Hanging Falls: A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery
A deluge has flooded the high ground near Hanging Falls—but heavy rains aren’t the only menace descending on Timber Creek. While on a scouting mission to pinpoint trail damage, Officer Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner Robo stumble upon a body floating at the edge of a lake. Robo catches a human scent, which leads to an enigmatic forest-dweller who quickly becomes suspect number one.
With help from veterinarian Cole Walker, Mattie identifies the victim and discovers an odd religious cult whose dress and manners harken back to the 19th century. As the list of suspects grows, an unexpected visit from members of Mattie’s long-lost family sheds new light on her childhood as they help Mattie piece together details of the fateful night when she was abducted at age two.
The tangled threads of the investigation and family dynamics begin to intertwine—but darkness threatens to claim a new victim before Mattie and Robo can track down the killers.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer? During the nineties, I owned my own rehabilitation agency and worked long hours as both manager and speech pathologist. My husband ran a busy veterinary practice, and together we balanced the responsibilities of our household and the care of our children. One day I was waiting in the checkout line at the grocery store, and as I gazed at the paperback novels on the bookstand, I was struck with the notion that I wanted to write one of those books, too. By the end of the decade, I was ready to sell my company, and I knew that novel-writing would enter into the next phase of my working career. That’s when I began to study the art and craft of writing fiction.
How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication? Quite a long time actually. I had to learn how to reshape my technical writing experience into fiction writing and all its many facets. I wrote five manuscripts that I consider practice, and that will never be published. It took a journey of a little more than ten years before I found my agent and my publisher.
Do you have a publisher? I’m traditionally published by Crooked Lane Books, a company based in New York, NY.
Where do you write? I’ve converted one of our bedrooms into an office where I also do the bookkeeping for my husband’s veterinary clinic and our Angus cattle herd. I typically write fiction there in the mornings and then spend the afternoons—when I’m often brain dead—doing the many tasks required by our businesses as well as the business of my writing.
Do you need music to write by? For me, silence is golden, and I often light a candle before I sit down. It helps me in that meditational state where I can focus on the movie that plays in my head while I record the action and details.
Where do you find your characters? My Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries features Deputy Mattie Cobb, her K-9 partner Robo, and veterinarian Cole Walker. I mentioned that my husband is a veterinarian, and though I’ve never worked in his practice daily, I’ve assisted him after hours and on weekends countless times. It was always apparent that his clients, and anyone else that happened to be in the barn when he made farm calls, were interested in watching him work, so I was inspired to include a vet in my mystery series.
I wanted to write police procedurals, and it seemed natural to create a second protagonist who was a K-9 officer. My husband put me in touch with one of his clients, who was a K-9 trainer, and he was willing to let me shadow him. I also have a friend who is a retired K-9 officer and trainer, and she has become a valuable consultant for the series. One of her past partners was named Robo, which is what inspired my dog character’s name. And finally, years ago, my husband and I trained two of our dogs in search and rescue. My experiences there have also been applied to my characters and to the dog behaviors in my books. So my real life has contributed greatly to my writing.
Where is Timber Creek? Timber Creek is a fictional town in Colorado inspired by the small town I grew up in and set in the mountains of the southwest corner of the state.
Please tell us a bit about your protagonist. Mattie Cobb suffers from repressed memories caused by childhood abuse. Thus she has a great deal of baggage that she gradually unpacks throughout the series. She struggles with nightmares and flashbacks and has sought help from a trauma counselor who recommended yoga and breathing techniques to combat her posttraumatic stress. In one book, her yoga breathing actually plays a part in saving her life.
You started writing in the nineties, how was the timing? I would have started working toward my writing career much earlier. But in reality, the timing was probably perfect considering everything I had going on in my life when I was younger.
Do you have anything in the works? I’m currently working on the seventh book in the Timber Creek K-9 series, and book eight is also under contract, so I’ll be busy with those during the next couple years. I invite your readers to give the series a try, and I hope they’ll enjoy reading the books as much as I enjoy writing them.
Anything else you’d like to tell us? No, but I do want to thank you for hosting me on your blog. I always appreciate an opportunity to talk about my books.