Beth Anderson Reveals Her Characters in Raven Talks Back

Marilyn has asked me to describe the characters in my latest mainstream mystery, RAVEN TALKS BACK. I hope I don’t leave any out, they might come after me more than they do anyway, since I’m already starting book #2 in the Raven Morressey series. 

Raven Morressey: 39 years old. Alaska Native, Athabascan tribe. If you want to know how she looks, think Sandra Bullock. Very beautiful woman, she straddles two cultures because she is Athabascan and her husband is Caucasian. Raven was educated in ‘the lower forty-eight’ as Alaskans put it. Dark hair, dark eyes, medium-dark skin, around size 10. Soft spoken, kind, very trusting but self-contained person.

Red Morressey. Raven’s husband, same age as Raven. Tall, medium height and build, red hair, ruddy skin. Very complicated and secretive. Sometimes harsh, sometimes nice. You just never know from day to day which Red is going to show up.

Raven’s children: 

  Timmy. Eight years old. Long black hair, slightly stocky build, very much resembles Raven’s long-dead father. Sensitive child, does well in school. Knows and speaks only English.

  Alice. Twelve years old. Also long black hair, resembles Raven in many ways, but in temperament she definitely resembles Red.

  Charlie. Your typical sixteen year old. Spends a lot of time on his computer. Red hair and skin like his father. In fact, his personality is also a lot like his father’s.

Jack O’Banion. Valdez’s chief of police, came from Dallas where he had worked his way up through the ranks in the Dallas P.D. Tall, long legs, sandy brown hair, wears snakeskin boots and a Stetson. Jack is your quintessential cop. Quiet, soft spoken except when he can’t be due to his job. Takes police work VERY seriously. Does not take well to non-answers. Loves his Ruger and his computer and his flowers.

Kimberley Clarke. Raven’s next door neighbor. Lives to bedevil her son and daughter in law, both of whom deserve it. Mid seventies, long white hair, one glass eye. Small built, around size eight. Has a lurid past and many secrets, and knows exactly how to keep them.

Hopscotch Montgomery. Bush pilot flying between Valdez and Anchorage. Medium tall, brown hair, wears a WW2 bomber jacket and often the leather helmet that goes with it. Speaks with a thick British accent. Warm personality but pretty much keeps to himself. Good friend to Raven, since they both work at the Valdez airport.

Vera Cruz. Small, gorgeous, blonde, Jack’s girlfriend, works on a cruise ship. Keeps Jack tuned up every couple of weeks when her ship docks on Prince William Sound in Valdez.

Doc Martin. Valdez’s only medical doctor, also the area medical examiner. Great sense of humor for someone with such a grisly job.

Mark Taylor. Jack’s best friend, owns the town construction company, employs three men. Throws barbecues every Saturday night in the summertime for friends in Valdez. 

Special Agent Mackenzie O’Toole. Works for the Alaska State Troopers, trained in profiling with the FBI.

Mark’s Three Employees:

Oliver Jackson. Married, five kids, Alaska Native.

Klem Bayliss. Single, tall, Alaska Native, heavily bearded mountain man.

John North.  Married, wife and kids live in the bush far out of town, bunks with Klem during the week, resembles a bulldog.

Charlie Morressey’s two best friends: 

Kit Carlyle. Skinny, unkempt, quiet kid, 17 years old.

Jason Mathias. Medium build, wealthy parents, drives a red convertible way too fast.

Aunt Lucy: Loving, kind, Raven’s only remaining relative, lives out in the bush, soft-spoken, basically uneducated but knows a lot about survival in the wilderness and the goodness of life.

Be aware:  Not all of these characters survive Book #1. Sorry about that.

Author Bio:

Beth Anderson is a multi-published, award winning author in several genres including romance and  mainstream crime fiction. A full time author, she now lives in Washington state. She has appeared on Chicago's WGN Morning Show, The ABC Evening News, as well as numerous other radio and cable television shows. She has guest lectured at Purdue University, Moraine Valley College, and many libraries and writers' conferences. She loves music, particularly jazz. Her website and blog are at .
Book blurb:

RAVEN TALKS BACK by Beth Anderson
Krill Press, ISBN 978-0-9821443-9-8

Beautiful Valdez, Alaska. Home of twenty-three-inch snow in the wintertime, but in the summertime, gorgeous mountain scenery where the early morning fog rolls down the mountainside, bringing soft whispers of the past with it. And this year...murder.

Valdez Chief of Police Jack O'Banion's take:

Voices.  Visions.  A sadistic killer running around loose, a hysterical woman, two teenagers on the verge of home-grown terrorism, everybody including the Alaska State Troopers and out-of-town media driving him berserk twenty-four hours a day. And now Raven wants him to arrest someone, anyone, because she thinks her husband is about to be charged with murder and she just can’t face it.

Raven Morressey's take:
She knows nothing she's saying to Jack makes any sense to him because it doesn't to her, either. After all, it's not every day a newly murdered, tattooed, headless and handless body is dug up in your back yard and then you start hearing voices of your dead ancestors and seeing things that never happened--at least yet. She just wants to keep her home together--at first. She's not trying to butt in and solve the murders in Valdez. But she just can't help it.

Also available at your favorite independent bookstores nationwide.


M.M. Gornell said…
Beth, have a "thing" for character names. Always mentally collecting (then forgetting!) them when I meet people. You have some GREAT names, Raven and Red Morressey has a wonderful ring--then you go on from there.

Thanks for sharing!

Beth Anderson said…
You know something? I don't even remember writing this, I thought, while I was reading it just now. I really do have a motley crew of characters here, all so real to me. I'll check back in in a bit to say hello to anyone who comments. For now, Cheers! Beth
Jean Henry Mead said…
I loved the book, Beth, and hope the next one is released soon. Great charactes and plot!
Mike Orenduff said…
Well, it is a murder mystery after all, so I guess I'm not too surprised that not all the characters survive. But I assume at least one of the people who dies might initially strike the reader as a continuing character, thus your warning.

Good names.
Bob Sanchez said…
Raven is such a great name. I don't know your character, but the name suggests interesting possibilities.
WS Gager said…
A very diverse group that is an exceptional mystery I need to get my hands on.
W.S. Gager on Writing
Alice Duncan said…
Oh, boy, Beth, I loved reading the descriptions of your characters. They look just like I thought they did from reading your book!
Earl Staggs said…
Beth, you seem to know all your characters well, so when you put them in the story, you know what they'll do. I'm sure it's not easy to kill off one of them.
Karen Mayers said…
Okay, I just recently started watching Doc Martin on PBS this season due to recommendations. It took awhile to warm up to him, but now I am hooked. Is this your homage to him?

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