Spotlight #2 for this week. You get an added bonus. :) Both chances to win a free book will be available until next Wednesday, March 7th.
Christy Barritt is the author of Hazardous Duty, a chick-lit mystery about a sassy crime-scene cleaner who likes to stick her nose into police business. In an interview, Christy shared where she got the idea for Hazardous Duty, what scenes she enjoyed writing and what's next in her publishing career.
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1. This book features a heroine with a rather unique occupation. What gave you the inspiration for this story?
While writing for another publication, I learned about crime scene cleaners. I had no idea! As soon as I heard that was an actual profession, I knew it would be the perfect career for an amateur sleuth in a mystery novel. Shortly after, Hazardous Duty was born.
2. How much of your own experiences influenced the characters of Gabby St. Claire and Riley Thomas? What aspects became traits that were theirs and theirs alone? Or what was the inspiration behind their development?
There's a little bit of me in each character that I write. I initially came up with Gabby's back-story as a result of my own past. Gabby had to give up college in order to take care of her family. I gave up a job at a publishing house in order to move home and take care of my father after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. That's where the similarities end, however. I have a wonderful, supportive family, unlike Gabby. Gabby and I also have our love of music in common. I'm always quoting music lyrics or bursting into song. I liked the character of Riley because he shows that Christians screw up, that we're not perfect. Too often I think that Christians feel they have to be perfect—something that's unobtainable. There's an old bumper sticker that reads, "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven." How true.
3. What themes exist in Hazardous Duty that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?
The overall theme of the book would be faith verses science. That's something I really wanted to touch on in the book, to show that the two could walk hand in hand. But overall, I wanted to be realistic. Every day we learn little lessons in life. Sometimes, we have to learn our lessons the hard way, to be knocked over the head with them. Other times, we learn lessons through quiet observation. I didn't want any theme to overwhelm the book. I just wanted readers to enjoy the ride. :)
4. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?
The most difficult parts to write were the ones that dealt directly with forensics. I'm not scientifically-minded … at all. So I really had research those parts. I also had to talk to police officers and lawyers and an actual crime scene cleaner in order to portray accurately things in the novel. All the parts that required that research scared me and at times bogged me down. I really liked writing the scenes were Gabby interacted with people—especially Riley, Sierra and Parker. I had a lot of fun with my secondary characters.
5. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?
My next book is called The Grim Sweeper. It's book number two in the "Squeaky Clean" series. Gabby finds herself in the middle of another police investigation when she comes upon a dead Elvis in the crawlspace of an abandoned house. The mystery goes from there! I haven't been given a release date, but I'm hoping to find out something soon! I'll be sure and let you know when I do.
Thanks for the interview! I enjoyed it… and I can't wait to read your book when it's released after the first of the year!
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We loved having you here, Christy. Readers, don't forget to comment and be entered for a chance to win a FREE autographed copy of Christy's book.