March 21, 2021

Annette Dashofy

Annette Dashofy

Annette Dashofy is the USA Today best-selling author of the multi–Agatha Award-nominated Zoe Chambers mystery series about a paramedic and deputy coroner in rural Pennsylvania’s tight-knit Vance Township.

Her latest release, a standalone, is Death by Equine, about a veterinarian at a second-rate thoroughbred racetrack seeking to find the truth about her mentor’s mysterious death.


Linda talks with Annette Dashofy, author of the Zoe Chambers mystery series.

Annette Dashofy is the USA Today best-selling author of the multi–Agatha Award-nominated Zoe Chambers mystery series about a paramedic and deputy coroner in rural Pennsylvania’s tight-knit Vance Township.

Her latest release, a standalone, is Death by Equine, about a veterinarian at a second-rate thoroughbred racetrack seeking to find the truth about her mentor’s mysterious death.

Annette is a member of Pennwriters and is the vice president of the Pittsburgh Sisters in Crime Chapter. She and her husband live on ten acres of what was her grandfather’s dairy farm in southwestern Pennsylvania with their very spoiled cat, Kensi.

Visit her at www.AnnetteDashofy.com for the latest news, and to find out more about Death by Equine

Get to know Annette: The Tart Word's Baker's Dozen

1.   Plotter or Pantser? Combo? I’m definitely a hybrid. And my process tends to change from book to book.

2.   Tea or Coffee?
Coffee

3.   Beer, Wine, or
Cocktails? Wine

4.   Snacks: Sweet or Savory?
Both! Have you ever had chocolate-covered potato chips? They’re to die for!

5.   Indie Published,
Traditionally Published, or Hybrid? Hybrid, but mostly traditional.

6.   Strict Writing
Schedule: Yes or No The word “strict” hangs me up. I do have a routine
but I’m not hard on myself when life gets in the way.

7.    Strictly Computer
or Mix It Up? I draft on the computer 100% but brainstorm with pen and
paper.

8.    Daily Goal: Yes
or No Yes.

9.    Formal Track
Progress: Yes or no No

10.  Special Writing Spot?
At my desktop computer in my home office

11.   Writer’s Block?
No. I might get stuck, but I know how to get unstuck pretty quickly.

12.   File of Ideas: Yes or
No Yes!

13.   Favorite Author(s)?
Julia Spencer-Fleming and Craig Johnson. 

Transcript

Transcribed by Otter.ai; Lightly edited by Linda. Please forgive typos and grammar errors.

Episode 107 – Annette Dashofy

12:45

 Linda 00:00

Welcome to Tart Words. I'm your host, Linda Hengerer. And I'm a writer, a reader and a baker. I talk to writers about their latest book and what inspires them, chat with fellow author Suzanne Fox about what writers can learn from reading their favorite authors, and share fast and easy recipes for anyone looking for a sweet treat. Join me as I share Tart Bites, Tart Thoughts, and Tart Words. 

Today my guest is Annette Dashofy, she’s the USA Today best-selling author of the multi–Agatha Award-nominated Zoe Chambers mystery series about a paramedic and deputy coroner in rural Pennsylvania’s tight-knit Vance Township. Her latest release, a standalone, is Death by Equine, about a veterinarian at a second-rate thoroughbred racetrack seeking to find the truth about her mentor’s mysterious death. Annette is a member of Pennwriters and is the vice president of the Pittsburgh Sisters in Crime Chapter. She and her husband live on ten acres of what was her grandfather’s dairy farm in southwestern Pennsylvania with their very spoiled cat, Kensi. You can find more about Annette as well as what books are available to purchase at Www.AnnetteDashofy.com. And I'll have that information in the show notes. So don't worry about catching that right now. Welcome, Annette.

 Annette 01:33

Hello. Thanks for having me.

Linda 01:34

It's my pleasure. I wanted to talk to you a little bit about your latest book. It's a standalone and not part of the Zoe Chambers series. So tell me a little bit about it.

