Deep Trouble by Jean Erhardt

 

Guest Post

Award winning Southern author, Allen Gurganus, best known for his 1989 debut
novel, Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, once wrote:

“The novelist needs both a dictionary and a cemetery. Graveyards offer more than
your eventual remaindered resting-shelf. Approached in the joyful spirit of
mortal play, they provide historic bullet points, bird sanctuaries, excellent
fictitious names, and the lifelong source of such sweet calm.”

Perhaps, Gurganus’ words were floating around in the back of my mind when I
accepted a position as a family service counselor at a cemetery in Portland,
Oregon. My job is to assist families with their preneed arrangements as well as
those who are at need. I spend a lot of time in the cemetery, or park as we call
it. Every day I am reminded of all of the many lives and stories that are
evidenced when I pass each grave and headstone, from Hattie T. who lived 103
years to infants who never took their first breaths.

I visit with those who have come to pay their respects to their loved ones like
Melanie S. whose young husband’s life was taken in a tragic car accident. She
brings along a CD player because he was a jazz musician and loved music, and she
sits for hours at his grave each week and listens quietly to Chet Baker, Dave
Brubeck and Ornette Coleman. Sam H. brings apples and leaves them on his
sister’s grave because he knows that the deer will come for them. Holly R., who
is five years, old recently lost her mother to breast cancer. She comes on the
weekends with her cousins and aunt who sits by the grave quietly as Holly and
her cousins run and play in and around the headstones.

Life and death, the inescapable circle, and everything that happens in between
is what we as writers are responsible to observe, absorb, filter, allow to
marinade in the juices of our own experiences and record. This is a weighty
responsibility, but one that can bring great satisfaction, even joy and,
occasionally more than a bit of humor.

 


 

About The Author

I was raised in the small rural town of Amelia, Ohio, about twenty five miles
out of Cincinnati. My younger brother and sister and I had a pony, a horse, many
great dogs and a couple of motorcycles. We raised a lot of hell. My father
served in The Big One at 17 and, after riding a motorcycle around Europe, became
a lawyer and later a judge. My mother worked as a homemaker and nurse, a skill
she had to use a lot with all of the injuries my siblings and I subjected
ourselves and one another to.

I wrote my first mystery story when I was in fourth grade. It was about a kid a
lot like me who heard strange noises coming from the attic and became convinced
that the attic was haunted. Eventually, the mystery was solved when she
investigated and found a squirrel eating nuts in a dark corner. It wasn’t a
terribly exciting conclusion, but my teacher gave me an A anyway.

As a teenager I worked at a lot of different jobs. I worked at a gift shop in
Gatlinburg, Tennessee, which is a frequent locale in my books. I was a swimming
instructor and a lifeguard where my primary goal was to never get wet. I did a
stint in a stuffed animal gift shop at the Kings Island amusement park where I
actually sort of met the Partridge Family when they shot an episode there. After
graduating from high school, I went on to attend Maryville College in Maryville,
Tennessee, a stone’s throw from the Great Smoky Mountains. There was some more
hell raising at college and I made some very good friends and occasionally we
have our own private reunions.

In high school and college I played basketball and I graduated from Maryville
College with a degree in Phys Ed. I went on to teach at Amelia Junior High, the
same junior high that I had attended. There was something a little weird about
passing by my old school locker every day when I walked down the hall as a
teacher. Plus, some of the teachers I’d had back when I was in junior high were
still working when I started to teach. Some of them had been none too fond of me
as a student and I don’t think they were much fonder of me as a teacher! I
coached the girls’ basketball and volleyball teams which was the best part of my
job.

In my late 20’s I moved to the West Coast to get a broader perspective on life
or something like that. I ended up working in retail security, or loss
prevention, as it is now known, at an upscale Northwest retailer. I kept getting
promoted and with each promotion, the job became less and less fun. It was a lot
more fun catching shoplifters than sitting in endless meetings and crunching
budgets. After ten years of that, I quit to try my hand at some serious writing.
I wrote two books of fiction (not mysteries), Benny’s World and Kippo’s World,
as well as a book of not-especially-reverent poetry called A Girl’s Guide to God
and numerous short stories, articles and poems which have appeared in The Sonora
Review, The Quarterly, Word of Mouth, Blue Stocking and 8-Track Mind.

After that, it was time to go back to work. I got my private investigator’s
license and hung out my shingle. At first, I took a lot of the cheaters cases.
It seemed to me that if a guy thought his woman was cheating, he was usually
wrong. On the other hand, if a woman thought her guy was cheating, she was
almost always right. Eventually, I moved on to take mostly criminal defense
investigation work which often involved trying to figure out what the client did
and didn’t do and then minimize the damage of what they usually did do. There
were so many crazy ways that people could get themselves in trouble. In one
case, the attorney I was working for represented a wife who had gotten so
enraged about all of the time and affection her husband lavished on his pet
iguana that she shot the poor iguana and killed it. The husband was furious and
wanted the district attorney to press charges. The wife was eventually charged
with reckless endangerment and took a pretty sweet deal because even the DA felt
sorry for the fact that she was married to such a schmuck.

It was an interesting ten years. Somewhere in this time period I began to write
the Kim Claypoole Mystery Series, which was a great distraction and a lot of
fun. I liked the idea of having many of the same characters appear in each book.
So here I am now, working on the fifth book in the series.

 


About The Book

The Fourth of July isn’t going at all as Kim Claypoole expected. It starts with
a bang, including a run-in with a dead body, and ends with her juvenile
delinquent nephew, Little Bucky, disappearing from her double-wide trailer on a
souped up Suzuki.

When Little Bucky fails to return and no one seems concerned but Claypoole, she
sets out to find her wayward nephew. Nothing ever goes easy for Claypoole, and
her investigation soon involves several trips to Krispy Kreme, a visit to Jesus
Our Savior Bible Camp and some nasty encounters with a series of backwoods
characters, including hillbilly counterfeiters and a major league Smoky Mountain
dope dealer. In the midst of this chaos and while Claypoole is desperately
trying to keep a rocky romance on track, her kooky mother and redneck cousin
Alonzo show up for a surprise visit. Relatives, murder and love—all ingredients
in a recipe for Deep Trouble.

 


Links

Website  | Facebook  |
Twitter  | Jean
Erhardt’s Amazon Author Page
  |

Untreed Reads


Kindle
Amazon US  |
Amazon UK

Paperback
Amazon US
|
 Amazon UK

 


Giveaway

Please select the right giveaway link to use depending
on which month you are hosting.

 

July Giveaway

 

One signed copy of Small Town Trouble (US only)

One of Five E-Books of Deep Trouble (International)


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September Giveaway

 

One signed copy of Small Town Trouble (US only)

One of Five E-Books of Deep Trouble (International)

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October Giveaway

 

One signed copy of Small Town Trouble (US only)

One of Five E-Books of Deep Trouble (International)


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November Giveaway

 

One signed copy of Small Town Trouble (US only)

One of Five E-Books of Deep Trouble (International)


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December Giveaway

 

One signed copy of Small Town Trouble (US only)

One of Five E-Books of Deep Trouble (International)


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January Giveaway

 

One signed copy of Small Town Trouble (US only)

One of Five E-Books of Deep Trouble (International)


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February Giveaway

 

One signed copy of Small Town Trouble (US only)

One of Five E-Books of Deep Trouble (International)


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March Giveaway

 

One signed copy of Small Town Trouble (US only)

One of Five E-Books of Deep Trouble (International)


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