Maggie Bishop, co-founder of Dames of Dialogue, is our Author of the Month here at the Dames and I am honored to be her interviewer.
One of my favorite series is your Appalachian Adventure Mystery series. Tell us about the latest installment in this series, One Shot Too Many.
In this one, Detective Tucker takes the main stage. As he delves into solving the “who dun it” question, his own secrets come into play. When the photography group meets at Jemma Chase’s dude ranch, all of a sudden there is one shot too many and a local photo-journalist dies. Is it the nurse, determined to win the horse show? The retired military man with too many guns, the dental hygienist with too many lovers, the grandmother who loves too much or the sports medicine professor who drinks too much? Those are the questions that Tucker and Jemma sort through.
I don’t know. Alma, the cook at Blue Falls Guest Ranch, has started to bug me so it may involve a cookout at the ranch. I’m waiting for a vivid scene to pop into my head to give me a lead. Most of my writing occurs in the winter months so my subconscious mind is currently forming images and action which, hopefully, will burst forth and play out through my fingers to pen and keyboard.
3. I, too, tend to get more done in the winter months, when I’m forced to stay inside.
I have to ask this because it’s killing me! What’s Detective Tucker’s first name?
The answer is in the family tree at the end of Murder at Blue Falls. My original concept was to write about 4 male cousins (Wes, Lucky, Tucker and Grady), four seasons, and four sports (backpacking, skiing, horseback riding and climbing). Detective Tucker showed up as the 3rd cousin and my publisher wants me to continue with him for a while.
4. Oh, never thought to look there, although I’ve perused it in the past.
That’s easy, my 3rd main female character, Jemma Chase, partly because she’s so different from me. She’s six feet tall (I’ve never reached 5’3”), impulsive, and still living with her family.
5. I like her a lot, too. She’s such a “handyperson”, something I’ve always wanted to be. And she is lucky enough to ride horses every day. I miss the trail rides my husband and I used to take.
Maggie, you remind me of the Energizer Bunny with all the energy you put into promoting. What works best for you?
For hard copy books, local craft fairs provide a way to sell to tourists who come up to escape the heat, travel the Blue Ridge Parkway, and enjoy the fall leaf colors. Boone, NC, is a small town in the mountains with only one bookstore, Black Bear Books, so we have to be creative. High Country Writers members work together to sponsor a booth at seven events during warm weather. My favorite is Oktoberfest this weekend on Sugar Mountain, setting for Emeralds in the Snow.
6. As a member of High Country Writers, I’ve found this group to be one of the most supportive around. Another bonus, it’s filled with great writers like you who are generous in sharing information with fellow authors. In that regard, tell us about the workshops you offer.
Write Now! with Maggie are intense writing sessions involving the nuts and bolts of the craft of writing. These presentations range from character and plot to marketing and booksignings. My next week-long workshop is at the John C. Campbell Folk School at the end of October. One day, these sessions will be available in power-point format for internet distribution. When I first started writing, many authors helped me through writing workshops. Of course, I bought their books but I cannot thank those individuals so I’m “playing it forward” by helping other authors.
7. I really hope to get you over here to Tennessee at one of TMW’s conferences, Maggie. I know your workshop would be one of our most popular ones.
Since you’ve written a book about a cat, I’m sure you’re a cat lover. Do you have any and, if so, tell us about them.
Meow Means Me! Now! was about Hunter, a Havana Brown (long, lean and Asian) Bob and I had for over 22 years. He was my husband’s first cat and we still talk about him. We were going to be pet-free for a year so we could travel but we lasted only four months. We found a brother and sister duo at the humane society and named them Jemma Kitty and Detective Tucker (he likes to go under covers). Since I often use real people as minor characters, they showed up in Perfect for Framing.
Maggie, you and your husband celebrate the release of a book in a certain way which I think is wonderful. Tell us about that.
We cruise the Caribbean on Royal Caribbean! Great service, tasty food, entertainment in walking distance, no phones or email, easy snorkling. It is a true vacation for both of us.
9. I’ve done that twice on the Royal Caribbean and both times really enjoyed myself. It’s a great cruise line but, dang, all that food. I always came back weighing more than when I left!
What inspires you the most?
Reading in many genres, chatting with fans and authors, walking the mountain trails, holding hands with my husband, visiting with my mom, especially now since my father died last year.
10. Holding hands with your husband – how sweet. I like to do that, too. And your mom – even though I’ve only met her a couple of times, I think of her often and wonder if she’s finished her book about channeling. What a novel idea and one that really intrigues me.
Do you consider yourself a pantser or outliner?
Once, I outlined a book and became bored with it because I already knew the ending. Lesson learned – my writing has to entertain me during the process so I’m 90% panster. Most of the time, I don’t know who did it until the last third of the book, which means more revisions.
11. I completely agree. I can’t outline because at some point the characters take over the book and I follow where they lead.
Maggie, you live in one of the most beautiful areas in America. Tell us about your neck of the woods.
Boone is nestled in the ancient Appalachian mountains in the northwest corner of North Carolina. I literally just moved from the Triplett community (lowest point in Watauga County at 2200 feet) to outside Boone at 3600 feet in elevation (high altitude cooking). Appalachian State University and tourism are the biggest draws (Grandfather Mountain Biosphere, 3 ski slopes and Tweetsie Railroad). Southern hospitality at its best.
12. Boone is one of my favorite places to visit. My husband and I love to ride our motorcycle over – it’s a beautiful ride and Boone is absolutely gorgeous and charming.
My mom’s pimento cheese sandwiches. She uses sharp cheddar cheese, fork-squashed pimentos, and cracked black pepper with only a little mayo. Yum!
Oh, my. Sounds wonderful! Think I’ll try that.
Thanks, Maggie. I really enjoyed this.
For more information about Maggie: http://maggiebishop1.tripod.com/index.html