Thursday, November 3, 2016

Interview with mystery author Pearl R. Meaker

Mystery author Pearl R. Meaker is here chatting with me about her new cozy, The Devil’s Flood.

During her virtual book tour, Pearl will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Slightly quirky, always creative, Pearl R. Meaker has been an artist, singer and craftsperson her whole life. Although she's always had stories in her head, they didn't come out to play with others until the advent of home computers with their ease of making corrections and moving bits around.

After several years of writing fanfiction in the world of Tolkien's Middle-Earth, she took a couple of writing courses and dove into writing original works of fiction, and The Emory Crawford Mysteries were born.

When not playing with story ideas you can find Pearl playing with yarn either knitting or crocheting, doing other arts and crafts, bird watching and photographing nature, playing bluegrass fiddle (her husband plays banjo) or relaxing with her hubby on the sofa watching mystery shows on Netflix.

Oh - and reading all sorts of books, but especially cozy and other types of mysteries!

The books in The Emory Crawford Mysteries Series are reminiscent of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple mysteries, which is why Pearl has chosen to characterize her stories as "murder genteel."

Welcome, Pearl. Please share a little bit about your current release.
Emory Crawford and her husband, Dr. Jebbin Crawford are working on an archeological dig looking for a local legend – the Sutton house that vanished without a trace during the record flood of 1844. When the house is found, two mummies with gunshot wounds are also found; on the floor in one of the rooms with an 1800’s single shot pistol between them. Will Jebbin and his colleagues, in his job as a forensic scientist, be able to find out who the two mummies are, and more importantly how they were shot?

In the current day, Emory’s sleuthing sidekick, Madison Twombly, has her sights set on finding out more about a “super booze” that’s available to young people at clandestine drinking parties held out in the country around the town of Twombly. The matter becomes more urgent when, on the night Madison gets into a party to investigate, a young man is shot in a drunken duel.

Emory and Madison both start to feel there is a connection between the events surrounding the old Sutton House and the current troubles. Along with their new friend, Melva Suter, can they manage to help solve the mystery before they get added to its victims?

Sometimes the past won’t stay in the past.

What inspired you to write this book?
It was during the flooding we had in our area in the spring and summer of 2015 and I was trying to come up with an idea for my third book when my hubby suggested that maybe I could do a story with a flood in it. Then I started hearing stories of past flood years from people who had lived here their whole lives and my interest in the idea grew.

Finally, a man told me about how the house he was raised in was gone now. The land it was on had been sold to a gravel mining company and all the land was now sunk and under the surface of the lake that gravel mining always creates. That got me thinking about floods and lakes and houses that are no longer there.

The Devil’s Flood grew out of all those bits and pieces.

Excerpt from The Devil’s Flood:
Melva picked up the bigger doll, handling it with caring gentleness.

“Wow. This is well made. And to think my great-great-great grandmother made it all by hand. She’s what, about eight inches tall? Obviously not part of a doll house, unless the girls wanted to pretend she was a giant.” Her voice sounded dreamy as she danced the doll gracefully from side to side. “Maybe a giant’s daughter.”

Madison picked up the smaller doll.

I watched as they danced the dolls around the piles of memories on my kitchen table and a knowin’ came over me as I did.

Madison was touched by the care put into the tiny handmade doll. She had never known a simple life like the little girl whose doll she held. Even though, as far as I knew, the Twombly family had always raised their children to be as down to earth as possible, it is still very different when you’re a child of the richest family in a small town.

Melva lived in the age of electricity and electronic gadgetry. She’d had comforts beyond the imaginations of the farm girls she was distantly related to. But, I sensed that as those long ago girls had, Melva had lived a hard life. She had worked at her family’s restaurant since she was little and had lost her mother when still a child. Yet I smiled at the soft smile on her face and the gentle way she moved the bigger doll. The doll moved like the accomplished dancer who controlled her had once moved—pirouetting high on her toes and leaping gracefully over objects that had strayed from the piles.

