If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

October Interviews
10/2 Debra H. Goldstein, Two Bites To Many
10/10 Connie Berry, A Legacy of Murder
10/17 Lida Sideris, Double Murder or Nothing
10/23 Toni L. P. Kelner writing as Leigh Perry, The Skeleton Stuffs A Stocking
10/30 Jennifer David Hesse, Autumn Alibi

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
10/5 Ang Pompano
10/12 Eyes of Texas Anthology Writers
10/19 Neil Plakcy

WWK Bloggers: 10/26 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Lyrical Press will publish Kaye George's Vintage Sweets mystery series. The first book, Revenge Is Sweet, will be released in March. Look for the interview here on 3/11.

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

KM Rockwood's "Frozen Daiquiris" appears in The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, edited by Judy Penz Sheluk. The anthology was released on June 18th.

Fishy Business anthology authors include KM Rockwood, Debra Goldstein, and James M. Jackson. This volume was edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Please read Margaret S. Hamilton and Debra Goldstein's short stories (don't ask about their modus operandi) in a new anthology, Cooked To Death Vol. IV: Cold Cut Files.

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p

Grace Topping's mystery, Staging is Murder was released April 30.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Maggie Toussaint, Dreamwalker Author, Interview by E. B. Davis

I love Maggie Toussaint’s Dreamwalker series, mysteries with a psychic twist. Main character Baxley Powell can communicate with the dead. When she touches an object associated with the deceased, Baxley can envision scenes the dead portray to her, which makes her a wonderful police consultant.

Each book provides more details, not only of Baxley’s psychic powers and frailties, dealing in psychological games the dead play with her, but also each book digs deeper into her personal life. Maggie enriches her stories with backstory that complicates and relates to each mystery. It is that interaction of the personal and professional that catapults this series forward.  You will appreciate the title of her third book in the series, Doggone It, after reading the book.

Maggie writes mystery, romantic suspense, and science fiction. She has three mystery series, and in each, her writing flows. You will read of Maggie’s books again on WWK because I am a fan who will promote her work until everyone reads and enjoys her work!                                                                                             E. B. Davis

Here is Maggie’s Doggone It book jacket blurb:

Dreamwalker Baxley Powell can’t remember the last time she had such a crappy weekend.
A twilight encounter with a ghost dog left her numb and disoriented, her dreamwalker
abilities are wiped out, and the sheriff just summoned her to a double homicide.

With no access to the spirit world, Baxley bluffs her way through the crime scene where a movie star’s assistant and a charter boat captain were strung up and bled dry. In a
haunted house, no less. Figuring out who killed these people will be a real challenge
without her ability to speak to the dead.

Just when Baxley thinks her powers are returning, her dreamwalks malfunction.
With the sheriff pushing her to solve the case quickly, Baxley teams up
with a dognapping medium to boost her powers.

Suspects include the captain’s good-for-nothing brother, the assistant’s replacement,
and, of course, his stalker. All of Sinclair County is on edge, and the media circus isn’t helping. At stake are the movie’s funding, the sheriff’s job, and Baxley’s senses.

Can Baxley safeguard her abilities and solve the case before the killer strikes again?
Book 3 of the Dreamwalker Series

Readers often ask how books come about. I’d really like to know how you arrived at the concept of dreamwalkers. Do you have vivid dreams?

Does anyone remember The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler? The main character Macon hated traveling and yet he ended up writing travel guides that explained how to deal with unpleasantness and difficulty of a trip. In that same vein, I am a person who doesn’t like being scared. I began writing this series to tie together (with my imagination) all of my firsthand observations, my faith, my education, stories I’ve heard, and so on, about what happens after death. I try to present the difficult and unpleasant stuff in a way that my mind accepts and in a way that may help others also dealing with deaths of loved ones.

And in combination with that straightforward approach, I’ve long had an interest in psychics. Just like some folks have an extra gear when it comes to math or music (or any other ability), I believe some folks have extrasensory gears. One of the fun aspects of writing this series is having Baxley explore a new aspect of her extra abilities in each book.

As for me, I’ve had very vivid dreams, some of them outright strange, like the Man with the Saddle on his head that I dreamed about several times as a child. Late adolescence to early forties were the times of most of those dreams. I still dream, but it’s rare these days that I remember them upon waking.

