HELL TO PAY
(What Doesn’t Kill You, #7)
An Emily Romantic Mystery
Pamela Fagan Hutchins
Genre: Romantic Mystery
Publisher: SkipJack Publishing
Date of Publication: March 26, 2016
# of pages: 383
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Big-haired paralegal and former rodeo queen Emily has her life back on track. Her adoption of Betsy seems like a done deal, her parents have reunited, and she’s engaged to her sexy boss Jack. Then client Phil Escalante’s childhood buddy Dennis drops dead, face first into a penis cake at the adult novelty store Phil owns with his fiancée Nadine, one of Emily’s best friends. The cops charge Phil with murder right on the heels of his acquittal in a trial for burglarizing the Mighty is His Word church offices. Emily’s nemesis ADA Melinda Stafford claims a witness overheard Phil fighting with Dennis over a woman. Before he can mount a defense, Phil falls into a diabetic coma, leaving Nadine shaken and terrified. Meanwhile Betsy’s ultra-religious foster parents apply to adopt her, and Jack starts acting weird and evasive. Emily feels like a calf out of a chute, pulled between the ropes of the header and the heeler, as she fights to help Phil and Nadine without losing Betsy and Jack.
- How has being a Texan influenced your writing?
Oh my gosh, in every way! My protagonists are Texans, my settings include Texas. One of my favorite authors is a Texan (Larry McMurtry). Texas permeates my novels.
- Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?
My favorite books have always had heart, humor, and suspense, so when I started writing stories, that is what I wanted to achieve. Ultimately, I guess you’d say I write romantic mystery. But I also wanted women with strength and intelligence in my novels, and I hope I’ve achieved that.
- What was the hardest part of writing this book?
The hardest part of writing Hell to Pay was that I’d just had surgery and had a reaction to the anesthesia that has had a permanent impact on my memory. Even though I write two novels a year, and thus had written the previous six novels in the prior three years, I had trouble remembering them, and even remembering what I had written the same day much less the day before. I’ve tried to develop a sense of humor about it, but it did make it much more challenging than my other novels!
- Who are some of your favorite authors you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?
I am very influenced by other authors. For characterization, I hope I learned from Larry McMurtry. For emotion and setting (o glorious setting), I tip my hat to Pat Conroy, who I will miss so much. For humor, I love the first few Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich. For a butt-kicking female protagonist, Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski takes the cake. And for amateur sleuthing in the mystery world, I love Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and Peter Fischer’s Jessica Lansbury in Murder, She Wrote.
- Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?
I’m full-time! Which gives me more time to procrastinate (just kidding). When I was working full-time at a job other than writing, I scrapped to find enough time to write. Now that writing is full-time, I find that I’ve had to figure out how and when I do what activities best. The job of writing involved story planning, outlining, first drafts, rewrites, and the job of publishing takes 50% of my time away from writing, especially now that I have seven novels, two box sets, and six nonfiction books out. I write best, it turns out, in the early afternoon. So I spend my mornings on the business of publishing, and my afternoons on my stories.
Pamela Fagan Hutchins writes overly long emails, best-selling, award-winning mysteries (WINNER USA Best Book Award, Fiction: Cross Genre, Finalist) and hilarious nonfiction. The Houston Press named her as one of Houston’s Top 10 Authors (2014). She is a recovering attorney and investigator who resides deep in the heart of Nowheresville, Texas and in the frozen north of Wyoming. Pamela has a passion for great writing and smart authorpreneurship as well as long hikes with her hunky husband and pack of rescue dogs, traveling in the Bookmobile, and her Keurig. Download her mystery Saving Grace, free everywhere, and visit her website or drop her a note at pamela at pamelahutchins dot com. And if you would like her to visit your book club, women’s group, writer’s group, or library, all you have to do is ask.
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