Our upcoming guest on the Crime Cafe podcast is the amazing Lorie Lewis Ham.
Lorie not only writes crime fiction, but she has a podcast, Mysteryrat’s Maze, and edits and publishes a weekly magazine! King’s River Life! “A California magazine with local focus and global appeal.” I love it!
She’s giving away a Kindle copy of her novel One of Us.
To enter Lorie’s giveaway just email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Crime Cafe giveaway.
Now, let’s hear from Lorie! (Can’t wait to talk about Fresno, BTW!)
Why I Wrote “One of Us”
by Lorie Lewis Ham
I have been writing for most of my life. There is something within me that drives me to write, and I can’t imagine my life without it. I have written poetry, short stories, songs, articles, and mystery novels.
It was in my mid-teens that I discovered mysteries thanks to my younger brother Chris introducing me to Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie. From that moment on, I knew that I wanted to write mysteries. However, it wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I managed to finish writing my first mystery novel. My first book was Murder In Four Part Harmony and it featured a gospel singing amateur sleuth named Alexandra Walters. It was published in 2000. Alex stayed with me through four books. The first three were published by a small indie publisher and the last one self-published so I could finish my series.
While I enjoyed writing that series, I felt like my time with Alex was over. She was who I needed to write at that time, and writing what I knew (I was a gospel singer for 30 years) had helped me be able to write that first book. The last book in the series, The Final Note, came out 13 years ago.
Thirteen years ago, is also when I started my own online magazine called Kings River Life Magazine. While KRL has taken up the bulk of my writing time these past 13 years, I really wanted to write a mystery again. But it needed to be something new. I had grown and changed a great deal since 2000, and I felt like I had outgrown that character and setting. I had also stopped singing, partially due to health reasons, but also because my heart was in my writing and that was where my focus needed to be.
The desire to write something new actually began when I was writing The Final Note. My current main character, Roxi Carlucci, first appeared in that book. But it took me all of those years to find her voice and figure out what I wanted the new series to be.
Alex was short like I am, and had many of my own insecurities. While I suppose every character has parts of their creator in them, Roxi is different from me in many ways. Roxi is tall, much more courageous, and stronger than Alex or I am. Alex was me, and Roxi is more what I would like to be—height included LOL. Roxi also has a darker side to her, which I feel gives her character more depth.
Roxi started out as a children’s book author who ran a small animal rescue, but by the time One of Us came to be, she had left that behind. In this book, she is starting her life over and ends up becoming a podcaster and a part time P.I. She also moves from the coast of California to the Tower District in Fresno, California. The Tower District is my favorite place in the area where I live—Roxi calls it the cultural oasis of Fresno. It is filled with theatre, great food, music, art, and history. While my version is slightly fictionalized for the sake of the story, I hope I have done a good job of bringing this wonderful place to life!
One of Us is less about what Roxi does career wise, and more about the life she gets to live in the Tower District. I feel as though the Tower District is as much a character in this series as Roxi is. Of course, a mystery will always be at the center of my books, and animal rescue still plays a part in her life in some way.
Why did I write One of Us instead of bringing back my old series? Because it was time for something new, something different, because I’m different, and I am excited to see where this series takes me. I hope you follow me on this journey!
You can buy the book at the following retailers:
About the book:
A woman starting over. A gossip website. A handsome playwright with a dark side. A director with an explosive temper. And a murder without a motive. It’s a mystery set in the historic Tower District—Fresno’s dining, arts, and entertainment hub.
At 35, children’s book author Roxi Carlucci finds herself starting over again after her publisher drops her book series. With no income, she has to pack up her life on the California Coast, along with her pet rat Merlin, and move in with her cousin, P.I. Stephen Carlucci, who lives in Fresno, CA. The one redeeming factor is that Stephen lives in the Tower District—the cultural oasis of Fresno.
Stephen talks Roxi into helping out with a community theatre production, which is also a fundraiser for a local animal rescue. Little did she know that someone would be murdered during a rehearsal, and that she and Stephen would be hired to find the killer. The killer has to be one of Roxi’s new acquaintances since the theatre was locked at the time of the murder, but no one seems to have a motive. How can they solve a murder without a motive? Could the local gossip website hold any clues? Can they stop the killer before they strike again?
Lorie Lewis Ham lives in Reedley, California and has been writing ever since she was a child. Her first song and poem were published when she was 13, and she has gone on to publish many articles, short stories, and poems throughout the years, as well as write for a local newspaper, and publish 6 mystery novels. For the past 13 years, Lorie has been the editor-in-chief and publisher of Kings River Life Magazine, and she produces Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast where you can now hear an excerpt of her new book One of Us. You can learn more about Lorie and the new book on her website mysteryrat.com and find her on Twitter @mysteryrat and Facebook. Another way to keep up with Lorie’s writing is to subscribe to her newsletter, which you can do on her website.
Lorie has been married to Larry for 30 years and they have 2 grown children—Jayce and Joseph Ham. She currently has 5 cats (Merlin, Sam, Dean, Sidney, and Willow), 4 dogs (Lestat, Huey, Xander, and Phoebe), a pet rat (Yuki), and a pet dwarf rabbit (Sherlock). For many years, she worked in pet rat rescue, and has had many pet rats of her own over the years.