© 2013 Clive Eaton
Sharon Cupp Pennington's short stories have appeared in numerous online and print venues, with anthology contributions to The Rocking Chair Reader in the Coming Home edition (2004) and Family Gatherings (2005), A Cup of Comfort for Weddings: Something Old, Something New (2007), and Good Old Days Magazine (March, 2007). Her debut novel, Hoodoo Money, was released in May 2008 and the sequel,Mangroves and Monsters, followed in November 2009. She resides in Texas with her husband, Wayne, where she is currently working on several new projects, including the third instalment of her Hoodoo Money series.
Book title: Hoodoo Money
Brief Synopsis: After her almost-wedding to a bigamist, successful children's author Braeden McKay has given up on love. She's content to live vicariously through her imaginary heroine, Platypus Pearl, and a gaggle of adventurous, web-footed cohorts - until a working vacation in New Orleans shakes up her quiet, structured world. Had she known that souvenir nickel stolen from the grave of a hoodoo woman would catapult her into a nightmare of betrayal and murder, she would have insisted her friend put it back.
Cursed nickel or unfortunate happenstance? Sanderson Montgomery isn't one to discount the supernatural beliefs of others. This is the Big Easy, after all, Mecca to the spiritual and the superstitious. As a veteran detective, neither does he ignore cold, hard fact. And the fact is, someone or something is bent on harming Braeden McKay, and it's up to him to protect her while keeping his heart out of the mix.
Can love, the very thing Braeden wants no part of, be the one force greater than any adversary - even a hoodoo curse?
What or who inspired you to write your current novel?
My third novel, tentatively titled Reparation, was inspired by the first two books in this untitled series and will revisit many of those characters. Habitually, I run two storylines simultaneously in each book: my main couple and a secondary couple, who will then take center stage in the next instalment. The plan is that this series will wrap up in six books.
Tell us three interesting facts about Hoodoo Money which are not covered in the synopsis.
1) Hoodoo Money started out as a true crime piece on a the murder of a local and quite perverse businessman and...
2) It was the incarcerated shooter who suggested I turn the tale into one of fiction.
3) My eldest daughter, Shelley, became my muse for Hoodoo Money’s main character, Braeden, having experienced her own frightening encounter with a mugger in New Orleans. Yes, that dreaded hoodoo nickel did exist!
What research did you need to do for this book?
I did the usual online research, and as I wrote, I had the notes, statements and crime scene photos from that notorious local murder spread out on the floor of my office - much of which found its way into my manuscript. My daughter and I also visited New Orleans, of course. How could I pass up a chance to see this fabulous city! While there, we took in a guided tour of the cemeteries (Hoodoo Money’s opening scene), as well as a few walking excursions on our own.
Tell us a little about your current work-in-progress.
I’m currently working on and are near completion of two projects: Reparation, third in the Hoodoo Money series, and The Churchyard Watcher, a stand-alone romantic suspense with a supernatural twist (but no vampires or werewolves, please!)
What process did you adopt from inception through to the finished book?
I lean heavily on my online critique group, Writing Well, and sub chapters to them periodically until completion of a project. Don’t know what I’d do without this group of talented writers. Their feedback is brutally honest, and well, priceless. I’ve been a member for more than 10 years.
What do you need (or not need) around you whilst writing?
I need quiet blocks of time to write, early in the day. No family drama for this mama, at least for a bit.
What were the three biggest challenges you faced when writing your book?
1) To set a target finish date and stick to it
2) Research, research, and still more research!
3) To let my characters speak for themselves
Every author seems to suffer with writer’s block at some point.
How do you overcome it? This has been hard for me, especially during this past year. Though I can’t pinpoint why. I’ve worked through it by critiquing the works of others in my writing group, by continuing my research, and of course, by constantly reading in the genre I love to write.
What single piece of advice would you give to any aspiring writer?
Only one piece of advice? You torture me, Clive. LOL. I suppose the best writing advice I ever received came during a stint at NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month): If you find yourself stuck while writing, throw your characters into the worst possible scenario you can think of, something truly dire, near impossible to overcome, life-threatening or life altering, and then have them struggle through it/out of it. This is one bit of advice that actually works.
What genre does your book fall into? Romantic suspense
How did you get interested in this specific genre? These are the books I’ve always loved to read, where the plots are heavy on mystery but maintain a sprinkling of romance until the final page. This way my work appeals to both the mystery lover and the romantic. Which, basically, is me!
You as a reader
Which three authors have inspired you the most, and why?
1) Nora Roberts - she can blend mystery and romance like no one else.
2) Tami Hoag - she weaves great suspense, chock full of strong women and sizzling hot men. Love it, love it, love it!
3) Lately, the writing duo of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child have lent inspiration to my writing muse. The works of this wonderfully creative duo urge me to be daring, to take chances with my characters - to allow my characters to take chances. Anything is possible if you make the reader believe.
What was your favourite book as a child?
Oh my, I cut my teeth on Nancy Drew. Loved those adventurous books from cover to cover. I was an extremely shy girl, and Nancy was gutsy and bold and curious. Everything I couldn’t fathom being. She took me to places I could only dream of. Now I take others to those wonderful places. Or at least try.
What is the best book you’ve read in the last 12 months?
I’ve gotten hooked recently on James Patterson’s Alex Cross series - which seems to be endless. Much to my delight.
Kindle (or other e-reader) or paperback, and why?
I suppose I’m a dinosaur in that I still love holding an actual printed-on-paper book in my hands and love the smell of musty old swap and shop book stores. Though I understand the convenience of ebooks, I pray print editions never become obsolete. A cluttered bookshelf is an experience every child should know and treasure.
Hollywood is calling
You’ve had the call from Hollywood and they want your opinion on who should play the leading roles in the film based upon your book. Who would you choose, and why?
Detective Sanderson Montgomery, my “Sandman” in Hoodoo Money, would need to be blond so I’m thinking Matt Damon. Hmmm...Braeden McKay is a redhead so maybe Emma Stone? Though, in my mind’s eye, this doesn’t seem a good onscreen pairing. I’ll have to give it some thought.
The film of your book is now going to need a soundtrack. Which musician(s) would you want to write and play it?
Don’t tell my husband, but I’m madly in love with Adam Levine of Maroon 5. Of course,at my age, I could be his mom - but we won’t tell anyone that either.
Drink – Iced peach tea
Meal – Creamy shrimp fettuccine with bits of broccoli
Holiday destination – the casino with my husband. Viva Las Vegas!
TV programme – It’d be a tie between “Criminal Minds” and “The Walking Dead” (My grandson got me hooked on the latter.)
Film – “Relic” This movie is a bit corny but I love the special effects, characters and atmosphere.
Method of travel – Car
Sport – Watching the occasional football game on television with my husband. Go Texans!
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Where can readers find your book?
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