A Talent for Murder
Flower Patch Mystery, #1
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Five Star Publishing
Date of Publication: October 21, 2015
Number of pages: 250
A Talent for Murder is a cozy, southern mystery filled with humor and colorful characters, with a touch of romance thrown in for added fun.
When Kate Spencer learns her aunt’s fiancé is two-timing her with an old rival, she has no choice but to pass along the information to her mother. They are as shocked as the rest of the town when the rival turns up dead and the two-timing fiancé disappears.
Making matters worse, the lead investigator happens to be Kate’s old boyfriend. If her aunt has any hope of being cleared, the trio must conduct their own investigation. Even if they have to alienate a few friends and tell a few lies to discover the truth.
Today, we welcome Teresa LaRue to Musings and Ramblings. Let's all give a big Geeky welcome!
Let's start with some writer specific questions before moving into the fun stuff. That way everyone can really get to know the person behind the writer. We will finish things off with a round of Think Fast. Ready for the interrogation to begin?
Is your writing style more plotter or pantser?
Definitely, a plotter. When I first started writing, I tried the “sit down and write and see what unfolds” method, but it didn’t work that well for me. I like to know where I’m going. I usually lay out the scenes in a word document, which I print out for reference. Before I begin writing a scene, I close my eyes and imagine what my characters are doing. What they’re seeing. How they’re feeling. When things begin to click, I start typing.
Tell us something about yourself that's not in your bio.
I have one gear: fast-forward. I like to get things done. Take grocery shopping, for instance. I usually stalk through the store, leaving my daughter (who’s six inches taller) a mile behind. Partly, because I hate to shop. But mostly, because I have a list in my head of “things I need to get done that day” and I want to check this item off my list and move on.
And sometimes my imagination gets me into trouble. Like the day I was outside playing, making up characters, acting out the scene as I went along. Suddenly, my mother sidled up to the back door and wanted to know who I was talking to. My explanation left her baffled. “Well, you’d better quit talking to yourself or people might think you’re crazy.”
How did you choose the genres you write in?
The mystery genre chose me. As a reader, I’ve always enjoyed squirreling away clues, figuring out who-done-it, and why. So when I decided to give writing a try, it was only natural that I would try my hand at a mystery.
The story idea for A Talent for Murder came to me when my daughter huffed into the living room one day and declared she was never going anywhere with her grandmother again. That she and her sister were too embarrassing! (I believe one of them sprayed her dress with some anti-static substance in the middle of the store.)
That got me thinking. What if a thirty-some-year-old daughter needed to track down a killer, but her mother and aunt keep bumbling around in her way? Then the daughter’s ex-boyfriend got assigned to the case and...
Is there any particular author or book that has influenced you or your writing?
I think Phyllis A. Whitney had the biggest influence on my writing. For years, I collected every book she published, both juvenile and adult. I even have the two books she wrote about writing in my library.
Thanks to her I learned how to set up a notebook with sections for character descriptions, plot ideas, and setting info. I also learned how important it was to give each character a secret.
Though Ms. Whitney died in 2008 I’ll be forever grateful for everything she taught me about writing.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
The toughest criticism I ever received. That’s easy. It came from an agent who loved my query and asked for a printed copy of the manuscript. I reworked everything to her specs, then spent a fortune sending it snail mail.
Several months later, I received a curt reply. She was very disappointed in the book. There wasn’t enough action in the beginning to hold her interest. That was it! No offer to make changes and resubmit. Needless to say, I was ready give up my dream of publishing and do something that didn’t involve so much heartache.
After sulking awhile, I reread the manuscript and realized she was right. So I went back to the beginning, beefed up the conflict, then sent it on to another agent, vowing to give up writing and do something more practical with my time if I got another rejection.
What’s that old saying, “famous last words”? While this agent didn’t offer to represent me, she did encourage me to rework the manuscript. “You’re about seventy-five percent there.”
How could I give up after hearing that? So, I reworked the manuscript and sent it out again. The result: My cozy mystery, A Talent for Murder, is due out in November.
What was the last movie/concert/show that you saw?
I’ve just finished watching the last episode of Agatha Christie’s Poirot. After spending so much time with him (70 episodes), it’s hard to say goodbye.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
The ability to fly. That way I could hop around, connect with people, and be on my way.
What was the name of the last book you read?
Ghost to the Rescue by Carolyn Hart. It’s another Bailey Ruth ghost novel and was great fun to read!
What is your biggest pet peeve?
People who don’t show up on time. I like to arrive early for appointments, so I won’t leave people standing around waiting.
If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, fictional or real, who would it be and why?
The great Dame Agatha Christie. I’d like to pick her brain about how she developed her stories.
Elvis or Sinatra? Elvis
AM or PM? AM
Mountains or Sea? Sea
Cake or Pie? Cake
Dead Tree or Electronic? Dead Tree
Thanks for coming by and spending some time with us. Any final words of wisdom to pass along?
If you’ve always dreamed of writing a book, get started. Your first attempts might be discouraging, but keep going. All of us write a lot of dribble in the beginning. Those who succeed, don’t give up.
Teresa A. LaRue grew up in a small town along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She fell in love with the mystery genre in fourth grade. She’s worked as a secretary, assistant manager of an audio book store, and manager of a fashion jewelry store. She is an avid reader, gardener, and movie buff. She lives across the lake from New Orleans with her family, which includes a dog named Bones and a cat named Chloe.
To connect with the author online:
Website | Goodreads