In the opening scene, we learn that Baxley can’t see or communicate with ghosts. Why not?

When you’re driving in your car and you lose your radio station, what do you do? Do you search the airwaves for a new station? Sure you do. In layman’s terms, the distance has become too great for the signal of your first station to reach you, so you have to retune your receiver to another frequency to hear a different channel. Hang onto that thought for a sec.

In the Dreamwalker Series, Baxley comes into the job of talking to the dead all of a sudden. Her father physically can’t do it anymore. The stress and side effects are killing him. Baxley, who has spent her entire 28 years trying to be normal, must now un-suppress her innate ability. Also, due to the sudden onset of her commission, all of her training is on-the-job. When Baxley runs into an earthbound spirit in Doggone It, she doesn’t know how to retune her psychic abilities to receive the input. Therefore, she makes mistakes and takes wrong turns and keeps at it until she gets it right. By the end of Doggone It, Baxley knows how to reach earthbound spirits and ones that have moved on to the Other Side.

Rose is an entity that Baxley encounters. She can’t quite categorize her. Baxley thinks Rose is an undercover angel in the demon world. But Rose doesn’t come across as angelic. She either isn’t an angel, or she’s a great actress. Her favors have a high price that Baxley is forced to accept. Because the spiritual world is usually divided between good and bad, do readers have a problem accepting the ambiguous Rose?

I’ve struggled with Rose’s duality, and I’m sure readers do too. In real life, sometimes we make deals or alliances with people who hold different opinions than we do. That’s what Baxley had to do. The safety and wellbeing of her family mean everything to her, and that’s how she finds herself indebted to Rose, a supernatural being – Rose helps her save loved ones.

Was Baxley’s alliance with Rose a mistake? The consequences will continue to play out in the series. Not knowing Rose’s internal motivation adds conflict and drives the series forward. A writer couldn’t ask for a better plot device.

Baxley describes her aging-hippie parents as trusting and gullible. But isn’t that also their strength?

Absolutely. Trusting and gullible are the hallmarks of people who aren’t deceitful. Consequently, her parents’ home is a mecca for locals with personal problems. Their love is deep, abiding, and all-encompassing. Baxley, who prides herself on being more worldly, thinks she has to protect them from unscrupulous users, but her experiences in Doggone It start to reshape her view of them.

Previous to Doggone It, Baxley is a bit condescending toward her mother. She comes to understand that dreamwalkers need a support system, a community, and her mother’s particular talents, more than just making soup, nurture dreamwalkers. Baxley encounters this in her professional and personal life. Has Baxley been too singular?

You can blame the mom in me for giving Baxley a learning curve to understand the real depth in her mother. Most of us grow up thinking our generation is smarter than the ones who came before, that because of our technology and collective savvy, we don’t need or want advice from folks who’ve already had their turn.

My parents didn’t have the opportunity to go to college, but they made sure all five of us had that opportunity. With that education and a lack of educated jobs in our fishing community, all of us dispersed into the world. One by one, as we had families of our own, we learned how wise our parents were. The circle of understanding continues with my daughters as they raise their families. They are learning the same lessons I learned and that Baxley is learning: all wisdom doesn’t come from book learning.

I was shocked to read, “Roland Powell [Baxley’s MIA special-operations husband, whom readers have never met.] seemed trustworthy, monogamous, and faithful. I’d been wrong about his values.” Baxley still loves and misses him, and she doesn’t reveal why she thinks this. Is it because she and her daughter know he isn’t dead? Did Roland revert to his parents’ values?

Baxley’s job as a police consultant puts her in close proximity to Sheriff Wayne Thompson. Wayne reveals to Baxley things about her “late” husband that are at odds with what she knows. She’d never once doubted her husband, but Wayne’s comments worm into her thoughts causing her to have doubts about the man she loves. Now that she’s more open to her extrasensory perception, she realizes she was walking around with blinders on for many years, years she shared with Roland. Her husband’s absence and status are an ongoing concern in the series, so I won’t say more.

Baxley is idealistic and probably just as trusting and gullible as her parents. Nothing in Baxley’s life is as it “should” be. Why does she have sympathy with Roland’s mother?

