Today instead of interviewing an author, we’re interviewing a character: Darwin Winters from Karma’s A Bitch (A Pet Psychic Mystery). It’s a gorgeous Florida morning, and I’m sitting with Darwin Winters in front of Hooker Tea Company on Beach Drive. So far, I’ve learned Darwin’s a big fan of tea, and she’s talked me into trying their lavender blend. I’ve also learned she’s twenty-eight, has recently fled her family’s Savannah home for St. Pete, Florida in search of a “normal” life. Oh, and she gets images from recently traumatized animals and also is half-Elemental so she has the ability to control water.
PYN: So, Darwin is kind of an unusual name for a girl. How did your parents come up with that?
Darwin: I get that question a lot and the truth is kind of embarrassing. My mom was only seventeen when she snuck off to a magic show with her friends. The magician invited her on stage and they fell hard for each other. When my grandparents, who are very strict Baptists, learned she had a bun in the oven, they freaked. She ended up leaving home, moving into my father’s family mansion in Savannah and named me Darwin to be spiteful. In her defense, though, she had to grow up fast and has been a great mom.
Are you an only child?
No, I have two younger sisters. Mallory, who wields fire magick and Willow, who wields earth magick. They were pretty sore at me for moving away to St. Pete, but we’re working it out.
Have you been able to make any new friends in St. Pete?
Yeah, sure. Folks around here are great. There’s Sylvia, my Brazilian business partner at Darwin’s Pet Boutique and Frankie, she used to be homeless but she won the lottery. Couldn’t have happened to a sweeter soul, either. Oh, and Will. He’s a homicide detective, and I’m totally hooked on him.
Do any of your new friends know about your special “talents”?
No! Well, Will knows a little. Not everything. But, that’s why I left Savannah, you know? To get a fresh start in a place where no one knows about our family and our special “talents” as you so nicely put it. I did have to fess up to Will about getting visions from the traumatized animals on account of some cases that I could help him solve. There was no other way to explain how I knew some things. He’s trying to be okay with it, but he’s a facts guy and thinks all psychics are charlatans so, yeah, it’s a bit of a sticky subject in our relationship.
What’s the one thing you love and hate about having these special talents?
Well, for sure the thing I hate is being different. I hate hiding that part of myself from my new friends, especially Will. But I grew up being judged and shunned for it, so I consider it more a curse than a gift. On the other hand, I have been able to help make some things right in the world because I’m different. I’ve helped close a few murder cases with the images I’ve gotten from animals, and I’ve had to use my water magick to get myself out of a sticky situation or two. I guess it all evens out in the end.
About the Author:
Shannon Esposito lives in a magical gulf coast town with fluorescent sunsets, purple dragonflies and the occasional backyard alligator. Her mysteries transport readers to Florida without the hefty price of airfare. Although she knew from the age of five she wanted to be a writer, she briefly entertained the idea of being a scientist, until she found out it involved math, which gives her hives. She shares this little corner of paradise with her husband, twin boys and dogs. If she’s not writing, you’ll find her coddling one of the above, hiding with a book or daydreaming with her toes in the sand. You can visit her at murderinparadise.com