Meet This Author: Ann Charles

Q: When did you begin writing The Jackrabbit Junction Mystery series? 

A long, long time ago, back in 2001, I wrote the manuscript for Dance of the Winnebagos (Book 1). However, then I ended up rewriting a different book and didn’t get back to the Book 1 until around 2004. I started shipping the manuscript to agents and editors in 2005, but I ran into walls because it’s a mixed genre story, with romance and humor and adventure in addition to mystery. I wrote the second book in the series, Jackrabbit Junction Jitters, in 2006. Then both books took a backseat to the first two books in my Deadwood Mystery series. I finally had a chance to revisit them in late 2010, and the next year is when I released the first book in the series as an ebook and print book. The audiobook version came later.

Q: What inspired you to write the series?
I was playing a game of hangman with a coworker, and she had picked the book title, The Hounds of the Baskerville, only several letters were missing. When I looked at the words, I guessed, “Dance of the Winnebagos.” Well, of course that was wrong, but I thought it was a great title for a book set in an RV park in the Arizona desert (because Arizona has many, many RV parks). That’s how the series was born.

Q: Did you always want to become a writer?
No, I didn’t decide to try my hand at writing until my mid-20s after reading a book with an ending I didn’t like. I decided at that time to write my own story with my own ending and see if I liked that better.

When I was growing up, I daydreamed about several non-writing careers for me—from archaeology to flight attendant to Spanish translator to lawyer. I even daydreamed about being a camel jockey at one time and painted a picture of me on a camel for art class. In the end, I’m glad I fell into this writing career. It allows me to live vicariously through characters who do several different jobs and careers.

Q: What themes will readers find in your latest book, Twisty Tortoise Tussles?
Well, the main theme is in the title itself—twisty. This book is full of plot twists, turning the story this way and that as readers go along. The word Tussles comes into play often, too, with plenty of humorous small squabbles and tiffs as the plot moves along. I had a fun time exploring five different character points-of-view while weaving their individual storylines together on the pages. Family dynamics play an important role in this book, as well as through the Jackrabbit Junction Mystery series, which stars the three Morgan sisters. However, there are a lot of secondary characters who are part of the Jackrabbit “family” in
one way or another.


Q: How would you describe your main protagonist, Claire Morgan?
Claire often leaps before she looks. She’s loves working with her hands, building, remodeling, and fixing things. She grew up helping her grandfather, who owned a contracting business, so she’s comfortable wearing a tool belt along with t-shirts, jeans, and sneakers. She’s also good at solving puzzles, which is why she makes such a great amateur sleuth.

Q: How did you get into the romantic comedy genre? 
I grew up reading a lot of romances, and those with a dash of humor were my favorites. When I decided to give writing a try, the humor came naturally on the page. I’ve had to work on my craft some to improve the comedic timing, but I think I’ve always leaned toward humor to help me escape when times were frustrating or sad. There’s nothing better than hearing from a reader that you made them laugh out loud in a doctor’s office waiting room or on the bus on the way to work.

Q: What is your favorite beverage when working on your novels?
I love beverages of all sorts! I like coffee—the sweeter and milkier, the better. Turmeric-ginger tea is nice in the cooler weather. I love Coca-Cola Slushees/Icees. I enjoy tequila on
ice with lemon (when I’m celebrating finishing another manuscript). And sometimes I just like water with lemon in it.

Q: How many books do you plan for The Jackrabbit Junction Mystery series?
I don’t have a set number planned. I have a series arc that I’m working along, but I’m the
kind of writer who likes to let the story develop on its own. I don’t over-plan any of my
books, because I have trouble sticking to an outline. I do well following along until I reach
about the first turning point in the story, and then the storyteller in my head takes over and
goes whichever direction it thinks we should. This makes telling a book more fun for me.

Q: Describe your writing style using three words.
Character-driven humor

Q: What other projects are you currently working on?
I’m working with Sam Lucky, my husband, right now on the fourth novel in our Deadwood Undertaker series. The title is, The Backside of Hades, and we’re aiming to release this book in October. It’s an action-packed, historical western with a healthy dose of the supernatural. After this book is finished, I’ll start working on the 13th book in my Deadwood Mystery series with the plan to release it in the spring of 2023.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers in your genre?
If you’re going to write a series, keep meticulous notes on everything from character traits
to setting details to subplot threads. Readers are smart and pay attention to details, so you
need to be consistent. Also, this is a long game, so plan on spending years building your
story world and backlist, along with forming and cultivating your brand.

Q: Where can readers find you and your books online?
The easiest place to start that has links for my books in eBooks, print, and audio format is on my
website: http://www.anncharles.com
As for me, I’m all over the place on social media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnCharlesAuthorPage
TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@anncharlesbooks
Twitter: https://twitter.com/annwcharles
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ann_charles
Snapchat: https://www.snapchat.com/add/annwcharles
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/AnnWCharles
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/ann-charles
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4605878.Ann_Charles
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Ann-Charles/e/B004JLYPFW
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/AnnCharlesAuthor
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/anncharles

Author Bio:

Ann Charles is a USA Today Best-Selling author who writes spicy, award-winning mysteries full of mayhem, adventure, comedy, and suspense. She writes the Deadwood Mystery Series, Jackrabbit Junction Mystery Series, Dig Site Mystery Series, Deadwood Undertaker Series (with her husband, Sam Lucky), and AC Silly Circus Mystery Series. Her Deadwood Mystery Series has won multiple national awards, including the Daphne du Maurier for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. Ann has a B.A. in English with an emphasis on creative writing from the University of Washington and is a member of Sisters in Crime and Western Writers of America. She is currently toiling away on her next book, wishing she was on a Mexican beach with an ice-cold Corona in one hand and a book in the other. When she is not dabbling in fiction, she is arm wrestling with her two kids, attempting to seduce her husband, and arguing with her sassy cats.

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