Joelle Charbonneau may be one of the busiest authors around. Today, the third book in her Rebecca Robbins roller skating mystery series comes out from Minotaur Books. She’s also just launched the Glee Club mystery series with Berkley, and in 2013 she’ll launch a YA trilogy! Whew.
Charbonneau was trained as a vocalist and has performed in operas and musicals in Chicago. This post is about how she came to be a writer—specifically a mystery writer, after starting out with the intention of writing romance. My favorite part? Her mysteries were inspired by her mom—a former World Champion Artistic Roller Skater!
The newest Rebecca Robbins book is called Skating on the Edge. In it, a derby girl is murdered in a dunk tank at the Senior Center, and Rebecca searches for the killer . . .
Roller skating to success
guest post by Joelle Charbonneau
I never intended to write funny books. As a matter of fact, I never intended to write mysteries. I was trying to write emotionally driven women’s fiction and romance books. Really, I was. The number of rejections I received on those books should have told me something. However, one night I was sitting on a bar stool at a conference when someone asked about my singing and acting career and whether my parents were performers. My response was “No, but my mother is a former World Champion Artistic Roller Skater.”
The silence was deafening and the looks on everyone’s faces . . . well, I might as well have hopped up onto the bar and danced the tarantella. Turns out, not everyone’s mom rolled, spun and jumped on wheels. Who knew.
Finally, the agent sitting at our table turned to me and said, “You should write a roller skating book.”
Ha! I almost fell off my bar stool. I mean, who writes roller skating romance novels? Being well mannered, I said that it was an interesting idea, but inside my head I was laughing hysterically. Ten days later, I finished the first chapter of my roller skating book. Guess the joke was on me. The only problem was it wasn’t the romance novel the agent envisioned. Oh, it had a romance in it, but there was also a dead body head-first in a rink toilet, an ex-circus camel and a mystery to solve. The Rebecca Robbins mysteries were born.
Even more surprising was the fact that suddenly my writing was funny. I mean, I love to laugh, but I was the serious kid in school and even when I perform on stage I am cast as the romantic leading lady—never the spunky sidekick. But the minute I created the small town of Indian Falls, Illinois, and plopped a roller rink into the middle of it, everything changed. Suddenly there was a grandfather with an active social life, a camel who wore hats and . . . well . . . needless to say I’m having a wonderful time. I hope those who read about Rebecca and the rest of the Indian Falls gang have just as much fun.