Monday, October 22, 2012

Scene of the Crime with Author Charlotte Hinger!

If you ask me what one of my favorite types of crime fiction is, I'd be quick to tell you that I really enjoy a good mystery with a historical/genealogical angle. Fortunately I know just where to look for such books: this week's featured author, Charlotte Hinger, who writes the Lottie Albright mysteries. Charlotte's main character is much like Charlotte herself because both women know how to get down and dirty in old historical records, photographs and family trees. Stop by tomorrow, and you'll be able to read my review of the second book in the series, Lethal Lineage. (I'll give you a hint right now... I found it difficult to put down!)

Charlotte Hinger
Before we get started with the interview, I thought I'd share some of my own research with you. Here are a few links, just in case you'd like to learn more about this talented writer:

Now let's get to the fun part-- the interview!

What was the very first book you remember reading and loving? What makes that book so special?

Hoot-Owl by Mabel Guinnip LaRue
Hoot-Owl!!! It was the very first book I ever read. I was in the first grade and really fed up with Dick, Jane, Spot, and that damn ball. I had finished all my work and the teacher said I could go pick out a book. I didn’t know little kids could just go read a book on their own.

In fact, by that time I was in a real snit anyway because they had just told us about the alphabet. Letters made words, and that was the secret to reading. If I had only known sooner! I thought it came about through some sort of magic.

Hoot-Owl was about a little pilgrim boy who got lost and was found in the woods by a little Indian boy, named Hoot-Owl. Hoot-Owl and the kindly adult Indians took the little boy back to his people where the grateful pilgrims generously shared their first Thanksgiving meal. And as we all know, everyone lived happily ever after.

Outside of your writing and all associated commitments, what do you like to do in your free time?

Ha! My interests whip me around like dandelion fluff. My curiosity is a curse. I love music—opera and bluegrass. Just say concert and I leave my computer in a heartbeat. Like most authors, I read all the time. I’m an avid knitter and love to meet with my friends. I love to travel and am a museum junkie. Having moved to Colorado, the three daughters and their families keep me jumping. Oh yeah, and there’s the hiking thing now.

If I were to visit your hometown, where would you recommend that I go? (I like seeing and doing things that aren't in all the guide books.)

Hoxie, Kansas 1910
My heart is still in Kansas. Good thing, since that is where my series is set. In Hoxie, Kansas (population 1200) I would take you to our home-owned carnival (we add a new ride whenever possible), treat you to a twist at Red’s (best ice cream anywhere), show you the finest greens on just about any golf course (everyone says so), and top it off with prime rib at the local Elks (best beef in the USA). We would finish the day with a grand tour of the Hoxie Feedyard. It feeds over 50,000 head of cattle and is a great example of how agribusiness changed the High Plains.

You have total control over casting a movie based on your life. Which actor would you cast as you?

Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher
I think Meryl Streep because if she can portray Margaret Thatcher, she can portray chaos.

Who is your favorite recurring character in crime fiction?

I adore Louise Penny’s Inspector Armand Gamache.

If you could have in your possession one signed first edition of any book in the world, which book would that be?  

Green Dolphin Street. The author, Elizabeth Goudge, is a master of complex characterization. Although intricate plots are central to her writing, as well as the skilled integration of history, Green Dolphin Street soars through her ability to lovingly depict very difficult people. There’s a strand of gentle spirituality. The tale of two sisters both in love with the same man is central and the strange turn in this star-crossed romance is heart-wrenching. I adore this book. In fact, I’ve always felt a mystical connection to her trust of the winds of fate. All will be well! 

How did you celebrate when you first heard you were to be published? What did you do the first time you saw one of your books on a shelf in a bookstore?

I got the call at the Sheridan County Historical Society. In real life, I edited the county history books, just as my protagonist, Lottie Albright, does in my series. Our secretary KNEW the importance I placed on getting a call from my agent. She made me get on my knees and BEG before she would hand me the phone. I flew out of the courthouse and out to the truckline and told my husband. We went to the Elks that night and had a steak.

When I saw my book, I was amazed. Amazed, grateful, then worried. It wasn’t as though it was a real book, written by a real author.

Name one thing on your Bucket List.

Something like this, Charlotte?
An isolated week in a seashore cottage with no obligations.

[In case you're wondering, Charlotte, this is a photo I took of a cottage on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Click on it to see it in a larger size.]

You've just received a $100 gift card to the bookstore of your choice. Which bookstore are you making a bee-line for?

The Poisoned Pen
The Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale, Arizona.
[I'd love to meet you there one day!]

Thank you so much for spending this time with us, Charlotte. We appreciate the opportunity to get to know you a little better.

May your book sales do nothing but increase!


Don't forget to stop by tomorrow for my review of the second Lottie Albright mystery, Lethal Lineage!


  1. Hi. I am your newest blog member. I see that we share a love of mysteries and historical fiction. Please come by and check out my blog at

    I hope to see you there. Happy reading.

    1. Very nice to meet you, Kimberlee! I hope you enjoyed this interview with Charlotte?


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