Horton-Newton: Senior citizens are protagonists in JFK assassination thriller
Welcome to this week’s guest, Elizabeth Horton-Newton. She was born and raised in New York City. She began writing when she was a child, writing stories for friends and family. In the 4th grade at P.S. 151 in Manhattan she wrote an essay about her dream job–she wanted to be an author. She continued to write short stories over the following years as she raised a family. After attending Long Island University in Brooklyn, NY and East Tennessee State University, she worked in the social work field for thirteen years. In addition to writing, she loves traveling and photography, even using one of her own photos for the cover of her book. She currently lives in E. Tennessee with her husband, author Neil Newton, and a collection of rescued dogs and cats, with frequent visits from her four children and five grandchildren. Her first book–View From the Sixth Floor: An Oswald Tale–was published in October 2014. She is currently working on her next book, Riddle, to be published in the Summer of 2015.
What brings your writing into focus– the characters, the stories, the love of words? For me, every story has a different motivator. When I first started View From the Sixth Floor: An Oswald Tale, the story was my focus. I had an idea and I wanted to get the story told. It seemed to move forward on its own. But in the end it was a combination of the story and the characters. In my current work in progress, the story is definitely what brings my writing into focus.
What inspired your latest book? View From the Sixth Floor: An Oswald Tale was inspired by my fascination with the assassination of President John Kennedy. I was ten when the assassination occurred and vividly remember everything about it, including seeing accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald being killed on television. As I got older I came to believe he was innocent and it was a conspiracy. After that, I wondered what might have happened if he had lived to tell his story. When the 50th anniversary came along, something clicked and the story was born.
What makes your book/characters unique? The main characters in View From the Sixth Floor: An Oswald Tale are senior citizens. Olivia Roberts is a widowed and retired school teacher. She is an ordinary woman caught up in extraordinary circumstances. Bill Horton is a mysterious man in his early seventies. Is he hiding something or is he crazy? They undertake an adventure as friends and learn more about themselves and one another. I think they show people can have lives even when they are older.
Would you share a bit about your next project? My current project is called Riddle. It’s a romantic thriller about a young Native man who was falsely convicted of killing his high school girlfriend. He’d been adopted by a white family as a baby and never really fit in with the other kids in the town, Riddle. When he returns from prison after seven years, some townspeople feel he got off easy and others believe he was railroaded. To add to the mix, we have a young girl who has run away from her fiancé after catching him in bed with her best friend. Her car broke down in Riddle, and she is working at a local diner until she has enough money to have it repaired. They become friends and begin to work together to clear his name and find the real killer. Meanwhile, more deaths begin to happen in the town. It has some tense moments and some very sexy moments but it isn’t erotic fiction. It’s definitely an exciting edge-of-your-seat mystery.
How much fact is in your fiction? In View From the Sixth Floor, Lee Harvey Oswald was a real person. I read a lot about him when I was researching the assassination. He was a fascinating person, and I used a lot of his reported characteristics in developing his character. The assassination obviously really occurred. With my current project, my male protagonist Kort is a Native who was adopted as a baby in an illegal adoption and was mistreated by his adoptive parents. Unfortunately that is a more common practice that people realize. I cover that underlying story throughout the book. I like to inject a little fact into my books.