Hello, everyone. Please welcome my Maine friend, Jule Selbo, here for a return visit. Jule’s mystery novel, 9 DAYS, A Dee Rommel Mystery (second in the series), has its official release September 28, 2022. You can comment at the end of the post to be entered to win a copy of this terrific book.
Take it away, Jule!
A Perfect Situation
Thanks to Barbara Ross and the Wickeds for inviting me to post about it and to offer a BOOK GIVEAWAY! (Read on for how to enter.)
When I started the Dee Rommel series, I soon realized I’d set up two perfect situations for myself. The first: a reason to do deep research dives. I can get giddy when I head to my libraries in Portland or Falmouth or my favorites in Lincoln County – Gibbs and Skidompha – or one of the most welcoming – Waldoboro Library in Knox County (near a funky camp I’m doing my best to make comfy) to check the online catalog for books and magazines on a certain subject and then browse through them for nuggets of insight. I can also lose myself in Internet searches (doing my best to ignore the demon ads for gummies that will make anyone skinny). I watch YouTubes. I call offices and/or people to see if they’ll share information. (Most will.) I take people with certain expertise out for coffee or wine (one source allows me to pick his brain regularly if I buy him a glass of whiskey at Ironsides Bar in Portland’s Hotel Regency).
In 10 Days (released September 2021) my research focused on artificial intelligence, artificial limbs, MDMA (club drugs), privacy issues (what we give up for convenience sake), and the variances of high and low crimes. In 9 Days, my research was aimed at the pros and cons of inherited wealth, small pistols, melting silver, Portland’s West End, astrology – its history, its heyday, its falling out of favor and who embraces its tenets and why.
The second reason I’m in writer’s nirvana: I love long character arcs. In Dee’s case, I get to “live with” a character with flaws, strengths, and a strong ego dotted with insecurities. She needs to grow and change, and I have ten books to explore that. My admiration may have started with Nancy Drew and Sherlock Holmes and then continued with Perry Mason (Gardner) Julia Snowden (Ross),Mickey Haller (Connelly), Kinsey Malone (Grafton) V.I. Warshawski (Parestsky), Mac Almeida (Maxwell/Day), Jack Bowditch (Doiron), John Byron (Coffin) and countless others. My interest probably magnified during my time as a television writer – plotting arcs for characters on Flash, Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, Melrose Place and more. If it’s a choice between a stand-alone and a series – I’m series all the way.
10 Days has two “A” crime stories that Dee Rommel juggles in the ten-day time frame. In one, the antagonists are skilled, manipulative and greedy. In the other, the antagonists are heartless and immoral. These, and the “B” (supporting) stories, help reveal Dee’s need for justice and her very wobbly belief in goodness and love. In 9 Days, the antagonists are rich and entitled; Dee compares herself and her beliefs to theirs, puts her trust in the wrong people and faces the consequences.
I’m working on 8 Days now, deep into research on tracking devices, trafficking rings, and how history repeats itself. The antagonists have built a long history of successful criminal activity using inhuman actions. Dee (so far) is avoiding becoming viscerally and emotionally connected – but the fallout of witnessing this particular injustice remains to be discovered.
My plan is to write ten books: 10 Days, 9 Days 8 Days 7 Days… (you get the idea:J). So, I’ve got lots of library time ahead, a lot of people to interview, a lot of Internet searching to do and lots of intricate character arc-ing to explore!
Thanks again, Wickeds!
Readers: Who is your favorite main character in a crime/mystery series and why? Answer below or just say, “Hi” to be entered to win a copy of 9 Days.
*Giveaway perimeters: 9 DAYS, A Dee Rommel Mystery. Paperback (USA only), Kindle (open to all). Deadline for entry: October 5, 2022.
About 9 Days
A powerful family will stop at nothing to protect its secrets…
Famous astrologist Agnes Sants-Mekler, a member of one of Maine’s elite families, pleads guilty to murder. Her gifted, pre-teen son, Zar, says she’s lying and he wants Dee Rommel to prove that – in nine days.
Former policewoman Dee Rommel, not yet thirty, is dealing with a permanent, life-changing injury sustained while part of Portland’s police force. Her medical leave is up; she’s made a contested decision to delay her return to the department and continue working with her godfather, PI Gordy Greer. Dee discovers the police are content with Agnes Sants-Melker’s confession, but her intense curiosity – and need for justice – compels her to dig deeper to find the truth. As she sifts through the evidence, misdirections, and deceptions she finds that trusting the wrong person is unraveling a more devious plot – and leading to a life-threatening confrontation.
