1. What if a young mother found a lucrative way to provide a future for her son, but then couldn’t get out? Soon she becomes a homicide statistic. We automatically look at what she did-making drugs-and label her a bad person. Now that you know character Mandy Patterson’s backstory, do you feel empathy for her? Do you think others care if a meth cook dies?
2. A man she met on vacation, Deputy Sam Mayes, visits my sleuth Baxley Powell and her family. Like her, the man has extrasensory abilities, and she wants to learn from his experiences. He, on the other hand, is abiding by her lets-be-friends decree, but he’s made it clear he’s interested in a romantic relationship. As a woman, would you pursue the friendship?
3. For the longest time, Baxley has lived in relationship limbo. Her elite soldier of a husband went missing on a military mission. After a year went by, the Army declared him dead. As someone who can traverse the Veil of Life, Baxley knows he isn’t dead, only she can’t find him in the land of the living either. She worries he’s hurt. That’s the only way she knows that he wouldn’t come home to her and their young daughter. People say she should start dating again, but Baxley is married. Her honor and integrity demand that she honor her vows. What would you do in that situation?
4. In-laws and Outlaws is a phrase I’ve often heard applied to some extended families. In Confound It, discord rules amongst the victim’s family members. There’s love, but there’s also envy, greed, jealousy, and lust. Does your family always get along? What’s the usual bone of contention? Examples: curfew, bedtime, heirloom, elder care, employment, authority, money, respect…
5. We expect those who care for us to comfort us when troubles occur. But Confound It’s Mandy Patterson is trapped in a desperate situation, and she’s afraid of her boyfriend. What advice would you give someone like Mandy?
6. In Confound It, Mandy’s sister makes no bones that she wants what her sister has, only June is mostly talk and no action. Plus, she believes the world owes her. She gets mad when Mandy won’t continue to give her money. Do you believe in Tough Love? Why or why not?
7. My sleuth Baxley Powell is a Dreamwalker. She taps into her extrasensory abilities to learn more about a person, place, or thing in this world or the next. In reality, psychics often have one strong extrasensory skill. In the Dreamwalker Series, I take liberties so that Baxley explores a new paranormal aspect in each book. Confound It is book five in this series. Usually in other books, she must hold an item of the victim to make contact with his or her spirit. In this book, Baxley has several spontaneous visions causing her no end of confusion. What characteristic of Baxley’s do you most admire and why? (Her traits include loyalty, adaptability, courage, patience, composure, self-sufficiency, perceptiveness, honesty, fairness, or her curiosity).
8. Deputy Sam Mayes is a Cherokee. He carefully treads his way in both his native world and the white man’s world. Baxley doesn’t understand the issues he faces, doesn’t know how hard he is to appear to be solidly in both worlds, or that it costs his tribes when he is less than fully theirs. Assimilation used to be the American Way. Our society is a melting pot of immigrant groups. Why does assimilation hurt Native American tribes? Don’t people have to live and make a living in the twenty-first century?
9. Baxley’s household has a menagerie of animals: a Shih-Pooh named Muffin, a chihuahua named Elvis, black lab named Maddy, a Maine Coon cat named Sulay, and a tabby named Ziggy. Her ghost dog, Oliver the Great Dane, puts in appearances now and then. Occasionally, one of her pet-sitting clients leaves their animals with her, so she has even more animals at home. With such a variety of dogs and cats, which animal is the boss and why?
10. In a series mystery like this one, as the series goes along, the amateur sleuth gains more of a familiarity with the criminal world, though she still says firmly grounded in her community. Although Baxley has gained experience as a dreamwalker, one of her abilities, being able to perceive lies, happens automatically. This can be a bonus for her police work, but this (and her other skills) makes people leery of her. If you had a special skill that made people nervous, would you use it or hide it?