Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Featured Author: Marie Moore

Marie Moore is on tour with Cozy Mystery Book Tours, and today she stops at A Blue Million Books to talk about her cozy mystery, Game Drive, published by Camel Press.

About the book:

Sidney Marsh is a Mississippi-born, New York-based travel agent. In Game Drive, she and her best friend and business partner, Jay Wilson, are struggling to remain standing in a world where the ground is shifting. Their boss at Itchy Feet Travel has a new scheme to attract customers—-safari tour packages. He sends Sidney and Jay on a familiarization trip to Cape Town and safari country to check out the accommodations and confirm that the experience lives up to the hype in the brochures.

Sidney looks forward to the deluxe trip and so does Jay, despite his deathly fear of animals, both wild and domesticated. Their experience will be far wilder than either could have imagined. First Sidney stumbles upon a suspicious rendezvous and possible murder scene in Cape Town. After Sidney’s pocket is picked on a cable-car ride up Table Mountain, she suspects that someone in their group is an imposter, a suspicion that is soon confirmed. At Leopard Dance—-the luxury game lodge near Kruger National Park that serves as their base camp-—one of the other agents on the “fam trip” turns up dead.

Sidney carries on a risky flirtation with a handsome Afrikaner, who may or may not be the latest manifestation of the “Marsh Curse,” which seems to jinx her every relationship. And Sidney and Jay discover that they have far more to fear from predatory humans than wild animals.

Interview with Marie Moore

Marie, you've been a journalist, a scout for feature films, and have owned a travel agency. How long have you been writing, and how did you start?
I started writing for Mrs. Thorne, my third grade teacher. I’ve been writing off and on ever since.

What do you like best about writing? What’s your least favorite thing?

I love the imaginative process. As a kid, I loved playing dolls. For me, writing is sort of like that. My least favorite thing is being my own publicist, trying to get my books noticed and read. That very necessary part of today’s writing climate is extremely time-consuming for the author and tooting my own horn is personally repugnant. Those duties also eat time that I would prefer to spend writing. But it is necessary. The “be your own publicist” business is something that bestselling authors likely don’t have to do, but little peeps like me have little choice if they want their books to get out there. Before I was published, I had the na├»ve idea that once I was published, all I would have to do was write. Boy, was I wrong!
How did you come up with the titles of your books?

The Sidney Marsh Murder Mystery series features a Mississippi-born, New York-based travel agent. All the book titles, Shore Excursion (2012), Game Drive (2013) and Open Jaw (in process) are either travel terms or travel related.

Do you have another job outside of writing?

In my career I have been a junior-high science teacher, a weekly newspaper managing editor, and for fifteen years, I owned and operated a retail travel agency. Now I write full-time.

Do you outline, write by the seat of your pants, or let your characters tell you what to write? 

Once my characters are born in my head they seen to take over and go where they want to go. They are an unruly lot.

That's the best kind of characters! What’s your favorite line from a book? 

From George Bernard Shaw, in Pygmalion, “The great secret, Eliza, is not having bad manners or good manners or any other particular sort of manners, but having the same manner for all human souls: in short, behaving as if you were in Heaven, where there are no third-class carriages, and one soul is as good as another.”

Love it. Are any of your characters inspired by real people?

No. I sometimes see someone on the street with an interesting look, or hear a phrase, a snippet of conversation that I file away, but my characters are not based on real people.  Not only would that be intrusive and possibly annoying to my friends, but I also think that it actually works against the creative process. If you base your character in someone you know, then the character’s look, conversations, and actions are limited, even subconsciously, to what you know that person looks like, or his/her likes, dislikes, habits and actions. 

How do you handle criticism of your work?

I learn from it, unless I think the motive behind it is mean-spirited or deranged. I have few illusions about my work and know I have a lot to learn.

Do you have a routine for writing? Do you work better at night, in the afternoon, or in the morning?

I work really early in the morning, 4:00-6:00 a.m., then stop to have coffee and the newspaper (yes, a printed newspaper) with my husband, take care of the day’s tasks, then work again later in the day. I rarely work at night unless I am under a deadline. I think better in the quiet of the morning.

Do you ever get writer’s block?

Yes. I expect everyone does.

What do you do when it happens?

For me, it’s best to just put the page aside for a while rather than agonizing or trying to force thoughts that aren’t forth-coming. After a while, the story comes around on its own, after my subconscious has had a chance to work on it. 

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Travel, cook, garden, paint. I share my life with a terrific husband, two great daughters and their husbands, and my sweet, sweet granddaughters. I am also close to my mom and brother and his family. We enjoy being together as a family.

If you could take a trip anywhere in the world, where would you go? (Don’t
worry about the money. Your publisher is paying.)

Maybe someday...! The island of Iona, off of Western Scotland, is next on my list, and Brasov, Romania.

What are you working on now?

I am currently writing the third novel in The Sidney Marsh Murder Mystery series, set in India and Nepal, and titled Open Jaw.

Can't wait! I hope you'll come back and tell us about it when it's out.

About the author:

Marie Moore is a native Mississippian. She graduated from Ole Miss, married a lawyer in her hometown, taught junior high science, raised a family, and worked for a small weekly newspaper—first as a writer and later as Managing Editor. She wrote hard news, features, and a weekly column, sold ads, did interviews, took photos, and won a couple of MS Press Association awards for her stories.

In 1985, Marie left the newspaper to open a retail travel agency, and for the next fifteen years, she managed the agency, sold travel, escorted group tours, sailed on nineteen cruises, and visited over sixty countries. The Sidney Marsh Murder Mystery series was inspired by those experiences.

Marie also did location scouting and worked as the local contact for several feature films, including Heart of Dixie, The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag, and Robert Altman’s Cookie’s Fortune.

In mid-1999, because of her husband’s work, Marie sold her travel agency and moved to Jackson, Mississippi, then New York City, Anna Maria Island, Florida, and Arlington, Virginia. She and her husband now live in Memphis, Tennessee, and Holly Springs, Mississippi.

Game Drive (April, 2013, Camel Press) is the sequel to Marie’s first novel, Shore Excursion (April, 2012, Camel Press) which introduced amateur sleuth Sidney Marsh. In February, both books were specially chosen for the onboard libraries of Holland America and Seabourn Cruise Lines, and added to the shelves of The Travel Institute’s Bookstore.  Marie will be featured in the May issue of Southern Writer’s Magazine, and spoke May 4, 2013, on a travel mystery panel at the 25th annual Malice Domestic Mystery Conference in Bethesda, Maryland. Marie is a member of Sisters in Crime.

Connect with Marie:
Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Publisher | Amazon

The Fantastic 4 Cozy Mystery Book Tour Giveaway

There will be four prize packages:

Prize 1 (US/Canada only)
* a Kindle Touch
* a $15 giftcard

Prize 2 (International)
* a Kindle copy of Topped Chef and Bowled Over
* a $15 Book Depository giftcard

Prize 3 (International)
* a Kindle copy of Murder on the First Day of Christmas & Game Drive
* a $15 giftcard

Prize 4 (US/Canada)
* your choice of a cozy mystery paperback (up to $25 in value)

To enter:
1. Fill in the form here.
2. There is no requirement to follow any of the blogs participating, but we hope you will support these amazing blogs by following them. They do a great job, many of whom host for us every month.
3. Giveaway ends on May 15, 2013 at midnight and the winners will be contacted via email.