 Annette 01:43

Veterinarian Jesse Cameron agrees to fill in for her mentor, Doc Lewis, at Riverview racetrack so he can take a long-overdue vacation, but when he's tragically killed by one of his equine patients the night before he's supposed to leave Jessie quickly suspects the death is anything but accidental. Her search for the truth is thwarted by everyone from her well-meaning friends to the police. And that includes her soon-to-be ex-husband. Undaunted, she discovers layers of illegal activities and deceit being perpetrated by the man she thought of as a father and creating a growing list of suspects with reason to want him dead. So instead of looking for one person who might want to have killed him, if she gets to the point where it's like, Who wouldn't want to kill him. But of course, all that digging puts her squarely in the crosshairs of the real killer,

Linda 02:33

right? unraveling the I was gonna say unraveling the layers of an onion, but it's really peeling back the layers of an onion for finding the character of the man that she thought she knew and who he really was.

 Annette 02:47

It's really about misplaced trust on her part.

 Linda 02:51

Okay, how did you get the idea for this character?

Annette 02:53

First of all, I wrote this book a long time ago. I wrote it, the first draft of it probably back in 2005, something like that. So it's been a long time in the works. But even longer before that, at one point, I had horses, and a friend of mine who had horses had an emergency at her place. And she called me in total hysteria, to come help her. And I went and I pretty much did exactly the same thing that the vet did once he got there. And she had said to me at that point, you should have been a vet. And I don't know, I guess that always stuck with me so that when I was looking for a character, I thought, well, I'll live through this character like vicariously and have her be the vet.

 Linda 03:37

That's one of the best things about writing, we can try on other lives that we don't necessarily live. 

Exactly. Your character is different from your Zoe Chambers character, but they're both independent women. Do you find that that's part of what you like when you're creating your characters?

Annette 03:55

Oh, absolutely. I like creating a female kickass character, for lack of a better term, although I think Jessie is probably not quite as strong in a lot of ways as Zoe is in the Zoe series. Or maybe it’s just that I've been through 10 books with Zoe and this is the first time we get to spend time with Jesse. So she'll probably come into herself eventually.

 Linda 04:22

Do you think you're going to make Jessie a serious character?

Annette 04:25

You know, when I wrote it originally, this was supposed to be the first of a series and I had a couple agents for it, and it never sold which is why it's been so long, you know, actually getting out there. I don't think I'll go beyond this one. But I never say never. The problem is I wrote a second book in this series, but it really wouldn't play. Let's say now. Times have changed. Technology has changed. It doesn't really fit it would be starting over from scratch, okay, and I'm kind of tied up with other writing projects so I don't I don't see it happening.

 05:03

But like I said, I never say never right? Or they set in the same general area. 

 Linda

Could Jesse be a character in one of Zoe's mysteries? Or is that not really likely?

 Annette 05:14

It's not likely. But I will tell you I changed the setting during this last round of revisions. And yes, I decided, Hey, I created Monongahela County for the Zoe series. So I decided, well, what the heck, the racetrack is not in Vance Township, but it is in Monongahela County. There's, there's a possibility they might cross they could cross paths.

 Linda 05:36

Okay. I always like to see how writers use the world they've created, you know, you've made up a fictional township and county, but it's probably based on something you're already familiar with. So when you've already created one world, why reinvent another wheel and create a separate second world if you can use the first one.

 Annette 05:59

Yeah. And originally, in that, that first draft that long ago, first draft, I had it set in a real location, although the racetrack was fictional. And I was afraid of setting it in a real location could open me up to possible lawsuits, or having bad things happen in real places, right. So I decided it was just a very easy tweak, to move it into my fictional location. , make use that bad things

 Linda 06:28

happen in places I make up and good things happen in real places? Yeah. Do you have a writing schedule, a writing schedule? Um,

 Annette 06:37

yeah, it occasionally changes. But I do the bulk of my drafting my first draft. In the morning, I get up very early, because my husband goes to work very early. So I get up, get him off to work, have coffee, because nothing happens before coffee. And then I used to jump right in and write. But lately, it's changed to where I do a little bit of social media, and then have a quick breakfast. And then by eight o'clock, I'm on the computer, and I'm writing and I write for the biggest part of the morning. And then after lunch, I switch gears and I'll either work on editing another book, or do marketing or accounting, business II stuff. It's like a switch, right Brain, Brain from morning to afternoon, right? Do you outline sort of, I've been a plotter, and I've been a pantser. And I'm kind of a hybrid now. Because anytime I've tried to write by the seat of my pants, I end up with too much revision that has to be done. I always know before I start, who done it, who the killer is. And I know why. And I know, a few plot points along the way twists and turns. And generally the first 50 pages or so I do write by the seat of my pants just to get into the story, right. But then after that, I've got those plot points. I like to think of it as a roadmap, like a cross-country roadmap with a couple stops along the way. But what happens between point A and point B and point B and point C, it can go just about anywhere.

