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A lover of all things green, CeCe Prentice is not impressed when a fully-sustainable development, Green Acres, pops up next to her family’s homestead. It’s not so much the ridiculous price tag of the million dollar homes built entirely from re-usable materials and powered by the sun, but rather the new neighbors who think they can simply buy a green lifestyle.
To make matters worse, one homeowner turns out to be CeCe’s high school nemesis, Phoebe Purcell, a hair-tossing vamp who tried to break up CeCe and her long-time boyfriend, Charlie.
Already disillusioned by the so-called eco-friendly development, CeCe’s family home is threatened when a series of power-outages at Green Acres kicks off a rash of home invasions. When neighbors start showing up dead, the mood at Green Acres turns south. But when Charlie, CeCe’s on-again, off-again love interest is implicated in the murders, CeCe springs into action when she discovers the only clue – a portrait she painted years ago.
Deirdre, welcome back to Island Confidential! Can you tell us a little about your protagonist?
Deirdre Verne: CeCe Prentice is a Freegan, otherwise known as a Dumpster-diver. She is an expert on scavenging furniture, clothing and anything else she needs. She’d much rather repurpose an old item than purchase something new. Her resourcefulness is one of her best qualities!
How much of you is in CeCe? How would you feel about her if you met her in real life?
DV: I’m an awful lot like CeCe Prentice. I adore all things vintage and I have a houseful of items I’ve either scavenged or found at garage sales. I would love to meet CeCe for a day of scavenging road-side furniture. My latest project includes spray painting a pair of old figure skates shiny pink and adding red laces. They will be hanging on my front door next holiday season.
Do your characters change and evolve throughout consecutive books in the series?
DV: There’s something nice about returning to a series and jumping back into a character you’ve come to love. On the other hand, it can get boring. I like to put my characters in challenging situations to uncover something new about their personality. For example, CeCe has surrounded herself with Freegan friends which is very safe for her. By introducing a love-interest who questions her beliefs, she has to see things from a different perspective. She is proving to be more open than I expected.
Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life–on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean?
DV: I’m sure I’m not the first writer to take out my frustrations on paper. It happens to be great therapy. That being said, I’ve never directly created a character based on a real-life person. However, I have definitely used qualities of people I don’t like in characters that ultimately meet their demise. I have also used names of people I dislike and then changed the names before publication.
How realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?
DV: My books take place on the North Shore of Long Island. I grew up on Long Island and although I no longer live there, I try to be as true to my memory as possible. When my memory fails me, I’ll jump in the car and spend a day in the towns I write about which is always great fun. I also use Google maps and paper maps to sketch out scenes and locations.
When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?
DV: I am a big fan of the TV program Orphan Black so my first choice to play CeCe Prentice would be Tatiana Maslany. She is a phenomenal actress with the perfect combination of strength and vulnerability. I’d like her father to be played by John Lithgow and Meghan Mullally, (Karen from Will and Grace), to play CeCe’s mother. I know that sounds like an odd cast, but this isn’t my area of expertise.
What’s the worst and best advice you’ve heard or received as an author?
DV: The best advice I received was don’t hide. Writers can often be shy and uncomfortable promoting themselves. I would never have been published had I not joined writing groups, attended conferences and reached out for professional critiques of my work.
Worst advice? It hasn’t happened! The wonderful thing about writing is that fellow authors offer great advice. There are so many experienced people in the field who are more than happy to help out.
About The Author
Deirdre Verne (Scarsdale, NY) is a college professor and an active college blogger. A writer for the millennium crowd, Deirdre’s interest in green living inspired her to create an off-the-grid character who Dumpster dives her way though a suspense-filled mystery series. A member of Sisters in Crime, Deirdre’s short stories appear in all three New York chapter anthologies –Murder New York Style, Murder New York Style: Fresh Slices and Family Matters.