Inside the Mind of the Author: Oh The Voices in My Head
by Catherine Astolfo
If you heard an echo of “Gloria” in yours at that title, you are probably close to my advanced age!
I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea, but I have to admit that I go around hearing voices. They are pretty real to me, since I gave birth to their owners.
The characters in my Emily Taylor Mystery series have birthdates, full names, height, weight, colour of eyes, hair and skin, personalities, quirks, strengths and weaknesses—all from me. Most of them live in a little village that I created too.
Emily, Langford, May, Alain, Edgar, Frances, Chief Dan and so on—are all people I can picture instantly. Like old friends whose faces you can never, ever forget. The moment you are back in one another’s company, it’s as though you’ve never been apart.
The stories and the plots are always there in my head, too. It gets very crowded sometimes and circuits do tend to overload. For instance, I could be taking a lovely, summery day ride in the car with my husband. Inside my head, it’s a different picture altogether.
Down in a dark, dank basement, a man lies slowly bleeding to death from a shotgun wound. I am contemplating how long it would take him to die, when my husband asks me what I’m thinking. Unfortunately for him, I tell him. This is a scenario from The Brdigeman, Book One of The Emily Taylor Mysteries.
A large raccoon is splayed upside down in the slope of the ditch on my right. He is stiff and awkward on his back, lips pulled back in an angry grimace. Maggots crawl out of his mouth and flies swarm everywhere. I can hear their frenzied delight as we stop for a red light. I am fascinated. Victim—Book Two!
Next we pass a burned-out shell perched forgotten on a side road. I am thrilled to see it. I ask my husband to stop so I can get out and breathe in the scorched wood smell and the stench of furled plastic and dead things underneath the ash. Great experience for Legacy, Book Three.
Forensics for Dummies, Until You Are Dead, Criminal Investigative Failures – these were the books that dominated my shelves during the writing of Book Four. Along with questions to which I find an answer through Sisters in Crime’s forensics specialist: Can you paint scenery on a dead body?
Now I’ve got 3 books on the go: one about a psychopath who betrays her best friend, a “cozy” about a retirement home, and a children’s story about a ghost I once knew. Oh the voices in my head!
If I knew what I know now, would I have searched so hard for the truth?
Anne Williams says she killed her best friend, Karoline. But did she? Or is there more to Karoline’s mysterious death than meets the eye?
Anne embarks on a compelling journey to discover her past and exposes an unusual history, horrific crimes and appalling betrayals. Through unexpected turns and revelations, Anne learns about love, family and who she really is. Can she survive the truth?
“A deliciously vibrant portrait that realistically muddles good and evil.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Astolfo’s wonderful first sentence in Sweet Karoline explodes on the page and resonates right to the end of this twisting examination of dangerous minds. Never have I encountered a narrative voice that alternates more deftly between alienating and enticing.” —Mel Bradshaw, author of Fire On The Runway
“A deliciously twisted story about the perplexing power of adult female relationships. By turns scathingly funny and darkly insightful, Sweet Karoline is a hedonistic journey with all the right ingredients: lust, betrayal, true love and mystery. Grab a glass of wine and have the bottle handy. A compelling read from the start through to the surprising end.” —Robin Spano, author of Death’s Last Run
“In Catherine Astolfo’s chilling new novel Sweet Karoline, things aren’t always as they seem. Anne, the multifaceted anti-heroine in this noir tale takes a fateful journey into her forgotten past, uncovering the painful roots of her childhood. While furrowing for answers, a mystery unfolds, truths swirl to the surface, a heinous murder occurs. Who’s the killer? Caught in a tangled web of greed, lies and deceit Anne must come to terms with her past, present and future, and the bleak realization that those we hold close may be the last ones to trust. Compelling, visually descriptive, deftly delivered…Catherine Astolfo’s got the goods!” —Douglas Wickard, author of A Perfect Husband
“Sweet Karoline is a multi-layered mystery, where nothing is as it seems. The story grips you on page one and leads you through a maze of history, twisted relationships, and ultimately the darkness of the human mind.” —Liz Bugg, author of Oranges and Lemons
“In Sweet Karoline, Astolfo has created a daring hybrid mystery that combines elements of romance, history, and suspense in a carefully crafted story that keeps you guessing to the very end. Astolfo explores new boundaries as she extends her reach beyond the cozy mystery in this psychological exploration of the mind of a killer. A unique exploration of guilt and revenge.” —Michael J. McCann, author of The Fregoli Delusion
“The clever plot twists in Sweet Karoline will enrapture you from page one through the last paragraphs of this fast-paced modern mystery. Author Catherine Astolfo exhibits a strikingly perceptive gift for believable dialogue and rich character development. Her dry wit and colorful descriptions will have you howling in laughter at points, but in tears at others as she digs deep into the themes of guilt, race, and relationships. The powers of love and redemption are strong, but does the heart of an Ice Queen ever really melt? Enjoy the romp from Los Angeles, through Canada, to a priceless Italian rendezvous—all in the pages of Sweet Karoline, where long-buried secrets lie.” —Lisa Pell, award-winning author of Who’s Your Daddy, Baby?
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Genre – Psychological Suspense
Rating – 18+