The New Year is a time of rebirth, isn’t it? My first published novel, Carly’s Conspiracy, has recently been revised and reborn after years of wasting in the no-man’s-land left behind when traditional publishers go bankrupt. Indeed, all four of the Judge Wilhelmia Carson novels have been revised and reborn. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have these friends alive again. But even better is the response we’ve received from you.
This has been an exciting opportunity for us. Readers and fans have responded so positively, it’s heartwarming.
Thank you all for making Carly’s Conspiracy a bestseller again. Here’s the new cover. Isn’t it stunning?
Recent reader comments and questions about the Willa Carson books have been fun for everyone along the book trail, so I thought I might share a few of those questions and responses in the blog here today. As regular readers know, Carly’s Conspiracy is the first of four books (so far) in the Judge Wilhelmina Carson Series. The books are mystery and suspense set in Tampa, Florida. So the first questions are often about settings.
- Why Tampa? Why not Miami or Orlando?
This one is actually pretty easy. Tampa has rich history, and friendly people. Stories about a normal town filled with normal people who live interesting lives are my subject. Tampa fits on all those levels and more.
Tampa is a city where people live and work in the same ways Americans across the country do (and quite a few Canadians as well). But we live in perpetual summer here in the Sunshine State, and we’re the 4th largest population state in the country. We have three major sports teams here and we’re the major league baseball spring training home for the New York Yankees. We have a significant Cuban population (Tampa is closer to Havana than Miami is) and a lengthy latin heritage.
While I describe Tampa in my novels as “the Midwest with palm trees,” because so many of our residents moved here from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan (as I did), Tampa is still a small Southern town in many ways. Tampa and I are much alike that way. I’m a small town Southern woman at heart, too.
- Why is Willa Carson a federal judge and not a state court judge?
Wilhelmina Carson is named after a mentor of mine, the only woman partner in the law firm where I started out as a puppy lawyer years ago. Wilhelmina was a trailblazer, just like the fictional Judge Willa. And like all trailblazers, both women are unconventional, to say the least. Judge Willa is a federal judge because federal judges are appointed for life while state judges must stand for reelection.
With Judge Willa following her heart instead of all the stodgy rules real judges must adhere to, she wouldn’t have lasted long on a state court bench. As it is, she’s investigating crimes and solving murders, which is not something her Chief Judge appreciates. If Judge Willa isn’t careful, she’s likely to find herself the subject of an impeachment investigation, too!
- What about the silicone solution? Is it real?
Yes. And no. Carly’s Conspiracy revolves around the silicone breast implant scandal of the 1990s and the book is set in 1999. At that time, silicone breast implants had been removed from the market because there was concern at the FDA that they might be making women sick. Fourteen years later, long after the story ends, the FDA was forced to admit no such health risks existed.
But from 1992 – 2006, women with implants were terrified, manufacturers were bankrupted, and lawyers made a killing.
During the controversy, “the answer” to why some women with implants became sick was hotly debated and theories abounded. It’s believable that the man with the answer might end up dead.