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

June Interviews

6/3 Gretchen Archer, Double Trouble
6/10 Kaye George, Deadly Sweet Tooth
6/17 Annette Dashofy, Til Death
6/24 Adam Meyer

Saturday Guest Bloggers

6/6 Mary Keliikoa
6/13 William Ade
6/20 Liz Milliron

WWK Bloggers:

6/27 Kait Carson
6/30 WWK Writers--What We're Reading Now


Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!

WWK is proud of our four Agatha nominees. Kaye George for Best Short Story--not her first time to be nominated, Connie Berry and Grace Topping for Best First Mystery Novel, and Annette Dashofy for Best Contemporary Novel--her fifth nomination! All are winners but without Agatha Teapots. Onto 20121!

Look for Kaye George and Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Kaye's story is "Life and Death on the Road" and Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.

Kaye George's second novel in the Vintage Sweets mystery series, Deadly Sweet Tooth, was released on June 2. Look for the interview here on June 10.

Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.

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!


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

An Interview with Maggie Toussaint by E. B. Davis

While hosting out-of-town guests at her Georgia home, Dreamwalker Baxley Powell is called upon to help investigate a suspicious fire. One of her guests, close friend and fellow dreamwalker Deputy Sam Mayes, accompanies her to the scene.

A meth cook is dead, and when Baxley visits her beyond the Veil of Life, she determines that the woman was murdered. Baxley pities Mandy Patterson, a single mother with aspirations for her teenage son Doodle. Unconcerned about the death of a criminal, the authorities pursue the drug-supply chain angle. Baxley worries about Doodle and vows to find out who killed his mother.

As the case grows more baffling, Baxley struggles against her attraction to Sam. Although her husband is missing and declared dead, she does not feel free to love again until she is sure of his fate.

Two suspects have the strongest motive, but Baxley has reason to believe they are pawns in a deeper game. And unless she can stop them, the world will never be the same.
Confound It is the fifth book in Maggie Toussaint’s Dreamwalker series. In every book, I get surprises. Sometimes the surprise is how a character acts or reacts. Other times, the surprise involves the world that Maggie’s built in this paranormal series. But all of the surprises capture my interest. I think most readers of paranormal would enjoy the downhome feel of main character Baxley Powell’s Georgia hometown as it contrasts to the dreamwalks she takes on the other side of the veil.

Baxley is a modern, Southern woman, mother, and wife. She has the same worries, fears, and pride of every woman, but her trials go beyond what most women have to contend with. For financial stability, she consults for the local police department, trying to solve murders by contacting the victims. As a dreamwalker, what she sees is often selected by the spirit she seeks. The selection limits her ability to see what the spirit doesn’t show her. Is the omission a lie? Is the omission the most important part that will enable her to solve a case? Baxley doesn’t know, but with greater experience, she now knows what questions to ask herself. She’s a better evaluator of her dreamwalks.

Please welcome Maggie Toussaint back to WWK.                                                             E. B. Davis

Maggie—although Baxley has more experience as a dreamwalker, can perceive lies, and doesn’t seem as na├»ve as she once was—she still can’t perceive or sense evil?

Hi Elaine, and thanks for the warm welcome back to Writers Who Kill. As for your question, Baxley grows in powers in every book, but one thing that never changes is her unsinkable spirit. When bad things happen, she doesn’t sit around and say, “why me?” Baxley is a take-action kind of female sleuth. However, even with her many extrasensory talents, she doesn’t register evil. That lack is part of the story world construct. If she knew who the bad guy was on the first page, there’d be no story. Instead, the solution to the mystery takes shape in layers, giving the reader and Baxley ample time to figure out the ending.

Charlotte, Baxley’s best friend, seemed to have her priorities focused at the end of the last book. But in this one, Charlotte goes from one end of the emotional scale to the other. Why is she so emotionally unstable?

Charlotte finally got a love interest in Dadgummit, book 4 of this series. In Confound It, Duncan pressures her to take their relationship to the next level. He expects her to leave her job and move six hours away from her hometown so that they can be together. Poor Charlotte. She’s a mess because she wants to grab this brass ring, but her gears get stuck in all the pros and cons. Having never been in love before, she can’t evaluate if this is the real deal.

Why does Charlotte hoard?

Charlotte spent most of her childhood at Baxley’s house because her parents didn’t care if she was around or not. As she acquired belongings as an adult, including a relative’s estate, those items became wholly hers. Having had little as a child, Charlotte hoards because her self-worth is tied to her material possessions.

Meth labs can be portable? Like in backpacks? Is this a problem schools, malls, and other social gathering places face, given the volatility of the ingredients?

Absolutely it’s a problem, and it’s hard to detect unless something goes wrong. The “shake and bake” method of making meth in soda bottles made the process mobile. Sometimes addicts do this to ensure a fix. As for why anyone else would do it, I can only speculate: money, illicit thrill, or someone made them do it.

