Carla Interviews Jazira from Lawna Mackie’s ‘Quinn’s Christmas Wish’

Carla Roma interviews Jazira from Lawna Mackie’s Quinn’s Christmas Wish
I’m certainly excited about today’s interview. Up until now I don’t believe I’ve had a chance to interview a Bandit Creek resident who actually lived in the town back in 1912. What a thrill! No sense wasting time I’m sure you are all as excited as I am.
Carla: Jazira I have to say you are a beauty, and more importantly you don’t look a day over twenty-five. How is that possible? You claim to be over 100 year’s old.
Jazira: I guess I age well.
Carla: That would be an understatement, but we’ll let you keep your secret. So, Jazira, tell me what was Bandit Creek like when you were a child.
Jazira: Bandit Creek has its moments. It’s a beautiful place, but certainly not ordinary. Things changed when the flood hit.
Carla: Yes, I can image the whole town changed because it was gone. The flood took care of that. Now, you say you were in the flood is that correct?
Jazira: Closes her eyes and nods her head slowly. My mother, father and myself were in a wagon when the water hit us. I remember hearing the screams. The water was so cold. My parents drowned.
Carla: I’m very sorry dear. Can you tell us how you managed to survive?
Jazira: I was pulled from Lost Lake by Samuel Campton. He was a nice fellow. He married Amanda Drake and the two of them raised Quinn and myself.
Carla: Oh yes. Quinn Drake. I remember reading about him also. He had rare illness and it was said people feared the devil had possessed him. To this day we have no record of his whereabouts, or if he’s alive.
Jazira: Smiles sadly. He’s alive, though I haven’t seen him in many years. We were best friends but we had a falling out and I haven’t seen him since Amanda’s funeral. We both left Bandit Creek.
Carla: A falling out? Sounds sad. And you say he’s still alive. He must have the same secret you have. Back then folks said the two of you were destined to marry.
Jazira: I did something he couldn’t forgive me for. But I’ll leave it at that.
Carla: Okay. Well let’s move on. Tell us a bit more about Bandit Creek.
Jazira: Back when I was in school, people weren’t always nice. To this day the town is full of bizarre happenings, superstition and death. But some folks such as that nasty George Ellis didn’t deserve to live.
Carla: Bandit Creek has had its share of villains. How about we talk about something happy. Christmas is almost upon us, do you have plans Jazira?
Jazira: She reaches up to her neck fiddling with an odd necklace of sorts. Christmas is my favorite time of year. I will always remember my Christmases with Samuel, Amanda and…Quinn. It’s been many years since I’ve been back to Bandit Creek. I may go back for Christmas this year.
Carla: The necklace you’re wearing looks very old, it could almost resemble a collar.
Jazira: It was a gift I received for Christmas many years ago. I never part with it.
Carla: It must have come from somebody very special. Care to share who gave it to you?
Jazira: I think that’s another secret for me to keep.
Carla: It’s been a pleasure Jazira. I do hope you’ll stop back again to let us know how your visit goes should you decide to visit Bandit Creek this Christmas. And if you happen to see Quinn Drake, I’d love to interview him as well.
Jazira: Thank you Carla. Bandit Creek is sure to be interesting this Christmas.

Death at Bandit Creek released today!

Pick up your copy of DEATH AT BANDIT CREEK today!

For Kindle (Amazon) or Smashwords (other e-readers).

Charlotte Fraser is running away, broken-hearted. She is the new teacher in a one-room schoolhouse in Bandit Creek, Montana. The year is 1911 and she has arrived just in time to stage the annual Thanksgiving pageant but . . . when she gets there, she learns that the old school teacher, Eileen McArthur is missing. Could Charlotte be in danger too?

The young sheriff, Alec Forrest, is searching for Eileen McArthur. He gets nothing but grief from the young women in Bandit Creek, but it seems that Charlotte will be more trouble than any of the rest.  And will he ever find out what happened to Eileen McArthur?

Click here to read the first chapter.

Carla Interviews Amy Jo Fleming about ‘Death at Bandit Creek’

Hi, I’m Carla Roma and welcome to Bandit Creek, a small town with a mountain of secrets. The fall is one of my favorite times of year. The beautiful colors of the leaves, the first snow, getting ready for Thanksgiving — it all brings back memories of Thanksgiving that we have shared with our own families. Like that first day of school, the fall also brings the promise of new starts. I have been delighted to read DEATH AT BANDIT CREEK. It’s clear from the title that this book is a mystery story, but, it’s also a story of redemption and new beginnings. Today, it is my pleasure to interview Amy Jo Fleming about her book, DEATH AT BANDIT CREEK, the fifth book in the Bandit Creek series.

Carla: As a writer, I imagine that one of the first questions anyone asks you is where do you get your ideas?

AJF: I come from a family of storytellers and teachers. The stories of the young women who went west and taught in one-room schoolhouses are stories of courage and adventure. I wanted to capture the traits in my heroine that would make her willing to dare this great endeavor. I wanted to write about these young women who ventured out alone, to teach the children of our settlers and acknowledge the important role they played.

Carla: How do you commemorate those early schoolteachers?

AJF: It was important to see Charlotte, my heroine, feeling lonely and unsure at the beginning of the book. Then we see her confidence grow when she makes a success of her job as a teacher. One of my favorite parts of the book is when she puts on the annual Thanksgiving Pageant. It was a chance to show her with her students, teaching them and encouraging them to be successful.

Carla: When we first meet Charlotte, she is waiting in a train station. It really brings to mind another great story where the heroine is first seen at the train station.

AJF: Okay, I’m busted. Anne of Green Gables is my favorite book ever. I did want Charlotte to have a lot of the same qualities as Anne did, like courage and spunkiness. Charlotte is almost an orphan, on her own in Bandit Creek because her parents have gone west, but she doesn’t have the innocence of a child. She has to rely on the kindness of strangers. She has to make her own way and decide who she can trust and who she can’t.

Carla: Annie is a school teacher who became a fallen woman. Why did you choose to make her a teacher as well?

AJF: Annie’s story is a cautionary tale for a young woman in the early 1900’s. She was originally in the same situation as Charlotte, a young teacher on her own in Bandit Creek. But she made very different choices. She lived to regret her choices. We all know that young women, who are on their own, face risks. That’s as true today as it was in 1911. Charlotte, with her attitude, was just better prepared to deal with some of the risks she faced.

Carla: We don’t get to see very much of the character of Eileen McArthur who opens the book.

AJF: No, we don’t. She is the focus of the mystery and the only way we get to know her is by the way the other characters talk about her. Her story is tragic because her life ended so early.

Carla: Now who is Alec Forrest?

AJF:  Alec Forrest is the true orphan in the book. He witnessed the death of his parents. Now we’re back to the question of how being an orphan affects a person. It left a lot of scars and he copes by blocking everyone out. But he never has lost that basic sense of honor and decency that his parents taught him.

Carla: And the way I picture him, he’s very good looking in his lambskin jacket.

AJF: Honestly Carla, when I think of Alec, I think of Alex O’Loughlin who plays Steve McGarret on Hawaii Five-O – that striking dark, brooding appearance. A hero to die for.

Carla: And throughout the book, the tension grows on two levels…

AJF: Yes, the real mystery is what happened to Eileen McArthur and is someone out to get Charlotte, too. But the other theme of the story is will love triumph for these two characters who have been so hurt in the past.

Carla: Your book was quite a ride, Amy Jo. I could hardly put it down.

AJF: Thank you for saying that. The kind of story that I want to tell is a page-turner. I want the reader to be swept away to the world of Bandit Creek and then have the satisfaction of saying that’s the ending I was hoping for.

Carla: DEATH AT BANDIT CREEK is your first fiction to be published. You must be excited.

AJF: So excited. The group of Bandit Creek writers has been spectacular to work with. I feel so privileged to be part of this project. I just can’t tell you — I am so excited that my book is going to be published.

Carla: Thanks, Amy Jo and congratulations on your first publication.

You can find out more about Amy Jo Fleming at amyjofleming.blogspot.com. Her book, DEATH AT BANDIT CREEK will be available from Amazon.com and Smashwords.com on November 15, 2011. If you have questions or comments for me or for Amy Jo, please leave a response and we’d be happy to reply!

‘Unknown’ Released Today!

Don’t forget to pick up your copy of UNKNOWN today!

Want it in another format?  Click here!

A long forgotten myth holds the key to the evil descending upon Bandit Creek. When the town turns to their beloved former pastor for answers, little do they realize he may be the evil they fear.

Nathan Hanlin is at a crossroads. His soul is in jeopardy, and he doesn’t know it. Yet. He thought leaving the church would be easy, but when demonic crows start talking and demons reveal a secret about his past — he realizes turning his back on God might have been a mistake. A ripped page from a journal holds the key to discovering why the supernatural are appearing in Bandit Creek but its too late. The myth is real and the only person who knows the answer is missing. Can Nathan save the woman he loves…or is he the reason her life is in danger?

Read an excerpt.