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The Story Of My Own Childhood

Carolyn Summer Quinn Author Interview

Cloudy with a Chance of Answers follows a grieving woman as she closes out her uncle’s estate and discovers a clue to her cousin’s disappearance over thirty years ago. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I’ve heard that when there’s an unsolved crime that happens to a family, especially when it involves a child, they are never, ever fully able to move forward from it. There’s always that question of who did it. There’s like a cloud over their heads, figuratively. And how do people stand to live in a community where one of the citizens is a killer but nobody knows who it is? I wanted to write a book about that, but featuring a gutsy main character who never gave up hope of one day finding a resolution. The main character, Bethany, of course, persists.

Did you plan the tone and direction of the novel before writing or did it come out organically as you were writing?

The story all came about naturally, just popping into my head one day during the beginning of the pandemic. There wasn’t a crime like the one in the book in my family, thank God, but I drew on another part of my own family history with the characters of Bethany’s mother, grandmother and father. The mother and grandmother have been battling one another since before Bethany was born. The father sits on the sidelines, does nothing, and watches them go at it, and Bethany may be a child, but she constantly steps in as the family referee. That was exactly the story of my own childhood, so I knew it well. My mother and grandmother’s battles were so over-the-top and crazy that they were almost funny, and a story like CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF ANSWERS needed a lot of comic relief.

What was the hardest part about writing a mystery story, where you constantly have to give just enough to keep the mystery alive until the big reveal?

It’s a juggling act with handling all of the clues, that’s for sure! There has to be just enough information for various people to look suspicious, but it’s a question of just enough and no further, so the reader will wonder which one of the potential suspects might have done it. I love it when someone reads one of my books and then tells me they had a whole other suspect in mind for the crime. I figure that means I did my job well!

What is the next book that you are working on, and when will it be available?

The next one is a murder mystery set in a Broadway talent agency. I used to work in one myself so I kind of know the territory there. Talk about having to juggle a lot of potential suspects! It’s a challenge and I’m having a wonderful time writing it. I’m hoping it will be available by the winter of 2023.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website

An ominous cloud full of questions has hung over Bethany Barrows’ wildly dysfunctional family ever since her little cousin Ashley was abducted from their eccentric Jersey Shore neighborhood in 1988. It’s part of a series of unsolved crimes against children. Now, in March 2020, as Covid-19 is starting to disrupt the whole country, Bethany, the last of the Barrows, is back at the shore to close up her late uncle’s house. Uncle Ryan was a kindhearted detective who never stopped searching for a solution to the crime that robbed him of his daughter and Bethany is astounded to find what looks like a viable lead while sorting through his possessions. Could it be? Is this the answer she’s always been waiting for, and did the old family cold case just turn marvelously hot?

Cloudy with a Chance of Answers

Cloudy with a Chance of Answers by Carolyn Summer Quinn is a mystery thriller and the second one in her “unsolved crimes against children” series. Bethany Barrows finds herself in the town of New Jersey in the early stages of Covid-19 when her uncle Ryan passes away and she has to settle his estate. In Bethany’s half-hearted search through her uncle’s belongings, she discovers that her detective uncle dedicated his entire life to finding his daughter Ashley’s abductor. Bethany gets “cloudy with a chance of answers” when she finds a very clear lead. Will she finally solve the mystery her uncle couldn’t solve before his death? To unravel Ashley Barrows’ abduction mystery from 1988, is Bethany willing to sacrifice her own life?

Cloudy with a Chance of Answers is a riveting piece of storytelling. The book is set in March of 2020, right when coronavirus was spreading globally and Quinn’s ability to recreate that environment is applause-worthy. Her attention to detail was spectacular and I felt as though I was transported back into that time. As the story forges ahead and Bethany comes across all types of hints, readers will find themselves trying to solve the mystery as well. This book is a true page-turner and it radiated nail-biting suspense.

Bethany’s character was as realistic as it gets and her naturally curious personality was a great character trait. Her devotion to her cousin’s closed abduction case and her need to solve it was amazing to read about. The sheer possibility of getting the long-anticipated answers not only compelled Bethany but readers as well.

