A Conversation with Carrie Stuart Parks

Today, the INSPY Awards warmly welcomes author, Carrie Stuart Parks. Her novel, When Death Draws Near (Thomas Nelson) is on the 2017 shortlist in the Mystery/Thriller category. Please join us in welcoming Carrie

Below Carrie shares about the challenges of writing a series about the same characters, what’s playing on her TV screen – plus more!


Forensic artist Gwen Marcey is between jobs when she accepts temporary work in Pikeville, Kentucky—a small town facing big-city crime. But before Gwen can finish her first drawing of the serial rapist who is on the loose, the latest witness vanishes. Just like all the others.

Gwen suspects a connection between the rapist and the “accidental” deaths that are happening around town, but the local sheriff has little interest in her theories. When her digitally-obsessed teenage daughter joins her, Gwen turns her attention to a second assignment: going undercover in a serpent-handling church. She could get a handsome reward for uncovering illegal activity—a reward she desperately needs, as it seems her breast cancer has returned. But snakes aren’t the only ones ready to kill. Can Gwen uncover the truth—and convince anyone to believe her—before she becomes a victim herself?

In a thrilling race against time, When Death Draws Near plunges us into cold-case murders, shady politics, and a den of venomous suspects. – Goodreads

Interview Questions

INSPYs: If you had to walk one day in the life of one of your characters, who would it be and why? The main character, Gwen Marcey, is like a younger, prettier, more talented, better me…come to think of it, she’s nothing like me! Her forensic work is loosely based on my own, so I actually have walked in her shoes.

Carrie says,
“We were in Pikeville, Kentucky, teaching a forensic art
class for the Kentucky State Police. While there I did research on the
area, including attending a serpent handling church in Jolo, West
Virginia. This was taken after our horseback ride (not on that horse!)
with some of my students (I’m standing with the black hat.) Elements of
the horseback ride is in the book, When Death Draws Near.”

What are some of the challenge of writing a series about the same characters? You name it: who did I kill off? How old is everyone? What color is the kitchen? Did I use that line before? Yiiiiikes!


What are you watching?  Some reality shows like flipping houses, Hoarding (for when I need inspiration to clean,) My 600 Pound Life (for when I need to feel thin…,) Forensic Files (may just have one of my cases,) good movies.

What are you reading or what’s on your nightstand? Research books for newest novel.

Faceoff Questions:

1. Print or Ebook? Print
2. Cake or Pie? Have you seen me? Both!
3. Coffee or Tea? COFFEE!!!
4. Comedy or Drama? Are you asking about my life?


Carrie Stuart Parks is a Christy finalist as well as a Carol award-winning author. She has won numerous awards for her fine art as well. An internationally known forensic artist, she travels with her husband, Rick, across the US and Canada teaching courses in forensic art to law enforcement professionals. The author/illustrator of numerous books on drawing and painting, Carrie continues to create dramatic watercolors from her studio in the mountains of Idaho. Visits Carrie on her website.

Thanks so much for joining us on the INSPYs blog today, Carrie. It was a pleasure to host you and spotlight your novel, When Death Draws Near.