Thursday, February 7, 2019

GUEST POST BY ALEXIS MORGAN




ABOUT THE BOOK


When Abby McCree suddenly inherits her favorite relative’s property in small town Snowberry Creek, Washington, she soon realizes that the ramshackle home comes with strings attached—one of which is tied to a dead body!

After a rough divorce, Abby McCree only wants to stitch up her life and move on. But other loose ends appear after her elderly Aunt Sybil passes away, leaving Abby to tend to a rundown estate, complete with a slobbery Mastiff of questionable pedigree and a sexy tenant who growls more than the dog. As Abby gets drawn into a tight-knit quilting guild, she makes a twisted discovery—Aunt Sybil’s only known rival is buried in her backyard!

Despite what local detectives say, Abby refuses to accept that her beloved aunt had anything to do with the murder. While navigating a busy social calendar and rediscovering the art of quilting, she launches an investigation of her own to clear Aunt Sybil’s name and catch the true culprit. The incriminating clues roll in, yet Abby can’t help but wonder—can she survive her new responsibilities in Snowberry Creek and still manage to patch together a killer’s deadly pattern without becoming the next victim?


Book Details:

Title: Death By Committee

Author: Alexis Morgan

Genre: Cozy mystery

Series: Abby McCree Mystery, book 1

Print length: 304 pages

On tour with: Great Escapes Book Tours








GUEST POST BY ALEXIS MORGAN


MAKING IT REAL


I have a sign hanging on my office wall right where I can see it that reads, “COLOR OUTSIDE THE LINES.”

As I recall, my first grade teacher was a real stickler about neat and tidy coloring, so I doubt she would appreciate that sentiment. For me, though, it serves as a reminder of a particular concept when it comes to storytelling. It’s important to take everything to another level, to create something new that goes beyond the expected. As an avid reader, I love books where the author has stretched the boundaries to create a world that I want to visit again and again.

To be clear, I’m using the word “world” to mean the setting that serves as the backdrop for the story. It can be a town in the Old West, an estate in Regency England, our contemporary world, or an alien planet. In some books, the entire world is compressed down to a ship, a submarine, or even an airplane. I’ve read and loved stories that have played out in all of those settings.

The best writers make their worlds so enticing that their readers willingly suspend their need for reality. They happily let the words draw them into a new world where, for the length of the book,  fiction becomes truth. Now speaking as a writer, that means I need to put as much effort into creating the right world for my stories as I do the characters who live there.

My new cozy mystery, Death By Committee, is set in a fictional town located in the western foothills of the Cascade Mountains in Washington State. Admittedly, small towns are not an unusual setting in books these days. That’s okay. It just means I needed to build mine with care to ensure I captured the look and feel of the area. For example, there aren’t many places where a volcano like Mount Rainier serves as the backdrop for the town. I also doubt that having more than ten coffee shops/drive-ups within two miles of your house is as common everywhere as it is in my area.

Once I’d decided on where I located the town, my husband and I spent a day exploring the general area, so I could get the geography clear in my head. I took lots of pictures of the countryside and took notes on things like what kinds of businesses I saw in the various towns we drove through. On a side note, I invited my husband along on the drive in the capacity of my research assistant. By the time we returned home, he’d self-promoted himself to the head of Research and Development. =o)

Back home, I used graph paper to sketch out a map of my fictional town and the businesses along what would become Main Street. I also added a small river that wound through the valley and cut through the city park. Since I live in the area, I already know the kinds of trees, bushes, and flowers are commonly used in landscaping. If I was setting the story in an area that was unfamiliar to me, those were also things I would have had to research.

Now that I had the bare bones in place, it was time to name the town. That took a lot longer than I expected. Every idea I came up with had already been taken. Either there was a town in the or a company in the Pacific Northwest that used that name. I finally resorted to studying lists of plants that are native to the area. That’s were I ran across a picture of a snowberry bush, which has pretty clusters of white berries. Success!

The final step was to populate the town of Snowberry Creek with a cast of believable characters. From the chief of police to everyone’s favorite barista, I tried to give each of them depth with interesting backstories, distinct personalities, and even a few quirks for good measure.

With all that done, it was time to introduce Abby McCree, my amateur sleuth, to her new home in Snowberry Creek. Readers will get to learn about the town and meet Abby’s neighbors at the same time that she does. Hopefully, they’ll be cheering for her to solve the murder and bring the villain for justice. And if I did my job right, they’ll want to come back to visit Abby and Snowberry Creek again and again.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


USA Today
Best-selling author Alexis Morgan has always loved reading and now spends her days imagining worlds filled with strong alpha heroes and gutsy heroines. She is the author of over forty-five novels, novellas, and short stories that span a variety of genres: American West historicals (as Pat Pritchard); paranormal and fantasy romances; and contemporary romances. She is excited to say that next year will also see the release of her first cozy mystery series. Alexis has been nominated for several industry awards, including the RITA, the top award in the romance genre.

Connect with Alexis:
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  | 

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble










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