Baxley and Roland’s mom share a similar void in their lives due to his absence. As a young mom, she knows how she would feel if something happened to her daughter.

When Sheriff Wayne, the womanizer, gets swept into one of Baxley’s dreamwalks, she thinks he might have psychic talents. Has Wayne sandbagged everyone, or perhaps he doesn’t know he has psychic powers? Perhaps Baxley has more power than she knows?

Wayne’s a good ole boy, which isn’t always a good thing. His relationship with Baxley is complicated. She was his tutor in high school when he was the football quarterback; she was the woman who never succumbed to his charm. With regard to that dreamwalk, readers see firsthand how Baxley’s team rallies to help her recover. The fact that she does recover says a lot for her talent. I don’t want to delve too deeply into Wayne’s intuition, but he’s good at reading people.

A black widower, Stinger, comes to Baxley for help. As it turns out, he helps her. How does Stinger provide support to Baxley?

Remember that line from science class: matter can neither be created nor destroyed. Energy, however, gets used up by activity. Runners get wobbly-kneed at the end of their races, for instance, and they need to refuel. Extrasensory use also burns energy, and Baxley has to have down time after dreamwalks to recharge. Things are different with Stinger. In this story, I used a story condition of mediums being energy generators.

There are two dogs in Doggone It. One is a rescue dog and another is a ghost dog. Would you tell readers about these two wonderful canines?

Many dogs today are used as therapy dogs in nursing homes and hospitals. Just being around these animals brings solace and comfort. In Doggone It, Elvis, a rescued Chihuahua, is a therapy dog. Everyone who holds him feels better. Since paranormal events by nature can be scary, I needed to make sure there was a balance of comfort as well.

Oliver the ghost dog is a jet black Great Dane. Doggone It is about Oliver becoming part of the crew of strays, and I can assure fans of the series that he is a recurring character. He has a role in books 4, 5, and 6, which is the book I’m currently writing.

What’s next for Baxley?

I’m so glad you asked! Book 4 in this series is contracted and will release in 2017. In Dadgummit, Baxley and crew go on vacation to the mountains and get swept up in another murder mystery, this one involving individuals from Cherokee legends.

What’s next for Cleopatra Jones?

I haven’t forgotten Cleo! I get letters from fans requesting book 4 of that series routinely. In the previous books, her best friend, her mom, and her boyfriend were accused of murder. It’s her turn to be in the hot seat, so she’ll have every reason to nose around.

I know you’re a beach chick, but would you favor a shrimpburger over a hamburger?

I love a good shrimp hoagie, which is the closest I’ve come to a shrimpburger. I also love shrimp fried, grilled, blackened, and sautéed. Shrimp salad is great on a hot day, and shrimp paste is something to savor. Shrimp bisque is yummy, and I recommend it. I’m spoiled by the fresh seafood in our small fishing community where you can buy shrimp that slept in the sea last night.

Thank you, Maggie.
To find out more about Maggie and her books, please go to maggietoussaint.com or just go to Amazon for a reading adventure!


Kait said...

Oh Maggie, I feel a binge read coming on. What delightful books and premises. Off to Amazon!

Grace Topping said...

Thanks, Maggie, for visiting us at WWK. Your series sounds intriguing and I've added it to my TBR list. Wishing you lots of success with both your series.

Jim Jackson said...

Hey Maggie -- Again, I love the covers for this wonderful series. All the best with the latest.

~ Jim

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Everyone!

I'm very grateful to E.B.Davis for her insightful questions in this interview. It means the world to me that she is as taken with my work as I am. I love writing books, but I can't make myself fit into one mold all the time. Heck, I'm not good at being in a mold any of the time. Guess I just grew up a bit independent, but I pay that forward by creating characters who trust in themselves to get the job done.

I love visiting here at Writers Who Kill. The vibe is so friendly and welcoming. Thanks also to Kait, Grace, and Jim for their supportive comments.

I'll be in and out all day, so if anyone has additional questions about this series or my other books, this is the time. You have my ear!


Gloria Alden said...

Maggie, I read one of your book and really enjoyed it, but I don't think it was part of this series, but I may be wrong. Somewhere in my many many books I have it. I look forward to reading this series, too. I enjoy a bit of paranormal.

