Crime Writers’ Interview (and our new author at misterio): Candace J. Carter

crime writers inteview and new author at misterio press

DRUMROLL PLEASE!! Help me welcome a New Author at misterio press, Candace J. Carter!!

new author at misterio press -- Candace J. Carter

Candace has walked many paths in life. She served in the military, earned a degree in veterinary medicine, and worked for the National Park Service. Much of her professional career was spent with Threatened and Endangered species, including the black-footed ferret, Florida scrub-jay, and four species of sea turtles.

Her stories are drawn from these experiences. Growing up in a rural town, she was often found fishing, hunting, or horseback riding. She shared a love of watching western movies with her father. Her stories reflect small town life and the feeling of family shared by people in rural communities. Thanks to her father, there’s a bit of the Old West in her stories, too.

She and her debut mystery, Muddy Waters have won several awards.

Kass Lamb (on behalf of the whole gang): What two or three things do you feel people need to know in order to understand who you are?

Candace: I can actually say I grew up in a one-horse town. The town was only a crossroads, and when my parents gave me a horse for my 13th birthday, it was the only one in town.

Even though I grew up near Cincinnati, Ohio, I was raised “southern.” My father and his parents were from Tennessee. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents on their farm. I learned to fish and hunt and grow vegetables.

In high school, I decided I wanted to be a park ranger. It took several years, but in 2004 that dream came true when I got a job with the National Park Service in Florida.

Kass: What was your favorite book/author as a child? Why was it your favorite?

new author at misterio press -- Candace J. Carter's fave childhood book

Candace: I fell in love with Smoky: The Cow Horse, by Will James. Then it was westerns by Louis L’Amour and Max Brand. I grew up during the heyday of television westerns.

My dad loved reading westerns, and he loved watching them on TV. It definitely rubbed off on me.

I still love westerns. Naturally, I put some of that into what I write.

Kass: Why crime fiction? What is the appeal of mysteries for you?

Candace: After I read my first Agatha Christie book, I was hooked on mysteries. I still enjoy reading westerns, but I love a good mystery.

It’s the puzzle, and trying to figure out whodunit.

Kass: What type, i.e. subgenre, of mysteries do you write? Why does that subgenre appeal to you as a writer? Do you also prefer it as a reader?

If Bill Crider’s Sheriff Dan Rhodes books can be considered cozy, so can mine.

I prefer to read and write traditional or cozy mysteries. Real life is gritty enough. I don’t want to read about it, too. Plus, the good guys almost always win in cozies.

Kass: Where are you in your writing career? Tell us a little about your stories.

I didn’t start writing until the late 1990s. Before that, my creative outlet was drawing and photography. I even had a couple of cartoons published in college. It took a while to get serious about writing.

new author at misterio press -- Candace J. Carter

I didn’t publish my first novel until 2018. I’ve had a short story published, and I’m working on a sequel to my first mystery.

All of them involve the same character, Henry “Whispering” Smith (a nod to an old novel by Frank Spearman and an old Alan Ladd western), who is a range detective in the contemporary west.

Kass: In your latest story, what changed the most from the first draft to the last?

Candace: My latest is a short story. After writing a novel, a short story was challenging. Aside from the plot, almost everything changed from the first draft. My writing became more concise, descriptions shorter, and dialogue tighter.

Candace’s short story is in Catfish Stew, on Amazon.

The biggest change was the ending. The first draft didn’t have a twist. I hope it does now.

Kass: And last of all, what question do you wish interviewers would ask you that they usually don’t? What is your answer to that question?

Candace: Where did you get the idea for the main character/book?

In the early 1980s, I was in the US Air Force at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. My mom lived about 100 miles south of there, in Bullhead City, Arizona. When I would visit, I always stopped midway in a small town called Searchlight. There was a general store there.

In the window of the store was a wanted poster for sheep rustlers. That was the seed for Henry Smith’s character and his vocation of range detective, chasing down rustlers.

Kass: And there you have it, folks! Our new author at misterio press.

See below for Candace’s excellent debut mystery, Muddy Waters. I read it and loved it.

Candace is currently working on the sequel, which will be published under the misterio press imprint this summer.

You can connect with our new author at misterio press on:

And feel free to ask her questions in the comments.

Muddy Waters, A Henry “Whispering” Smith Mystery

Range detective Henry “Whispering” Smith returns to his North Carolina hometown to be best man at his uncle’s wedding. After years of tracking livestock rustlers in the desolate Colorado Plateau country, Henry still isn’t prepared to face the two things that drove him away — a pig-headed father he doesn’t like and an unfaithful ex-girlfriend he does.
When a close friend is murdered, Henry’s plan for a brief visit falls apart. Local police suspect cattle theft gone wrong, but it doesn’t add up. When police ignore his suspicions, he’s determined to use his own detective skills to hunt down a killer. Struggling with reconciling his past, can Henry follow a trail that leads too close to his heart?


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  • Reply
    K.B. Owen
    April 27, 2021 at 9:24 am

    Welcome, Candace! So great to have you with us. I know what you mean about the challenge of writing a short mystery after novel writing! I wrote a short (5K) for a Malice Domestic anthology and it was so tricky to accomplish everything I wanted. It’s like flexing a different set of muscles.
    Best of luck with your book and your next project!

    • Reply
      April 27, 2021 at 9:55 am

      The one I wrote was limited to 2500 words. It was really a challenge! By comparison, 5000 words sounds luxurious. Thank you for the kind words.

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