Denise Grover Swank

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Interview By: Night Owl Romance

Date: January 10, 2018

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1) Summer Butler is such an interesting heroine! Please tell us about her background.

Summer is a washed-up former teen actress from a mega popular TV show that ended nearly a decade ago and now she’s desperate for a job.

2) Growing up in front of the camera cannot be easy. How has her stardom affected Summer? How has she matured and changed over the past few years?

Summer’s much more cautious with people. She suspects that most people want something from her which makes her closed off to relationships. She never really wanted to work in Hollywood. All she wanted was to go back to her hometown of Sweet Briar, Alabama. But now that she has the opportunity to go back, she’s worried she’s damaged too many old relationships.

3) Reality TV has been one of the hottest entertainment genres for a while now, but it isn't always well respected. Why has Summer decided to get back into television? Is she worried at all about her reputation?

Summer can’t find a decent job in Hollywood or out. She’s accepted that her home is about to go into foreclosure—it’s the loan she cosigned with her grandfather to bail out the nearly two century family farm with a rapidly approaching balloon payment that has her worried. Her grandfather died months after they took out the loan so it’s up to Summer to repay it. To make enough money to cover the payment, Summer’s options are posing nude for a magazine or reality TV... She was so opposed to reality TV it was a difficult choice.

4) In addition to stepping back into the spotlight, Summer has returned to her home town of Sweet Briar, Alabama. How has her homecoming been and what are her feelings being home?

Coming home to Sweet Briar is bittersweet for Summer. As a teen, she was desperate to go home, but she became estranged from her grandmother after her grandfather and aunt and uncle died in a fire so Summer’s worried about facing Meemaw and her cousins. Then there’s her ugly break up with the now current Sweet Briar Chief of Police. Summer doesn’t expect things to go well. She only hopes to minimize the conflict.

5) Two words -- Luke Montgomery. One word -- yummy! What exactly is Summer's relationship with the police chief?

Summer still very much cares about Luke, but she knows that she really hurt him when she was eighteen by posing with her costar in a compromising situation, and Luke broke up with her for cheating on him. (She helped stage the photos to get out of her contract.) They were kids when they dated, but she’s still nervous about seeing him, and she realizes she still has feelings for him.

6) Out of the two of them, who is the most interested in rekindling their past -- Summer or Luke?

Oh, that’s a tough one. I think in the beginning Summer is, but when Luke realizes he screwed up, he pushes harder.

7) Summer's personal issues with her first love isn't her only priority. There is the fact that she has accidentally stumbled upon a real life murder! What's her reaction to this too-much-reality part of her reality show?

Summer’s horrified when she discovers the dead body and considers quitting the show. But she promised the victim’s sister she would find her missing brother and Summer’s determined to help find out what happened to him. She also realizes it could help her integrity on the show if she actually solves a real crime rather than work on pretend cases.

8) Since this is the first book in your Darling Investigations series, readers will be getting more Summer Butler in the future. What is it about her that will keep us coming back for more?

Summer’s got a heart of gold and she’ll do anything for the people she loves. She realizes that she let other people make decisions for her that left her isolated and alone. Now that she has her family back, she’s determined to be the best cousin she can. And hopefully find more real cases for her show, Darling Investigations.

About the Book

Title: Deadly Summer Author: Denise Grover Swank Release Date: January 9, 2018 Publisher: Montlake Romance

Ten years ago, Summer Butler was television’s most popular teenage sleuth. Since then, she’s hit—what gossip sites just love to call—the gutter. Nearly bankrupt, betrayed, estranged from her greedy mother, and just about unemployable, she’s coaxed into that desperate haven for has-beens: reality TV.

Winging it as a faux PI, she’ll solve off-the-cuff mysteries in her hometown of Sweet Briar, Alabama. For added drama, there’s police chief Luke Montgomery, inconveniently Summer’s first and only love.

It’s when Summer stumbles upon a very real corpse that Darling Investigations takes an unexpected twist. The growing list of suspects is a big draw to viewers, but the reality is that Summer doesn’t know whom she can trust. Someone has written this killer new scene especially for her, and unless Summer gives the role everything she’s got, it could be her last…


Denise Grover Swank is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of the Rose Gardner Mystery Series, the Magnolia Steele Mystery Series, The Wedding Pact Series, The Curse Keepers Series, and others. She was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and lived in the area until she was nineteen. Then she became a nomad, living in five cities, four states, and ten houses over the course of ten years before moving back to her roots. Her hobbies include witty Facebook comments (in her own mind) and dancing in her kitchen with her children (quite badly, if you believe her offspring). Hidden talents include the gift of justification and the ability to drink massive amounts of caffeine and still fall asleep within two minutes. Her lack of the sense of smell allows her to perform many unspeakable tasks. She has six children and hasn’t lost her sanity—or so she leads you to believe. For more information about Denise, please visit her at