Welcome to the final installment of interviews with Carter Ross. It’s been fantastic working with Brad Parks on this, and I’m eternally in his debt for the opportunity!

Carter Ross is in the final round of the World’s Favorite Amateur Sleuth Competition. Don’t forget to vote!

1. You’ve made it to the final round of the World’s Favorite Amateur Sleuth Competition. Did you expect to get this far? Any comment for your fans?

To be honest? It’s a little weird. People don’t generally like reporters this much (in my experience, they prefer to slam doors in our faces). But, as I believe has been pointed out–by someone who looks a lot like you, Erin–print journalists need all the help we can get these days.

So this has been a thrill for me and all my ink-stained colleagues, especially when you look at the heavyweights who didn’t make it this far. Jack Reacher? He could fold me like origami and stuff me in his breast pocket next to his toothbrush. Stella Hardesty? Let’s just say no guy wants to see her in any context. And I’m glad Nancy Drew didn’t make it to the finals. I’m not sure how that crusty old coot Miss Marple beat her in the semis, but thank goodness she did–I think even my mom would have voted for Nancy Drew over me.

2. You seem to have little fear in going wherever a story takes you. Is there anywhere you wouldn’t go?

I’m not sure I would have gone to Iraq after the invasion in 2002. They were cutting off foreigners’ heads, you know? I can’t say mine has always been good for much, but I at least like it still attached to my shoulders. Plus, I’m not sure I’d ever want to be in a place where I couldn’t talk my way out of a problem. But, here, in the good ol’ You-Ess-of-A? I’m pretty much game for anything. I believe in the stories I write. I believe they matter. And I believe that Deadline the Cat will be well taken care of in my will (Tina has promised she’d take him in). So… bring it on.

3. Your creator, Brad Parks, won both the Shamus and Nero Awards. Have you ever had visions of awards…is there a Pulitzer in your future?

Yeah, that Parks guy has done okay for himself. Of course, I do give him pretty good material. As for my own aspirations? Look, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t dream about winning Joey P’s prize. I’d like to think I was close with my reporting about the National Drug Bureau. It takes the right combination of circumstances: a great, topical story; sources who will let you go places most journalists don’t get to go; editors who can resist their natural urge to screw things up. Oh, and it helps if the Washington Post or New York Times doesn’t have some blockbuster in your category that year. I’m hopeful it might happen for me someday. But, in the meantime, winning the title of World’s Favorite Amateur Sleuth would be a pretty nice back-up.