9 Days is the thrilling second installment in the award-winning Dee Rommel Mystery series
Jule Selbo spent a few decades working as a produced screenwriter in Los Angeles and then moved, four years ago, to Portland, Maine to focus on writing in her favorite genre (crime/mystery). 10 Days: A Dee Rommel Mystery was listed on the 2021 top-five list of Kirkus’ best crime/mysteries, nominated for a Clue Award, a Maine Literary Award, and received a Foreword Review Honorable Mention and a nomination for the Silver Falchion Award. 9 Days, A Dee Rommel Mystery is the next book in the ten-part series. https://www.juleselbo.com,
Congratulations, Jule! Like you, I enjoy Gardner’s Perry Mason, who gives readers (and writers) an entertaining mystery to solve, plus in the lead role, Mason’s code of conduct informs and inspires.
Yes! Gardner’s Mason was really ahead of “his time” as far as how he portrayed a lot of women and their rights (covered in some not-so-politcally-correct-for-our-times). I’m smiling now, but I particularly love how Mason commandeers a taxi and is able to just tell the driver to “wait for me” – sometimes it’s hours! And how the cops hate him and love him at the same time. Wonderful arrogance – wonderful fair-mindedness.
Thank you for the shoutout, Jule! I confess I have 10 Days on my TBR pile and haven’t gotten to it yet – but I plan to. I also love research and sources, and I bet I know who the one you buy whiskey for. ;^)
Favorite character? Too many to name, but you listed some good ones. I might add Spencer-Fleming’s Clare Fergusson to the group!
Oh yes, “the” Reverend. Of course! Love her background and how she never holds back.
Research and reasons to do it! Love your approach. Curiosity is a driving force for great new information to arm ourselves. I like the way you are approaching your series and its’ protagonist. Congratulations.
Doris – just this morning I was at my regular counter stool at Becky’s. One of the other regulars, Paul (who sits on the opposite end but we’ve become friendly over the years), plopped down next to me, all in a huff because SOMEONE HAD SLIPPED INTO “HIS” PLACE while he was talking to a waitress. We got talking about EXIT 48 in South Portland because I mentioned something I was researching for 8 DAYS (the next after 9 DAYS, hopefully will be out next summer). Amazingly, I got new insights into my story. Never know where the research will come!
I really don’t have a favorite but your list contains some good ones! Probably could add Aurora Teagarden and Hannah Swensen. I love books set in Maine!! Hope you’ve added lots of local highlights!
Yes – Portland comes into play a lot in 10 DAYS and 9 DAYS! Dee Rommel’s lived here all her life, her dad took her to ballgames, sailing, fishing, hiking so she knows that world as well as some of the tougher worlds the police see, and of course, her haunts she and her friends had in high school and college. She’s got a “neighborhood” bar/rrestaurant that she and her neighbors frequent – sometimes I WANT Dee’s life! (Ha!). Aurora Teagarden! Yes. I was at Bouchercon a few weeks ago and Charlaine Harris was there – she is so amazingly funny. And I grew up (halfway) in Minnesota. J. Fluke is in everyone’s bookshelves!
Can’t wait to read it. I’m in Maine as well and look forward to identifying the places she visits to solve the mystery.
Thanks, Jennifer. And FALL is coming to Maine – so fast! “Leaf” season almost here. Let me know what you think about Dee Rommel! I have 8 books to go – I love to hear reactions and ideas!
Hate to say it because it’s usually the standard answer, but my favorite character really is the one I’m reading at the time. I love to immerse myself in that character. I don’t become that person, but rather walk beside them so close I could be a second skin as I “help” decipher the clues and figure out whodunit right along with them.
Would love the opportunity to read “9 Days” and to walk beside Dee for nine days. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.
2clowns at arkansas dot net
Kay – I understand about “favorite” being the one we’re immersed in at the time. I’ve just come back from Killer Nashville conference and Bourchercon Mystery Conference – so I have STACKS of new author (to me) books. Can’t wait to get into their characters – from the hard-hitting to the cozies to the thrillers!
Congratulations on the upcoming release, Jule! Favorite character? Probably Poirot, but there are so many great ones, I could go on for days. 🙂 Cheers!
Hercule, of course. Murder of Roger Ackroyd is definitely a favorite – of course Orient Express and ABC. Did Agatha Christie ever sleep?
Hi, I don’t really have a favorite. There are too many I like
Hercule, of course. Murder of Roger Ackroyd is definitely a favorite – of course Orient Express and ABC. Did Agatha Christie ever sleep?
I don’t really have a favorite. I seem to love them all!
I get it. From Sherlock to Robert Parker’s Spenser to Miss Jane Marple. Guess we’re all addicted to puzzle solvers – all shapes and sizes!
Welcome Jule! The book – and the series concept – sounds great.
I have too many “favorite” characters to mention, but many of them have already been covered here.
