Monday, July 11, 2011

Manic Monday with J. Carson Black

I’d like to welcome J. Carson Black to my Manic Monday guest series.

J. Carson Black is the critically-acclaimed author of the Laura Cardinal series: Darkness on the Edge of Town, Dark Side of the Moon, and The Devil’s Hour.

Born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, she was inspired by Stephen King’s The Shining, to write her own horror novel, a ghost story titled Darkscope, set in the historic mining town of Bisbee, Arizona. Darkscope was published by Kensington Publishing Corp. and she never looked back.

Now the award-winning author of eight novels published by NAL, Kensington Publishing Corp. and Dorchester Publishing–and in France, Germany, and Norway, Black has partnered with digital publisher Breakaway Media to publish her novels in the digital space. She lives in Tucson, Arizona.


When I first set out to write my crime fiction thriller, DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN, I spoke to my friend John, a retired police officer. I told him I wanted to write a series starring a female homicide detective, and he suggested I make her a detective with the Arizona Department of Public Safety (Highway Patrol). As a state-run agency, a detective with the DPS can investigate crimes anywhere in Arizona, lending a hand to jurisdictions in need of manpower and expertise. I loved this idea. Laura Cardinal, based in Tucson, can troubleshoot homicide scenes wherever I wanted to put her.

Then my friend John made a request: would I consider writing about Internet sexual predators?

With the explosion of the Internet, sexual predators have now found validation through their network of friends. Their numbers have grown exponentially, and the child on the other end of a smartphone or Netbook is no match for them. These predators hold all the cards. A lot of people in law enforcement were worried that parents were unaware of the problem, that these kids were vulnerable through their computers.

I decided to give it a try.

At first I wondered how well I could write a story like this, which was disturbing to me. But I found a way – and I’m happy to say this story has no “ick” factor, just a strong female character, solid police work, some thrills along the way, and a story that really needs to be told. Since I wrote the book, many changes have taken place – social media moves fast -- and now there are even more dangers out there for kids. One thing remains unchanged: more than ever, parents need to be aware of what their children are doing, especially in this age of Social Media Gone Wild.

In writing DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN, I depended on the help of a few key members of law enforcement, like the sex crimes detective whose job was to pose as a young teen on the Internet and lure the bad guys in. The predators came in droves. One night he invited me to his house and we got on the computer. He showed me just how scary it was out there. I used some of the conversations in DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN. In fact, if you look at the cover of DARKNESS, really look at it, you will see print---bits and pieces of those conversations.

But before I could start writing, I needed a model for my main character—a detective with the DPS.

Terry, the DPS detective I worked with, is male, but I based my female homicide detective Laura Cardinal on him. He is a fine man and a great detective. He and his wife agreed to meet me in the mining-turned-tourist town of Bisbee Arizona, where my victim is found dead in the City Park bandshell. Terry came to “walk the crime scene” with me. He was methodical and careful and observant, and as I followed him in the glaring September sunlight up the steps to where the body would be, I felt as if a goose had crossed my grave. City Park, which is built on the flat roofs of three or four shops on Brewery Gulch, was the Bisbee town cemetery at the turn of the century---the bandshell itself was erected in 1916. Now here we were, bringing my story to life. One gentleman, a local, stopped us and asked if we were with the city council, and were we planning to do something to change his beloved City Park?

Afterwards, I learned that Terry encountered a car accident on the freeway on his way here. He immediately stopped and rendered aid, which was the reason he was late. “Protect and Serve” isn’t just a motto to him.

I tried to bring Terry’s brand of diligence and passion to my own DPS detective, Laura Cardinal.

To find out more about J. Carson Black and her books, please visit her at her website:

Joining me tomorrow is Katie Salidas with her one-day Book Blitz Blog tour!

Until then,



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