Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Guest blogger, Beth Groundwater and an Interview with a Character

Today, Beth Groundwater, author of To Hell in a Handbasket, has allowed an interview with Judy Hanover, one of the characters in the book. Judy, and Beth, will both be available for questions afterward. Following the interview, there is another short note, and a contest announcement. But, first, an interview with Judy Hanover.

More News from Summit County, Colorado

Ina Bigjam, reporter for the Summit Daily News, the local newspaper covering events in Breckenridge, Colorado, offers this extraordinary report to the readers of Lesa's Book Critiques blog*:

I spoke with Judy Hanover about the death of Stephanie Contino at the Breckenridge Ski Resort yesterday. Judy is visiting Summit County with her family while on spring break from a semester studying in France and was the first on the scene of Ms. Contino's accident. I filed an interview with Judy's mother, Claire Hanover, on May 4th at The Lady Killers blog. Here's my interview with Judy:

Judy, thank you for talking to me today. I know this tragic accident has been traumatic for you, being the first one to find the deceased.

I keep hoping I'll wake up from this nightmare and find out that it's not true, that Stephanie is still alive. She had her whole life ahead of her. It’s not fair for her to die in such a stupid accident!

But your mother told me she doesn't think it was an accident.

She has some wild theory that a skier deliberately ran into Stephanie, but I think it was that crazy, out-of-control snowboarder we saw. Right before Stephanie hit that tree, we were standing on the side of the slope, chilling out. He made a fast turn too close to us and sprayed us with snow. One of the last things Stephanie said was that he needed to be taught some manners. Now he needs to be locked up.
How could he have caused the accident if he'd already gone past you?
He stopped in the woods, probably to smoke a joint. He looked like a stoner. After we got away from my folks, Stephanie got ahead of me because she's a faster skier. Then the snowboarder came out of the trees and sped past me and around the curve. I heard a thump. Then I saw Stephanie—and all that blood.... I screamed. I couldn't stop screaming and crying even after my parents arrived. It was terrible!

Yes, it truly was awful. Did you know Stephanie Contino well?

Her brother, Nick, is my boyfriend. I talked to her on the phone a couple of times, but this trip was our first chance to hang out. I was looking forward to that. I was just, like, getting to know her and now she's gone! And I feel so guilty. Maybe if I’d been with her this wouldn’t have happened. Now I'm worried about how Nick is going to handle this.

Your mother told me that she thinks you may be in danger.

That's ridiculous. Because of her crazy theory my mother wants me to leave Breckenridge with her, just when Nick's family needs me the most. His mother, especially. I want to do what I can to comfort her.

Does your mother overreact often?

She's ready to freak out if anything threatens her family, especially one of us kids. That's why I haven't told her much about what I've been doing in France. God, if she finds out I got a tattoo, she'll go ballistic!

So you plan to stay in Breckenridge?

Heck, yeah! Nick and his family need me. You know, he and I were hoping this week would be fun, and a good chance for our folks to get to know each other. Now it's all gone to hell in a handbasket.

Pardon me for asking, but do you and Nick intend to get married?

Maybe. I don't know. He hasn't asked me yet. I feel like we're really serious about each other, though. I know Stephanie's death is tearing him up inside, and I plan to do whatever I can to help him get through it, the funeral and everything. A funeral. A funeral for my boyfriend's sister. God, I can’t believe it.

At this point, I concluded my interview with Judy Hanover. You can be assured that I’ll be following this story closely for the Summit Daily News. This has been Ina Bigjam, reporting.

*Note: This interview took place after the events chronicled in chapters one and two of Beth Groundwater’s mystery novel, To Hell in a Handbasket, the second in the Claire Hanover gift basket designer mystery series. For reviews, excerpts, discussion questions, and more information about the book, and to see where Beth will be signing copies this summer, please visit her website: . You can purchase To Hell in a Handbasket, and the first in the series, A Real Basket Case, by ordering them at your local bookstore, or by going to one of the following links:


Contest announcement:

If you comment on this article or ask Judy or Beth a question today, or comment on Beth's blog ( anytime during her May blog book tour, you will be entered into a drawing for an autographed set of both books in the Claire Hanover gift basket designer mystery series: A REAL BASKET CASE and TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET. Good luck!

