Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Author: Teresa Trent

About the book:

Animal rustling is alive and well in the sleepy little town of Pecan Bayou, Texas--but with a particularly peculiar spin. Only the fake livestock seem to be at risk. First, cowboy legend Charlie Loper's larger-than-life fiberglass horse disappears from the town square, but before the police can get any solid leads, the cow in front of the local steak house gets pinched.

Betsy Livingston Fitzpatrick, local helpful hints columnist for the Pecan Bayou Gazette, is trying keep her mind off of being nine months pregnant in the blistering Texas summer heat. Troubled by haunting dreams, she pursues the odd animal thefts in a case that soon turns into murder. As Betsy closes in on the killer, a hurricane is headed straight for the Gulf Coast sending spin-off storms and tornadoes to the little town of Pecan Bayou. "Hunker down" with Betsy and the lovable characters of Pecan Bayou in the latest Betsy Livingston mystery from cozy author Teresa Trent. Recipes and helpful hints included.

Note: Murder for a Rainy Day will be free on Kindle Nov 25-26 and Dec 4-5.

Interview with Teresa Trent

Teresa, You have a great title. What’s the story behind it? 
On the surface, Murder for a Rainy Day has to do with the hurricane that is headed toward Texas and the resulting tornadoes that spin toward Pecan Bayou. At a deeper level, the concept of waiting and putting things away for a rainy day occurs with many of the characters in the story.

Tell us about your series. Is this book a standalone, or do readers need to read the series in order?
Murder for a Rainy Day is the sixth book in the Pecan Bayou series.  These books tell about the life of Betsy Livingston, a helpful hints columnist and her journey from being a single mother to marriage and finally having a second child. This series is part of the "cozy" mystery genre which is often lighthearted leaving graphic violence offstage for the most part. If your readers enjoy Agatha Christie or Murder She Wrote, then they will enjoy reading the Pecan Bayou series.

And if they enjoy those books, I think they would enjoy the Goose Pimple Junction series too. I know, shameless plug-sorry. Couldn't help it!

The books do not have to be read in order, although it does help with Betsy's development. Each book contains its own mystery and visits from all of the quirky characters who reside in Pecan Bayou. If you would like to read the books in order here is a list:
#1 A Dash of Murder  - a Halloween ghost hunting mystery
#2 Overdue for Murder - a library mystery
#3 Doggone Dead - a Fourth of July mystery
#4 Buzzkill - a wedding mystery
#5 Burnout - a Thanksgiving mystery
#6 Murder for a Rainy Day -  FREE on Kindle November 24-26 and December 4-5.

What would your main character say about you?
My main character is a helpful hints writer when she is not solving mysteries, so I think she would constantly be telling me there is a better way to do something! 

How did you create the plot for Murder for a Rainy Day?      
I read an article about somebody stealing a cow statue and putting it in someone's front yard. I remembered somebody (not me) did that very thing in Colorado where I went to high school. From there I just couldn't put away the thought--why? Why would anyone take the time to do such a silly thing? From there I thought about how to develop the theft into my mystery. Of course, Pecan Bayou is full of things like giant chickens made out of soup cans and fake horses, so it was a natural fit.

Of course! Are any of your characters inspired by real people?
Danny, my character with Down Syndrome is a composite of many young people I have met, including my own son. In my last book, Burnout, my daughter immediately recognized my mother in the character of Miss Caroline. I don't think I even realized I had written her in until I reread the description I wrote of her hands. I have been blessed with many strong women in my life, and they all filtered into Aunt Maggie and Ruby Green, the owner of the Best Little Hairhouse in Texas. 

I love that name! Is your book based on real events? 
Being from Houston, my family evacuated for Hurricane Ike and Rita. When I joke about Lester Jibbets and his port-a-potty empire, that comes from my family being stuck in traffic for 24 hours during Hurricane Rita and bathrooms being hard to come by. I never heard the expression "hunker down" until I moved to Texas. That's the Lone Star way of saying "shelter in place." My little town of Pecan Bayou is not on the coast, so the story had to be about the oncoming tornadoes that would trigger from a hurricane. Hurricanes in Texas are a destructive business, and they have a way of taking your mind off anything you might have thought was important a day ago. Into all of this I threw in the story of Betsy's baby coming into the world! 

What a time to have a baby! What book are you currently reading and in what format ?
Welcome to the world of the A.D.D. reader. Right now I'm reading Adam, God's Beloved, a beautiful story of a disabled man in Canada; Avery Aaves' To Brie or Not to Brie - a cozy mystery. You would think from all of that I'm a fast reader, but I actually struggle keeping up with reading at times. I tend to use multiple formats when getting into a story. I listen to recorded books when driving or doing housework, I read paperbacks and read on my Kindle. 

I do the same thing. Do you have a routine for writing?
With me, it is more about not stopping than anything else. I try to write something every day. When I get into editing mode, I try to work on plotting out my next project and edit the old one at the same time. If I put writing away for more than a couple of days, I loose the flow of the story and end up making mistakes.   

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
Now you'll know what a lazy writer I am. If you are thinking of me sitting behind a beautifully carved wood desk surrounded by dark cherry bookshelves, then you'd be wrong. I write in a recliner with my laptop. My husband and I share a home office space. He has a desk, but I brought in a comfy plaid recliner and a floor lamp. I keep telling my family there are books running all through the lines of the plaid! As far as when I write, I have always thought of myself as a morning person but have been surprised in the last few years to find that I also love writing from 3 until 7 pm. I can never write past 8 pm because the plot lines and characters refuse to let me go to sleep!

What are you working on now?
I am working on the first book in my next series. My storytelling is moving to the Piney Woods area of Texas so I am bringing in some of the history of the area along with colorful characters from either side of the Texas/Louisiana border! Still though, as cozy as the town might be, there's going to be a murder to solve!

About the author

Teresa Trent writes her Pecan Bayou mystery series from Houston, Texas. With a father in the army, her family moved often, finally settling in Colorado. Living in Texas for the last 19 years, she loves the people and even the weather.  Murder for a Rainy Day includes a hurricane, and having endured Hurricane Ike and Hurricane Rita with her family, Teresa would much rather write about them than evacuate from them. Teresa includes Danny, a character with Down Syndrome in her Pecan Bayou family and in real life is the mother of an adult son with Down Syndrome/PDD. Creating the character of Danny and all of the other inhabitants of Pecan Bayou has been a joy for her. This book is the last one in the Pecan Bayou series, taking Betsy from single mom to mother of three. Teresa is now working on her next series that will take place in the Piney Woods of Texas.

Connect with Teresa:
Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Buy the book:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble