Get Lost in a Story readers, please welcome the talented C. Hope Clark as she talks about book three in the Carolina Slade series
About Palmetto Poison
Are peanuts capable of murder? Carolina Slade will bust this shell game.
Big money, big politics, crime, greed, and big farming—Slade, an agriculture department investigator in the steamy state of South Carolina, once again finds herself planted in a dangerous mystery.
Her assignment? Find out if there’s a sinister connection between the drug-dealing arrest of wealthy peanut farmer Lamar Sheeler and the gruesome death of Lamar’s teenage son in a car wreck. Especially since the dead teen is Governor Dick Wheeler’s nephew.
Of course, the governor’s people practically sky-write STAY AWAY FROM THE FIRST FAMILY over the Palmetto state’s capitol dome in Columbia, which doesn’t make Slade’s job easier. Couldn’t she simply back off from what appears to be a tragic and ugly—but private—family matter?
Not with hot-tempered DEA agent Pamela Largo on the case. Ex-wife to Senior Special Agent Wayne Largo, Slade's romantic interest, Pamela's hell-bent on using Lamar Wheeler's situation to re-open a cold case involving an Atlanta drug lord and Wayne's long lost sister, Kay.
Soon Slade’s shoveling shooflies uphill against Pamela’s obsessions, the drug lord’s vendettas, the Governor’s secrets, and the bizarre realization that those secrets involve peanuts.
DONNELL: C. Hope Clark is a fantastic writer, which I will attest. Her mysteries draw you in to an up-close and personal adventure. Please welcome C. Hope Clark.
Hope, welcome to Get Lost in a Story. I loved Lowcountry Bribe. Are you a native of South Carolina?
HOPE: Moved here from Mississippi when I was 15 and have loved it ever since. Lived in Illinois, Washington State, Alabama, Georgia and Arizona for short stints thanks to my military and civil service roots but I chose to spend the great majority of my life in SC. Beautiful state. But needless to say, I’m Southern all the way.
DONNELL: You have the perfect background to write these novels. Tell us about that, please?
My degree is in agriculture from Clemson University (go Tigers!). My grandfather was a Mississippi cotton farmer, my aunt as well. So in my career with the US Department of Agriculture, I learned that crime can get weird and happen in unique ways in the country. Anytime you involve money, you find the criminal element. It isn’t as Americana as you think! I love using that homespun expectation to mess with a reader, too. But after meeting my husband, a real federal agent, on a bribery investigation when I was offered a bribe by a corrupt farmer, I saw mystery in a new light. My agency let me start doing minor investigations, plus my husband continued doing the real ones, the more dangerous ones. Between the two of us, we had fun drumming up ideas for stories. So what better way to start writing mystery than writing about what I knew? About how a bribery investigation went sideways and upended many people’s worlds. And oh what a scandal we were, falling for each other in the midst of an investigation. In the real world that’s a no-no, but it makes for great movies.
DONNELL: When you’re not writing, where will we find you?
HOPE: I live in the country on some small acreage on the banks of a lake, so needless to say I love the outdoors. I grow a respectable garden (40’ x 50’), am forever planting something new in the flower beds, and I raise chickens. If I wasn’t a writer, I’d be self-sustaining, living off my patch of land with as little footprint as possible. I love working with my hands, and I designed and built both my chicken coops.
DONNELL: What’s in your refrigerator right now?
DONNELL: Most unusual thing you have in your closet?
HOPE: Two things. First, I have about ten vintage Barbies collected at antique stores to give my granddaughter each Christmas for the next several years. Second, I have swatches of meaningful cloth, left over from sewing or from old clothes that I hope to one day turn into memory quilts. My clothes, however, are dull. My fashion sense is pretty mundane. Comfortable is my style.
DONNELL: What characters do you see playing your protagonists WHEN your series is adapted to film. J
HOPE: I totally see Jennifer Lawrence playing Carolina Slade. Gerard Butler, Matthew McConaughey or maybe a rough Christian Bale for Wayne Largo. He has to be able to pull off the Southern thing.
Thanks for being our guest, Hope. Now it’s your turn to ask the reader a question.
Hope asks our readers: Several NY agents declined The Carolina Slade Series because it had an agricultural/rural background. However, most of my readers tell me they love that aspect of these books. Which do you prefer in your reading material: the country or the city, and does setting matter to you?
To find out more about C Hope Clark check out her website. Hope, thanks for joining us today!