Author of the Series: A Seattle Wilderness Mystery
Winter Takes All
Release date: October 23rd, 2019 – Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Editor: Ally Robertson – Cover Artist: Abigail Owen
Crystal Rainey is aghast when she realizes her new year’s resolutions haven’t changed one whit from the previous year. Wanting to escape a future as dreary as a Pacific Northwest winter, she walks out on her dead-end office job, despite her tenuous savings account.
Stumbling across a job opening posted by a wilderness guide outfit, an intrigued Crystal bluffs her way into the position. With handsome fellow guide, the stalwart Conner Oakes, she leads a corporate retreat on a snowshoe hike to a majestic alpine chalet.
But when the company’s detestable owner turns up dead in the snow, she fears her new life and budding romance slipping away. She finally has something worth fighting for and is determined to solve the murder and grab her chance at happiness before it’s too late.
First off I have to admit, Mr. Erdahl is awesome! We had our first book signing together and I’m very excited to help him share his book with you!
So, let’s start off by having you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?
My first book is a cozy mystery with an adventurous twist. A murder ruins wilderness guide Crystal Rainey’s first snowshoe hike, endangering her new dream job and budding romance.
I knew it would be a lot of fun to take readers to exciting locations, and what better way to do that than to make my main character’s job literally “going on adventures.” Like all writers, I want to engage my readers to vicariously live the experiences through the story, and who doesn’t want to go on an adventure from time-to-time?
And wWat’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
This is a particularly pertinent question since my main character is the opposite sex. The hardest part is making sure your characters actions ring true. That’s why I lean heavily on my team of female beta-readers to give me perspective.
Okay, I can’t wait for this answer, what is the most amusing thing that has ever happened to you?
Many years ago, my wife and I evacuated from our home due to the rising water from a nearby river. Hang on, this does get funny. As we left our neighborhood, we stopped to talk to another couple and exchanged numbers. My wife took the number and put in in my glove box.
Flash-forward to several months later. My wife is looking for a napkin in my car and opens my glove box. A second later, she very icily asks, “Who’s Becky?”
I glance over to see, in very feminine handwriting, that name followed by a phone number. I have absolutely no idea who this woman is and where the phone number is from, so I can only sputter “I don’t know.”
I know this is exact answer a guy who procured other woman’s numbers would come up with, and my brain raced a million miles to solve this problem. My wife just stared me down, holding this piece of paper and waiting for an adequate answer, but I just sat there uselessly, coming up with nothing. I needed an answer now.
Finally, my brain, in its best achievement to date, came up with the answer. In the corner of my mind, I recalled my wife putting a number in my glove box and it all came rushing back. I thumped the steering wheel in relief and told my wife that it was her who had put the number there in the first place.
Phew! Funny now, but that was one of worst minutes of my life. I can still remember the hard eyes of my wife, watching me so intently.
I love it! That must have been hysterical, after the fact. Okay, million dollar question, are you working on another book?
I’m editing the sequel of “Winter Takes All.” This one is titled “Spring Upon a Crime.” Crystal continues her adventures in the rain forest of the Olympic Peninsula. Desperate to vindicate her friend from a crime she didn’t commit, she pursues answers in a close knit community intent on keeping her in the dark.
My series will follow the seasons, as each setting will offer a new type of adventure to experience. Since much of my books takes place outdoors, the seasonal names will let the reader know that they can expect.
What made you want to become a writer?
I’ve always had a vivid imagination, and putting pen to paper seems the natural outlet to me. For example, in middle school, we had to come up with our own greek myth to explain a natural phenomenon. The assignment was for three pages, but I turned in twelve. Throughout middle and high school, my friends and I wrote short stories to amuse ourselves, but my present track came in the last few years.
My writing journey for “Winter Takes All” began with a genre swap suggested by my wife. Her favorite fiction genres are Mysteries and Thrillers, while mine is Fantasy. She gave me Nevada Barr, Janet Evanovich, and Mary Daheim novels to read, and I gave her Robert Jordan. I loved the stories I was given, which were so different from the long epic adventures I was used to. I enjoyed the wit of the genre, as well as the concept of a ordinary person being forced out of their comfort zone to the point where they find themselves investigating a crime.
During the long bus rides to-and-fro work, I must have been inspired, because an idea for a cozy mystery percolated in my head, and I began writing it down over the next year. After I’d finished my book, I read it back. I’m not going to lie, it was pretty mediocre, but I could see the elements of a great story. I began to study how to write fiction from books and courses by the likes of Jane Friedman and KM Weiland. Applying what I’d learned, I re-wrote the entire book to its present incarnation.
Finally, what is your advice to Indie Authors? On writing? Marketing?
Try and do at least a little bit every day. It doesn’t have to be just writing. Read a book on the craft, join a writing organization, and learn about the industry. In the end, if you keep moving, inertia will take you much further than you can imagine. I still feel overwhelmed with everything on a daily basis, but when I look back on where this began, I’m in awe of how far along this journey I am.
The other bit of advice is to not be intimidated. When you are faced with things you don’t know how to do, dive in. Being out of your comfort zone is commonplace, so you better learn to enjoy it if you want to go this far down the rabbit hole of being an author.
Give Us An Excerpt!
Not the most auspicious start to my guiding career, Crystal admitted to herself.
Conner sat back down, took a grateful swig of the coffee and sighed. “This could have gone better,” he said stating the obvious.
“What happens next?” Crystal asked.
“We wait until dawn, see if he turns up, and escort everyone out of here. Hopefully, Philip is waiting for us at the lodge, and we can drive this whole miserable lot back to the city a day early. In the meantime, I suggest we follow everyone’s lead and try to get a little shuteye.”
Conner’s radio crackled with Sam’s voice, “We’ve found the missing man from your group, Conner. He’s at the bottom of a cliff. I’m sorry to say this search and rescue operation has become a search and recover.”
Conner paled at the news.
“What does ‘search and recover’ mean?” Crystal asked.
“It means he’s dead.”
(answer in ONE or TWO words)
Would you prefer living in the city or country?
What color best describes your personality?
What are you most passionate about?
What do you consider your best attribute?
What’s your favorite beverage?
What song best sums you up?
Paperback Writer (Cheating, I know!)
What does your desk look like right now? Clean or messy?
Are you a night owl or an early bird?
What book are you reading at the moment?
The Forgettable Miss French by Kristin Painter
What would you take with you to a desert island?
A good book, hammock, pillow
If you could invite anyone, dead or alive, to dinner, who would it be?
What would be your ideal holiday destination?
What time in history would you have liked to be born in? Renaissance
If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play you?
DIY or call an expert?
What is your favorite fruit?
What is your favorite thing to learn about in your free time?
What is your favorite time of day?
Are you a pantser or a plotter?
Music or silence?
Silence for writing
Where Do Buy Winter Takes All?
Where Can We Find You?