Guest:Author Gretchen Archer/Giveaway!

Gretchen Archer, author of the  Davis Way Mysteries

Gretchen Archer, author of the Davis Way Mysteries

It is my great pleasure to have as my guest author Gretchen Archer, the woman behind the Davis Way Crime Series. If you have not read the series, I cannot recommend the stories more highly if you enjoy mystery, intrigue, laughs or just a good story with interesting characters. This is generally a ‘romance’ blog and trust me, there is plenty of  real romance  in Davis’s life.

Let’s get right into hearing from Gretchen herself.

“Double Whammy”, the first book, derives its name from a casino game. In fact, the series around a casino, (or two).
Gretchen, what made you choose this venue for your stories? Do you have a background in casinos? How much research did you have to do,(and how did you do it)?

I knew I wanted to write a mystery series, and I knew I couldn’t stretch cupcakes or cats out for a whole book, much less a series. I chose the casino setting because at the time, there wasn’t a mystery series set in a casino—there are forty now—but nothing out there at all set in a Southern casino. My casino background? My husband took me to Biloxi for my 40th birthday. I was the one with the stroller—two teenage daughters, each brought a friend, and our son wasn’t even a year old. (Yes, I had a baby at 39. I don’t know what I was thinking.) We checked in, my husband took off for the blackjack tables, leaving me at the pool and kiddie arcade with four teenagers and a baby. Happy Birthday to me! DAYS later, feeling sorry for me, my husband passed me $200 and said, “Go to the casino. Relax. Enjoy.” I won $40,000. (Happy Birthday to me!) Now, that will give you a background in casinos. Too, the latest from the American Gaming Association reports there are 71.6 million casino gamblers in the United States, and 61% of them are slot players. That’s a nice setting for a series, a potentially huge audience. Research? Every chance I get. Just say the word.


Davis Way, your main character, has a great heart but a flawed background. How did you come up with her?

I wanted a character who led a real life, had mistakes to overcome, and challenges to face.

I love Davis and her family and friends. You have great taste in men! Do you base any of your characters on people in your life?

I get the most of Davis from my middle child, my redhead, who takes a zigzag path to where she’s going, but is so smart and lands on her feet every time. Davis is loosely based on her, and by loosely, I mean my daughter hasn’t been married even once, much less several times. Everyone else in Davis World is purely a figment of my imagination. One of the funniest questions I get, and often, is about Bradley Cole. Am I married to the real life Bradley Cole? HA HA HA!!! I wish!

In “Double Whammy”, the stories and characters are a bit gritty; you really keep us guessing as to whom we can trust. I have to say, I am usually good at seeing what’s coming, so I just love it when a writer can surprise me. One plot twist I would not have seen coming was unfortunately given away on the synopsis on the back cover; I would have been thrilled and caught off-guard. There are other ‘reveals’ including a big one at the beginning of “Double Strike”. Since obviously put great thought into building up to the scenes, does it upset you that the reveals are rather anticlimactic because of the spoilers? (The first one , in the jail, still brought me to tears!)

Huge pet peeve of any writer! You nailed it! Double Strike went out to reviewers months before release date, and of the first ten reviews posted, nine of them gave the big spoiler away. The backcover copy had been carefully written to keep the secret safe, but the secret was out for all to see way before the book was released. You got me on this one, it stings when all the book’s secrets are revealed.

In “Double Dip” things took a slightly different tone, a little lighter but still much personal drama. The returning characters seem warmer, and there is more humor. Had you planned this or did the characters evolve on their own? In other words, did you plot or pants these people?

My characters aren’t plotted or panstered, rather they’re planstered. I leave room for character and relationship changes everywhere—Davis and her mother, her work relationships, and I always let Bianca Sanders surprise (me) everyone. Two characters who don’t see much change, and I don’t suspect they will, are Davis’s ex-ex-husband, Eddie, and his mother (one of my favorite characters to write), Bea Crawford. I also like to keep Davis’s rocks—her father, No Hair, and Richard Sanders—stable forces in her life.


Where did you get the idea for Jeremy’s outrageous and constantly changing ties?

No Hair’s tie addiction started to draw attention away from his bald head. I think I wrote him heavily bearded, something I see often on balding men, but I quickly grew tired of writing anything at all about facial hair, so I switched to ever-evolving neckties because they were much more fun.

[My husband has a few Christmas ones I can loan  him.]

How did you choose the name “Davis Way” and the jokes that she must field that are continually plaguing her? And the continual refusal of Bianca to get it right! I have that problem with some people no matter how long I’ve known them or how many times I correct them. Surely you haven’t had that problem yourself.

I was on I-65 South when I passed an exit sign for Pine Apple, which I thought was hilarious. Why wouldn’t it be Pineapple? And I wondered what it would be like to live somewhere that required constant explanation. It would be Double (Whammy, Dip, & Strike) Trouble if you had a confusing name. Thankfully, I don’t have the confusing-name-identity crisis problem often, even though my name isn’t all that common (lots of schnauzers named Gretchen, although we don’t run in the same social circles, so it’s fine), but it has happened to me often enough that I tried to avoid it for my children, who have all but one-syllable names.


