I’d like to welcome my guest today, Crystal Cropper. She is the main character in the new book by Janis Thornton, Dead Air and Double Dares and agreed to answer a few of my questions. Crystal is a spunky reporter who is trying to knock something off her bucket list! Don’t forget to look for the Prize Guy! Enter to win a free copy of Dead Air and Double Dares in print or ebook form.
And now, Crystal tells all…
Crystal Cropper, editor of the Elmwood Gazette, has added incentive in finding out who killed Horace Q. Ogilvie, owner of the local radio station and the most reviled man in town. Horace turns up dead minutes before he is supposed to broadcast his next malicious editorial, designed to destroy yet another Elmwood luminary. Fortunately for the police department, Horace’s list of future targets provides an abundant pool of suspects. Unfortunately for Crystal, her name is at the top!
Please tell us about your latest adventure.
The only “adventure” I had planned for Memorial Day was a quick ride in a powered-parachute, so I could (1) fulfill a double dare, and (2) cross it off my bucket list. Unfortunately, plans went terribly awry when the pilot crash-landed on the courthouse lawn in the middle of the Memorial Day ceremony, slightly injuring Horace Q. Ogilvie, the most detested man in town. By the next morning, he was dead — murdered! Ogilvie, owner of the local radio station, had made a game of ruining the lives of Elmwood luminaries by revealing their secrets in his on-air editorials. As editor of the Elmwood Gazette, I naturally wanted to “help” the sheriff determine the identity Ogilvie’s killer, which shouldn’t have been difficult, considering his editorials had wrought no shortage of suspects. But the problem was, I was one of them.
Do you have any friends/sidekicks helping you out?
I have the most wonderful friends — Auggie Stillwater, the Elm County Superior Court judge; Shay Nichols, director of the Elmwood Chamber of Commerce; and Richelle Evers, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church. They’re the best, and we’ll do anything for one another. In addition, there’s Gertie Tyroo, Elmwood’s premier freelance cleaning lady and my most trusted, confidential informant. Even at 80-something (she won’t tell me her exact age), she’s the best, most experienced crime-buster I’ve ever known. I have reason to suspect she’s been in the FBI’s witness protection program since 1963, but she won’t tell me that either.
Do you have any special skills to fight crime?
I spent several years as the crime beat reporter for the Los Angeles News-Tribune, I have a certificate of completion in a ladies’ self-defense course, but most useful of all, I’m persistent.
Are you a full-time detective or do you do something else?
Oh, yes, I’m definitely “something else.” My buddy, Sheriff Verlin Wallace, huffs that at me all the time. But in answer to your question, no, I’m not a full-time detective; yes, I do something else. As previously noted, I’m a full-time newspaper reporter and editor, and inherent in that job is a host of skills, including good instincts for news and a nose made to sniff out crime.
What are you most frightened of in this story?
To tell you the truth, there is a revelation in this story that utterly terrifies me, and it has nothing to do with the murder of Horace Ogilvie. Without giving away too much, I will say only that is has to do with the unexpected appearance of a person I never knew existed and never would have believed I could love so completely and so unconditionally.
Is there anything funny that happens to you or another character in this story?
You might think it’s funny, but I don’t find crash-landing on the courthouse lawn amid 500 men, women and children, the community band, and the American Legion firing squad particularly amusing.
If I were to choose an actor or actress to play your part in a movie, who would that be? Do you see any other characters in your story as actors or actresses that our readers might know?
As you know, I am a Boomer-aged woman, who is strong, independent, intelligent, confident, fun loving, a tad snarky, somewhat attractive, and infinitely humble. I’ve always considered myself a cross between Meryl Streep, Helen Mirran, and Cher. As for my spunky sidekick, Gertie Tyroo, I think of her as a hybrid of Ruth Gordon and “The Golden Girls’” Estelle Getty. And finally, if J.K. Simmons (of Farmers Insurance fame) would pack on a hundred pounds, he’d be a perfect Verlin Wallace.
Do you have other mysteries you would like to tell us about? Is this the first book in the series, or have you cracked a few other cases?
“Dead Air & Double Dares” is Book 2 in the Elmwood Confidential series. Book 1, “Dust Bunnies & Dead Bodies,” was released in the fall of 2014. Crime solving is second nature to me, and I will continue to “crack cases” for as long as I am breathing. So, stay tuned. Book 3 is as near as Elmwood’s next homicide.
Do you have any final words you would like to leave with our readers?
Well, yes… There’s one lesson I took away from this case, and it’s this: Give people a chance, even those who seem beyond redemption, as did the despicable Horace Q. Ogilvie. Life is complicated, and it may be impossible to know what another person has been forced to endure or what dwells at the core of their soul. Oftentimes, when you take a moment to look deeper, you will find that all they need is a little understanding and forgiveness.
Let’s give your author a chance to speak. Anything you would like to add?
Yes … Thank you, Teresa, for inviting Crystal and me to stop by. We are thrilled about our new cozy and enormously grateful for this opportunity to tell you and your readers a bit about it. We hope you all enjoy it. Thanks again!