Please welcome Terrie Farley Moran to the blog today. Terrie is the author of Well Read, Then Dead. This book, the first in the Read 'Em and Weep Mystery series, was just published August 5th.
Kathy: Read ’Em and Eat is the bookstore cafe owned by Sassy Cabot and Bridgy Mayfield. What makes food and books such a good combo?
TFM: Sassy and Bridgy have gone a long way to mingle books and food. Each table in the café is dedicated to an author, and the table top is decorated with snippets of that author’s work and maybe a picture or two—everything laminated. Menu items have bookish names, True Grits, for example. Readers will often have a drink or a snack as they read. Food and books make a good combo because they are two things that most of us cannot live without.
Kathy: Setting is very important to a story. Your series is set in Florida's Gulf coast. How did you choose this location?
TFM: The short version is that my daughter lives about half an hour inland from Fort Myers Beach where Well Read, Then Dead takes place. She suggested I take a look at the barrier islands and I recognized Fort Myers Beach as the perfect home for Sassy, Bridgy and the Read ’Em and Eat.
Kathy: Are the rumours of treasure true? Have you ever hunted for treasure, sunken or otherwise?
TFM: Oh, there is treasure all right. Lots of it. The floor of the waters surrounding Florida is littered with ships, most of them sunk centuries ago. Some by pirates, others by hurricanes. Many are Spanish galleons filled with New World gold, silver and other valuables. The galleons would pick up the Gulf Stream near Florida to ease their passage across the Atlantic. And many went down. I reference the romance of the treasure ships in Well Read, Then Dead. I have walked a metal detector on the beach after a storm, with no great success I’m afraid.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
TFM: After Nancy Drew, Judy Bolton and Trixie Belden, I moved very quickly to reading Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh and the other Golden Age mystery authors, which eventually led me to the modern cozy novels. I write what I read.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
TFM: No. I write mysteries. In my short mystery fiction I have written everything from noir to paranormal. But when it comes to novels, I stick with cozies.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
TFM: A book club regular at the Read ’Em and Eat, sweet and quiet Miss Delia Batson is murdered. When her cousin Augusta Maddox begs Sassy Cabot to help find the killer, Sassy and her BFF Bridgy Mayfield struggle to solve the murder, locate Miss Delia’s missing cat and still keep the Read ’Em and Eat providing their patrons with breakfast, lunch and engaging book club meetings.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
TFM: I love them all for different reasons. If I had to pick one, it would be Miss Augusta Maddox, because I hope to live long enough to be as crotchety as she is. I am already practicing being as loud.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
TFM: I did. A wonderful woman named Christine Begley introduced me to the work of the late Peter Matthiessen, who had recently combined his Watson trilogy into a nearly nine hundred page novel called Shadow Country. Matthiessen introduces his readers to the untamed and isolated Florida Gulf Coast of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It made the coast far more interesting to me than it had been before I read the book. At first I intended to write a short story set in that time and place and then I decided that a modern story with references to the past would make a perfect cozy.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
TFM: I have a very supportive literary agent, Kim Lionetti of Bookends. She encourages my writing and was able to arrange for an editor to read a proposal for Well Read, Then Dead and ultimately Berkley Prime Crime made an offer. I did write the novel with the hope of having it published, but I didn’t decide to publish, Berkley did.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
TFM: Agatha Christie, Mary Roberts Rinehart, Anya Seton and Erma Bombeck
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
TFM: The September issue of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
TFM: My most fun ever is hanging out with any or all of my seven grandkids. We play games and watch movies and generally horse around. I also walk every day, go to a gym and take a water aerobics class. They are necessities more than hobbies because writing is such a sedentary occupation.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
TFM: Green tea, yogurt, lemons, and cookies and milk for the grandkids.
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
TFM: I do. I am fortunate enough to have a contract with Berkley Prime Crime for a three-book series. Well Read, Then Dead is book one. I have just sent the second book, Death Branches Out to my wonderful editor and I will begin the yet-to-be named third book shortly. Sassy and Bridgy will remain the protagonist and BFF in each book.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
TFM: Easy commute and I don’t have to wear high heels or make-up to work.
To learn more, check out the following links:
Would you like to win a copy of Well Read, Then Dead? Simply leave a comment on this blog post no later than 11:59 pm EST Tuesday, August 12th 2014 telling us if you've ever hunted for treasure. Be sure to leave an e-mail address so that I can contact you should you win!