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Tuesday 9 June 2015

ℚ Flash: Dogleg Island Mystery [1] - Donna Ball

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Flash (, Blue Merle Publishing, 251 pages) the first book in her new "Dogleg Island Mystery" series:

Aggie Malone is a dedicated young cop who has spent her entire life just looking for a place to call home.  She never thought she'd find it in a quaint Florida village called Dogleg Island, where almost nothing ever happens.  Almost...

Deputy Ryan Grady is an easy going playboy who carries a surf board in the trunk of his patrol car and lives in the same rambling beach cottage his grandfather built seventy years ago.  He grew up on Dogleg Island and can't imagine ever living anywhere else.  It's always been the most peaceful place he has ever known. Until...

Flash is a black and white, blue eyed border collie with amazing powers of perception, recollection, and deduction.  He was born to be nothing more than a pampered family pet, however, and his skills might never have been uncovered.   And then...

A single night of blood and terror changed the lives of these three forever, and forged a bond between them that nothing will ever break. While each of them struggles to deal with the scars left by that night, they must also bring a killer to justice-- a killer who is also stalking them.  And only Flash knows who it is.

"An ample murder mystery with an enthralling protagonist... thoroughly entertaining..." --Kirkus Reviews

Synopsis | Teaser | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops | The Sound Of Running Horses |

Hello Donna and welcome to BooksChatter.
What was the inspiration for your latest book, Flash?

"Years ago I was on one of the Gulf Coast barrier islands when Hurricane Opal struck.  Even though we knew the storm was coming for days, this was unfortunately during the time of the O.J. Simpson trial and—perhaps for the first time in Florida history—weather was regulated to a second-tier story, so I didn’t really track the timing of the storm.  At seven a.m. I got a call from the property manager of the home in which I was staying saying, “They’re closing the bridge in two hours.”  The frantic evacuation that followed was one of the most dramatic—not to mention scary!— things I’ve ever been through, and I’ve known since then that one day I would use that experience as the background for a book."
[On 4 October 1995 Hurrican Opal hit the Florida Panhandle, near Pensacola.]

How much of yourself is reflected in the book, and how?

"Whenever I write about dogs, I am speaking from my own voice, with my own experience. I think that’s one of the things that makes my canine characters so authentic. "
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover.  Can you tell us about the cover for Flash - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"When I started Flash I knew I had to have three things on the cover: a stunning border collie, a stormy sea, and most importantly, the bridge.  I think the border collie is gorgeous, and while we were able to get the blue eyes we were never able to satisfactorily depict the lightning-shaped blaze on his head.  On the other hand, I love the way the lightning in the sky flashes just behind the title, and the bridge is perfect.  

I designed the cover; a professional put it together and smoothed it out."
That cover is indeed very evocative.
Why should we read this book and what sets it apart from the rest?

"The most unique thing about this book is that Flash is an active character with his own agenda, his own goals, and his own obstacles to overcome.  As such, he has to grow and change throughout the book and we, as readers, have to understand why.  

Whenever I start a book I ask myself about the major characters: Who is this person and what does he/she want?  What stands in his way?  What does he learn in the process of achieving his goal?  It felt very strange to ask myself, “Who is this dog and what does he want?” but it was a fascinating journey, and in the end it was a thrill to have created a canine character that was just as vivid as his human counterparts."
Who would you recommend the Dogleg Island Mystery series to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)? 
"Flash was written to appeal to anyone who enjoys mystery or suspense.

While it does have elements of a cozy in it, I don’t want to mislead readers who object to violence or strong language in their mysteries, as this book has both.

Some dog lovers worry that they will fall in love with a canine character only to have him hurt or killed in the book, but although my canine heroes are often put in jeopardy during the course of their jobs, no dogs ever die in my mysteries."
I am very glad to hear that!
What is your writing process?

"I like to have three things firmly fixed in my mind before I start a book: the first sentence, the last scene, and the emotional climax of the book.

When writing a mystery I almost never know who did it; that takes all the fun out of it for me.  And I’m ashamed to admit I almost never outline a book anymore, which causes me a lot of unnecessary pain.

My working hours are from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 during the early stages of a book, then, as I fall further and further behind, I add another session from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m.

I take a break of up to a month (usually two or three weeks) between each book, but rarely take days off while I’m actually writing."
What is in store next?
"I have three series going now: The Raine Stockton Dog Mystery series, The Hummingbird House (women’s fiction) and of course, The Dogleg Island series.

I will have a new book in the Raine Stockton series and a new Hummingbird House book this year.

Expect more from Flash and friends next spring, where murder, mayhem and the consequences of the past threaten the wedding we’ve all been looking forward to."
Thank you for your time Donna, and we certainly look forward to reading Flash - we cannot wait to meet that border collie.
You can read the first two chapters of Flash on Amazon, just follow the link below.
Visit Donna Ball's website to find out more about Dogleg Island as well as read a further excerpt and author interview.

Available NOW!

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Rita Wray said...

I liked the interview.

BooksChatter said...

Hi Rita, glad you liked it :-)

Jeanie Jackson said...

I really enjoyed the interview and loved the book. I have read all of the Raine Stockton books but will have to check out Hummingbird House.