Monday, October 1, 2012

Guest Post: Joelle Charbonneau

Today I am thrilled to have Joelle Charbonneau, author of Skating on the Edge, as a guest.

One of the hardest working authors of today, Joelle Charbonneau will have had seven books published by established publishing houses within just three years.
She’s the author of two adult mystery series: The Rebecca Robbins mysteries (her latest, Skating on the Edge, releasing Oct. 2 from Minotaur Books) and the new Glee Club mystery series (Murder for Choir, July 3, Berkley Books).

Charbonneau launches the first of her Graduation Day young adult trilogy in May 2013 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s. Early readers are calling The Testing a mix between the high school ACT and The Hunger Games.

A storyteller at heart, Charbonneau has performed in a variety of opera and musical theatre productions across Chicagoland. In addition to her stage work, she has also performed with several bands and worked as a solo performer. She now teaches private voice lessons and uses her stage experience to create compelling characters in her books. She also gives lectures about surviving rejection in the entertainment industry. Charbonneau earned her bachelor’s in vocal performance at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, and went on to DePaul University for her master’s in opera performance.

The mother of a toddler, she hardly ever sleeps. And when she’s not writing, she’s either signing, cooking or watching sports.

You just never know…


By Joelle Charbonneau


My first career choice was a stage performer.  Yeah – I know how to pick the stable careers, don’t I?  Musical theater, opera, operetta, children’s theater – I liked them all.  Somebody wrote lines and music, I memorized them and the story came to life on the stage.  Then coming home one day from a performance I had an idea for the opening line of a book.  I’d always been an avid reader, but had never written anything longer than a term paper.  I have no idea why I decided to write that book.  But I did and while no one will ever read it (and trust me – no one ever should.  My poor mother and husband both read it and while they claim it was good…they lied!), I learned I liked to write and decided to try it again.


Several books later I attended a writing conference and ended up seated at the bar– because that is what one does at writing conferences.  I was seated with a couple of writer friends and an agent who was attending the conference.  For whatever reason, my performing career became the topic of conversation and someone at the table asked if my parents were performers. 


My answer was “No, but my mother is a world champion artistic roller skater.”


Everyone looked at me as if I’d just jumped up on the table and danced the tarentella.  The agent was the first to recover.  She looked at me with a smile and said “You should write a roller skating book.” 


We all laughed and the conversation moved onto other things.  There was no way I was going to write a roller skating book.


Skating On the Edge, the third of the Rebecca Robbins roller skating mysteries hits shelves tomorrow.  During the last several years, I’ve learned a great deal that I didn’t know about roller skating and in this book I specifically got to venture into the wonderful and action-packed world of roller derby.  I’ve learned about camels, studied Elvis impersonators and learned how to set fire to cars and electrocute people in dunk tanks.  And it still amazes me to realize that it all started because of that one conversation in a hotel bar.  I guess it just goes to show you never know where the idea for your next book is going to come from.  I certainly don’t.

It's Native American Summer Days in Indian Falls, and Rebecca Robbins is roped into taking a turn in the Senior Center dunk tank. That is until her rhinestone-studded grandfather needs help setting up his Elvis act. Now Rebecca has to find a replacement and roller derby girl Sherlene-n-Mean is delighted to fit the bill -- until she's dunked and ends up dead. The cops want Rebecca to stay out of the investigation, but she was supposed to be in that dunk tank, which means her life could be hanging in the balance. Aided by a trio of self-appointed bodyguard derby girls, Rebecca digs for answers, dodges bullets and races to find the killer before the killer finds her.

If you are looking for a series that is a little bit quirky, but that is lots of fun, this one might be for you.

I really didn’t know what to expect from this book. I love mysteries in small towns and the author really knows how to write those. There is a cozy atmosphere that works very well with the story, making the tension, once it starts, more pronounced. The author also knows how to balance Rebecca’s search for the murdered while still keeping the rest of the story going. That’s not always easy to do. Many times the authors just abandon side-plots to focus on the main mystery, but it’s not the case in this book.

Okay, besides all of that, the series is really funny. So you have roller-skating and comedy, a fabulous mix. There were some scenes where I couldn’t stop laughing.

I do recommend this book to all mystery lovers. Actually, even if you’re not, it still is a very entertaining one to try.

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