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Monday, 7 December 2020

ℚ♫ Shadow Ridge: Jo Wyatt Mysteries [1] - M. E. Browning

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Shadow Ridge (, Crooked Lane Books, 295 pages), a Police Procedural Mystery, book one in the Jo Wyatt Mysteries series.

"A first-rate mystery! M.E. Browning paints a convincing portrait of Detective Jo Wyatt, a second generation cop in an uphill battle for the truth. Compelling and fast-paced, Shadow Ridge will leave you wanting more." --Bruce Robert Coffin, bestselling author of the award-winning Detective Byron Mysteries

"Convincing action and vivid characters...Police procedural fans will look forward to seeing more of tough, smart Jo." --Publishers Weekly

"Retired police captain best on Jo's professional frustration with a department that values her labors as long as she doesn't step out of line." --Kirkus Reviews

|| Synopsis || Teaser: KCR Preview || Author Q&A || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||

A very warm welcome to M. E. Browning; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

Here at BooksChatter we love music; do you have a music playlist that you used in Shadow Ridge , or which inspired you whilst you were writing it?
"I love listening to music when I write, although it is almost exclusively instrumental.  I find film soundtracks particularly evocative and found myself often listening to Westworld (Season 1), I Medici (Original Soundtrack), and select tracks from Game of Thrones (all seasons) while writing Shadow Ridge."
What was the inspiration for Shadow Ridge?
"I’d read an article that detailed the misogyny that female gamers faced online.  Unfortunately, when it comes to online abuse, women are overwhelmingly the target.  From a law enforcement perspective, cybercrimes are difficult to investigate.  There are many ways a harasser can cloak their identity online, and while they may be as close as your neighbor, they could also live on the other side of the globe.

After that first article, I knew I wanted to bring a gamer and a detective together.  The game designer runs afoul of online abuse which brings her in contact with Detective Jo Wyatt—who faces some parallel issues of her own within the department.  Of course, not all goes as either character expects, and as authors like to say in an effort to avoid spoilers, shenanigans ensued."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"I believe an author inhabits every character she creates.  That said, a reader shouldn’t see the author on the page.  So, despite creating a character who shared my same profession, Detective Jo Wyatt is not my alter ego. 

Setting is another matter.  I spent the last part of my career in Durango, Colorado and fell in love the area.  I like to joke that if you took fifty years of growth off Durango, halved the population and squinted, you’d see Echo Valley."
Durango, Colorado
Durango, Colorado
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover.  Can you tell us about your cover for Shadow Ridge - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"Shadow Ridge unfolds in the dead of winter and Nicole Lecht captured that dread brilliantly in her cover design.  The perspective of looking down at the tops of the snow-covered pines forces the viewer to adjust, and the river that cuts across the cover peeks out as if watchful.  Taken together, the cover reflects an almost eerie unease—perfect for a story where nothing is as it seems!"
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
"Like many readers, I try to deduce what lies hidden between the lines.  The same event is interpreted differently based on the reader’s personal experiences.  My experiences and training in law enforcement informs every story I write and allows me to write authentic crime fiction. 

In Shadow Ridge, I explore the complexity of family, the meaning of promises, and the danger of secrets.  But in the end, when the last word is read and the book is closed, I hope readers believe that Jo is exactly the cop they’d want to respond if they ever need to call for help."
Who would you recommend Shadow Ridge to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"Bestselling author Hank Phillippi Ryan said Shadow Ridge would appeal to readers who enjoy Sue Grafton and Julia Spencer-Fleming—lofty company, indeed.  I’d like to add Bruce Robert Coffin and Isabella Maldonado to the list for those who enjoy police procedurals."
If you could / wished to turn Shadow Ridge and the Jo Wyatt Mysteries series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"Hands down, director Gina Prince-Bythewood.  She has an amazing ability to balance action against quieter moments that adds incredible depth to her projects—as evidenced by The Old Guard and The Secret Life of Bees.  I’d also trust her casting decisions, although I will admit I’ve always envisioned Ruby Rose as Quinn.  As for the setting?  Southwest Colorado."
Gina Prince-Bythewood on the set of The Old Guard
Ruby Rose
What do you like to write and read about?  Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"In my novels, I tend to write about determined women making difficult decisions.  There is always a crime of some sort, which positions me as a mystery writer.  Shadow Ridge is my first (but not last) police procedural.  Short stories provide the perfect length to experiment with point of view, character voices, and genres—so my shorts are more varied.

In regards to reading I enjoy nonfiction as much as fiction.  I conduct a great deal of research for my stories.  It’s often the obscure detail that makes the most lasting impression.  Lately, I’ve been on a domestic thriller binge."
What is your writing process?
"Um…I’d like to say I have a process, but 2020 has taken all my structure and thrown it into a blender.  The only constant is my ever present--and often cold mug of tea.  After much trial and error, I’ve discovered I write best when I know what the milestones of my story are.  It’s not an outline per se, because I don’t know how to hop from milestone to milestone until I sit down to write—but it’s in those hops that I find the magic."
What is in store next?
"I’m currently working on the second Jo Wyatt Mystery which is scheduled to launch in the fall of 2021.  In it, Jo investigates a missing child, but as she digs into their fractured family life, she unearths a trove of secrets and half-lies that paint a different picture of the two parents she’s known since high school. "

Death is one click away when a string of murders rocks a small Colorado town in the first mesmerizing novel in M. E. Browning’s A Jo Wyatt Mystery series.

Shadow Ridge
Available NOW!

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M.E. Browning said...

Thank's so much for introducing me to your readers!

CMash said...

Fantastic interview!!!

Kathy R said...

I love Durango too! Lived quite close to there many moons ago!
The book sounds wonderful!