Hello everyone! I’m so happy to have a very special guest on the blog today! The one and only Kelley Armstrong answers some question on her blog tour for the newest book in the Rockton series A Stranger in Town, which comes out next week on February 9th.
“In #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong’s next Rockton book, A Stranger in Town, the biggest mystery is the fate of the town itself.
Detective Casey Duncan has noticed fewer and fewer residents coming in to the hidden town of Rockton, and no extensions being granted. Her boyfriend, Sheriff Eric Dalton, presumes it’s the natural flux of things, but Casey’s not so sure. Something bigger is happening in the small town they call home.
When an injured hiker stumbles from the woods, the sole survivor of a hostile attack, it’s all hands on deck. Even a member of the elusive Rockton council comes in to help. This council member also comes bearing news: Rockton is being shut down due to the hostile situation.
Casey and Eric must now race to save the town that has allowed residents to have a fresh start, away from the mistakes of their past, while also getting to the bottom of this latest attack. ”
One of my favourite moments in this book was when April offers Casey some criticism on her detective skills based on the detectives in novels she’s read, do you wish it was as easy to write and solve the mysteries as April implies it should be?
I think there are a lot of real-life detectives who wish it was as easy to solve crimes as it is in books, including mine. Writers have the advantage of designing the puzzle and then leading the detective through it. While that isn’t easy—you don’t want readers guessing the answer too soon or thinking the solution is a cheat—it’s got to be easier than the real thing. Although, in the “real thing” far too many crimes are resolved by the perpetrator talking when they shouldn’t! You can’t make it that easy in a book.
There are now six books in the Rockton series and hopefully more to come, how do you come up with a different and unique mystery for each book?
I’ve taken this series very slowly. From the start, I never promised readers more than a book or two more. I knew that the setup might be restrictive, and I don’t want the crimes to become repetitive. So as I finish each book, I ask myself whether I have one more unique plot idea for Rockton…and if I do, the series gets one book longer. As soon as I start floundering, it’ll stop.
Casey and her sister April are Chinese-Canadian and April also happens to be on the autism spectrum; as a white author how do you go about writing these characters to make sure they’re represented accurately?
It’s true, I’m a white, het, neurotypical author. While that’s obviously given me advantages in the industry that I acknowledge, it’s also made it challenging when I don’t want to write books filled with characters that only reflect my life. I want to reflect the world we live in, though that can be hard to balance with not wanting to appropriate experiences. It’s a constant learning curve and work in progress. I’ve made past choices I definitely wouldn’t make again, and, I’m sure in the future, I’ll look back and see more choices in what I’m doing currently that could improve or be left off entirely. At this point, I do my best to research and accurately reflect while depicting characters like Casey, whose part-Chinese identity is secondary to her identity as a mystery-novel detective.
The Yukon setting is always such an important part of the Rockton series, why did you choose to set it there?
I knew I wanted a northern setting, where I could imagine hiding a tiny community like Rockton. I’d been to Alaska, and geographically, it was what I wanted, but I preferred a Canadian setting. I’d also been to the Northwest Territories, but the area I visited wasn’t quite what I envisioned. So I decided to check out the place in-between the two—the Yukon—and it turned out to be perfect.
The closest “civilization” to Rockton (aside from the Hostiles and the people in the Settlements) is Dawson City so I have to ask, have you ever had a Sourtoe Cocktail?
I have not! I’ve been to that restaurant/bar, but the cocktail is…let’s just say it’s a very tourist thing to do. There’s a certain time of night when it’s brought out, and people line up to take their turn. I’ve decided I’ll stick to the toe-free cocktails in Dawson, which are much more to my taste!
Thank you so much for dropping by and thanks to Raincoast Books for making this all possible! A Stranger in Town comes out February 9th and it’s one you don’t want to miss!
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