 Linda 08:18

Right? You can take a little detour, you can take the road less traveled, if it seems like it would be more scenic, right, I get something similar. I like to have a title. I like to know who the killer is. Because for what I write the past informs the present. And without knowing what the past is, I can't write adequately about the present.

 Annette 08:43

Well, I've always thought that while we're telling the story through the protagonist's viewpoint, it's actually the antagonist or the killer in crime fiction that kind of guides the plot because what he's doing off the screen determines what the protagonist finds on the page. I have friends who don't know who the killer is until the very end, and yeah, that works for them. You know, what works for me doesn't necessarily work for you. Right? But for me, I need to know who the killer is. So I know the direction the story's going.

Linda 09:16

Yeah, that's how I am to and writing you know, everybody's writing is different. What works for you may not work for me, what works for you in this book may not be the same in another book when you're writing

 Annette 09:29

Exactly.

 Linda 09:30

Do you have a creative outlet that you practice? Do you sew or craft or cook or something that helps refresh your writing,

 Annette 09:40

I used to quilt but I don't have the time or patience for that anymore. Hobbies – I love photography. I've always that's always been kind of a different kind of creative outlet. So going out and taking pictures does recharge my batteries. And if we ever get out of this long, cold winter I look forward to getting back into my vegetable garden. I didn't do a lot of vegetable gardening last year, actually last two years because my husband had a shoulder injury so he couldn't get out and help me with the work. But he's doing better now. And I'm eager to get out and stick my fingers in the dirt once it's not frozen.

 Linda 10:19

Yeah, I bet just something about being outside and the fresh air but not when it's cold. I grew up in New Jersey. Yeah, I live in Florida now, but I don't miss the cold weather.

 Annette 10:30

Well, I had horses for a lot of years. So it was you know, in the wintertime, you still had to get out and go into the barn and cleaned out the manure would be frozen and the water buckets would be frozen. Yeah, I've done that. Now. I just like to stay in where it's warm.

 Linda 10:44

Yeah, I totally understand that. What's next after Death by Equine? Do you have another Zoe Chambers book coming out?

Annette 10:53

I do. I've signed a three-book contract with a new publisher to continue the series. So the next Zoe is titled, working title for it is Fatal Reunion, which Zoe has her 20 year class reunions coming up. And there's a 20-year-old series of murders that they thought were solved and a new body shows up. And is it connected to her class? We don't know yet. But uh, yeah, that it won't come out now until May of 2022. So it's still a little over a year away, but I'm working on it.

Linda 11:36

Good. Well, something to look forward to. And right now readers can read Death by Equine which is a standalone featuring a veterinarian and you have how many books now in the Zoe chambers series. There are 10 out, so readers or listeners can head over to www.AnnetteDashofy.com and see what books appeal to you. And you can start at book one in the Zoe Chambers mystery and read through the first 10. Thanks, Annette. I've enjoyed having you on the podcast today.

Annette 12:09

Oh, it's been my pleasure. Thank you for having me.

 12:11

Thank you for joining me this week. To view the complete show notes and the links mentioned in today's episode, visit tartwords.com/tart107. Follow now in the app you're using to listen to this podcast, or sign up for email alerts through an easy signup form for bakers, readers and writers at tartwords.com/about. Thank you again for joining me, Linda Hengerer, for this episode of Tart Words.

 

Annette Dashofy

Guest

Annette Dashofy is the USA Today best-selling author of the multi–Agatha Award-nominated Zoe Chambers mystery series about a paramedic and deputy coroner in rural Pennsylvania’s tight-knit Vance Township.

Her latest release, a standalone, is Death by Equine, about a veterinarian at a second-rate thoroughbred racetrack seeking to find the truth about her mentor’s mysterious death.

Annette is a member of Pennwriters and is the vice president of the Pittsburgh Sisters in Crime Chapter. She and her husband live on ten acres of what was her grandfather’s dairy farm in southwestern Pennsylvania with their very spoiled cat, Kensi.