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I Love the Element of Surprise

R. J. Corgan Author Interview

Mammoth Drop follows a scientist to the Black Hills where she finds herself knee-deep in mammoth bones and a murder mystery. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The Black Hills, and South Dakota in general, is heaven for geologists. In fact, most geologists have to do a field season out West as part of our degrees. I studied in South Dakota and Wyoming in the early 90’s and was blown away by the beauty of the landscape. I’ve also worked with paleontologists who have spent their lives studying mammoths and they’re just as marvelous as the animals they study. I wrote Mammoth Drop to celebrate both their legacy and to share the breathtaking scenery of the region with readers.

Kea Wright is an intriguing and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character’s development?

Kea is smart, kind, and terrible with people. Like many scientists that work in the field for months at a time, Kea suffers from broken relationships, a low self esteem, and bouts of depression. I wanted to create a heroine where those attributes, both good and bad, are superpowers: they’re external to the group, often forced to think differently, and wind up in places they shouldn’t be. While a reluctant heroine, I love Kea and I hope that readers will as well.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book (and what can readers expect in Book 4)?

Each book in the Kea Wright series has a unique theme. Cold Flood examines how being put under intense pressure can and release something inside ourselves that we never knew existed. The Meerkat Murders examines the concept of altruism, Mammoth Drop explores extinction, while Murder on Masaya examines sacrifice. Each book also has a different tone. Mammoth Drop is absolutely a camp romp full of drinking and dancing to celebrate a scientist and his life’s work. In contrast, the final story, Murder on Masaya,(released in 2021) is a much darker story about the hazards that scientists undertake to gather data and the sacrifices people make for their family. These changes in tone are deliberate because, growing up, my favorite television show was Doctor Who – you never knew where the next story would take you, it could be the distant past or the far future, or be a comedy or a tragedy. I loved that element of surprise. These books are very much in the same vein and I hope readers enjoy the variety.

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During Kea’s visit to the Black Hills, one of the scientists in Mammoth Drop Caverns is brutally murdered. Determined to unmask the killer, Kea takes up residence in nearby Woolly Hole, a gay campground filled with boozing drag queens and bottomless mimosas. Knee-deep in mammoth bones and potential suspects, Kea soon finds herself in the killer’s sights . . .

Mammoth Drop: Murder, Mammoths, and Mimosas

Mammoth Drop – A paleontological site that is home to an abundance of ancient Mammoth fossils. Upon the request of her old friend Harry, Kea Wright embarks on a trip to the treasured site for sightseeing. But Kea’s visit soon takes an unfortunate turn as she finds herself in the middle of a murder mystery. Unable to fathom who could be culpable for such an atrocious crime she extends her visit to expose the killer. Kea realizes that just like the depth of the entities of the Drop, this murderer will only be exposed by digging deep into the past.

Mammoth Drop by R.J. Corgan explores the concepts of extinction with Kea Wright a geologist determined to excavate the secrets buried in this archeological site. On this journey, she attempts to narrow down the murder suspects but endangers herself by being right in the killer’s sights.

Award-winning author R.J. Corgan delivers vivid details with brilliance; the characters are well articulated and authentically reflect raw emotions. The idea of experiencing a mystery in an unfamiliar but fascinating locale stimulates the interest of the reader from inception. The author is adept at merging historic facts with creative fiction elements to present an enthralling narrative. Similar to how paleontologists strive to build connections while extracting fossils, Corgan’s novel give readers an exciting opportunity to connect dots and unmask the mystery.

This book takes readers on a riveting scientific expedition. A perfectly encapsulated read for cozy murder mystery genre enthusiasts who like playing detective in a story that will leave you with an adrenaline rush. Corgan often places his readers in extraordinary sites that exude adventure. I would highly recommend Mammoth Drop to readers looking for a paleo history fiction novel that reflects on the meaning of life.

Pages: 235 | ASIN: B09TRNTPCF

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