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By Selena Robins

Joelle Charbonneau introduces readers to the roller derby team EstroGenocide in her cozy mystery SKATING OVER THE LINE.

In Charbonneau’s second book of her series, the protagonist, Rebecca, is desperate to sell her inherited roller skating rink in small-town Indian Falls, and—finally—she has a buyer. She can’t wait to head back to Chicago, especially now that her long delinquent father has blown back into town. But Lionel, her large-animal vet boyfriend, thinks she should stay put. And the gang at the Senior Center wants her to track down the thief who’s been hot-wiring rusted-out classic cars. Unable to resist, Rebecca soon has the Sheriff’s Deputy threatening to arrest her for obstruction and strange, scary men threatening her life. Then cars start exploding, with people in them, and Rebecca’s father goes missing. With the help of her Elvis-impersonating grandfather, Rebecca must find the pyromaniac car thief and put a stop to him—before he stops her first.

“Rebecca Robbin’s sleuthing is offbeat and clever.” –Chicago Suntimes

“A visit to Indian Falls is time superbly spent. Filled with delightful citizens, including grandfather Pop, an Elvis impersonator and hugely warm character, this loving close-knit community embraces you from the first page. Joelle Charbonneau has a fresh and lively and insightful voice and she has created characters we’d love as friends. This is a wonderfully fun read.” –Louise Penny

Selena Robins: How much of the book is realistic?

Joelle Charbonneau: Ha!  Well, I wish I could say that my grandfather is an Elvis impersonator or that I have a boyfriend with a pet camel.  Sadly, my grandfather never dressed like The King and my husband frowns on my need to search out men with ex-circus animals for pets.

That being said, I think this book does capture some truths of small town life.  Everyone in Indian Falls knows everyone else’s business.  The citizens in town also rely on certain businesses for entertainment and group gatherings – the senior center, the local diner and, of course, the town’s roller rink.

Selena: What part was the most fun in researching and writing this book?

Joelle: Researching how to explode cars is always a good time.  If ever my car starts acting up, I certainly think I can do a great job of blowing it sky high without making everything in its path catch on fire.  And I have to admit I always like writing Pop, Rebecca Robbins Elvis impersonating grandfather.  He’s determined to live out the rest of his life with gusto and I am always delighted to go along for the ride.

Selena: What characteristics does Rebecca possess that you think will resonate with your readers?

Joelle: Rebecca is a reluctant heroine.  She’s loyal and kind and her love for her grandfather gets her into no end of trouble.  Also, in this book Rebecca is confronted with the father who abandoned her and her mother almost two decades before.  I think readers will connect with Rebecca’s struggle to keep her distance from someone who will probably hurt her again while feeling the pull of a daughter who wants her father’s love.

Selena: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Joelle: Most of all I hope readers have fun spending time with Rebecca and the rest of the Indian Falls gang.  And if they find a message about family or connect with Rebecca’s emotional journey so much the better!


Joelle Charbonneau has performed in operas, musical theatre and children’s theatre productions across the Chicagoland area. While Joelle is happy to perform for an audience, she’s equally delighted to teach private voice lessons and use her stage experience to create compelling characters in her mysteries. The first of the Rebecca Robbins mysteries, SKATING AROUND THE LAW (Minotaur Books) was called “Sexy and funny” by Kirkus Reviews. The second book in the series, SKATING OVER THE LINE, hits shelves on Sept. 27th. The first of a new series, MURDER FOR CHOIR, will be published by Berkley in the fall of 2012.

To learn more about Joelle, please visit her website.

Selena Robins
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