I have chosen to train my spotlight this month on Iris Chacon, novelist and fellow member of Mystery Authors International.
Iris Chacon has written for radio, television, motion pictures, and magazines for more than 30 years. She has taught writing-related courses at Christian schools from grade 5 through college, and she has worked as a musician. Duby’s Doctor is her fifth novel, and it carries on the Chacon tradition of good, clean fun, mystery, humor, romance, and a “sunshine state of mind.” Iris hails from the Sunshine State, Florida, where her ancestors have lived since Florida was a Spanish colony, before the United States existed. She is working on her next novel, which incorporates many of the adventures she has enjoyed in the American Southwest.
As is my custom, I began our conversation by asking Iris where she got the idea for Duby’s Doctor.
Iris: Duby’s story was inspired by the landscapes, art culture, elaborate mansions, and live-aboard sailboats of Coconut Grove.
GW: Why Coconut Grove?
Iris: For years, I passed through the magical Grove community on my way to work in the high-rise offices of Miami. The unique aura and ambiance of the Grove always launched my imagination into a happy stratosphere of quirky characters and exotic locations.
GW: Sounds like a wonderful locale for a story. I don’t suppose any of the scenery was two-legged?
Iris (with a discrete blush): Sometimes the girls and I (we were in a carpool) would simply stop in the Grove and watch the panoply of beautiful people (mostly male) passing by.
GW: Knowing how an author’s mind works, I suppose one of those beautiful people evolved into your protagonist?
Iris: How did you guess? My brain conjured up a man who lived on a boat and worked undercover in an arms dealer’s mansion.
GW: So, you invented Agent Yves Dubreau, a/k/a Duby. Can you tell us anything else about him?
Iris: Since he lived in Coconut Grove, he also had to be an artsy type, so I decided that Duby would be a talented sketcher and painter.
GW: This sounds like another fun novel. I’m adding Duby’s Doctor to my ‘must read’ list.
Iris was kind enough to share an excerpt from Duby’s Doctor with us.
When he can steal time away from his undercover assignment (as an arms dealer’s bodyguard), Agent Yves Dubreau jogs with all the other muscular Coconut Grove athletes. He enjoys the morning tai chi group in Peacock Park, and he quietly remains on the fringes of the Grove’s art scene — until he blows his cover and gets himself murdered. When resuscitated, he is a scarred, nameless giant with no memories, no language, and only his drawings with which to communicate. Of course, he still has the same deadly enemies he had in his former life; he just doesn’t know it. Neither does naive lady-surgeon, Dr. Mitchell Oberon. Soon, Duby’s unscrupulous supervisor forces the unsuspecting Mitchell to shelter this recovering “John Doe” in her home and begin teaching him how to live again. Both Duby and Dr. Oberon will learn a lot about living— they just may not be living long. A murderous arms dealer will soon be stalking them.
Excerpt from Chapter 10
(Mitchell picks up John/Jean from his maintenance job at St. Luke’s Daycare)
“He’ll be right out,” the nun said. “He’s all right. We were just cleaning him up. It looked worse than it is. The bleeding seems to have stopped—”
“—and the paramedics said—”
“—they don’t think Mister Kavanaugh’s ribs are broken, just bruised—”
“—and the police said, since nobody seems to want to press charges, — ”
“—that we can just forget about it. Of course, Jean had to be punished for hitting—”
“—so he had to run laps. And that started the nosebleed again. But everything’s all right now. Here he is.”
Jean limped out of the back room, holding a bloodied washcloth against his nose.
Sister Elizabeth sighed. “It’s been an exciting day.”
Mitchell studied Jean from head to toe, incredulous. She pointed at his swollen left knee. “You ran on concrete? And hitting? You were hitting! The children?”
“Oh, dear, no!” said Sister Elizabeth. “He was hitting Mister Kavanaugh.”
Mitchell stared at Sister Elizabeth and back at Jean. “You ran on concrete and you hit Mister Kavanaugh? Who is Mister Kavanaugh?”
“Debbie’s father,” answered Sister Elizabeth.
Mitchell was looking at Jean. “Excuse me, Sister, but unless Kavanaugh cut his tongue out, I’d like to hear Johnny answer something. John, why did you hit Debbie’s father?”
Jean pulled the washcloth away from his face to say, “He hits Debbie.”
After a pause, Mitchell muttered, “I told you never to run on the concrete.”
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