J.T. Bishop - An Exciting Supernatural Thriller Whodunit
Award-winning author, J.T. Bishop, is a writer of mystery thrillers with a paranormal edge. Growing up, she read Stephen King, Mary Higgins Clark, and Dean Koontz, devoured every episode of the X-files, and watched plenty of TV shows with great partnerships that leave you wanting more. She loves tangled relationships, unexpected twists and turns, heart-stopping love stories, and the complications that come with all the above. Throw in a little supernatural fun and she’s hooked. Her evil plan is to hook you, too. She’s the author of The Red-Line Trilogy and its sister series, The Fletcher Family Saga, which features touches of urban fantasy, light sci-fi, and paranormal romance. She’s also happily writing mystery thrillers featuring two charismatic detectives who may occasionally encounter a supernatural villain or two, and a crossover series which follows the exploits of a gifted, but troubled, paranormal P.I. and his spunky sister. All the above keeps her busy, but in her spare time, she loves good movies, tasty food, an unfortunate sugar addiction, and traveling. As our Author of the Day, she tells us about her book, Haunted River
Please give us a short introduction to what Haunted River is about.
Haunted River is about two detectives who take some time off and go to a cabin in the woods that belonged to one of the detective’s deceased grandfather. The detective plans to clean it up and sell it, but all is not what it seems as spectral encounters point to secrets better left alone.
When they learn the ghost of a woman whose murder remains unsolved haunts the nearby town, and a second woman’s body is found on the banks of the river, they’ll be forced to investigate. Their actions uncover a variety of colorful suspects, but also arouse a killer’s interest. The ghosts of the past they prefer to avoid could be the only thing that keeps them alive.
What inspired you to write this story? Was there anything in particular that made you want to tackle this?
I had just finished a four-book paranormal thriller series that introduced Detectives Daniels and Remalla. Once that was complete, I knew I wanted to give them their own series. I’d always wanted to write a ghost story, so I combined the two. I thought it would be fun to throw two tough detectives into a spooky house and town and have them solve a murder. It also allowed me to throw in a little humor and dive into their backstory, which is always fun.
Why did you pick an unsolved murder and a haunting as the catalyst for your story?
I liked the idea of having an unsolved murder from years ago and the victim’s ghost still haunting the town where she lived. It’s a great catalyst because you want to know what happened to her and why, and you want her killer to be brought to justice. Enter two unassuming detectives who get thrown into the case when a second woman’s body is found on the river. It’s a great setup for a murder mystery/thriller.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
One secret skill is I taught myself Photoshop and have designed a lot of my own covers. I like to be able to create a cover before the story is written. I can use it as inspiration, and it helps bring the story to life. It’s also nice to take breaks from writing and move into a different creative element. I’m also really good at eating chocolate.
Family is an important theme in this series. Why?
Family is an important theme in all my books. I love the emotional bonds that propel complex characters to survive and support each other through thick and thin. That includes relationships between spouses, siblings, parent and child, boyfriends and girlfriends, and close friendships. My main characters, Detectives Daniels and Remalla, are partners and best friends and they rely on each other though good times and bad. They have important relationships with others outside of their partnership, but the detectives are the heart of the story. You root for them through all of their ups and downs.
I also love a good romance, so that’s another important element in most of my books.
What makes Detectives Daniels and Remalla such a great team?
Probably their 100% trust in one another. They can banter with the best of them, and tease and joke, but when the stuff hits the fan, they’re there for each other and they both know it. They can fight and argue but apologize afterward. They don’t hold grudges and they can be vulnerable with each other. I’ve always loved partnerships like that in TV and movies, so I wanted to create one of my own. Based on reader feedback, I think I’ve been successful.
What fascinates you about the paranormal?
I’ve always been a bit of a paranormal junkie. I’ll admit, I watch those shows where paranormal investigators investigate hauntings. I’ve been to a few haunted places myself and am always intrigued and curious, but rarely scared. I’ve also had a few paranormal experiences which tell me that there’s a lot more out there than our five senses reveal. Once I started writing, I found myself gravitating toward those themes. I’d like to think my detective series is a little like The X-files, but without the FBI. Rem and Daniels encounter the paranormal in very unexpected ways. I loved The X-files by the way.
This is book one of a series. Can it be read as a standalone? How do the other books in the series tie in with this one?
Haunted River was actually written as a standalone. After I wrote it, I knew a series featuring Detectives Daniels and Remalla would be the perfect next step. The next book after Haunted River is Of Breath and Blood and that kicks off a five-book story arc that revolves around a cult leader and his followers who wreak havoc on Daniels and Remalla. They could all be read as standalones but work better if read in order. Those books also led to a spinoff series featuring characters from Of Breath and Blood called The Redstone Chronicles. Those books feature a former Texas Ranger turned paranormal PI who works with his sister to solve the cases other investigators won’t.
Interesting cover. Please tell us more about this.
I wanted to capture the ghostly element of the story by featuring the ghost who haunts the small town of Dumont. I also love the rising moon and the water at night. I think it evokes the essence of the book and storyline and hopefully captures a potential reader’s eye and curiosity.
What was your greatest challenge when writing this book?
Not being able to write faster. This story literally flew through my fingers and onto the page. It’s such a gift when that happens and it’s a good indication you’ve got a good story on your hands.
When starting on a new book, what is the first thing you do?
I always have a general outline in my head of how the book’s going to go before I begin. I’ll typically have a beginning, middle and end, but don’t really flesh out the stuff in between until I start writing. I find if I outline too much, most of it goes out the window once I start. I think that makes me a pantster or is it a plotster? I think I combine the best of a pantser and a plotter. Sometimes, though, if I’m not sure about how a story is going to go, I just start writing. I find the story will reveal itself if you don’t give it a choice.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
Not sure if I’d call them interesting. I just sit down to write. It’s usually in the mornings because that’s when my mind is fresh. I’ll write for two to three hours or until I come to a spot where I feel it’s good to pause. I will typically knock out two to three thousand words per day, but I’ve also been known to hit four or five thousand words. It depends. I do need to work on taking breaks more often. I tend to get on a streak and ride the wave until my head starts to swim and my eyes cross.
What are you working on right now?
My upcoming book in the Daniels and Remalla series, Dominion, is with beta readers right now and I just started writing Lost Time, which is the next book in The Redstone Chronicles. I also have a Daniels and Remalla prequel novella coming out soon in an anthology called Talk Deadly To Me, featuring several mystery/thriller writers.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
My website is the best place to start at jtbishopauthor.com. You can learn about my books and series, and also get a free novella if you subscribe to my newsletter. You can also visit my Amazon Author page where you can follow me if you’d like to be notified of new releases or engage with me on my Facebook page.
A woman’s unsolved murder and her ghost still haunt the small town where she lived and died. Years later, when a second woman’s body is found on the riverbank, two visiting detectives become suspects. Forced to investigate, they’ll reveal an ugly secret that will make them the next targets. Can the specters of the past help them find a killer before the river claims them, too?