And I don’t think Agatha Christie slept. LOL
Thanks Liz. Yes, I’m having a lot of fun with the Dee Rommel series – I’m still teaching at CSU and love my students – but Dee keeps wanting me to give her ALL the attention.
Favorite character in a mystery series? There are too many to name but at the moment it’s Lindsey Norris from Jenn McKinlay Library Lovers series because she is kind, brave, smart, and funny.
Just looked up this series! Looks fantastic. Now more books to read! Thanks for the introduction
It’s hard to pick a favorite. After narrowing it down to just a few, one of my favorites is Charlene Morris from Traci Wilton’s series. I think I like it because she is torn between a living , breathing law enforcement officer who wants a relationship but doesn’t believe in things he can’t see like ghosts and the resident ghost only she can see in the older home she bought and turned into a B&B. Where is this all taking place? Salem Massachusetts.
Congratulations on your new release. And I hope all you books that follow are just as successful.
Have you ever heard Traci Hall and Patrice Wilton speak? Would love to know how they work together on this series – all while writing their own individual series! Thanks for the good wishes!
Welcome back and congratulations on the new book. V.I. Warshawski was a great inspiration to me. I also love Elvis Cole and Joe Pike from the Richard Crais books.
I am so in awe of Sara Paretsky – I wrote her a fan letter once – never expecting to hear back – and I got a wonderfully nice, chatty response! I love Warshawski’s independence and intrepidness too! I have only read a few of Crais’ – wow – didn’t realize I was missing so many of them. Thanks Sherry!
It’s too difficult to pick just one favorite character! I read so many mysteries, and I love many of them!
Glad you weighed in and made me look at the stacks of books I have in my TBR pile. We have a rainy weekend coming up – I’m hoping to get through two of them!
Hello and welcome Wow, your book sounds so very intriguing ! I really don’t think I have a favorite character, I have read alot of very good books with great characters. Thank you for the chance. Have a great weekend and stay safe.
Alicia – thanks for the interest! If you can read 10 DAYS or 9 DAYS (or both) check in with me – I have 8 more to write and I love to hear people’s reactions! Gives me ideas and paths!
These books sound fantastic! I love your idea of creating a series based on numbers going backwards. Very smart. I’m sure your books are, as well. Going on my TBR list for sure.
Thanks Shelley – I was invited to a book club where they discussed my book and someone (with a good sense of humor) offered a prize to the person who could guess the name of the book after 9 DAYS. I like the cover the publisher did so much, I am pleased to change backgrounds (and pix of Portland on the back) and COLOR every book. Not sure what color 8 DAYS should be – it takes place in JUNE…. mmmm
Hi Julie, this concept is so intriguing.
Favorite character, oh so many, and many have been mentioned above. I’m going to say Debra Knott from Margaret Maron’s Bootlegger’s daughter series. She changed and grew throughout the series and never put an unbelievable foot out there.
A judge! Great possibilities and problems. Feel bad I didn’t know about this North Carolina series! Thanks. Will check them out for sure!
All-time favorites are Travis McGee in the John McDonald series and Spenser in the Robert Parker Mysteries. I have read them for years. Sorry that there are no more Travis McGee novels but glad that Spenser lives on. For females, Kinsey Milhone in Sue Grafton’s ABC mysteries and again sad she is done and Stephanie Plum in Janet Evanovich’s novels. But there are many new ones. I love Brooklyn Wainwright and Derek Stone in the Bibliophile Mysteries and so many more. I will jsut keep reading.
Madeleine – wow, would like to take a look at your bookshelves! Or are you Kindle? Great list!
This is a hard question. It is like asking which one of your animals is your favorite. (I do not have children.). I would have to narrow it down to two. It would be Alex Cross or Michael Bennett from the James Patterson books. If you were looking for heroines, it would be Rizzoli and Isles from Tess Gerrison. Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you.
Debbie – love Gerritson’s heroes too. I’ve met Tess a few times (at some of the Maine Writers’ events) and we talked about writing schedules. She laughed and said “I’m just fast” or something like that. Oh how envious I was!
Harriet Vane in the Lord Peter Wimsey series
Yes yes!! Have you read The Mutual Admiration Society – about Sayers? By Mo Moulton. I haven’t read it yet – heard it’s really interesting – – about Sayer’s Oxford Circle and her work for women’s rights…
Dear RH – yes – I know why I love him. He’s all brain. Unsurpassed. Travels everywhere – police respect him, he has little or no emotional connection – no family right? No relatives that show up. Everyone around him can be a mess – he is Mr. Stability. And he understands the human psyche – even though he’s so aloof. He’s clever. Sees things no one else does. Must’ve been fun to write. (wait- there is a Brit who has been hired by the Christie estate to do more mysteries – with Hercule or Miss Marple or??? I have to go check on that…
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