Please give a warm welcome to Charlotte Brody from MURDER ON THE LAST FRONTIER by Cathy Pegau today as we sit down and see what makes her tick.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not saving (the world, clients, your mate)?
When I lived in New York, there was always something to do and somewhere to go, be it a concert or a lecture or a dance. Moving to the Alaska Territory, I’ve acquired a taste for quiet evenings at home. There’s a new film or show at the Empress Theater and dances every week, even a bowling alley, but I’ve definitely caught up on my reading.
What is it about your love interest that makes you crazy in a good way?
Love interest? Honestly, James and I are just friends. Oh, he’s handsome and all, but his position as deputy marshal means he can be over protective. Almost as bad as my brother Michael. Sure, he has a job to do, but so do I.
I suppose part of me wants there to be more than friendship between us, but I don’t think I’m ready yet.
No, I’m sure I’m not.
Do you sometimes want to strangle your writer? Thrash her to within an inch of their life? Make them do the stupid crap they makes you do?
I think she puts me in some difficult situations, but do I blame her or myself for that? I mean, my job is to keep people informed, to expose injustices and corruption. Covering the women’s suffrage movement over the last few years, I’ve had to contend with men willing to strike women down and worse. Someone threw a brick through our front window back home because of what I wrote. Journalism can be dangerous these days.
My friend Brigit makes wonderful butter cookies. I have to be careful not to eat too many. Thank goodness corsets aren’t a requirement.
Tell me a little bit about your world. What are your greatest challenges in that world?
Oh, it’s an amazing time to be alive! Despite Prohibition looming (a ridiculous amendment, if you ask me) I believe the 19th Amendment that will give women the vote is sure to make a great impact on our lives and our futures. Granted, not all agree, and there will probably be some die-hard chauvinists out there.
Luckily, the Alaska Territory, like a few other places, had already granted the vote to women, so the men here aren’t as discombobulated by the idea. It’s one of the things I like about the territory. While there are prejudices and narrow-minded individuals, most folks are taken on the merit of their actions.
Describe yourself in four words.
Persistent. Impatient. Forward-thinking. Guarded
What do you do for a living?
I’m a journalist. I’ve written for newspapers and magazines for several years now, and while I’m in Alaska I’m submitting a serialized account of the women I meet to a periodical back East.
What do you fear the most?
That if people I love find out what I did they’ll turn their backs on me. Not that I was wrong, and generally I don’t give a damn about what others think, but…It’s difficult to explain. Learning that family or someone you’ve become friends (or more) with don’t share your philosophy can be devastating. I’ve lived that already and don’t care to repeat it.
MURDER ON THE LAST FRONTIER is the first book of a historical mystery series set in 1919 Alaska. It’s available in both ebook and hard copy from Kensington Publishing http://tinyurl.com/pb8p5x7 Amazon http://tinyurl.com/MotLFam B&N http://tinyurl.com/MotLFbn and other fine retailers. Book 2, BORROWING DEATH, comes out June 28 http://tinyurl.com/BDkens .
There’s many who feel the Alaska Territory is no place for a woman on her own. But Charlotte Brody, suffragette and journalist, has never let public opinion dictate her life choices. She’s come to the frontier town of Cordova, where her brother Michael practices medicine, for the same reason many come to Alaska—to start over.
Cordova is gradually getting civilized, but the town is still rougher than Charlotte imagined. And when a local prostitute—one of the working girls her brother has been treating—is found brutally murdered, Charlotte learns firsthand how rough the frontier can be. Although the town may not consider the murder of a prostitute worthy of investigation, Charlotte’s feminist beliefs motivate her to seek justice for the woman. And there’s something else—the woman was hiding a secret, one that reminds Charlotte of her own painful past.
As Charlotte searches for answers, she soon finds her own life in danger from a cold-blooded killer desperate to keep dark secrets from seeing the light of day…
Excerpt from MURDER ON THE LAST FRONTIER:
“Deputy Marshal. Open up in there!”
Charlotte bolted upright, headache forgotten, and flung the blankets off. Heart racing, she hurried to the door and opened it. “What’s wrong? Is there a fire?”
A man in a wide-brimmed hat filled the doorway, his fist raised. Black eyebrows met over a nose that might have been broken once or twice. Glacier-blue eyes burned into hers as he lowered his hand. “You’re not Martha Griggs.”
He sounded somewhat disappointed.
His gaze traveled from Charlotte’s face to her body. She was suddenly aware of her state. She wore her thin nightclothes, her hair was loose about her shoulders, and the chill of the morning had caused his eyes to linger on her chest for a reason. She crossed her free arm over her breasts and held onto the edge of the door.
“No, I’m not.”
Before she could give her name, he stepped forward. When she refused to give way, he peered into the room over her head as if this Martha person was hiding within. This close, Charlotte noted his mackinaw had seen better days, as had the brown wool shirt beneath it, though he smelled clean enough.
“Where is she?” he asked with more than a little frustration in his voice. There was a hint of some accent, but she couldn’t place it.
“I don’t know. I’ve only been here since last night.”
He glared down at her, backing up a step. “Not a working girl, are you?”
Heat rose through Charlotte’s chest, neck, and face. “No, I’m not.”
She must have blushed mightily, because his stern expression became a wry grin. “You seem flustered.”
“Of course I am. Pounding on the door at such an ungodly hour would fluster anyone.”
“It’s nearly ten, ma’am. Hardly ungodly. At least for the God-fearin’.”
Charlotte’s fingers pressed into the wood door. “It isn’t God you need to fear, Deputy.”
The man’s eyes narrowed. “Are you threatening a federal marshal?”
Oh, Lord. She had, hadn’t she? But the glint in his eyes and the smile threatening to break his frown assured her he was teasing. Nonetheless, she’d tread carefully from now on.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
She swallowed hard, then licked her dry lips. “Charlotte Brody.”
He gave her another quick perusal and backed up a step. “The doctor’s sister.”
It made sense that the townspeople knew Michael, but did everyone know she’d be visiting? With only one thousand souls, it was likely.