Interview with Carrie H. Johnson
Tell our readers a little bit about HOT FLASH:
My intention was to present a mature woman, who at 49-50 years old, is finally coming into her own, having dealt with her past and looking toward the second half of her life. Muriel will learn to love herself and be able to be there for her family and friends throughout the challenges that she must overcome. I wanted to bring a main character with strength, a charismatic personality and a bold constitution that allowed her to be a single mother, protector, and confidant, while dealing with the curves that life presents and finally overcoming her self-doubts – learning to love herself and finding the happiness she’d been searching for.
Why did you decide to write a mystery?
First of all, I wanted to write a book with an older main character after complaining with girlfriends and book club members how main characters are usually younger. As a baby boomer, I wanted to show how mature women are still in the game and still have much to offer.
I decided to write a mystery because I have a girlfriend who was the first and only Black female in the Philadelphia Firearms Forensic Unit. On a few occasions when I visited her, she took me to her work and showed me around – the bug bit me on my last visit to her work.
How long did it take you to write this book?
I have been a journalist most of my life -and the switch to fiction was a challenge, but I was determined to write a novel, so navigating the learning curve was a must. I started the book then signed on for a novel writing course while continuing to work on it. There was also some down time with life difficulties when I stopped working on it and times when I just got discouraged and put it down for a time. All together I would say about two and a half years for the first draft and another year for several rewrites after having trusted friends read it and getting to the point where I was confident enough to send it out.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write for yourself. Don’t worry about if there will be anyone interested in what you have to say, just write from your heart and the rest will follow
“Explodes like a shot to the heart.” —Lisa Black, New York Times
In this thrilling debut novel from Carrie H. Johnson, one woman with a dangerous job and a volatile past is feeling the heat from all sides…
She sweats every detail as a forensic firearms specialist—and as a forty-something single mother. She’s got more responsibilities than she can count, more baggage than she wants to claim, and way too many regrets. But Muriel Mabley will do whatever it takes to put Philadelphia’s most vicious killer in lockdown for good…
Until her troubled younger sister in witness protection receives a terrifying warning—and Muriel’s long-time partner, Laughton, reveals he knows more than he should about her and Muriel’s shattered past. And when Laughton’s ex-wife and her new husband turn up dead, his own secrets will send Muriel down a twisted trail of lethal leads, disappeared witnesses, and the ultimate wrenching betrayal…
“A lively and clever novel that will dare you to put it down. The reader will leave fingerprints pressed into the cover of this one. Top of the ‘must read’ list.” —John Lutz, New York Times bestselling author
“Muriel Mabley has hot flashes, a hot new love, and a heap of deadly cold secrets that will destroy everyone she loves. A gripping, fast-paced debut novel.” —Valerie Wilson Wesley, author of The Tamara Hayle Mysteries
“A heartfelt, well-crafted read! Muriel is the perfect combination of vulnerability and intelligence.” —Anika Nailah, author of Free & Other Stories
“Hot Flash left me breathless and blown away from page one!”
—Karen Holmes Ward, Director of Public Affairs/Host of CityLine, WCVB Channel 5 Boston