Gretchen Archer, author of the Davis Way Crime Caper series, started writing when her eldest left the nest to pursue higher education. Since, she's written six books—her latest, Double Up. Gretchen took time out of her busy schedule to answer some of CrimeHQ's questions about her popular series, her “Super Secret Spy” Davis Way, and what she's currently reading!
The Davis Way Crime Caper series deals with a protagonist, Davis Way, who is smart and savvy but gets herself into complicated situations. What drew you into writing a main character who is good at what she does but gets herself into mishaps?
Real life drew me into writing a main character who is smart and savvy but gets herself into mishaps because I have two smart, savvy daughters who do the same.
Our phone conversations:
Me: “What? Why are the police there? Start over.”
Daughter: “Well, first, how was I supposed know it would catch fire? Then the refrigerator door fell off. It just fell off. It’s on the floor. And that was when Clara called and I had to talk to her because her boyfriend—”
Davis Way is a “Super Secret Spy” who must solve crime capers that all take place within a fictional casino, The Bellissimo Resort & Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. What inspired you to create this series?
My oldest left for college the same week my youngest started kindergarten. For the first time in eighteen years I had a little—not much—extra time on my hands. Taking advantage of it, I began writing. So it wasn’t inspiration so much as it was opportunity.
You’re on the 6th book of the Davis Way Crime Caper series, Double Up. Over the course of the series, what do you think is the biggest lesson Davis has learned in being a Super Secret Spy? How has Davis grown as a character?
In Double Whammy, Davis learned how to pick herself up, dust herself off, and start over. In Double Dip, she learned how devastating elder abuse could be. In Double Strike, Davis and her team dealt with the pain and repercussion of prejudice, and in Double Mint, they were reminded to keep the faith. In Double Knot, family ties were tugged tighter, and in Double Up, Davis learns the true value of friendships—old, new, and repurposed.
Davis has grown so much in six books, both in her career and personal life—from a lonely small-town Alabama police officer to a happily married undercover casino investigator and, now, new mother.
In Double Up, Davis and Fantasy’s friendship cracks when Fantasy leaves the Bellissimo and Davis is left feeling alone. What is Double Up trying to say about female friendships?
From Double Up:
Losing Fantasy’s constant companionship had been like losing my phone, right arm, keys, the remote, running water, the internet, and my mind all at once.
What Davis and Fantasy learn in Double Up is that even with happy, healthy marriages and home lives, and even with stimulating and fulfilling careers, life without your BFF just isn’t the same.
Describe Double Up in 5 words.
A girl needs her friends.
What is your favorite line from Double Up and why?
“What about the shrimps?” With each Davis Way installment, I pull a character from my supporting cast to join the core characters for an adventure. Bea Crawford, Davis’s ex-ex-mother-in-law from Pine Apple, Alabama, won the Up character sweepstakes. She was so much fun to write—especially lines like this, where the situation is dire and Bea, for the life of her, can’t focus.
What is your murder weapon of choice?
What was the last book you read? What are you currently reading?
I read Coma Girl by Stephanie Bond straight through in a day—download, download, download—and I’m reading Sense and Sensibility (again—tenth time) now.
What are you currently binging on Netflix?
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Gretchen Archer is a Tennessee housewife who began writing when her daughters, seeking higher educations, ran off and left her. She lives on Lookout Mountain with her husband, son, and a Yorkie named Bently. Double Whammy, her first Davis Way Crime Caper, was a Daphne du Maurier Award finalist and hit the USA TODAY Bestsellers List. Double Up is the sixth Davis Way Crime Caper.