Margaret Turkevich said...

I'm not a paranormal person, but I'm hooked! I look forward to reading your books. I'm intrigued by your characters and how they grow and change.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Maggie, I always enjoy your books. It was interesting to see how you explained the character of Baxley and how you related it to you background. Wising you a lot of success as always.

Maggie Toussaint said...

I love hearing from friends, old and new, and hearing what they have to say.

Gloria, I'm glad you have tried a Maggie Toussaint book and I hope that you'll think of me next time you have a "what shall I read" moment.

Hi Margaret, It's funny but I wouldn't classify myself as a paranormal person either, but that's certainly how this series came out. My goal isn't to scare folks with this series, it's more to have a way to explain the unexplained in a way that's accessible to readers.

Mona! Thank you for coming over and leaving a comment. It's always nice to hear from a Top Selling Author of USA Today fame...

This is fun! Keep the comments coming, friends!

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Great interview.
Love the covers!
Good luck and God's blessings

E. B. Davis said...

I enjoyed reading the book and look forward to the next in the series. It's always a pleasure to interview you, Maggie, a woman with her heart close to the ocean, like myself. Now, about that next Cleopatra Jones book...

Keena Kincaid said...

Wow, Maggie. Your series sounds fabulous, and I love the idea of a ghost dog! Wishing nothing but fame and fortune with your Dreamwalker series.

Shari Randall said...

Hi Maggie,
I, too, enjoy a hint of the paranormal with my mysteries and think it's cool the way you describe some folks as having an extrasensory "extra gear."
Well, I know how particular Elaine is in her reading, so I know your Dreamwalker series must be a terrific read. I'm with Kait - off to Amazon. Thank you so much for stopping by WWK.

Maggie Toussaint said...

I can't remember now if it says in this interview, but the book is available in Kindle format as well as hardcover. Large print will come out in Feb 2017.

Pamela, Thank you for stopping by. I have been truly blessed to have distinctive, moody covers for this series. I was particularly glad they got this one right!

EB, you always make me smile. I just need to free up a chunk of time to get into Cleopatra Jones mode. That series is actually having a resurgence of interest right now due to the inclusion of book 1 of that series in the Sleuthing Women mystery anthology, which available at all digital outlets.

Keena, I am delighted that you stopped over for a visit. I like to think that I'm winning over readers one at a time...

Shari, I am glad we share an interest in paranormal mysteries. The fact that there's even a subcategory for this kind of writing shows that there's a demand for it, which is always good. I hope you'll give the series a spin.

And here's a tip for everyone trying to make tapioca pudding in a hurry. The directions are on the box for a reason. It doesn't go well when you dump the whole box of tapioca into the pan as if you were making muffins. Ah well. We'll see how desperate we are for tapioca tonight.

Vickie Fee said...

Killer cover! Adding this to my TBR pile, Maggie!

Morgan Mandel said...

I agree. Your covers are just as spellbinding as your writing, Maggie!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi Maggie,

A wonderful in depth interview. Congrats on the new novel and the excellent reviews.

Cheryl Pierson said...

Maggie, I really enjoyed reading this interview--great questions--and learning more about this Dreamwalker series of yours! Love everything about it--and even though I don't have much time to read for pleasure anymore, I know these stories are ones that I've got to slide in. Maybe while I'm eating lunch...Excellent ideas and premise, and I'm really excited about getting going on reading!

I was thinking as I was reading the interview...I don't remember my dreams anymore. I used to, when I was younger. Now...I know I dream because I wake up and remember maybe one thing about it and then in a few minutes, it's all faded.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Great post. Maggie, your series sounds terrific. I must start reading it since I love the paranormal element.

Carole Price said...

Maggie, I look forward to reading your latest book. You are an inspiration.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hello to Vickie, Morgan, Jacqueline, Cheryl, Marilyn, and Carole, Thank you, everyone for your comments and encouragement. They mean the world to me. I'm delighted to have had this opportunity to have my work showcased at Writers Who Kill. Thanks so much!


Nancy J. Cohen said...

This is another great installment in your series. The haunted house and ghosts are perfect for Halloween.