A hearty Reviews and Interviews welcome to today's guest, mystery novelist Teresa Trent. She's doing a virtual book tour for her novel, A Dash of Murder, a Halloween mystery.
Teresa is generously giving away an e-book copy of her novel at each of her tour stops. So if you'd like to be entered to win, make sure to leave your e-mail address with a comment below. Feel free to comment and not leave an e-mail, too. You can also increase your odds of winning by commenting at other tour stops.
Teresa Trent wasn't born in Texas, but after a few glasses of sweet tea and some exceptional barbecue she decided to stay. With a father in the Army, she found herself moved all over the world, settling down for a while in her teens in the state of Colorado. Her writing was influenced by all of the interesting people she found in small towns and the sense of family that seemed to be woven through them all. Teresa is a former high school teacher and received her degree from the University of Northern Colorado. Teresa is presently working on the third book in her Pecan Bayou Series. Her second book, Overdue For Murder, came out in June of 2012.
Welcome, Teresa. Please tell us about your current release.
The month of October is a great time to add a story with a paranormal twist in it to your reading list. A Dash of Murder takes place in the days before and on Halloween and involves a paranormal investigation of an abandoned tuberculosis hospital on the edge of Pecan Bayou, a tiny town in Texas. Betsy Livingston is a single mom who helps out her aunt who is a member of the local paranormal society and they find themselves in the middle of a town’s fears of the occult and eventually a murder. She meets up with a handsome stranger from Dallas who seems to be in the heart of the trouble surrounding her and he also becomes a prime suspect in the murder. Betsy has to work her way through her suspicions and is backed up by the town's cast of characters including the ladies from The Best Little Hairhouse in Texas and a paranormal investigator who scares easily. A Dash of Murder is a funny and very cozy mystery.
What inspired you to write this book?
When my daughter was in middle school we would set aside every Wednesday night and watch all of those ghost hunting shows on cable. We loved it when they used the gadgets and walked around in the dark, but most of the time they really didn't find too much. From that I thought about what it would be like to actually be on a ghost hunting paranormal investigation and all of the murderous things that could happen.
“The apparition is coming near us,” Maggie sounded delighted.
“What should we do, Aunt Maggie?” I asked, the volume of my voice rising as the rustling became an increasing cacophony of noise.
Maggie looked down the passage and then yelled, “HOLD YOUR GROUND!” She stood with her hands placed firmly on her rounded hips as the wind started blowing her hat off, releasing the many stuffed strands of hair that had been under it. She looked like Medusa as the glow of her flashlight highlighted the snakes of hair surrounding her face.
The rustling sound increased. A thousand little clicking noises came at us as a cloud of pulsating blackness came out of the pitch black.
“This is dangerous, Aunt Maggie!” I shouted. “I’m not standing here, and neither are you!” I grabbed Maggie by the shoulders, preparing to lift her off the ground and carry her out if that was necessary.
“It might be a spirit of the dead!” she warbled above the din.
“Or it might be the spirit of something alive.” I turned her around, and we ran as the flashlight beam bobbed against the walls. I could feel something pulling at my hair and reached up to grab it. When I did, I could see the wingspan of a Mexican bat as it flapped out of my grasp. We careened out the door and slammed it behind us. We could hear the thud of a few bats hitting the door and then what sounded like the wings of hundreds of bats flapping as they turned back down the tunnel.
I turned around to see Maggie, leaning against the wall, holding her hat, trying to push the hair out of her face as her breath came out unevenly. “Are you all right?” I asked as we both panted at each other.
“Yes, a little jittery, but I’ll be fine.”
What exciting story are you working on next?
My next book takes place on the Fourth of July in Pecan Bayou. If you have ever lived in a small town, you know holiday preparations are a pretty big deal. There's a Miss Watermelon contest, a dog-napping, a new man in Betsy's life, a ghost and of course a murder...or two.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Not until I had a Bride's Magazine call me and tell me they actually wanted something I had written. They really just used my article as research but there I was writing about the fascinating world of...tuxedos. After that I continued to write and submit, but mostly scored rejection slips. I started writing fiction during that time and decided it was a whole lot more fun.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I don't write full time. I found working full-time outside my home was difficult with my family challenges, so I have worked part-time teaching preschool music for many years.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Pictures! I love pictures and that is part of how I write my story. If Hollywood ever calls and wants to make a movie of one of my books I already have it fully cast. I use IMDB and “cast” many of the characters in my book. I also use pictures of settings, props, time periods and anything else that I research for my books. Here's an example--
Hmmm...Betsy has on a brown sweater in this scene. What does it look like? Hmmmm.
I look at a picture of a brown sweater.
Oh yes, it's got little sequins near the collar and it is of a lightweight chocolate brown knit. She has the sleeves pushed up because who really needs a sweater this far south in Texas?
I love to be able to see something close to what my imagination is creating!
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was torn between being an actress or a teacher.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
My second book, Overdue for Murder continues the many adventures of Betsy Livingston when she is asked to participate in a book talk at the Pecan Bayou Public Library. When she finds a body in the library, she also finds herself as the “person of interest” in the police department's investigation. This book catches us up on Betsy and all the characters in Pecan Bayou and her romance with...someone from the first book. (No spoilers here!)
Readers, don't forget that Teresa is generously giving away an e-book copy of her novel at each of her tour stops. If you'd like to be entered to win, make sure to leave your e-mail address with a comment below. Feel free to comment and not leave an e-mail, too! You can also increase your odds of winning by commenting at other tour stops.