Poplar Falls: The Death of Charlie Baker

Poplar Falls: The Death of Charlie Baker

by Pierre C Arseneault


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The small city of Poplar Falls is abuzz with gossip after a body is found in a bachelor apartment. The body is tied to a four post bed with a pillow still on its face, an obvious victim of a bizarre murder. While Detectives Franklin Dodge and Roxanne Tilley investigate the strange circumstances surrounding the death of the promiscuous new guy in town named Charlie Baker, a client of the Magnolia Wellness and Rehabilitation Centre; new evidence also arises in an unsolved case. A case whose perpetrator the locals refer to as the Panty Bandit, the pilferer of women’s undergarments. With a long list of suspects for a murder and new developments in what they were considering a cold case, the biggest challenge they face is the race against the constant gossip being spread through town by the group who refer to themselves as the Naughty Knitters. With the help of these ladies, stories spread like wildfire as people debate which of Charlie Baker’s lovers is the one guilty of murder.  

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781932926682
Publisher: Artemesia Publishing, LLC NC
Publication date: 03/19/2019
Pages: 212
Product dimensions: 9.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Pierre C Arseneault, the youngest of eleven children and grew up in the small town of Rogersville, New Brunswick, Canada. He fulfilled a childhood goal in 2004 and became a published cartoonist. His first published work of fiction was in 2013; a collection of short stories called Dark Tales for Dark Nights; written in collaboration with Angella Cormier. This was followed up by Sleepless Nights, a collection of short stories published in 2014. His novel, Oakwood Island, also co-written with Angella Cormier, was published in 2016 and has been named finalist for several awards. Pierre currently lives in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.


Q: Tell us briefly what your new book, Poplar Falls is about?

Pierre: If I was to write as short a blurb as I could to describe it, it would read as such. Detectives investigate the bizarre murder of Charlie Baker while evidence on a cold case comes to light as the small city of Poplar Falls buzzes with gossip.

Q: What was your inspiration for this book?

Pierre: The day I started it, I had a burning itch to write but no real ideas of what about. I knew I wanted to write something more lighthearted but what? So I took inspiration from a book cover (you’ll have to read the author’s note in Poplar Falls to know which cover of which book) and wrote the opening scene. The story developed from there.

Q: You are primarily known as a writer of horror and supernatural short stories and novels. Why did you decide to write something like Poplar Falls, which is so different than your other work?

Pierre: My favorite genre is mystery and I find that its best bedfellows are either horror or thriller. With that said, I love all types of genres and there’s nothing I love more than quirky, flawed and interesting characters. I wanted an interesting cast in a fun setting and so I created Poplar Falls and its residents.

Q: Did you find it difficult to make the change from supernatural horror to a police procedural with a heavy dose of dark comedy?

Pierre: I would have to say no. I have a rather bizarre sense of humor that often wants to shine through in my stories but most often if I’m writing horror, I try and tone down said humor. In this book, while I didn’t want to write the equivalent of a Naked Gun movie, I wanted to inject as much dark humor as the befitted the tale I was telling.

Q: You have a lot of great characters in this book, from the detectives on the case, to the different suspects, and the old ladies who love to spread gossip. Where do you get your inspiration for your characters? Are any of them based on real people?

Pierre: My characters are typically never based on real people; but this book was an exception. Some of my inspirations were actors like Betty White, Ray Walston, Anna Kendrick and Amy Shumer. But these were loose inspirations and not meant to be them. I pictured them perhaps playing the roles if this was a movie, which is something I typically don’t do when writing. I also have a habit of using names I really like, even if they happen to belong to people I know personally. When I do this, it merely means I’m quite fond of the name and thought it a great fit for the character I bestowed it upon. Typically my characters are created based on the roles they need to play and nothing else but in this book, some were inspired and so is the exception to the rule.

Q: The story involves a man who was being treated for sex addiction and who was murdered in a most embarrassing position, and there are a lot of references to sex in the story, however you do not include any explicit descriptions of sexual acts. Instead, you manage convey these references to sex through innuendo and careful word play. Did you find it difficult to keep the “sex” out of a book that was primarily about the sexual exploits of the characters within it?

Pierre: I didn’t want to write about sexual acts but instead I wanted to write about flawed characters that are red blooded and have desires. Without the libido, we humans might have died off as a species long ago. But with that said it’s that very same sex drive which also fills people with much more than the desire to reproduce. Humans are fascinating creatures that hunger for pleasure in the form of entertainment, food and of course, sex.

Q: You have several characters in the story that are gay and lesbian. Did you purposely set out to include characters of different sexual orientation? How did these characters come about?

Pierre: I love characters, and while they’re only make-believe people, I try to have my characters reflect real life. In life, people come in all races, shapes, sizes, backgrounds and they’re not always going to be straight. I typically don’t put much importance to a character’s sexual orientation unless I find it fleshes out said character or is important to the story. For this book, sexuality was a part of the story and I wanted that to reflect reality so there are straight and gay characters.

Q: What is your writing process? What inspires you to write, and how do you motivate yourself as a writer?

Pierre: To answer the first part of this question, I’m not one of those people who can write amidst chaos and distractions. That might be a skill that can be learned but I’ve yet to master it. Typically I’m alone, away from distractions and with soft instrumental music playing so that it drowns out white noises and helps me focus.

For inspiration, I have to say my love of creating characters, settings and stories.

As for motivation, the biggest part of writing is that it takes hours upon hours of work. If you’re like me, and the work itself is your favorite part, then you’ve won half the battle. I write because I love the process of writing.

A typical Friday night for me is spent doing laundry, listening to something soft and soothing while working on the current work in progress.

Q:On the surface this is a simple police procedural story, two cops trying to find a murderer. But it is also a dark comedy that looks at sex and sexuality (generally a taboo subject) and uses schadenfreude, irony, and changes to the reader’s perception of people (such as little old ladies), for comedic effect. Did you find it difficult to weave the comedic elements into the story? What challenges did you have to overcome?

Pierre: The most difficult part of writing this story was admitting to myself that it wasn’t going to be all about the cases. Not long after starting the book, I realized I wanted to explore the cast of characters more than anything else. While reading it, you’ll notice the transition of focus from the case to the expanding cast. And quirky characters and inserting the humor was more fun than work.

Q: What do you have planned next? Will we be seeing any more of the characters from Poplar Falls?

Pierre: I do plan on writing another Poplar Falls novel although not right away. There are too many great characters and potential to create new ones not to.

As for what I’m planning next, I’m currently working on a horror novel with a new cast and setting. Plus I’m also working with Angella Cormier on a sequel to our collaborative novel, Oakwood Island.

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