Police Procedural Author Christine Husom Shows Readers Another Side to “Minnesota Nice”
Christine Husom is a national best-selling author from Minnesota. She served with the Wright County Sheriff and pens the suspenseful police procedural Winnebago County Mysteries, and the cozy, but not too cozy, Snow Globe Shop Mysteries where bad guys demonstrate not everyone is “Minnesota Nice.” Husom has stories in six anthologies, and co-edited one of them. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, and is active with the Twin Cities Chapter. She loves meetings readers at speaking engagements, author panels, and book clubs.
Do you have a “real” job other than writing, and if so, what is it? What are some other jobs you’ve had in your life?
In addition to my writing vocation, I’m in my tenth year as a Wright County Commissioner. In addition to regular duties, I serve on 20 different committees, from Central MN Emergency Medical Services to the Midwest Regional Crime Lab to State Health to Mentorship Education and Drug Awareness to Nuclear. In my former life I was a corrections officer and deputy sheriff for Wright County, and spent two years as a mental health practitioner, working with the mentally ill, chemically dependent, chronically homeless population in St. Paul.
What compelled you to write your first book?
I created the Winnebago County mystery thriller series after my father, a retired district judge, died under strange circumstances. His death was ruled accidental, but it was so bizarre, I obsessed about it for a year, then one day it hit me: What if it wasn’t an accident? What if someone did it to him? Who was that person? What was his or her motivation? The antagonist was born in my mind and was the first character in what became Murder in Winnebago County.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I have been creating stories since before I could read or write. I remember how excited I felt when I walked into my first-grade classroom and saw the letters of the alphabet on the wall above the blackboards. I thought, I’m going to learn to read so I can write down my stories!
Tell us a little bit about your book/s. What is the title?
My mysteries, the Winnebago County stories are suspenseful police procedurals with psychological and thriller elements. Sergeant Corinne “Corky” Aleckson, the young female protagonist has good instincts, a great heart, and does all she can to help victims and solve the crimes against them. Corky works closely with her friend and mentor, the seasoned, smart, and sexy Detective Elton aka “Smoke” Dawes.
I hadn’t planned on writing a series, but as the Winnebago Sheriff’s department characters, and Corky’s family members, developed and fleshed, I fell in love with them and I knew what their next two cases were going to be, based on dramatic incidents that happened when I worked for the sheriff’s department. The ninth book, Death To The Dealers, launched last November and is a finalist in the Midwest Book Awards. From the back cover: “When a man finds his deceased wife’s secret phone, her list of contacts sends him on quest to uncover who caused her death. As he navigates his way into the dreary, drug-dealing world, danger holds a constant presence. The one bright spot in his life is his growing attraction for his canine patient’s owner, Sergeant Corinne Aleckson. It’s a relationship that will not blossom as he had imagined.”
The Snow Globe Shop books are traditional, cozy mysteries with an amateur sleuth that stumbles over bodies and feels duty-bound to solve the crime. Camryn Brooks is the first-person narrator. Cami lost her position as a Director of Legislative Affairs for a U.S. Senator following a scandal and reluctantly returns to her hometown. She joins her parents in their Curio Finds shop that specializes in snow globes from around the world. The business is housed in a 1924 brick building with an archway opening to an adjoining coffee shop, “Brew Ha-ha”, run by Cami’s quirky friend Pinky Nelson. Snow Way Out is the first book, and I’m writing the fourth one now.
What about your family? Do you have children, married, siblings, parents? Has your family been supportive of your writing?
I live in central Minnesota. Our county has 300 lakes, three rivers, wetlands, wooded areas, fields—lots of places for bodies to turn up. My husband Dan and I have been married for almost 50 years. We have four children—two are married—and seven grandchildren. We have them over for dinner on Sundays, as much as possible, and feel very blessed. Along with my siblings and other relatives, they are a great support team for me.
The main characters of your stories – do you find that you put a little of yourself into each of them or do you create them to be completely different from you?
My protagonists share some of my values and beliefs, but they aren’t me. When I create characters I need to know what drives and motivates them. What are their goals or dreams, their obstacles, their best memory, their worst memory? I consider characters the heart of my stories and imagine them as real people. Continuing characters in a series compares in some ways to people you know in real life. The more time you spend with them, the better you get to know them. Characters need different voices. When I write, I “hear” my characters talking. Their voices sound different, they use different expressions. I laugh with them and cry with them and go through a range of emotions with them. Sometimes I’m a little shocked by what they say and do. I throw up my hands. “Corky, I can’t believe you did that!”
What is your main goal or purpose you would like to see accomplished by or with your writing? I write for my readers as much as I do for myself. Maybe more so. I want readers to feel like they’re walking alongside the characters in my stories and are engaged in their journeys. I also hope they learn something new along the way. My law enforcement background is a great help, but I still do extensive research for the plots and subplots. I’m intrigued by what motivates people, what drives bad guys to do what they do. I dig into psychological components for my characters and any number of conditions, disorders, or experiences that lead a person to choose a good path, or head down a bad one.
Is there anything else you want your readers to know about you? Include information on where to find your books, any blogs you may have, or how a reader can learn more about you and writing.
My books are available on Amazon, Ingrams, and Smashwords, or through your favorite bookstore. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or on my website, www.christinehusom.com. Many thanks!
Thanks, Christine, for giving the readers a look into your writing process,