Judy Hanover has agreed to answer questions from Lesa's Book Critiques blog readers, as has author Beth Groundwater, so have at it!

To Hell in a Handbasket by Beth Groundwater. Five Star, ©2009. ISBN 9781594147593 (hardcover), $25.95, 268p.


allisonmariecat said...

Fantastic article! I would love to read these books - both Beth and Judy sound a lot of fun :)

allison DOT campbell AT gmail DOT com

Lesa said...

And, Beth will be around today to answer questions on my blog, Allison, if you have any.

Jen said...

Very cute! Beth, reading this I can't believe that I never asked you if you experienced the death of a young person or researched it - I know you do a lot of preparation for your books. Did you do anything special to get inside the head of someone who experienced a loss similar in nature to the death in TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET?

meen said...

wonderful interview and a good appetiser for the books. I wonder if this series has been published in England/Europe? I can't remember seeing them anywere, but maybe I wasn't looking close enough?

Beth Groundwater said...

To answer Jen's question, yes I have experienced the death of a young person who was close to me. At the end of my freshman year in college, a girl on my dorm hall drowned in a swimming pool during a end-of-year celebration. I saw her being pulled from the pool and mourned with my fellow dormmates the next day after she was removed from life-support because she was brain-dead. Also, my brother died from a massive heart attack in his early thirties.

It doesn't take much for me to remember how I felt after either of those deaths. When an older person who has had a full life dies, I can celebrate the life that was lived, but when a young person who has so much ahead of them dies, that's truly a time of grief.

Beth Groundwater said...

To answer Marleen's question, you can easily buy either A REAL BASKET CASE or TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET off of, but there is no UK publisher who has bought the rights to publish the series within the country.

Karen B said...

I love the idea of the interview with a character in your book - nicely done!

Debbie said...

Extraordinary! (once again) Beth, you are a brilliant writer. I found myself so into your first book, it went everywhere with me. Now that I know a bit about Judy, i can't wait to read your second book in the series... Great interview!

Karin Huxman - Romance Author said...

Loved the "interview!" Nice. Can't wait to read the book.

Lesa said...

Thanks, Everyone!

Beth said she'll be checking back during the day, so I'm sure she'll be back to answer comments.

Beth Groundwater said...

For those who liked hearing from Claire's daughter, Judy, and would like more information about her, mark the following link, where I will talk about "Mothers and the Daughters Who Leave Them" on Saturday & Sunday:

People may be tired of asking me questions by this point in my blog tour, but feel free to ask Judy a question here!

Drue Allen said...

Fun, fun, fun - - makes me want to read the book AND go ski. : )

Heidiwriter said...

I love interviews with characters. They're so much fun. And sometimes, you learn a lot about them that you didn't know before! Grin.


Lesa said...

Thanks to everyone who stopped by and commented today. I don't know if Beth (or Judy) will be back, but I appreciate the time you took to comment.


Beth Groundwater said...

Hey, I'm a night owl, peoples! Like most college students, I'm up 'til the wee hours, then sleep in in the morning. When I'm home from school, I'm usually eating breakfast when my mom, Claire, is eating lunch. Anyone seen Star Trek yet? I think I'll be catching the flick tonight with my BFFs.

- Judy H.

Anonymous said...

Beth, I love your interviews, your blogs, your book tour, and I love how you get into character with this interview.

Norma Huss

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Very clever interview, Beth! Congrats on the excellent reviews of the new book, although it's really no surprise.

All the best,

Jacqueline Seewald

Sheila Deeth said...

What a fun interview. Certainly makes me want to know the characters more, and makes them very real.

Lesa said...

Thanks for commenting everyone. It was a fun interview, and I really appreciate Beth taking the time to do it.

Mario said...


You are one busy blogging bee. (I was going to say mo-fo but decided against it. Oh no, I just said it!) I am in awe. Great interview.