If Trees Could Testify follows a defense attorney who is investigating and trying a double homicide that has more questions than answers. What inspired you to write a fictional novel based on this real case?
The actual case upon which my book is based generated a significant amount of publicity, particularly in the Asheville area of the western NC mountains. As is noted, I was the principal defense attorney and therefore privy to information that would be subject to varying degrees of privacy concerns. Those factors, combined with a need to protect both the innocent as well as the potentially guilty, gave me no choice but to fictionalize the account to some degree.
How do you balance story development with shocking plot twists? Or can they be the same thing?
The plot twists really weren’t planned or sensationalized as they were based largely upon an accurate rendition of how the case transpired, although I did take the liberty of injecting some degree of diversion with regard to characters such as the draft-dodging son of the snake-handling minister.
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?
The “mystery” was not overly difficult to recount in that it was based on events that had essential components of an intriguing story already built in. Many rabbits were chased in the form of biker gangs, organized crime, etc., but the essential and unfortunate message was that justice was a struggle to achieve for both defendants and victims. Human impacts can be lingering and strong when our system fails to fulfill its purpose.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
My next book will likely be a sequel to my first, that being “Pioneer Paddling Colonial Carolina.” I am an avid kayaker with a data base of over 350 bodies of water, but also a history buff with a passion for paddling in historical areas wherever they are found. I hope to expand and update the Carolinas, but also include much of Florida together with parts of Virgina, Georgia and Tennessee. Thank you for asking.