Title: Thirty and a Half Excuses (Rose Gardner Mysteries #3)
Author: Denise Grover Swank
Date of Publication: September 10, 2013
Life in Henryetta, Arkansas is turned upside down with the arrival of a televangelist, but it’s the death of a little old lady on Rose’s street that catches her attention. The Henryetta police deem her death natural causes, but Rose suspects foul play and so does an unlikely supporter–-the president of the Busy Body Club, her eighty-two year old neighbor Mildred.But Rose is in the middle of opening her nursery with her sister Violet, who’s separated from her husband Mike, as well as stalling her boyfriend Joe’s family, rich socialites who are determined to meet her. Along with her multiple encounters with Fenton County’s new assistant DA, Mason Deveraux III, it’s just another day in the life of Rose Gardner–-chaos.
For me, music is a very important part of writing a book. I put on my headphones, and I can reach a place of disconnect from the real world. The music—although background noise at that point—is what transports me there. The fictional world I’m writing in becomes what’s real and the outside world becomes the dream world. I call this plothead. I may not be at my computer, but the story and the characters continue their journey in my head.
Every book I write had a playlist. It expands and contracts as I write, and often includes multiple songs from an album by a particular artist. With the early CHOSEN books (urban fantasy), I included a lot of Linkin Park. With my ON THE OTHERSIDE series (YA sci fi/romance) I listened to a lot of Evanescence and Fireflight. My new urban fantasy series, CURSE KEEPERS, is full of Red, Maroon 5 and Relient K.
But my Rose Gardner books are different.
First, it’s important to note, that my books are always character driven. The Rose Gardner Mystery series is no different. I know what’s going on in Rose’s personal life before I ever flesh out the mystery. So finding songs for a playlist shouldn’t be any different than the rest, but it is. I find that my playlist tends to be a complete album. The first book was Sky Sailing, An Airplane Carried Me Away. For the second book, it was Paramore’s Brand New Eyes, and the third book was no different. (More Paramore, two other albums included into the mix.)
But I’ve come up with several songs that fit the characters in Thirty and a Half Excuses. Rose is in a relationship with Joe, an undercover state police detective who lives two hours away in Little Rock and their relationship hits a rough patch because of the secrets in Joe’s past.
Parmore’s Never Let This Go works a theme song for the book. Rose spends the first part of the book worried about how bad Joe’s secret could possibly be then the rest of the book dealing with the ramifications.
Because I'll never let this go
But I can't find the words to tell you
I don't want to be alone
But now I feel like I don't know you
She’s also deepening her friendship with the Fenton County assistant DA, Mason Deveraux, whom she’s beginning to suspect has feelings for her. Mason is tied to Joe’s secret, and when she finds out how, she’s drawn even more to him. Mason is there for Rose when she needs help. Mason expects nothing from Rose, but offers unconditional support.
He has feelings for Rose, but he’s well aware of her relationship with Joe. He would never put Rose in a position to be forced to choose. Instead, he bids his time. Coldplay’s Yellow fits Mason.
I drew a line
I drew a line for you
Oh what a thing to do
And it was all yellow
Then there’s Joe, torn between the person he wants to be and the person he was before he met Rose. He’s kept his past hidden from her, knowing that when it all comes out, he risks losing the woman who makes him feel like he can be a better person. U2’s With or Without You is perfect for Joe.
Sleight of hand and twist of fate
On a bed of nails she makes me wait
And I wait without you
Thirty and a Half Excuses is about secrets. Just about every character in the book has one and they rip their worlds apart.
About Denise Grover Swank
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Denise Grover Swank was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in the area until she was nineteen. Then she became a nomadic gypsy, living in five cities, four states and ten houses over the course of ten years before she moved back to her roots. She speaks English and smattering of Spanish and Chinese which she learned through an intensive Nick Jr. immersion period. Her hobbies include witty Facebook comments (in own her mind) and dancing in her kitchen with her children. (Quite badly if you believe her offspring.) Hidden talents include the gift of justification and the ability to drink massive amounts of caffeine and still fall asleep within two minutes. Her lack of the sense of smell allows her to perform many unspeakable tasks. She has six children and hasn’t lost her sanity. Or so she leads you to believe.