Strangely in unison, the dolls stopped dancing. The twenty-first century girls came back to the now.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Well, I hope it will be exciting. ;-)

Book four is not well formed yet. I know it will involve a music festival and the intrigue will involve the members of a particular southern style rock band that is headed up by Emory’s older brother. And I’m thinking this story might take place somewhere other than Twombly. I’m not too comfy with taking Emory away from her support system of friends, but on the other hand, these days how much does that matter? With cell phones and texts and Skype, are we ever all that far removed from our friends and family?

I’ll add here that readers can keep an eye on my Facebook page and my blog as I’ll try to post about how book four is coming along as I’m working more diligently on it.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think it was after I had a short story published in 2010, between the Intro to Writing course I took and the beginning of the Novel Writing course I took from the same school. Unfortunately, the magazine it was in has since gone out of business, but you can still read the story in the e-zine version online at this URL:

My story is titled “The Peach Tree” and it’s on page 8 in the magazine. It was written for a challenge to write a story that included a peach tree and a piece of toast.

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?
This is always an awkward question for me. I don’t really write full-time (like I ought to) but neither do I have some other career or full-time job that I do.

I have been a wife/mother/homemaker pretty much my entire adult life. I discovered early on that I had trouble holding a job. Even with figuring that out, I continued to keep trying to find a job I could fit into. About ten years ago I finally had myself checked out and confirmed that, yes, I have ADHD. That along with my personality type, and most likely some other issues, has ended up with me not being a consistent “good worker.” I always thought I was doing a good job, working hard, but now, as I listen to other people talk about folks they work with who aren’t good workers, I recognize myself in their complaints.

My inconsistency, frequent lack of mental focus and inability to organize/prioritize/goal-set often make my writing life as difficult as working all the other jobs I’ve tried. I might not write for several days, then work like a crazed person for two or three days in a row. I might write consistently for a week or so, then something happens to shift the pattern I’ve established and it’s gone – and I’m back to hit or miss. But the flexibility of the writing life does help a lot to work around my issues. As long as I have a deadline I have to meet I get the job done. Not in a nice direct line as many writers do. Not with disciplined writing everyday. But I do get the job done. And this time, the results are a job well done.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I will work on dialogues out loud like I’m talking to myself. (Actually, I do talk to myself as well.) And I will often act out movements I want a character to do to see if the movement is a natural one, or to see how someone’s hand would really be angled depending on the position of their arm – stuff like that.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I had decided when I was ten years old, during the summer between 5th and 6th grades that I was going to be an artist or an art teacher. I took elective classes toward that goal from junior high through my first year of college. The lesson I learned is that you should always have a Plan B.

I didn’t and quit college because I had no idea of anything else to go into.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
My thanks and appreciation to all the readers; if you didn’t read we wouldn’t have anyone to write for. Thank you for letting us share our worlds with you.

Thank you for being a guest on my blog!

You’re most welcome, Lisa! And thank you for inviting me to be here today.

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Unknown said...

Thank you for hosting The Devil's Flood and me, Lisa! 😊

Stormy Vixen said...

Enjoyed the interview, sounds like a great read!

Unknown said...

@EvaMillien Glad you enjoyed it. 😊

Lorraine said...

Pretty cool that you talk and act out the dialogue and actions. How can I not say "video ... we need video!? What better way to get to know the person behind Emory???

Excited to read the mullings for book 4 are underway.

Unknown said...

@Lorraine EEEK! Video myself acting out that stuff! 😮 Much as I used to love being in plays, I think I'd be incredibly self conscious. 😳 However, I might give some thought to doing video of me being like a tour guide at some of the places that have been used as locations in and around Twombly. That would be fun! 😊

Yes, I'm mulling. I plan to really dig into the writing once my blog tour is finished.

Glad to see you here, Lorraine. 😊

Unknown said...

Congrats on the tour, the book looks great, and thanks for the chance to win :)

Unknown said...

@Lisa Brown, Good to see you again! Thank you & you're welcome. 😊