Today we welcome Sharon Hopkins.
Book ‘Em: Tell us about you and your life outside of writing.
Sharon Hopkins: I enjoy working outside in my yard, and I am also a Realtor®.
Book ‘Em: Which books have you written?
Sharon Hopkins: I write the Rhetta McCarter mystery series, “Killerwatt” “Killerfind” “Killertrust” and “Killerground.”
Book ‘Em: What are they about and why did you choose to write them? Do your books have a message? Are they fiction or nonfiction?
Sharon Hopkins: They are fiction, about a mortgage banker who discovers a terrorist plot to take out the US electric grid. (Killerwatt) She continues to have mysterious deaths and murders follow her into the next three books.
Book ‘Em: Do you have a work in progress?
Sharon Hopkins: Yes, Book #5, Killercure is in progress.
Book ‘Em: What was the most difficult section/piece you ever wrote? What made it difficult?
Sharon Hopkins: I wrote a 200 word flash fiction piece for a contest. It had to be EXACTLY 200 words including the title.
Book ‘Em: What sort of research do you do for your work?
Sharon Hopkins: For the book I am writing now, I am doing a lot of research in the pharmaceutical field. I have spoken with many medical people.
Book ‘Em: Which books and authors do you read for pleasure?
Sharon Hopkins: I read a variety of mystery and thrillers. I love reading work by small press authors and Indie authors. Is there an author that inspires you? Yes, I am inspired by author Sue Ann Jaffarian, who writes prolifically and works full time as a paralegal. She writes a couple of series, and I’ve read all of her books, over twenty.
Book ‘Em: What would you say are your strengths as an author?
Sharon Hopkins: I try to tell the story with interesting characters who are just “regular people.”
Book ‘Em: How often do you write, and do you write using a strict routine?
Sharon Hopkins: I write more in the winter than in summer because if the weather is nice, I prefer to be outside. If the weather is cold, I hibernate and write.
Book ‘Em: Five years from now, where do you see yourself as a writer?
Sharon Hopkins: I hope to finish my series and write some stand-alone thrillers.
Book ‘Em: If you could offer one piece of advice to a novice writer, what would it be?
Sharon Hopkins: Write. Then write more.
Book ‘Em: What would you consider the best compliment a reader could give your book?
Sharon Hopkins: That they had to stay up late to finish it!
Book ‘Em: Provide an excerpt of your writing that you would like to share with our members.
As they prepared to leave the sidewalk and step onto the wooden bridge, Karleen shoved Rhetta aside hard with her right hand, and with a lightning fast left-handed draw that would put Matt Dillon to shame, withdrew a nine millimeter semiautomatic pistol and fired. A fat, brown cottonmouth flew into the air and plopped at Rhetta’s feet, headless and squirming at the same time.
“Crap,” Rhetta said, holding her hands to her chest to check if her heart had exploded. She thought she might upchuck. And what Billy Dan said, Rhetta didn’t dare ask him to repeat. She prayed she’d get her hearing back sometime this century. For now, though, her head rang like a cast iron school bell.
“I’m sorry if I startled you,” she thought Karleen said. She wasn’t sure, since the thunder from the shooting still vibrated in her head. The woman had drawn and shot so quickly that Rhetta had neither seen the snake nor its killer take action. The weapon vanished as quickly as it had appeared. She hadn’t even noticed that Karleen was packing. Rhetta’s heart still hammered, and adrenaline coursed through her veins.
Rhetta held her hands over her ears, in hopes of clearing up the ringing. “I’m glad you’re so alert, Karleen, or I might have stepped right on top of Big Brown. I hope I’m not going to be deaf from this.”
Rhetta grabbed Billy Dan’s arm, shouted, “Let’s go,” and raced him across the bridge.
Karleen was right behind them. Panting from fear more than fatigue, Rhetta muttered, “Why are all those cottonmouths here at this bridge?” She pointed to a
knot of snakes roiling in the water. “I would think they’d rather hang around a pond.” The ringing began to subside. Rhetta shook her head again, and clutched Billy Dan’s arm.
“Teacher is fond of them, and has introduced them under the bridge. It’s exactly the right environment for them to multiply. And they are doing so at a rapid pace.” She smiled like a first-grader expecting a reward for memorizing the Pledge of Allegiance. No telling what pledge she had recited to Avery Fielding.
“Your loyalty to Mr. Fielding is admirable. I know I sure wouldn’t be able to put up with snakes.” Rhetta shivered. “What does he do with them?” Billy Dan had pried her hand loose from his arm and was holding the door open, gesturing with his head to get in. He wore an expression she’d never seen before. Anger?
Fear? Ringing in his ears, too?
“My first loyalty is, and always will be, to Avery Fielding. ”Karleen paused and pierced Rhetta with a stare again just for a second. Then her softer side returned and she smiled, almost girlishly. “They are wonderful deterrents to anyone prowling around,” she said. And without so much as a goodbye, swirled another one-eighty, and sailed back across the bridge.
“Crap, crap, crap, Billy Dan. These people are certifiable. Who in their right mind raises water moccasins for guard duty? Most normal people just buy savage dogs that get you down and rip your head off.” Rhetta slammed her door as Billy Dan loped around the front of the truck. He interrupted his entry to the driver’s side to raise the hood. Then he peered into the bed and under the chassis. Apparently satisfied, he climbed in behind the wheel.
“What were you looking for?” Rhetta asked. “Wait, don’t tell, me. Snakes? Yech!” She shuddered all over. “Do you have anything stronger than beer back
There? Icould use a gallon of Jack Daniels.”
Billy Dan threw the truck into gear, and squealed the tires as he tore away. “No, but I have more cigarettes. Want one?” He slid the pack toward her and she snatched it greedily. She wondered if she could smoke them all at once.