intervals of feeling guilty about not having written, punctuated by coffee and snacks, with an occasional flurry of getting ready to do a book signing or talk somewhere. In between, I answer emails and…you’ve stopped reading, haven’t you?
If you could write from anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I want to say Rome, or London, because I love the history and culture in those cities. The truth is, though, I’d be more productive where there was nothing much to see or do. I’m a world-class procrastinator, and wonderful places would just give me more excuses to put off working. A hut in Siberia would be best for my writing.
What are some of your interests or hobbies outside of writing?
I’m reading-addicted, so I always have a book handy. I like learning things–I take French classes, where I torture my classmates with pidgin French. And to compensate for all the hours I spend parked in front of the computer, I go to the gym three times (three!) a week.
What’s next after DEATH OF A BRIDE AND GROOM?
I’m working on Death of an Action Hero, the next in the Honeymoon Falls series. I’ve had to research crossbow hunting for the story…say, did you know the board game, Chinese Checkers, came from Germany? And that the world’s longest-lasting light bulb is still burning after 114 years?
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DEATH OF A BRIDE AND GROOM blurb:
When the body of writer Iris Morland is discovered in full bridal array atop a giant wedding cake parade float, the little resort town of Honeymoon Falls is left reeling. Not only is its reputation as “the Romance Capital of the World” at risk, its very survival is threatened. Murder, it seems, has a chilling effect on those considering venues for potential nuptials.
Iris enjoyed betrayal, which makes half the people in town potential suspects. Among them is her husband, Kenneth, enraged after discovering her liaison with television host Arnold Reifel. Arnold’s wife, Marjorie, was seething because Iris had turned Marjorie’s interior decoration schemes into a very public humiliation. Then there’s haughty French film auteur, Pierre Blondin, in town filming Iris’s novel. Did Iris trigger his murderous wrath by opposing a nude scene featuring ninety-five-year-old actress Hermione Hopkins?
Captain Will Halsey, head of Honeymoon Falls’ three-person police force, must find the killer among Iris’s host of enemies. And he’ll have to do it while coping with small-town politics, feuding among his subordinates, and the ferocious attentions of the media.
Allan J. Emerson is a Canadian writer who was born in Saskatchewan and brought up in small towns there and British Columbia. He lived in Australia and New Zealand before settling in Vancouver on the west coast of Canada. As his mother could tell you, he’s been making up stories since he was a little kid.
Although the town of Honeymoon Falls and all its inhabitants are purely fictional, the idea of marriage and murder in close proximity came to him when he was visiting a slightly more famous honeymoon destination, Niagara Falls, and wondered about the daily lives of the permanent residents.
For more about the author, visit: www.allanjemerson.com