Q & A with author Christine Husom! - Dark Streets
A long-time mystery lover, Christine Husom served with the Wright County Sheriff’s Department and trained with the St. Paul Police Department where she gained firsthand knowledge of law enforcement policies and procedures. She is the author of the Winnebago County Mysteries and Snow Globe Shop Mysteries. She wrote a collaborative novel, Rubicon Ranch, with eight other authors, has stories in four anthologies, and co-edited Festival of Crime for Nodin Press. She was nominated for the Minnesota Book Award in 2010 and 2012. Husom is a member of Mystery Writers of America, the National Sisters in Crime, and active with the Twin Cities Sisters in Crime.
NOR: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing.
I started creating stories before I could read. What a joy it was at age six to learn how to write so I could put my stories on paper. I’ve always considered myself a writer, even when I am not actively writing.
NOR: Tell us about your snow globe mystery series. How did you decide on that for a setting?
John Talbot, the man who became my agent was looking for an author to write a series set in a snow globe shop in Minnesota. I was the fortunate writer he chose to develop the series.
Camryn Brooks is the protagonist in the new series. She had a successful career as a senator’s legislative affairs director in Washington D.C., and thought she’d be working there forever. But a scandal changed her career path and she returned to her hometown of Brooks Landing in a hurry. Her parents are glad she’s back because they need help running Curio Finds, a shop that specializes in snow globes from around the world.
Cami’s biological parents died when she was five, and she was adopted by her aunt and uncle. It was a bit of a shock to her young, only child system to suddenly be part of a large family. Cami feels her biological parents—especially her mother—are always close in spirit, and believe they leave pennies from heaven for her from time to time.
In addition to her family, Cami has a close-knit group of friends. They offer mutual support and provide moments of levity. Alice “Pinky” Nelson, teacher Erin Vickerman, and police officer Mark Weston are Cami’s childhood friends who stayed in Brooks Landing. And then there’s Assistant Chief Clint Lonsbury who Cami finds both annoying and attractive. Pinky runs Brew Ha-Ha, a coffee shop adjoining Curio Finds.
Cami is intelligent, driven, has a keen sense of justice, a need to uncover truth, and a deep loyalty for her family and friends. When she was falsely accused of the indiscretion in Washington, she didn’t let it take her down because she—and the people who matter most to her—know the truth, and that’s what counts.
When the first volume in the series, Snow Way Out opens, Jerrell Powers, a man that had wreaked havoc in Brooks Landing a few years before has returned to town. And Erin was one of his victims. Cami and Pinky are getting ready for a snow globe making class that evening, and they’re also wondering what Erin will do if she runs into her nemesis. What they have no way of knowing is the role Jerrell Powers will play in the evening’s events or how the night will end after the class is over.
The latest entry out last December, FROSTY THE DEAD MAN, centers around Mayor Lewis Frost, whose nickname is Frosty. Controversies swirling around the city council have members wondering if Frosty is trying to snow them. After one councilman storms off in a huff, the mayor turns to curio shop manager Camryn Brooks and asks her to consider taking a seat on the council.
Later, when Cami goes to his office to discuss the proposal, her blood runs cold. She finds Frosty dead, and the very snow globe she sold him earlier that day lies in sparkling shards on his carpet—along with a large diamond. Does the snow globe—which features a peculiar tableau of an armed man and three menacing bears—hold a clue to Frosty’s demise?
NOR: You also write the Winnebago County mystery series. Tell us a bit about those.
I worked as a corrections officer and deputy sheriff for Wright County, the real setting of fictional Winnebago County, Minnesota. Sergeant Corinne “Corky” Aleckson is the young protagonist and works closely with her older friend and mentor Detective Elton “Smoke” Dawes on the cases. The first three books are based on actual incidents. There is mystery, murder, thrills, romance, and humor—something for everyone in the stories.
NOR: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?
I love it when I have a day free of other commitments and distractions so I can focus on writing. Writing is both a joy and a challenge. At times I find it relaxing and other times nerve-wracking. It helps if I set a goal, such as I need to write 1,000 or 2,000 or 3,000 words. I work well under pressure, so being behind schedule usually jump starts my brain and gets the creative juices flowing. Thinking about my characters and elements of the story when I’m working on other tasks helps speed the process when I sit down to write.
NOR: What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?
My deepest wish is they will feel like they personally know the characters and enjoy spending time with them. I also want them to leave their workaday world, get caught up in the storyline and the unfolding mystery as the plot progresses, be entertained, and hopefully learn something new.
Columnist: Toni LoTempio
Born in New York City, T. C. LoTempio is the national bestselling author of the Nick and Nora Mystery series. She has been a staff reporter at the young adult magazine Susabella Passengers and Friends for more than a decade. When she isn’t reporting or writing novels, she and her cat Rocco fundraise for Nathan Fillion’s charity, Kids Need to Read. Visit her at www.tclotempio.com or at www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com