Monday, August 31, 2015

Death on Paradise Creek

Meet author Dianne Smithwick-Braden! 


She is a native Texan raised in rural Wilbarger County on the family farm. She is a graduate of Vernon High School and West Texas A & M University. She currently resides in Amarillo, Texas with her husband, Richard. She has been a high school science teacher in Amarillo since August of 1990.

Dianne is an avid reader of fiction but murder mysteries are by far her favorite genre. Death on Paradise Creek is her first novel. She has already begun work on a sequel.

Did you always want to be a writer?
When I was growing up, I wrote poetry and kept a journal. I always dreamed of writing a novel but never thought I’d have the time or the patience. I tried to write at different times but life got in the way. Finally, a story idea and an empty nest coincided.

What were some of your favorite childhood stories/books?
I’ve always loved a good mystery. I remember reading Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys mysteries when I was young. I’ve read so many wonderful books that I can’t pick a favorite even now.

Did you have a childhood hero?
I didn’t have a literary hero. My parents and grandparents were my childhood heroes.

What has been your favorite part about being an author?
My favorite part of being an author is coming up with the murder scenes. It’s a challenge to write something that hopefully surprises the reader.

If you had not become an author, what else would you have liked to do for a living?
I am beginning my twenty-sixth year as a full time high school science teacher at an alternative school. I hope that writing will be my second career when I retire from teaching in a few years.

What advice would you give to your 12 year old self?
The advice I would give my 12 year old self is the same advice I have given my sons and my students. You’ll never know if you can do something if you don’t try.

What would you tell a non-Texan reader about Texas to better help them understand the setting of your story DEATH ON PARADISE CREEK in Wilbarger County?
Wilbarger County is mostly farm and ranch land. The largest town is Vernon with a population of about 12,000 people. It’s situated near the Texas Oklahoma state line. Most families have at least one pickup truck or some sort of 4 wheel drive vehicle. Summers at hot and winters are generally mild. There is only one high school. Kids start school and will go through their entire school life with many of the same people the met in kindergarten. As a result, lifelong friends are made and seem like part of your extended family.

Is there a sequel planned for DEATH ON PARADISE CREEK?
Yes. I finished the first draft of Death under a Full Moon two weeks ago.

What’s next in the writing world of Dianne Smithwick-Braden?
I’ve started making notes for the third book of the series. I don’t have a title for it yet but I do have a few ideas about the plot. I also have ideas for other books with a new cast of characters.


Death on Paradise Creek is a murder mystery seasoned with heartbreak, adventure, a little romance, and a touch of humor. It is the first in a planned three book series.

The Paradise Creek Inn is open for business in rural Wilbarger County Texas. Business is slow except for the occasional parties for family or friends, until a prestigious actor becomes stranded on the property. Suddenly Lizzie Fletcher and her family are booking parties and events left and right – a dream come true.

Things quickly change when the hired hand makes a gruesome discovery. Sheriff Wade Adams and his team are called to investigate. While evidence is being analyzed, another body is discovered. Long kept secrets revolving around these discoveries begin to unravel.

Death on Paradise Creek is a 60,929 word, 205 page murder mystery set in Wilbarger County Texas.

Paperbacks are $15.95 and ebooks are $6.99

It is available for purchase at: in paperback and for Kindle
Barnes and in paperback and for Nook
Black Rose Writing in paperback


Chapter 6

Lizzie woke Saturday morning to the smell of coffee brewing. She hadn’t realized how much she missed waking up to that smell. She always had coffee after she got to work. She went downstairs to find Ellen and Lois sitting at the kitchen table.

“Good morning, Mama. Good morning, Granny,” she said as she planted a kiss on each woman’s cheek. “Where’s Daddy?”

“He had to get started moving the cattle to the east pasture. He said he’d be missing a lot of work since we’ll be in town for Jan’s festivities later this week,” Ellen explained.

“Lizzie, sit down; I want to talk to you about something,” Lois said.

“Okay. It sounds like something serious Granny.”

“Well, it is in a way. Is your job in Chicago the kind of job you always dreamed about?”

“No, it isn’t. It’s a work my way up the ladder and pay my dues kind of job.”

“Would you still like to run your own inn?”

“That has always been my dream, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon.”

“Alright then. I have a proposition for you. I’m getting too old to live in that great big house all alone. You’re parents and I have been talking about this, and we want to see what you think. We’ll turn the house over to you. You can renovate it and make it into the inn you’ve always dreamed of owning.”

“But Granny…”

“Now, let me finish,” Granny interrupted.” I’ll move in here with James and Ellen. You’ll manage the inn. I’ll fund the renovations, within reason mind you. Your parents and I will help when you need it. The old place needs fixing up anyway, and I see no reason to fix it up only for one old lady. It will become a family business.” Granny paused for a moment, and then said, “Well what do you think?”

Lizzie didn’t know what to say. She wanted to jump at the chance to design and run her own inn.


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