Today’s interview with Joanne Phillips, author of Murder at the Maples is part of the MURDER AT THE MAPLES blog tour that is an Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book sponsored blog stop! Read about Joanne here and be sure to visit other stops on the tour for more interviews, reviews and giveaways! Read on for giveaway info!
Interview with Joanne Phillips, author of Murder at the Maples
Joanne- thank you for agreeing to be interviewed at Traveling With T!
Thanks so much for having me on your blog for the very first stop of the tour J
“A reluctant sleuth” is part of the tag line for Murder at the Maples, which I find interesting, because most cozy mysteries I read have a sleuth who is definitely not “reluctant”. How did you decide on a “reluctant sleuth”?
This is the first in a series, and when we meet Flora Lively she has no idea she’s going to end up investigating a murder! In fact, if you told her what she’d soon be up against she’d probably run screaming – Flora has enough on her plate recovering from the loss of her parents and taking over the running of her dad’s pride and joy, Shakers Removals. The odd happenings at the Maples could easily be written off as the ravings of an old lady, and at first Flora is reluctant to see any more to it than this. Of course, once she’s got the bit between her teeth she’s absolutely determined to solve the mystery, and is no longer a reluctant sleuth. By the time book two comes along I’ll have to think of a very different tag line!
Murder at the Maples is the first book in the Flora Lively mysteries. When writing this book, did you know how it would end? Or did the ending reveal itself as you wrote?
I didn’t know how it would end when I started writing – I just had Flora’s character and the initial scene, and an idea of a sixty year old secret that would rear its ugly head. When I got to the end of the first draft I saw that the ending I’d arrived at wasn’t powerful enough and it needed a completely different ending, and that was when I had the most fun, planting clues and plotting the trail that would lead to the new climax.
Do you have a writing space? A writing routine?
I have a lovely office in my home, but I’m also really lucky to have a brand new summerhouse that we’ve just built in the garden where I can go and write. I plan to get it set up so I can write out there all year round – blankets and a heater a must! My routine is fairly flexible as I have a five year old daughter to look after too, and I work part-time as a freelance indexer for publishers, but I do write every day, or work on some book-related task like marketing or reaching out to readers.
If Murder at the Maples was made into a movie- do you have a dream cast in mind?
I think it would make a great TV series J Well, we can dream … But no, I don’t have a cast in mind. I see Flora as very petite and quite quirky-looking, physically a lot stronger than she looks, pretty but also someone who doesn’t try too hard with her looks. Marshall – one of my favorite characters – is gorgeous, a real charmer, but scruffy as they come. That said, I like for my readers to imagine characters for themselves, and I expect any TV producers would reinvent them completely anyway!
What can readers expect next from Flora? Can you give any hints about the next book in the series?
The next book is called ‘A Date With Death’ and is due out next year. Flora’s best friend Celeste returns from her travels abroad, but when her new boyfriend dies in mysterious circumstances, Celeste is under suspicion and Flora finds her investigative skills in demand once again. I’m really excited about Book 2 because I think in the first book of a mystery series there’s a lot of setting up to do – particularly with characters who aren’t actual private detectives or police officers: you have to explain why they would even be investigating in the first place. But with the rest of the books in a series you can just dive right into the action! In ‘A Date With Death’ I’m planning an Agatha Christie-esque set up, where the reader has to try and work out who’s guilty from a narrow cast of characters all holed up in one place. Oh, and Flora goes undercover, which should be a lot of fun.
*Special thanks to Joanne Phillips for agreeing to be interviewed!
*Giveaway: 1 Lucky winner will win a copy of Murder at the Maples by Joanne Phillips. Just comment, leave you email (you may us the AT and DOT) and GOOD LUCK! Giveaway runs from October 8- October 14th at 11:59pmEST. Winner will be notified October 15th. **NOTE: This is an e-book giveaway!