Now that we know more about your characters, let’s hear more about you, Gretchen!
The floor is open…anything you’d like to share with us about your life?( I hope you know people like Davis’s Daddy, Richard and Bradley.)

I am so boring, but I’ll try. Little knows things about me.
1. I have all my original Nancy Drew books.
2. For my 50th birthday, I got a tattoo.
3. I work out six days a week to ward off writer’s butt.
4. My most prestigious writing award: I won a national essay contest. The subject was “The Stinkiest Pet in America.” MY dog and my essay won. (A year’s supply of canine odor neutralizer. It didn’t work.)
5. I’m from Texas.
6. I do know people like the ones we meet in Davis’s life. My husband is smart, loyal, and competitive like Richard Sanders, and has trouble figuring me out like No Hair. Still, though, I’m not married to Bradley Cole. He’s so perfect he’s almost my hardest character to write.

Thanks for having me, Tonette! I’d love to send one of your readers, who’d like to comment or ask me anything, a signed set of the Davis Way Crime Caper series. Go! (And as always, good luck!)

Gretchen Archer's first four Davis Way Mysteries

Gretchen Archer’s first four Davis Way Mysteries

So, Friends, trust me, if you haven’t  become acquainted with the Davis Way Mysteries, here is your chance…(if you don’t win, please go pick  them up;You’ll thank me.)

Gretchen is giving a full autographed set of  the first three Davis Way Mysteries, [Double Whammy, Double Dip, Double Strike]!

Leave a question or a comment for Gretchen,(who doesn’t sound boring at all). We’ll run the contest until Thanksgiving Day and on my Friday post, (Nov.28th), I will announce and contact the winner.

 I thank Gretchen Archer for granting this fan this interview and  the very generous giveaway.

Any comment? Anything you’d like to ask Gretchen?

[Added note: you have had a number of people come in to read  and leave a comment on Facebook.Won’t you please take a moment to comment here? Thank you.]


About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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44 Responses to Guest:Author Gretchen Archer/Giveaway!

  1. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I love a good mystery! Your series sounds fascinating. I’ve only been insides casinos a few times, and I can see why some people spend so much time there. My mother goes every chance she gets! I’m so impressed that you work out six days a week – all I manage are mental gymnastics. Like you, I have two daughters (ages 30 and 27), and a few of my characters are based on my younger daughter. So my question to you is: is your other daughter waiting for you to write a character based on her?


    • We should both write characters based on our older daughters, Patricia. My older daughter, the brians and art in our family, does all my social media. Click through any of my social media, and that’s her. She does everything but my jacket art, which comes from my fabulous publisher, Henery Press. You’ve given me the idea to switch it up– I’m going to come up with a character based on my oldest daughter, the one with a degree in Literature (and another in Art), who uses words none of us understand, and let my younger daughter, who can’t draw a stickman, do my art. This should be interesting. Thanks for commenting, Patricia.


  2. Good question, Patty; thanks for coming by.Gretchen will be here. These are really good mysteries with lesser mystery subplots, plus funny ones…they get funnier in each book. Gretchen really makes you care about Davis and many of the people around her, who are far from one-dimensional, by the way; she keeps you guessing.I think you would really enjoy these.
    They are written about adult situations, but don’t need to rely on “language” and sex scenes. You can see why I am such a fan… it’s because Gretchen is just such a good writer!
    I am so flattered that she agreed to be a guest, plus a giveaway!


  3. DavidPierce says:

    Since Davis Way is an Alabama girl, she is obviously beautiful and highly intelligent. So whatever possessed her to remarry that dorkwad of an ex-ex husband of hers?


  4. dawn frazier says:

    Great interview! I have the books because I just met Gretchen last week! It would be fun to win because they would make a great Christmas present. 🙂


    • Thank you , Dawn, and Yes, wouldn’t they be a fantastic present?! I am going to literally put the names on cards in a hat and let my husband or grandchild draw one out to choose the winner.
      Thank you for stopping by!


    • Dawn and I met at Barnes & Noble. We were all mystery books– me signing books and Dawn with a stack of books. Dawn you are a perfect example of the best thing about being published in the mystery genre– the community of readers. Dawn supports her favorite mystery writers on several Street Teams, reads and leaves thoughtful reviews, comes to signings, tells her friends about books she reads, and you are a perfect example of what keeps the Mystery Machine running. Thank you, Dawn! And thanks for stopping by. 🙂


  5. Jeff Salter says:

    Really enjoyed this profile piece and the Q&A.
    Gretchen sounds like a hoot.
    I love the term “planster. I’ve struggled with how to describe my stories and characters and I’ve settled on a “hybrid between plot-ster and pants-ster” so there’s no confusion. Ha.
    Can’t believe you won’t $40k. I went to Atlantic City and won less than $100 before I lost it all back again.


    • Thanks, Jeff.I consider myself very fortunate to have Gretchen with us today; I hope to get to know her better but judging by her characters, (who are hoots), I have so far found her to be one, as well.
      Your praise means a lot, as our Founding Hound.


