Shannon Work grew up in Del Rio, a border town in the dusty wilds of West Texas. When she graduated from high school, she moved east to College Station and graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a master’s degree in Land Economics and Real Estate.
Most of her working life has been spent developing real estate, earning a national Best in America Living Award for one of her developments. After two failed starts at writing a novel while raising three kids and working, she retired to pursue her dream of writing mystery novels full time.
Shannon and her husband are recent empty nesters and split their time between Houston, Texas and Telluride, Colorado. Always with their laptops and dogs in tow.
ARBC: What inspired you to write this book?
SW: I wanted to write a mystery series set in the Rocky Mountains. My husband and I split our time between Houston, Texas, and Telluride, Colorado, and we love the Rockies. There is a lot of history and mystery in the mountains, and they lend themselves perfectly as a setting for mystery novels. My first novel, Now I See You, was set in Aspen, so I wanted to set the second one in Vail. The trick was how to get my protagonist, Detective Jack Martin, to Vail. I had a lot of fun plotting the novel and figuring out how to get him there.
ARBC: What can we expect from you in the future?
SW: I’m busy writing Book 3 in the Mountain Resort Mystery Series. The third book is set in Telluride, my second hometown. Detective Jack Martin, who made his debut in Now I See You, returns to solve another murder mystery. I even have a few ideas for Book 4. Who knows where Jack Martin will turn up next! But I’m super excited about continuing the series.
ARBC: Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
SW: After two books in the series, we still don’t know a lot about Detective Jack Martin. We only know that he’s a very likeable former FBI agent that ended up in Aspen after an “incident” in Houston. Each book reveals a little more of his backstory. There will definitely be some side stories as the series continues. He’s a very interesting and likeable character that I’m still getting to know!
ARBC: Where did you come up with the names in the story?
SW: Names are very important. They have to feel just right for a particular character, and they either work or they don’t. Sometimes the names come easy—when I’m outlining the novel. Other times, I struggle until I find something that fits just right. I also try to make sure none of the character names are too similar. I want it easy for the reader to remember who is who.
ARBC: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
SW: For each book, I love taking the kernel of an idea and fleshing it out into a rough outline, populating the story with a fun assortment of characters, then getting the complete novel written, edited, and published. It’s a long and tedious process, but a lot of fun when I’m finished!
ARBC: How did you come up with the title of your novel?
SW: The title of my second novel Everything To Lose came to me early while writing the first draft. There are several characters in the novel who have a lot to lose. As the story unfolds, the reader learns which one was worried about losing everything. Greed is a powerful emotion and makes for an intriguing murder mystery.
ARBC: Who designed your book covers?
SW: Damonza, a New Zealand company, designed the covers for both of my novels. When I first started working with them, I sent them a dozen examples of mystery covers that I liked, and I’ve been very happy with their design. I think they’re beautiful covers.
ARBC: What is your favorite part of this book and why?
SW: There are a couple secondary characters in Everything To Lose that I really enjoyed writing about and hated to let go of at the end of the book. Who knows? Maybe one will make an appearance in a future story. But I also love the ending of Everything To Lose. All the loose ends are tied up and we are left wondering what’s next for Jack Martin. I’m still figuring that one out myself!
ARBC: If you could spend time with a character from your book, whom would it be?
SW: If I could spend time with any character from Everything To Lose, it would be with Doris Reed. Doris is the quirky personal assistant of the oilman who gets murdered at the beginning of the book. She’s a conspiracy theorist who is obsessed with crime television crime shows, and you never know what she’s going to say or do next. She was the most fun character to write!
ARBC: Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
SW: My characters are all imaginary, not based on any real people, but I do pull inspiration from people I know, characters in movies, and people I’ve seen on television and out in public. One particularly fun character to write in Everything To Lose was Boots Hamer. Boots is a wealthy oilman with a larger-than-life personality that jumps off the page. I loosely modeled him after a famous Texas wildcatter. I’ve already had one reader who noticed and asked me if the Texas oilman was the inspiration for Boots. I confirmed he was!
ARBC: Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
SW: I’ve read, enjoyed, and studied traditional mysteries written by Mary Higgins Clark, Agatha Christie, and Ruth Ware for years. If readers enjoy books by those authors, I think they’ll like Everything To Lose. It’s a fast-paced, traditional whodunit set in the wealthy Rocky Mountain enclave of Vail, Colorado.
ARBC: What did you edit out of this book?
SW: I didn’t have to edit anything out of Everything To Lose. I learned my lesson with my first book, Now I See You. I’m a history buff and did a good bit of research on the history of the mafia in Colorado. I found fascinating information that I originally included in my firsts book. Unfortunately my editor thought it was an information dump that slowed the story (I’m sure she was right). I did manage to tuck a couple facts in that made it into the final manuscript.
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Everything to Lose
Mountain Resort Mystery Series Book 2
by Shannon Work
Genre: Mystery, Suspense
When the truth could cost you everything… Sometimes murder is the only way out.
When her husband is found dead in their Vail, Colorado mansion, Victoria Banks is accused of murder. Determined to prove her innocence, she hires famed detective Jack Martin to help find the real killer.
But when the two uncover a sinister plot some would kill to keep secret, could it cost both of them their lives?
With a growing list of suspects, can Jack find the killer in time to prove Victoria’s innocence? Or will he discover his beautiful client is actually guilty of murder?
From the mountain luxury of Vail, Colorado, to the oilfields outside Denver, Everything To Lose is a page-turning story of murder and greed.
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2 thoughts on “Meet The Author: Interview with Shannon Work”
This sounds like a great page-turner.
Thank you for including Everything To Lose on the blog! 🙂