This originally appeared on Snowflakes in a Blizzard August 11, 2015.
BOOK: Uncharted Territory.
PUBLISHED IN: 2015.
THE PUBLISHER: Koehler Books, a growing small press in Virginia Beach, VA.
THE EDITOR: Joe Coccaro, Executive Editor, Koehler Books; Dawn Dowdle, agent at Blue Ridge Literary Agency.
SUMMARY: After the death of her daughter in the first book of the series, Maxine “Mad Max” Davies’ new role in life, full-time grandparent raising two grandchildren, takes her into post-Katrina Mississippi, nature’s newest wasteland. While she gets used to raising children again, she also learns to live in a region where most of life’s conveniences vanished in the storm and tidal surge. She must protect her grandchildren as well as help others in this new environment. Along the way, she encounters racism, murder, modern-day slavery and child abuse. THE BACK STORY:
I started the first book, MAD MAX UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES about eight years ago. After I took it through 8+ drafts, I realized I had the wrong main character. Mad Max was always designed to be a minor character, until one night she woke me up at three in the morning fairly screaming me: “It’s my story, darn it. Tell it my way.” Well, yes, ma’am. I recast the book, pushed it through two sets of patient beta readers and finally submitted it to agents. I was fortunate when Dawn Dowdle at Blue Ridge Literary Agency took a chance. She sold it to Koehler Books as part of a three-book deal. UNCHARTED TERRITORY is the second in the series.
I wanted to write about a female protagonist who was in her fifties, still sexy, still headstrong, still snarky occasionally. As a reader I was tired of reading about younger protagonists. Besides, if I had one with some mileage on her, some real-life experiences, I could take her into different situations.
One area that was critical to the success of the Mad Max story line is what a grandparent goes through when she decides to help raise grandchildren full time. I was lucky enough to sit in on some self help groups of grandparents who were suddenly parents again. Their experiences made each of them my heroes.
WHY THIS TITLE: When my publisher and I talked about the title of the first book in the series, we wanted something that had dual meanings. Many of the events in that first book had unintended consequences for Max and her family.
By the time UNCHARTED TERRITORY was in final edits, we wanted to continue with the “un-“ naming convention. With Max both raising her grandkids full time and doing so in a wasteland, we had dual uncharted territories to deal with.
WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: Have you ever wondered what it would be like to return to being a parent after your children are grown and out of the house, UNCHARTED TERRITORY takes you into that world. The physical setting, post-Katrina Mississippi is representative of any area where social norms have been disrupted by war, natural disaster, or apathy. Max has to put down temporary roots in a community that basically doesn’t exist. Dean King wrote graphically about life in a wasteland in Skeletons of the Zaraha. He inspired many of the descriptions of a land scrubbed clean by a tidal surge.
“Mad Max is at it again–another “uppity woman” who can’t leave well enough alone. Just the way I like it. Uncharted Territory is a well-crafted mystery, with a nuanced plot, and plenty to chew on.”
–Mollie Cox Bryan, Agatha Award Finalist for A Cumberland Creek Mystery Series
“Auntie Mame and Miss Marple combine in heroine Mad Max as Ashton takes a genre bending look at the aftermath of Katrina when the storm surge wiped out a lifestyle and left evil behind.”
–Fiona Quinn, contributor to Virginia Is For Mysteries and Chaos Is Come Again
“Mad Max Davies sees how the other half lives as she and her family begin a new adventure that takes them far from home and into the darker side of society. A good read with some unexpected twists.”
–Kristen Houghton, author of For I Have Sinned: A Cate Harlow Private Investigation
The last place most people would leave home to heal from personal loss would be post-Katrina Mississippi, but this is plucky and determined Mad Max Davis in a genre-bending tale of murder, suspense, chaos, and personal healing. – Michael Murphy
AUTHOR PROFILE: Betsy Ashton, born in Washington, DC, was raised in Southern California where she ran wild with coyotes in the hills above Malibu. She protested the war in Vietnam, burned her bra for feminism, and is a steadfast Independent. She is a writer, a thinker, the mother of three grown stepchildren, companion and friend. She mentors writers and writes and publishes fiction. Her first mystery, Mad Max Unintended Consequences, was published in February 2013. The second in the series, Uncharted Territory, A Mad Max Mystery, came out in April 2015. In her spare time, she is the president of the state-wide Virginia Writers Club. She loves riding behind her husband on his motorcycle. You’ll have to decide for yourself if and where she has a tattoo.
AUTHOR COMMENTS: “I wanted to be able to take this mature protagonist into a variety of different physical locations and watch how she reacts. Her frame of mind changes with every twist in the plot. She grows closer to her two grandchildren in this book, particularly when they are in peril. Book three in the series will put Max, her grandson and her boyfriend in danger of death.”
WHERE TO BUY IT: The book is out as an e-book only right now. Amazon:http://www.amazon.com/Uncharted-Territory-Betsy-Ashton-ebook/dp/B00PAIXNYM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436474023&sr=1-1&keywords=uncharted+territory
PRICE: $1.99. Summer sale continues.
CONTACT THE AUTHOR: firstname.lastname@example.org