Unlike most thriller novels, Quinn’s writing style takes on a conversational tone which made this book a fast read. I found it very hard to put this book down and I can’t wait for the next one in this series. As for the story, it was near perfect, at no point did I feel like it was being stretched out, and then as the mystery unfolded itself, I too got cloudy with a chance of answers.

Pages: 283 | ASIN: B0BGJNQSHR

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After The First Two Murders Happen

Carolyn Summer Quinn Author Interview

The Final Comeuppance follows an author who has put the abuse she suffered at a private school behind her, until the headmaster winds up dead, and she needs to help find the killer. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Amanda has done a stellar job of attempting to move on from the hideous school she once attended, but can’t fully do that simply because she never knew the full story of all that was happening there. After the first two murders happen, her cousin the cop finds evidence they were connected to the now-defunct school then asks for her assistance with the case, and she finally has an opportunity to not only help him but to get a more complete picture of all that happened. In a way this case isn’t just about the murders. It’s Amanda’s own mystery, too. It’s what really propels her to help.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I wanted to explore the theme of how childhood trauma can impact the rest of a child’s life, especially when it leaves unanswered questions. Even after Amanda has transferred away from the wretched private school where she was treated abominably, the bad memories go right along with her. She doesn’t know the motivations of the sick adults who ran the place and is left with endless speculations of why she was targeted by these terrible people. She only really knows half of her own story at the beginning.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I work on more than one book at a time, so I’m thrilled to report that the next one is already available. It’s another mystery, and it’s a cold case about a child from a rather wacky family who goes missing in a Jersey Shore town in 1988. It opens in March 2020, and the last remaining family member, Bethany, still doesn’t know whodunit. It’s called CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF ANSWERS. I had a wonderful time writing it!

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A bad private school.  The boomerang of corruption!  Amanda Conway has been haunted for twenty-one years by the emotional abuse she endured as a child at an “exclusive” but unscrupulously run private school.  One scandal ultimately led to the school’s demise, but more went uncovered, and now a killer is exacting retribution on the adults who once made certain children’s lives almost unbearable.  When Amanda’s cousin, Detective Pablo Conway, enlists her help in understanding the now-defunct school’s past, she reluctantly agrees to become a special consultant to the police, even though she thinks if any homicides could ever be called justifiable, these could.  As the bodies pile up, they try to figure out what happened in the past to cause murders in the present.  Who is behind this series of murders?  What was going on way back when?  And where so many irresponsible adults were once never caught doing wrong, can anything ever be set right?

The Final Comeuppance

Amanda Conway is a successful author enjoying a good night’s sleep in her Brooklyn apartment when her phone goes off. On the other side of the call is her cousin, Detective Pablo Conway, requesting assistance in solving two homicides that strongly link with Amanda’s worst childhood memories. That time in her childhood which she had put entirely behind her. That time was horrible not just to her but to several of her friends and other kids. The headmaster and the most despicable teacher at Winslow-Kent have been murdered, and Amanda has to face her past to help her cousin and her hometown, the quiet town of Carlisle, and get the killer to justice. 

The Final Comeuppance by Carolyn Summer Quinn is a classic whodunnit mystery full of irresponsible adults, criminals thriving amid children, and innocent kids suffering from emotional and physical abuse. A private school hiding under the banner of prestige, Winslow-Kent houses some of the most nefarious characters who enjoy abusing children and money-minded misers who care less for the children and more about the fees they brought in.

Quinn has successfully built a playground of felonies and characters who have sold their humanity for a small amount of money. With a riveting plot of multiple suspects, Quinn creates enough doubt in the reader’s mind to consume the entire mystery in one sitting. The protagonist’s fear and hate towards the adults who failed her are conveyed powerfully.

The Final Comeuppance is a riveting police procedural novel with an amateur sleuth as the protagonist. Readers that enjoy reading about the bad guys getting what they deserve will be drawn into this compelling mystery while trying to figure out who the murderer is along with the characters.

Pages: 351 | ASIN : B0B7ZHYSQ2

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