Quirky characters, strange settings, unsavory professions—maybe you’ve read one of my books? As a new writer, I was initially taken aback by early reviews until I realized that my unconventional characters had become my calling card. A big thanks to Kirkus Reviews for being the first to spot my fondness for the peculiar: “A dysfunctional family to die for...” and “an oddly effective sleuthing team” are two Kirkus quotes I happen to love.
But my all-time favorite review comes from a Goodreads fan who recently wrote “The regular characters are a quirky but lovable bunch that form a supportive family.”
If you’re not familiar with my cast of characters, my protagonist, CeCe Prentice, is a Dumpster diving artist who lives on a self-sustaining farm with an extended clan of far-out friends. There’s an eco-friendly clothing designer, an MIT dropout, CeCe’s wealthy but soused mother, an eccentric doctor, the manager of the town dump, a pawn shop owner and well, many more.
Apparently it takes a village to solve a mystery and CeCe seems to have a habit of recruiting the more interesting folks in town.
If you’re wondering where I find inspiration for the off-beat, I’d be happy to reveal my source. For years, I’ve watched boatloads of junk television, although I reject the term “binge watcher.” In fact, there’s a method to my research that involves a steady diet of low quality programming, dished out on a nightly basis. Portion control is my guide as I spend no more than ten minutes on any one channel before clicking frantically through shows for a minimum of two hours.
Too short, too tall, too heavy, too much skin, too many tattoos, too many coupons, controlled substances, kids or just plain too much junk in your house? I love it all, every last weird and wacky display of humanity makes my heart beat that much faster. And it’s not just the visual ridiculousness of it all. I pay careful attention to the words, the phrasing and the terminology of these people that live such unusual, yet real lives. A few hours in front of the tube and I’ve got reams of dialogue dancing through my head. I’m like the cultural anthropologist, Margaret Mead, but without the hassle of world travel.
As if publishing a mystery series wasn’t reward enough, I’ve also discovered an unintended side-benefit to my television addiction – writing off my cable bill. A stretch you say? Absolutely not. I long for a call from the IRS so I can hand an unsuspecting auditor the complete Sketch in Crime series as evidence of my legitimate expenses. My day will come!
In the meantime, I invite you all into the weird and wacky world of CeCe Prentice, criminal sketch artist, Dumpster diver and big-hearted friend. You can catch CeCe in Drawing Conclusions (2015) and Drawing Blood (2016).
Deirdre Verne is a mystery author and college professor. Her AirBubble Blog unravels the mysterious, weird and often hilarious happenings on both sides of the classroom door. There are helpful tips for students and teachers. Taboo topics such as missing class, favoring students, sleeping in class and cheating are all covered in an honest open forum. You can find her online here: