First, I want to thank y’all for having me to talk a little about my life and work. It’s such an honor. As you may or may not know, I am the Public Relations Manager for the Roanoke Garden Society in Roanoke, Virginia, which is the world’s best job! I grew up gardening with my mother, and have a passion for it. My first degree was horticulture, as if my love of flowers needed proving. Probably the only things I love more are my family (prickly sister included), my lifetime BFF, Annie, and my boyfriend, Rob, a reporter for the Roanoke Tribune.

But you know… jobs in horticulture tend to be sort of solitary. I tried it for a while, and while I loved the work, I got bored always being alone, so I went back to graduate school in communications, determined to turn my love for gardening into a much more social job. And I’ve found it! As the mouthpiece for the Roanoke Garden Society, I get to share my favorite activity and my favorite city through my love for my fast-paced field!

It all works very well, except of course in the pesky case of a body turning up. You know… murder is bad for publicity! (Even when the murdered person was sorely asking for it, if the word is to be taken of anybody who knew him!) But you don’t want to hear about that, even if he did squash a perfectly lovely azalea bush and get a few of my favorite people in a lot of trouble with the law.

No, I’m sure you’d rather hear about the pillars of society I work with. The Roanoke Garden Society is made up of some members of some of Roanoke’s oldest families. They have some of the most lovely manors, with the most gorgeous gardens in the city. In fact the mosaic design of the Patricks’ garden is what landed us the photo shoot with Garden Delights Magazine… even if that was where nationally famous photographer, Jean-Jacques Georges was killed on the opening morning of the shoot. Talk about a need for damage control! Still, it raised membership and contributions by a lot!

But let’s see… what is a typical day for me… I tend to work from home or walk or cycle to the Patricks’–that is where most of the RGS meetings are held. It’s not that I am super fit, so much as I barely have my student loans paid off, so I don’t quite have the down payment for my dream car put together yet. After work I alternate a nice long bike ride with gardening, either at the house I share with Annie or at my father’s house—my mother passed a few years ago and left a gorgeous rose garden, but it is really too big for just daddy. Besides, I like the time with him. And then in the evening, I enjoy dinner with Rob, or a glass of wine with Annie, or… in summer, Annie and I often go watch one of Rob’s baseball games. Men look so good in sliders, Rob, in particular. Though he has a hot cop friend I think has his eye on Annie. I suppose not everyone would find it exciting, but to me, it seems to have all the elements I enjoy.

If you want to hear more about Cam’s misadventures with the Roanoke Garden Society, her nutty family, and her friends, the first in the series, THE AZALEA ASSAULT, was released June 5th through Berkley Prime Crime.

** Thanks to the publisher, I have one (1) copy of THE AZALEA ASSAULT to give away. Contest open to residents of the US only. Contest ends June 10. Leave a valid-email address with your comment. The book will be shipped directly from the publisher. **

Meet the author
Alyse Carlson is the pen name for Hart Johnson (one name adopted from each grandmother—both more able gardeners than the author). She writes from her bathtub in Michigan where she lives with her husband and four children (two two-legged, two four.) If you’d like to learn more, she blogs regularly at Confessions of a Watery Tart.

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