DEBORAH CROMBIE: We all know Linda Barnes as the author of the terrific series featuring Carlotta Carlyle, feisty Boston P.I.
But today is the debut of Linda's new book, THE PERFECT GHOST (wonderful cover!) and it is a departure. Publisher's Weekly calls The Perfect Ghost ". . . A captivating story of love, rivalry, and revenge." And in a starred review, Booklist says it "...delivers a delicious twist. . ."
Here's Linda (and a couple of friends) to tell you more:
LINDA BARNES: Carlotta Carlyle has been my alter ego for more years than I care to count. Imagine her chagrin when I wrote a book using another lead, Em Moore, the troubled protagonist and narrator of The Perfect Ghost.
As a former and future playwright, my favorite thing to do with two characters is to lock them in a room and let them fight it out.
Carlotta: So Barnes decided to write about you? After all we’ve been through, after twelve books?
Em: It would seem so.
Carlotta: I warned you off, but you kept bothering her, clinging to her --
Em: I was talking to her, that’s all. The way you used to talk at the beginning of the Carlyle series.
Carlotta: We had cases to solve.
Em: I had a story to tell. A compelling story. But I think it may have been place as much as anything else that got the two of us involved.
Em: She was restless. She needed a change, a new setting. You must have noticed that.
Carlotta: Hey, Heart of the World, I took her all the way to Colombia. I was the one who drove her down the Cape in the first place, in Lie Down With the Devil.
Em: She didn’t want a day’s drive. She wanted a reason to stay for weeks, walk the dunes, hunt for shells. She fell in love with the small towns, with Chatham, Eastham, and Brewster. She wanted to sail to the tip of Provincetown.
Carlotta: You’re saying she used you? For a setting?
Em: We made a deal. She told my story exactly the way I wanted it told.
Carlotta: So you used her?
Em: It was beneficial for both of us.
Carlotta: And what about me?
Em: You had a happy ending, didn’t you? You and Mooney.
Carlotta: But I still have a story to tell. At least one.
Em: That’s between you and Linda. I only had this one story, this one chance to lead the kind of life I dreamed about leading. I was lost before I met Teddy Blake, and then with him, the world opened up. We worked together. He interviewed and I wrote. I was part of a team, valued, practically famous. Have you read any of our books? Any of the TE Blakemores?
Carlotta: Celebrity biographies? No, definitely not my thing.
Em: I was the E in TE. The “more” in Blakemore, that’s my name, Moore. I had a gift for it. Teddy said I was like a chameleon; I could alter my voice to make it sound like someone else’s voice. I could make some famous opera singer or movie star or business guru sound exactly right, like the person they were, but in the best possible light. I did almost all the organization and all the writing. People think it’s easy, but it’s not. It’s not just writing down what they say on the tapes. It’s picking and choosing, selecting the ideal elements to tell one person’s particular story.
Carlotta: Okay. Maybe I’ll give one of your books a try.
Em: Read The Perfect Ghost. That’s the one that captures my own voice. After Teddy died, I had to make my own way. It was hard for me; it was terrifying. I’m not bold or tough like you. I like to stay in my room. I’m introverted, shy. I have panic attacks. I didn’t think I could convince the publisher to let me continue the book much less travel to Cape Cod and interview Garrett Malcolm.
Carlotta: Malcolm? The movie star slash director?
Em: And screenwriter. Don’t forget that.
Carlotta: I thought he quit talking to the press after his wife died.
Em: It was amazing that he chose us when he finally decided to tell his story. Chose Teddy, really, but then when I met him, he was unbelievably kind. I was frightened just to be there, at Cranberry Hill. I’d never imagined such a place existed outside of a movie.
Carlotta: A young woman goes to a mysterious mansion to interview a famous and wealthy recluse. Sounds like more of a Gothic than a mystery.
Em: Why do you have to label everything? Can’t it just be a book?
Carlotta: I’m used to mysteries.
Em: Don’t worry, then. This is a mystery, too. Just a different kind of mystery. Call it a modern Gothic with a twist.
DEBS: To learn more about Linda and The Perfect Ghost, go to www.lindabarnes.com, or LIKE Linda on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/lindabarnesauthor.
Linda will be dropping in today, and she will be giving away a copy of The Perfect Ghost to a lucky commenter, so do stop in and say "hi."