Monday, March 7, 2011
Roxe Anne Peacock's Leave No Trace
Roxe Anne Peacock, artist and author, is my special guest today. Roxe Anne
Roxe Anne is the author of two short stories entitled, "Tomato Soup to Die For" and "The Wishing Tree". She received Special Mention in the Ides of March contest, 2007, in the Rockford Review. She has several poems published in the Rockford Review and the Rockford Register Star. The Rockford Register Star requested Roxe Anne’s profile for their column, "Get to Know Me", March 2008. Roxe Anne’s first mystery, Leave No Trace, was released February 1, 2011 by Whiskey Creek Press in eBook and print. The book should appeal to both YA and adult audiences.
The Rockford Chamber of Commerce sponsored a juried art book, Art Rockford, copyright 2004, in which Roxe Anne was asked to participate. It sold at Barnes & Noble, Borders, Rockford Art Museum and at other book vendors throughout the Rock River Valley area.
In the past, Roxe Anne has been an executive legal secretary, a real estate agent and ran for county board. While campaigning, she had several articles in local newspapers on getting to know the candidates, and she participated in "Meet the Candidates" forums and fundraisers. A local newspaper endorsed her. These experiences have taught her how to communicate and market herself to the public.
Roxe Anne has participated in Civil War re-enactments for over ten years, helped host ladies’ teas for the public, participated in Civil War balls, and helped educate the public at living histories. She has appeared on CSPAN in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates and co-edited a Civil War newsletter with over 100 members.
Welcome, Roxe Anne. Please tell us about your journey to writing.
Thanks, Susan. I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to the arts. My career as an artist drove me insane. I would use colored pencils or the smallest brushes I could find for the fine details in my work.
As much as I was passionate about my art, I could never create a piece to my perfection. After carpal tunnel surgery, I decided to try abstract or what I called my Picasso era. This style set me free. I no longer tried to please anyone including myself.
When my juried art was accepted in a coffee table art book entitled, Art Rockford, I felt I had finally achieved success and moved on to writing.
Now, I hedge on starting a new mystery in fear of it not being successful. Once I get into the plot, the book seems to take on a life of its own and I’m fine. I just need to finish that first chapter.
What books influenced you to write Leave No Trace?
J. A. Jance, a Joanna Brady Mystery series is a favorite of mine; especially Skeleton Canyon. The books are set in the southwest as is Leave No Trace.
While researching the Carlsbad Caverns National Park, I heard a news bulletin about a book entitled, Journal of the Dead by Jason Kersten. The book is about two best friends who stopped at Rattlesnake Canyon to camp overnight. The friends lost their way in the desert on the way back to the park. Without any provisions and only three pints of water between them, the pair didn’t fare well in the heat. Days later one friend was stabbed twice in the heart and the other was barely alive.
This incident and story helped with the creation of my title, Leave No Trace. My plot now went from rappelling down the caverns to my protagonist becoming a reluctant detective when her best friend disappears.
Jessica Waters was looking forward to attending college in the fall with her best friend, Sandra Adams. But when Sandra disappears the night after prom, mutual friend, Jason Harris becomes the number one suspect. Jason isn’t the only suspect in the tight-knit community of Carlsbad, New Mexico. Before Sandra disappeared, she confessed to having an affair with her coach and teacher, Carl Lundstrum. Now Jessica is going to make it her mission to find out what happened if it is the last thing she ever does.
Leave No Trace was released as an eBook and print by Whiskey Creek Press February 1, 2011. It will eventually be available on Amazon.com and is suitable for teens as well as adults. Go to
http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com/ to read a sample chapter. March 1, 2011 is Whiskey Creek Press’ 8th Anniversary.
What are your long-term goals, Roxe Anne?
In the future, I hope to have completed at least two mystery series, several stand alone mysteries, a historical cookbook series and a journal about my losing weight.
If I get up the courage, I might write a historical Christian romance series.
What are your short-term goals?
I never work on just one writing project at a time. When I get writer’s block, I put my current project aside and work on short stories and poetry.
Any current projects?
At the present time, I am marketing Leave No Trace, working with a fiction agent on a mystery entitled, Fatal Catch, a non-fiction agent on a historical cookbook entitled, History Lover’s Cookbook, and my newest mystery, Catch and Release.
I heard from Dragoon Publishing—Ghost Voices, that my short story entitled, "Battlefield Ghosts" will be released later this year.
Congratulations! Do you think your writing has improved since your first attempt?
This is an embarrassing subject for me but so true of first-time authors. I had just completed another mystery, which will remain nameless, and all my friends and family raved about the book. I signed up and was eager to attend my first writer’s conference. I practiced a pitch for my book until I could recite it in my sleep.
The pitch was a success! I phoned home and announced, “I’m going to get published. Three publishers want me to submit my first three chapters of my book.”
Hold on there, Dick Tracey. You’re not published yet. But in my head, I was published, in stores and making the bucks. Boy was I naïve. First of all, the book was geared for young adults and two of the publishers were adult only publishers. That left only one publisher who might want my book after all. My excitement was wiped off my face in a hurry. The agent left the company on not so good of terms not long after the conference. Whoops, now what?
In hindsight, the book really wasn’t polished and needed heavy revisions. I have since apologized to the two adult-only publishers.
My final revisions are viewed by professional writers only before I submit them to anyone.
That's a lesson we must all learn, Roxe Anne. Thanks for sharing that.
After hours of intense writing, how do you unwind?
I curl up with my dog, Spike and watch taped cooking shows; with my favorite being "Top Chef". When I’m not in the mood for watching the cooking shows, I watch "Castle", "NCIS", "Gray’s Anatomy", "Survivor" and "The Amazing Race". Oh, and let's not forget "HLN News" throughout the night.
Thanks for giving us a peek into your life, Roxe Anne. Best of luck with all endeavors!