Monday, September 01, 2014

Blog Tour -- Meet My Character

The lovely and talented Jan Grape tagged me to be a part of this blog tour.  I'm supposed to answer a few questions about one of my characters.  You can read Jan's answers here.  I wasn't going to tag anybody, but what the heck.  I'll tag James Reasoner.  He has about 40 dozen characters he could write about.  

1. What is the name of your character? Is he or she fictional or a historic person?  

Sheriff Dan Rhodes is about as fictional as they come.  I'd been interested for years in small-town law enforcement and small-town crimes, and one day I sat down to write a short story about a sheriff in a thinly populated Texas county.  The short story got too long to be a short story, so it became a novel and the novel became a series.  The sheriff's an intelligent, intuitive guy.  He's tall and maybe a tad overweight, but not much.  He might be the only sheriff in Texas who doesn't wear a cowboy hat and boots.  He's seen a lot of really bad old movies, and sometimes the people he meets remind him of characters in them.  He doesn't have a lot of high-tech crime-solving equipment, and he believes in old-fashioned methods -- talking to people and sifting through their stories.  Usually this works for him.

2. When and where is the story set?

The whole series, over 20 books now, is set in Blacklin County, Texas, a place just as fictional as Sheriff Rhodes.  I've lived in several Texas counties, and people from all of them seem to think that the books are set where they live.  This is probably a good sign.  The setting is contemporary, sort of.  There's probably no real-world county or law enforcement agency like mine anywhere.

3.  What should we know about him or her?

Besides what I've mentioned in the answer to #1, Rhodes is married to Ivy Daniel, who feeds him more healthy food than he likes.  He used to drink a lot of Dr Pepper, but he's still upset that he can't get it from Dublin, Texas, where it was once made with real sugar, so he's not drinking it now.  He has the unfortunate habit of picking up cats and dogs in the course of his work and taking them home with him.  He has a civilian friend, Seepy Benton, a college math teacher who thinks he's a qualified law enforcement officer (and who believes this should be called the Seepy Benton series and not the Sheriff Dan Rhodes series).

4. What is the conflict?  What messes up his or her life?

Murder, usually, but there are a lot of problems in small towns, ranging from feral pigs to donkeys and goats on the loose.  Or alligators.  You never know what a sheriff will be called on to take care of. 

5. What is the personal goal of this character?

Being a sheriff, he wants to enforce the law.  Simple as that.  Now and then he likes to watch an old movie or have a good meal.

6. Can we read about this character yet?

He's been around since 1986 or so.  The only problem is that not enough of you are reading about him yet.  So get busy and buy some books.  The sheriff and I need all the help we can get.

7. Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it? 

The current book, just published in August, is Half in Love with Artful Death.  Next August, the sheriff will be back in Between the Living and the Dead.

1 comment:

Jan Grape said...

I've read and enjoyed Sheriff Rhodes ever since the first book came out. I feel like I know him, think I even went to school with him. Thanks for joining our Meet My Character Blog Hop.