How a long roadtrip helped inspire the mysteries at the center of “Double Dog Dare”

In May of 2016, I took a road trip from Chicago to Baltimore with my sisters Jennie and Heidi. We were on a quest for nipples. Heidi had spent the last few years soundly defeating breast cancer, and 3D nipple tattoos were the final step in the reconstruction process. Though we had planned some events along our route (most of them beer-related), we had nothing to fill the long stretches of driving time except for conversation and satellite radio. And since there’s only so much of the best of 80s New Wave that any person can endure in a six-day period, we turned to what we called Murder Radio (essentially the audio of the television show Forensic Files).

I’m not certain how many miles we covered while listening to the grisly details of various homicides, but thanks to Murder Radio, by the time we passed through our third state, our talk turned to foul play and all the worst ways to die. And so, somewhere between Pennsylvania and Ohio, the ugly deaths at the core of Double Dog Dare came to be.



I was working on another book at the time, so it took over a year for me to fill the pages with Maddie, Dottie and Granny Doyle’s antics. Meanwhile, Heidi’s cancer came back. Twice. Sadly, she won’t be here to see the release of this, the final book on which I put her Professional Nag services to use, but Jennie and I are planning a road trip to Pittsburgh in July. Hopefully, several hours in a car plus Murder Radio and some quality sister time will result in new adventures for Maddie, Dottie and Granny Doyle.


Double Dog Dare comes out tomorrow, November 15th. 

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