Character Interview –
Character Hattie Hayes from The Moonshine Shack Murder (written by Diane Kelly)
1) Tell us a little bit about yourself--both something we learn from [the story] and something that readers might not guess?
I might stand only a little over five feet tall, but I make up for my small stature with an extra helping of gumption. I studied business at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, where I now live and work. I recently resurrected the moonshine recipe that landed my great-grandaddy in prison during Prohibition, but my moonshining is legal. Something readers might not guess is that I knew I wanted to run my own business since I was four years old. My granny bought me a secondhand Fisher-Price cash register toy at a garage sale after I begged and pleaded for it. I loved playing store, ringing people up and making change, even before I had any concept of math. I still have that toy to this day!
2) How did you first meet your writer?
When Diane Kelly moved to Tennessee from Texas a few years ago, she was surprised to learn that moonshine was being commercially produced. She tried many of the fun varieties, like apple pie and blackberry, and she loved them. So did the friends she introduced it to. She did some research on the history of moonshining, and found it fascinating. She thought it would be fun to meet someone who made moonshine themselves, and whose family had been in the business since way back when it was considered a criminal enterprise. She was right, too. I’m a real character. ; )
3) Want to dish about him/her?
When Diane sits down at her keyboard to put me to work, she’s often got a cat or two beside her or walking across the keyboard trying to help. I can relate. My cat Smoky is just as helpful (meaning pesky!) sometimes. Diane’s not much of a housekeeper, but she’s got some nice flowers outside her house, especially those hydrangea bushes in front. Beautiful! She spends her free time playing with her cats, walking her dogs, hiking, or watching silly sitcoms with her husband.
4) Why do you think that your life has ended up being in a book?
Because I’ve been brave and started my own business in a field where women are scarce. I’m not afraid to take risks, and people find that interesting. Diane Kelly wanted to feature strong female characters in her books, and I fit the bill. Also, dead bodies keep cropping up all around me, and it seems people like to read about murders so long as they aren’t too gritty or gruesome. I find it fun, too, to try to figure out who killed the victim and why.
5) Who's your favorite character? Why?
This is a tough one for me to answer. I’m not sure whether to say it’s my granddaddy who taught me how to make moonshine, my best friend Kiki who is always there for me when I need her, or mounted Police Officer Marlon Landers who is awfully handsome up there on his horse. Shucks. Let’s just go with my cat, Smoky. He’s basically a cinder block with fur who gives me little affection, but I love him to bits. I can’t imagine my life without him!
6) Who's your least favorite character? Why?
Whoever killed Cormac McCarthy, the jerk who ran the Irish pub across the street from my shop. I mean, the guy was asking for it, but did they have to do it on the stoop of my Moonshine Shack? I ended up a suspect!
7) What's next for you?
Next year, I’ll star in the second book in Diane Kelly’s Southern Homebrew series. That one will be called The Proof is in the Poison. I’ll be making the rounds of a model train convention, trying to sell my moonshine and avoid other dead bodies. But you know how it goes. The best laid plans . . .
About The Moonshine Shack Murder
In this intoxicating new cozy mystery series, the future for modern-day moonshiner Hattie Hayes looks bright--until death darkens the doorstep of her Moonshine Shack.
The Hayes family has made moonshine in Chattanooga since the days of Prohibition, and Hattie is happy to continue the tradition, serving up fun, fruity flavors in mason jars for locals and tourists alike. All signs indicate her new 'shine shop will be a smashing success. What's more, mounted police officer Marlon Landers has taken a shine to Hattie. For the first time ever, the stars seemed to have aligned in both her work and romantic life. But when a body ends up on her store's doorstep alongside a broken jar of her Firefly Moonshine, it just might be lights out for her fledgling business.
The homicide detective can't seem to identify the person who killed the owner of a nearby bar. The only witness is Hattie's longhaired gray cat, and Smoky isn't talking. When the detective learns that the victim and Hattie had a heated exchange shortly before his murder, she becomes her prime suspect.
Lest Hattie end up behind bars like her bootlegging great-grandfather a century before, she must distill the evidence herself and serve the killer a swift shot of justice.
About Diane Kelly
Diane Kelly writes stories that feature feisty female lead characters and their furry, four-footed friends. Diane is the author of over 30 novels and novellas, including the Death & Taxes, Paw Enforcement, and House Flipper mystery series. In 2021, she’ll launch two new series, the Southern Homebrew moonshine series and the Mountain Lodge Mysteries. Find Diane online at DianeKelly.com, on Twitter and Instagram @DianeKellyBooks, and on Facebook at her Author Diane Kelly page.