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Unbridled Murder (A Carson Stables Mystery)
by Leigh Hearon

Unbridled Murder (A Carson Stables Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Kensington (December 26, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496714084

After horse trainer and rancher Annie Carson visits a feedlot in eastern Washington, she is determined to save as many horses from slaughter as possible before hightailing it back home—until she discovers the sleazy owner seemingly trampled in his corral. With the fate of the feedlot herd in her hands, Annie must navigate unfamiliar territory while trying to track down a killer and solve an increasingly tangled mystery. But unfortunately for Annie, returning to the Olympic Peninsula alive will be trickier than she ever imagined.


Interview with the Author

What initially got you interested in writing?

I was a very shy little girl and learned to read before I could tie my shoelaces.  Escaping into fictional literary worlds was (and continues to be) very appealing.  After I learned to tie my shoelaces, I picked up a pencil and began to write stories.  It probably was a form of escapism.  At the time, I just knew it was the activity I enjoyed most, besides playing the piano.  Both are solo activities.


What genres do you write in?

The Carson Stables series falls in the “cozy” category.  The stories are quite character-driven, and while there’s a lot of murder and mayhem (and a bit of romance), it’s all described in terms that allow my readers to sleep at night without the light on, and not blush furiously when reading certain passages.


I’m now working on a MS that’s a bit rougher around the edges. My protagonist is a female private investigator who’s had a few tough breaks in her life and has developed a moral code that suits her brand of justice for miscreants and bullies.


What drew you to writing these specific genres?

Cozies are among the mysteries I like the most.  I’ve devoured the entire oeuvre of Agatha Christie novels, whose characters reflect the epitome of coziness while death reigns among the placid English countryside.  My fourth book in the Carson Stables series, which will be out in July, is my attempt at a “locked room” mystery, the kind of crime Hercule Poirot excelled at solving.


My latest literary endeavor, still in its embryonic stage, reflects my experiences as a private investigator, my full-time profession for the past 25 years.


How did you break into the field?

I was very fortunate.  PI cases actually paved the way.  I met influential people through several cases who convinced me to finish my first mystery that had been years in the making and send it to Kensington Publishing.  But none of it would have happened if my husband and I hadn’t decided to give up city life five years ago and move fulltime to our 55-acre farm on the Olympic Peninsula.  Here, I found the tranquility and solitude to write.  When I need to work as a PI in the big city, I hop on a ferry.  My ability to separate my writing/PI lives has actually made me more productive in both arenas.


What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?

That fairness and justice has prevailed once more.  Isn’t that what most, if not all, mysteries endeavor to impart?  Like it or not, my non-horsey readers also walk away with more knowledge about equines than they ever knew they wanted.  Fortunately, the majority of them have reacted enthusiastically to learning about the care and training of these lovely animals.  I should add that horses have always been a big part of my life. I currently have two—a Saddlebred mare, and a Thoroughbred gelding, whose past figures prominently in UNBRIDLED MURDER, the book that’s just launched.


What do you find most rewarding about writing?

I love the process of finding the right words to simply but completely convey a scene, a mood, or an action.  And I just like making things up.  I’ve claimed a little cabin on our farm as my “writer’s cabin,” and the days I spend inside creating my latest mystery are among my happiest ones.  And, of course, the aftermath of all that creative work—seeing the cover, the proofs, and then the final product is pretty darn thrilling!


What do you find most challenging about writing?

In the case of mysteries, the tidying up process, and making everything believably fit.  My first mystery originally meandered all over the place.  I was just enjoying the act of writing so much that before I knew it, three bodies had piled up in my fictional county, and the lead suspect had vanished.  I realized I had to figuratively start pulling on the reins if the story was ever going to intelligently resolve itself.   Many rewrites later, REINING IN MURDER emerged as a much more cohesive story.  Since then, I’ve adopted a rather OCD approach to writing.  I outline each chapter and star key character movements and overt and not-so-overt clues in each.  Much of what I think I’m going to write changes, of course, so after I write each chapter, I put a synopsis on a large Post-It, which goes on a large, fold-out display board.   I constantly refer to the board as I write.  It’s a good way to track the pacing of the mystery and to make sure all red herrings are addressed.


What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field?

If you think you’ve got a good story to tell, write it.  I know all of us want to be on a best seller’s list someday, but honestly, predicting the public’s literary interests years in advance is impossible, especially with long lead times for publishing.  Write from the heart, and hopefully someone besides your mother will think it’s just as wonderful as you do.


What type of books do you enjoy reading?

Mysteries, of course, of all kinds, and any good, compelling fiction.  There’s plenty to be found in my corner of the world—I don’t know if it’s the rain, our forests, or the alignment of the stars, but the Pacific Northwest and Olympic Peninsula in particular seem to attract an astonishing number of stellar writers.  Annie Proulx recently moved to Port Townsend, our closest “city,” and Elizabeth Georges now resides on Whidbey Island, a short ferry ride away.  Locally, there are many wonderful writers—Louise Marley, Anjali Banerjee, Anne Clermont, and many more.

Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find interesting about you?

I’ve had a wonderful career as a private investigator, with cases with run the gamut from stolen bikes to unsolved murders.   Inc.com ran a great profile on my professional life a year or so ago: https://www.inc.com/leigh-buchanan/leigh-hearon-investigative-services-is-solving-seattles-biggest-mysteries.html.



What are the best ways to connect with you, or find out more about your work?

Please visit my website, www.leighhearon.com, and Facebook page (Leigh Hearon Mystery Writer), which I try very hard to keep current!  And I always answer personal emails.  Please send to leighhearonauthor@gmail.com.  My author page on Kensington is http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/author.aspx/31738.



Leigh Hearon began her own P.I. agency, Leigh Hearon Investigative Services, in 1992. Her cases have appeared on In the Dead of Night, Forensic Files, 48 Hours, Court TV, City Confidential, Unsolved Mysteries, America’s Most Wanted, and CBS Evening News with Connie Chung. Hearon was an avid rider of horses throughout her childhood. She currently has a Saddlebred mare, Jolie Jeune Femme, and enjoys watching Jolie and two rescue mares cavort on a fifty-five-acre farm she shares with her husband. Visit her on the Web at leighhearon.com, on Facebook and Twitter.

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