Meet AR Simmons, Author of the Richard Carter Series
ARS: Odd. This question should have an easy answer. The truth is I can’t put my finger on any one thing. Or maybe it’s that each time I’m asked, I think of a different thing. Start with this: I always loved reading. As a child, I read everything I could get my hands on. It was only after college, however, that I first thought, “I can do that.”
When I left my Ozark home to serve in the army, I saw a wider world and met people from all over my country, people from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, people with a different set of “assumed truths” from mine. Stories are about people, right? Relationships are what we are all about. Challenges, crises, and life itself change those relationships. I wanted to spin mystery and suspense stories with real people in them. What is more real and engaging than fallible, flawed people placed in extraordinary dilemmas and doing extraordinary things? That is what I wanted to write about, and that is why I write.
The short answer to your question is: I love telling stories.
ARS: Bonne Femme was my first. From the relationship of Richard Carter and Jill Belbenoit sprang the Richard Carter series. Cold Tears took the stories from Michigan (the setting for Bonne Femme) to my native Ozarks. Below is a complete list of the series so far. The Daughter will be released in March, 2015.
Full list: Bonne Femme, Cold Tears, Canaan Camp, Secret Song, The King Snake, Call Her Sabine, Devilry, Road Shrines, Cold Fury, and The Daughter.
ARS: “No one ever goes into combat and comes back the better for it,” explains ex-Marine Richard Carter, and that perhaps explains him. Scarred by his experiences in Somalia and suffering bouts of depression and flashbacks, he dismisses the idea that he is suffering PTSD. Despite that, he is an optimist when as he says, he “has his head screwed on straight.” You might characterize him as “bipolar.” Let’s do away with labels. All his problems stem from an incident in Somalia. Others might say it was something that happened to him. He will have none of that. It was something he did—something he cannot forgive himself for.
All that aside, Richard is an amalgam of naiveté and disillusionment. He no longer thinks the world can be fixed or that good always triumphs. Yet, he still wants to make a difference, make things better. His nights are darker than his days are bright, until Jill Belbenoit. We cannot understand Richard until we know her because she embodies everything he once aspired to be. He is, of course, in love with her. Why wouldn’t he be? Jill is confident, poised, and beautiful. Although almost five years younger than he, she is smarter, more knowledgeable, and certainly more intuitive.
In Bonne Femme, Richard becomes obsessed with protecting her from a danger that only he sees. This is perfectly consistent with another of his character traits. Richard is an old fashioned “benign chauvinist.” He thinks that a man should protect and respect women, and that any man who harms a woman is “not worth a damn.” Take him for what he is: a man of deep convictions who tries to live according to them.
ARS: I have plotted and written scenes for The Journey Man, (Book 11). It is a mystery/psychological thriller that takes place ten years after Bonne Femme. A tag line might be: “You can’t kill your past.” I plan to release it in 2016.
BBB: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
ARS: The best way is to visit my website www.bluecreeknovels.com . There you can find all the books listed, covers, blurbs, links to Amazon looks inside, posters, and a group of short blog posts, “Evolution of the Series.” The reader can also communicate directly via the email link below (checked daily), or they can leave questions in my website guestbook.
Here are my other links:
Twitter: AR Simmons @ arsimmons_rcn
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/arsimmons
Author email: firstname.lastname@example.org