Hazel Dean is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Longing is Violet Dusk, the latest novel in the Hazel Dean mystery series.
Welcome, Hazel. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tell us about the novel that you live inside. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.
It’s rather odd to think of my life as a novel. I suppose the author thought my ability to see other people’s emotions in color would be interesting to write about. She is writing a series about a rather unfortunate period of my life when people seemed to be dying left and right. My ‘superpower,’ as my husband teasingly calls it, puts me in a position to be able to help figure out what happened to them. My grandmama always taught me that it is a Randolph’s responsibility to help whenever she is able. And with my husband being the district attorney and my dear Uncle John as the police captain… Well, I can’t help overhearing things, can I?
I own a bookstore/bakery called Books and Chocolate. Sometimes when people come into the shop, a book will turn the same color as their emotion, and I know that it’s a book they need to read. So I give it to them.
In the most recent installment of the series, Longing is Violet Dusk, a young mother that I know goes missing and I am desperate to find her. I’m worried about her, you see, because she seemed to be struggling with depression and I gave her a book to read that may or may not have been helpful. And then my high school sweetheart shows up in crisis. It was terribly stressful.
Does the writer control what happens in the story or do you get a say too?
Oh dear. The idea of Josalyn having control of what happens to me is a bit off-putting. I mean she’s a nice enough girl, but I don’t know if I’d just relinquish control to her. But honestly, I can’t imagine that she has much to do with it. She brings characters to life on the page, but their personalities and motivations are what drive their decisions and their decisions are what create the story.
How did you evolve as the main character?
As I said, this was a difficult time in my life when a lot of people close to me turned up dead. I feel a lot of responsibility for my community, and I want to take care of them, but I learned better ways to do that as tragedy continues to strike. I learned that preventing terrible things from happening isn’t always possible and that sometimes the best we can do is be with people in their crisis. I also hope that I learned to be a little less impulsive and nosy. And how to communicate with my husband better.
Do you have any other characters you like sharing the story with? If so, why are you partial to them?
I love sharing the story with so many people. First, of course, is my family. My husband Jason, and my sons Jeremiah and Elias. In this book, Longing is Violet Dusk, they are both in high school and living at home still. There’s also my Uncle John. He helped raise me after my parents died when I was a kid. He’s a little rough around the edges but he’s a dear.
There’s also so many wonderful friends and neighbors that live in my community, like my friends Nora and LaShay. There’s also Waylon Gibbons who lives alone out in the woods but would give you the shirt off his back if it would help you. In Longing is Violet Dusk, I get to reconnect with my high school boyfriend’s family, which is a little hard but also wonderful. They meant so much to me when I was a teenager.
What’s the place like where you find yourself in this story?
It’s in my hometown, Red Gap, Georgia, which is the most beautiful place in the whole world. It’s a little town up in the Smoky Mountains, surrounded by hiking trails, including the world-famous Appalachian Trail. I’ve lived my whole life there and I would never want to live anywhere else.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about you and the book?
I’ve been told I’m a comforting person to spend time with. A reader told the author just the other day that while my books are a little sad, she has the sense that everything will work out because I’m there and I’ll take care of everything. It was an awfully nice thing to say. I sure hope it’s true. I do try. Sometimes there’s not much I can do, but I care deeply and will never abandon a friend in need.
Thank you for answering my questions, Hazel, and good luck to you and your author, Josalyn McAllister, with Longing is Violet Dusk, the latest book in the Hazel Dean mystery series.
The novel is available at the following online retailers:
About Josalyn McAllister: Josalyn is a cozy fiction author whose most recent works include Love Over Easy and Guilt is Midnight Blue. Josalyn started writing character descriptions at the tender age of seven, inspired by the works of LM Montgomery. In her teenage years, she moved on to Newsies fan fiction. Inspired by National Novel Writing Month, she wrote her first novel about a child she mentored in college. She has never stopped writing. Josalyn taught middle school history before deciding she would rather spend time with her own children than other peoples. A restless soul, she has moved all over the country and collected an eclectic array of hobbies. Her writing has a relatable quality that will charm and entertain you.