A Mystery for Ghost Hunters!
Today we welcome cozy-mystery author Teresa Trent from Texas! Teresa is the author of the Pecan Bayou Series and weaver of ghost tales. Welcome Teresa!
A Mystery for Ghost Hunters!
When Betsy's Aunt Maggie wants to drag her along on a ghost hunting excursion at the local abandoned tuberculosis hospital she isn't sure if she quite believes in ghosts. When she comes upon a fresh spirit in the form of a body, she starts to rethink about what really is haunting the hospital.
Betsy must solve the murder in spite of her father, who is a lieutenant on the Pecan Bayou Police Force, town citizens worried about the effect of the occult on their children, and handsome stranger from Dallas. How do you get blood out of a silk blouse? Betsy Livingston can tell you in her newspaper column, "The Happy Hinter". When she's not writing, or taking care of her young son, she's busy solving mysteries in the tiny Texas town of Pecan Bayou.
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From the Author . . .
I am an indie author and a preschool teacher. I have lived in Texas for the last 17 years and aside from a hurricane here and there, have really enjoyed it. I also write picture book curriculums for preschoolers-a very different writing job!
Did you plan to be a writer or did it just happen?
I think it just happened. I started writing in my twenties and it was one of many hobbies I would pick up and go back to year after year. Sometimes I wrote for fun and sometimes I wrote to work through something going on in my life. All of the writing, while sometimes exhausting, created a peace in me.
When did you decide to take that step that made you a published author?
I had a birthday and decided if I was ever going to write that book now was the time. I had never been able to finish a book and had my share of rejection slips on the writing I had finished. I decided to go about writing in a different way and started trying to read something every day that would help me improve my craft. Once I committed to writing daily and learning about writing daily every thing became much easier for me.
What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?
My writing was typical in that I would have a story to tell and be excited about telling it and then get to the middle of that story and find I had nowhere to go. I lost the flow of the story and with that the excitement of telling it. I did overcome this by finding out a couple of things about myself. First of all, of the two types of writers (outliners and seats-of-the-pants writers) I am an outliner. That being said, I am a flexible outliner. Just because I decide a certain thing has to happen at a certain part of the story doesn't mean it can't be moved elsewhere. Once I allowed myself the freedom to “pants” a little in an organized way I could keep my momentum and my joy in telling a story.
Is writing a full-time career for you? If not, how else do you spend your work day?
I wish it was, but no, I don't write full time. I have a child with a disability and found working full-time outside my home was tough on both of us, so I have worked part-time teaching as well as keeping up with my writing.
What inspired the idea behind your book?
When my daughter was in middle school we would set aside every Wednesday night and watch all of those ghost hunting shows on cable. We loved it when they used the gadgets and walked around in the dark. Funny, but most of the time the ghost hunters really didn't find too much. From that I thought about what it would be like to actually be on a ghost hunting paranormal investigation and all of the murderous things that could happen.
What is your favorite scene?
Going down the “dead tunnel” of course.
What kind of research was involved for the book?
I read up on several abandoned tuberculosis hospitals. I was hoping I was accurate and felt pretty good about it when one of my aunts told me she went to a hospital as a child back in the thirties that was like the one I described. A woman jumped out and grabbed her and my grandmother had to pull her away. When my aunt read my book she said my description was correct on and it really gave her the creeps.
What kind of research was involved for the series? Did you find it became easier with each book?
This series takes place in the small town of Pecan Bayou TX. Before you go looking for it on a map you will find a Pecan Bayou but it is just that, a bayou. My husband and I enjoyed visiting small towns in Texas. From these experiences, I started building the characters and even the individual streets in the town. I also am a very visual writer so when I write a scene, I will often find a picture of characters, props, buildings and anything else I want to focus on for a scene. It was much easier writing the second book in the series because I didn't have to stop and invent so much.
Do you have plans for a new book?
Yes! A Dash of Murder was my first book and I am promoting it during October because it takes place on Halloween. Since then, I have written Overdue for Murder , a story that centers around writers doing a book talk and features lots and lots of cupcakes. At this time I am working on my third book that will take place over the Fourth of July. I can't say much about it yet, but Betsy and all the characters come back and take a “slice” out of the incredibly high crime rate in this tiny town.
What do you have in store next for your readers?
I would like to continue writing about Pecan Bayou and finish the series at six books. There are some story arcs that are slowly developing from book to book that I plan to finish.
What has been your greatest pleasure or personal success as an author?
Anytime someone comes back to me and tells me they liked a certain scene or a character or they enjoyed trying to figure out “who dunnit” I'm so pleased!
What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve received?
Write every day. For many years I would write for a while and then put it down. I would go back weeks or months later and have no idea what I was trying to accomplish. Writing is a lot like teaching. You have to establish a flow of thought for it to work.
Which authors and books have most influenced your writing style?
Probably Dianne Mott Davidson and a little Stephen King. I guess from both authors I loved their gifts of creating characters. These are people you know, but not really. I have tried to create characters like that and am still learning. I was pleased the other day when a friend and reader asked me if one of my villains was really somebody we knew. It wasn't!
Laptop, desktop or notebook and pen for writing?
I use a laptop, a comfortable chair and a small dog for my feet. I also have to be no more than twenty feet from the refrigerator.
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