Charlene Bell Dietz will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Author Interview: Charlene Bell Dietz
1. How did you choose your genre? What made you write this book?
This historical mystery selected me. At a frenetic point in my life, with work making me crazy, community service projects taking more time than I expected, family demanding time-consuming activities, an elderly aunt dropped into my life for me to care for her. I swore I could not take on one more project. But I did. And she ended up being a major project. Cantankerous, chain-smoking, rum-drinking, brilliant woman, who my grandparents rarely discussed, had been a run-away teenager. She embarrassed her family, my grandparents, by fleeing to Chicago during the Roaring Twenties, in 1923, to become a flapper. Chicago happened to be Al Capone’s gun-‘em-down playground. This story was too good not to be told.
2. Writers write what they know, and must observe the world. Are you a firstborn, middle, or last child and how does this shape your view of the world?
For eight years, I had the honor of being the chosen one, the baby, with all the coddling one would expect, except doubled, because I was the only daughter. However, in my opinion, my two older brothers were allowed to do things, I wasn’t—because I was a girl. Then, my baby brother came along, and I stepped up from being the youngest to one having control and taking care of this priceless creature.
What I perceived from all of this, is having been a “girl” in a family of brothers, I find value in writing stories about strong, independent women who never take “no” for an answer, and believe they can do whatever any man thinks he can do. Fearless and competent became my motto.
3. Where is your favorite place to write?
We live in the foothills of the mountains in central New Mexico, in a middle of a forest with meadows and abundant wildlife. My writing starts long before I sit at my computer in my studio. It starts late at night gazing at the dark sky, lit with brilliant stars, or early in the morning on a leisurely stroll with my companionable dog, breathing in the clean, high-altitude air, and watching the baby, wild turkeys, or young fawns stroll nearby. This is when my mind resets to allow new stories, or dialogue, or settings to design my work. Then I sit at my computer in my studio and let the words flow. Unlike Stephen King, my desk faces two large windows, so I can enjoy the fledglings, learning to fly, or hear my bees at work, as my words appear on my computer screen.
Absolutely, this is my favorite place to be when I write.
4. How do you feel about killing your darlings, and what do you do with the remains?
As a beginning writer, it would kill me to kill them. Then half-way through my first book I figured out a strategy that made it all painless. I created a file on my computer and labeled it “Chapter Cuts that Kill Me”. I knew I could always go back and extract anything I’d cut and saved there. What’s interesting, I still use this method, but never once have I revived the dead from that file. Yep! Those darlings needed to be dead.
5. You are introduced to your favorite author. Who is it, and what is that one burning question you must ask them?
Elizabeth George, would you please be my tour guide through the English countryside?
6. Inquiring minds want to know…tell readers something about you that no one knows.
I still grieve for my father, who passed in 1986, my mother who passed in 1992, and my ex-flapper aunt who passed in 1996, along with their incredibly, intelligent parents, my grandparents. I think of them every night before I fall asleep. They have been my inspiration for all I do.
7. You are stranded on a deserted island with only a backpack for company. What three items are in your survival pack?
Chocolate, wine, and my kindle packed full of books. Don’t bother to rescue me.
8. If you could have one superpower in your existence, what would it be?
I would very much enjoy being able to be invisible. Think of all the character research I could do. What fun, I would have!
9. Favorite snack?
Chocolate (dark), Coffee (black) Wine (dry)
10. Indy 500 – Do you know how to get where you’re going or do you drive the speed limit?
Ugh. I love to drive, and I used to have a large collection of speeding tickets until I reformed. Maybe that’s why Kirkus Reviews described The Flapper, the Impostor, and the Stalker, as “A fast-paced historical novel, both scary and witty—a wonderful combination.”
The Flapper, the Impostor, and the Stalker
by Charlene Bell Dietz
GENRE: Mystery, Historical, Suspense Novel
A privileged teenager from Minneapolis in 1923, scraps her college scholarship and runs away to become a flapper in dangerous, chaotic Chicago. In her search for illusive happiness, she confronts the mob and then must contrive a way to not be murdered.
Kathleen continued, “You said you wished you could go to college with me. What if we could go somewhere together, not to college, but someplace where we could dance and act and you could sing? I bet with our talents, we could turn this horrid world into something much more joyful—help make it one big party.”
“How?” Sophie’s eyes opened wide.
“We’ll go where you won’t have to teach kids piano, or act or dance, unless you want. You’ll be able to sing your heart out and, who knows, maybe even write your own songs.”
“My mother would never let me.” Sophie looked off into the near distance.
“Sophie, we’ll get to wear sparkly dresses. And wouldn’t you love to wear those modern, classy clothes? We’d bob our hair even shorter, wear lipstick, and be around people who know how to have fun and not have a care in the world.” Sophie should see the photos in Kathleen’s collection of theater magazines again. Then she’d be excited too.
“I’m sick of funerals and consoling others,” Kathleen continued.
“Look at how miserable Dolly is. Aren’t you tired of that too? We’d be around progressive people, thinking people, people who know how to make the most out of life. They’re searching for talent, Sophie. We’ll fit right in.”
“Where, Kathleen? No one much appreciates our abilities here.”
“Chicago. There are all sorts of openings for attractive young ladies with well-turned ankles and voices like canaries. That’s what the advertisements say.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Charlene Bell Dietz’s award-winning mystery novels The Flapper, the Scientist, and the Saboteur combines family saga with corporate espionage, and The Flapper, the Impostor, and the Stalker propels readers back into 1923 in frenetic Chicago. The Scientist, the Psychic, and the nut gives readers a frightening Caribbean vacation. Her latest novel The Spinster, the Rebel, and the Governor is a historical biography about Lady Margaret Brent, the first American woman to be called an attorney, whose integrity and intelligence saves pre-colonial Maryland from devastation. This book won the New Mexico Press Women’s first place award and an award by the National Press Women. The Spinster, the Rebel, and the Governor will be released as a second edition by Artemesia Press in February 2024. Two of her Flapper books have won the coveted Kirkus stars, and two were named best book of 2018. Charlene, a retired educator, lives in the foothills of the mountains in central New Mexico where abundant wildlife, solitude, and natures’ beauty inspires her creativity.
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The book will be $0.99 during the tour.