Frances Metzman’s bestselling novel The Cha Cha Babes of Pelican Way is definitely a book to rave about, and more, taking readers on a trip that is loaded with thrills, chills and spellbinding moments, while also making them smile and laugh along the way. Metzman is particularly gifted at drawing readers in and keeping them turning the pages. What would you do to help your best friend? Would you dive in and solve a murder, or leave it to the police. Well For Celia Ewing, a sixty-five-year-old widow, who is the heroine of this novel, she’s diving in to the mix, to keep the Cha Cha Babes out of jail, and solve a mystery. This summer when we need books that can give us a rave worthy ride, Metzman delivers and we were so very happy to catch up with her to get the inside scoop on this epic author and her work.
If you had to use one word to describe The Cha-Cha Babes of Pelican Way what would it be and why?
Zany. — The main character and her two friends are fighting to find the real person inside of themselves. They have all taken odd, misguided paths and need to start new lives where they find insights into their behavior. This opens a mental door that give the protagonist the opportunity to solve a murder/mystery when she and her daughter are threatened with bodily harm. She develops a sense of self-worth although there are unpleasant consequences. It is black humor meets the Golden Girls meets Sex and the City meets Miss Marple.
I am so very glad that you decided to turn your attention to writing books in the thriller and mystery genres because your book is amazing and we are clearly huge fans of your work. But I’m wondering what about these genres called to you.
I always sought to understand human behavior — and still am on that road to discovery. I gain knowledge in that area as I dissect each character’s life from early age to adulthood and older. I truly believe it gives me insight into my own life, kind of like cheap therapy. Throughout my adulthood I met many people who have committed white-collar crime even when able to earn a good living — doctors, lawyers, teachers, business people, clergy, including many other professions. It propelled me to try to understand why? Some schemes were so complicated that you’d think they were capable of running an international, giant corporation. It is, for me, a puzzle I’m obsessed to pursue.
When you did the final read-through for The Cha-Cha Babes of Pelican Way what scene was your favorite, and why?
I’d say it was the first chapter where the protagonist’s best friend needs help because her boyfriend died on top of her while they made love, and she can’t move. It became a great vehicle for introducing each character with their own voice and choices they made. That chapter was hardest because we were in the protagonist’s point-of-view, and I needed these characters to have a personality of their own and be understood for why they handled the situation the way they did. I couldn’t just do an info dump, it had to come out subtly and in keeping with the events. It also foreshadowed the mystery.
Has writing this book changed your worldview at all?
It didn’t change my world view but solidified my impression. I think there is so much competition in our society to achieve that so many emotions are crushed along the climb. If you’re so busy buying the best car, the best house, the best of everything, one can lose sight of empathy, compassion and caring. This winning at all costs (even if you have to lie), is damaging to our society. Even at a young age, kids in sports and academics are pushed by parents to win. The kids learn early to fight their way through to the top even if you trample on some people. I recently saw a guy driving a Bentley and his license plate said something like, high achiever. I find it sad that his achievements weren’t enough. For him, it needed to be a shout-out.
Are you working on something new and intriguing? Can you tell us about it?
I am working on a sequel. Two of the women from The Cha-Cha Babes of Pelican Way get mired in a sex trafficking mob. Usually, sex trafficking involves kidnapping or enticing young and even younger women into prostitution. These two mature women are kidnapped for other reasons.
To find out more about Frances Metzman and The Cha-Cha Babes of Pelican Way head on over to her website.