      • Jeff Salter says:

        Since Gretchen is able to write characters who come alive for you, I’m sure she (Gretchen) is also one of those individuals who “comes alive”.
        BTW, I can’t claim to be the Founding Hound. The Founding Fox was Jillian. But I am the last Charter Member of the Initial group at 4F1H.


      • I was going to say “one of the Founding Fathers” but that isn’t right. Maybe “the Last of the Originals”…or just the oldest one here! (Just kidding!You only have a very little on me!)
        Jillian, (who is younger than both of us), will always be not only Foundress, but “Fox Emerita”.


    • Jeff, get yourself back to Atlantic City. For one (have you heard about this?) they need you. For another, never give up. See David Pierce (above) who is passing out $100 bills to gamblers. Get in touch with him, get your $100, and go back to Atlantic City and try it again. Let me know how it goes, and thanks for stopping by.


  6. Patricia Kiyono says:

    Jeff, since you’re the ONLY hound ever, and you were here at the start, that makes you a Founding Hound!


  7. Amy Bean Weaver says:

    Gretchen is a longtime friend of mine. We went thru school together and she always had a smile for me. 🙂 I just knew she would ‘go places’ in her life. She has such a wit along with humor and a huge smile that goes right along with her wonderful books. To get signed copies of all her books would be an Honor. GREAT INTERVIEW!!! 🙂


    • What a lovely testimony, Amy! And thank you. I try to ‘tailor-make’ every interview to the author and their works, but there was no way to lose having Gretchen in; she’s gold!Thank you so much for coming in and talking with us.


      • Amy Bean Weaver says:

        Thank you sooo much for your kind words~~ I am sooo EXCITED that I WON the contest!! I am looking forward to seeing my UPS Man pull into my driveway 🙂 Can not wait for my package to arrive. 🙂 Merry Christmas!!


    • Thank you, Amy. Your support and friendship is amazing. Thanks for stopping by Tonette’s, and good luck!


  8. carewren says:

    I read Double Whammy and loved it! I even reviewed it on Amazon. I have the pleasure awaiting me of reading the rest in the series. I remember DW totally and I read it when it first came out. It is rare for a book to stand out in my memory like this. It is an amazing book–clever, original and tremendous fun as well as being moving. There’s a part where…oh, folks, just read the book. I would love to own the set. Thank you. –Karen Dyer,


    • You will be put in the hat, Karen! I just LOVE this series! Thanks for being with us today!


    • Karen,
      It IS rare for a book to stand out, and that DW struck a chord for you, well, thank you thank you thank you. 3,500 books were published on Double Whammy’s birthday (doesn’t that sound astronomical?) and I remembered wondering, when it was released, will anyone read it? There are so many books! (I’m a little more seasoned now, don’t take these things so hard….) But for you to have liked it, remembered it, reviewed it (!!!!), means the world. Thank you. I hope you enjoy the rest of the series.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. sandybar57 says:

    Wow Gretchen! From your photo I thought you might be in your 30’s! Nope, I am not trying to butter you up for more books, I have them all! I would like to let everyone know how wonderful this series of books are and, if you don’t already have them, go get them now! You won’t be disappointed and they are a lot of laughs!

    My question for you, Gretchen, is how long do we have to wait for the next book???


  10. Gretchen,I have a couple of thoughts on your answers:
    My grandmother was a young widow with children when she married my grandfather, a first-time groom at 45.They had seven children, several were born after she was forty,(including my mother).They had twins when she was 47 and he was 61. I knew a woman who had a ‘surprise baby’ when she was 50…and then another ‘shocker’ when she was 58….39 seems pretty young now, huh?
    And Schnauzers aren’t so bad.My sister found a picture of a chimpanzee in a zoo that was named “Tonette”; she’s never let me live it down.


    • I’m stunned by these late-in-life baby stories. Stunned and petrified. What we’ve heard since our son was born– “He’ll keep you young!” You should SEE us at 8 o’clock at night. We’re worn out! A shocker baby at 58? I don’t know what to say. I really don’t.

      And, Tonette, you’re in Davis4. I needed a character a few weeks ago when we were talking (about this…our fabulous interview) and your name was perfect. Don’t worry, you’re a drive-by character, not swinging from the chandeliers or losing a million dollars in the casino. I like your name!


      • Now I don’t know what to say! I am without words.Thank you, Gretchen! And here I just told someone that I knew I was the only one with my married name and I truly suspect I am the only one with this, my married people will say, “I know of someone with that name!”, and it’ll be the character! WOW! Again, thank you!


  11. Dru says:

    Don’t enter me in the contest as I have all three books. But then again, I don’t have the hardcovers.

    Anyway, this is a terrific series and if any of your readers haven’t gone out and grabbed these books, go do it now and you’ll be laughing your head off before you know it.

    Great interview Gretchen and I can’t wait to read #4.


  12. maedwards58 says:

    I have read all three of her books. Love them all. I can’t get enough of Davis Way! Great interview!


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