Mayes and Sheriff Wayne Thompson face off like territorial dogs over Baxley. Thompson and Baxley were never romantically involved. Why is Thompson territorial over Baxley?

Sheriff Thompson considers Baxley his Golden Ticket. With her help, he solves all his cases and he can brag to his law enforcement buddies about his clearance rate. A lifelong lady’s man, the sheriff would love to date Baxley, but she’s not interested.

I was surprised that the State Bureau of Investigation was brought into a homicide because that’s not the jurisdiction of the FBI, which I assume is a parallel Federal agency. But then, the SBI did seem more interested in the case from the drug angle than the murder. Why did they get involved?

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation got involved because of the drug trafficking. It’s a jurisdictional thing, and it nicely added conflict.

The victim and her son had potbellied pigs for pets. Do potbellied pigs like dog food? Why is dog food better than pig food?

Pigs will eat anything, but dog food is not an acceptable snack for them, according to the North American Potbelly Association. Once Petunia and Patches made an escape from their home, they just followed their nose to the forbidden dog food stash and “pigged out.” It happens.

The police seemed to have a party-like attitude with regard to Tasers. Is this common?

This flippant attitude is what happens (in fiction) when a little power goes to a good ole boy’s head. Virg used his Taser once before on Baxley (Gone and Done It), and she doesn’t wish that on anyone.

“Somebody’s done put the root on you.” (Kindle Loc. 577) What does this mean?

Putting “the root” on someone is a voodoo practice that is still common in certain circles. It involves obtaining a personal item from someone and then working a spell with the items to achieve the desired result.

When the series first started, Baxley needed a possession of the deceased or needed to touch the deceased to enter their dreamwalk. She doesn’t need to do that now—why? What’s changed?

One of the delights of this series is that with each book Baxley learns how to access more of her extrasensory talents. Obviously, she didn’t know she could enter a dreamwalk without a personal item-until it happened in Confound It.

And yet—none of those affected wanted Baxley to touch them. If they aren’t dead, she can’t dreamwalk with them. Why their fear of her? And why isn’t she suspicious?

Ignorance breeds fear. People who are afraid of Baxley have heard about her lie detecting ability. They fear her touch will put all their secrets on public display.

I was outraged by Rose, Baxley’s otherworld mentor, inserting her own wants in Baxley’s sex life. Rose’s boss gives Baxley back a lousy fifteen minutes of the three hours she owes Rose. Rose should have had her wings clipped, and Baxley should have been given all of her hours back. Why was the penalty so light?

The thing about a series is that not all the answers are revealed in one book. There are layered hidden agendas here. Rose experiences a total fall from grace in Book 6, but don’t tell anyone I told you.

The unintended sexual encounter between Mayes and Baxley sets up expectations in both of them, which annoys Baxley since it was unintended. But it forces her to evaluate her marriage with more honesty. Had Baxley put rose-colored glasses on her relationship with Roland since he was declared dead by the US Army?

Oftentimes people carry around a burden and it becomes part of who they are. Baxley is unwilling to give up on her marriage and husband because she has no hard and fast answer to what happened to Roland. It’s easier to keep the status quo instead of accepting the fact her husband is never coming home.

What’s this “binding” concept all about? I agreed with Baxley. It seems intrusive even if the intensions are good. But then Baxley also wonders if she and Mayes are “bound,” is Mayes bound to Rose as well—bad enough she is.

Legal documents are binding. Seam bindings keep fabric from unraveling. So “binding” joins two or more things together in a permanent or semi-permanent fashion. Uniting and having access to two powerful dreamwalkers is a great boon for Rose, Baxley’s Otherworld Mentor.

Why does assimilation hurt tribes? Don’t people have to live and make a living in the twenty-first century?

With assimilation comes the acceptance of another culture, another way of doing everything. As the Native American population wanes, assimilation focuses attention on two cultures at the same time. Many who embrace the new ways do not faithfully practice the old ways, watering down cultural identity.

Would or will Baxley be discriminated against by the tribe if she gets together with Mayes in a more formal way, as his standing girlfriend or wife?

Baxley and Mayes are paranormal rock stars to his tribe. They are very happy to have access to Baxley.

Baxley’s attitude toward guns has changed over the last five books. Why?

She’s been threatened by people with guns too many times. Since that first happened, she learned about gun safety and became weapons proficient.

How did Mayes find out that Roland was involved in military dream research?

He had an in with someone in that field.

Doesn’t knowing Roland isn’t dead and he was involved in military dream research motivate Baxley to get to the bottom of it? No one would probably acknowledge such a thing in the military, but I’m surprised she isn’t more active in seeking the truth.

Baxley is a pragmatist, plus once she realized she was keeping him from moving on, she let him go. Her thoughts are like this: all spirits are on journeys, bodies are merely temporary vessels.

Can Larissa dreamwalk? I knew she could “talk” to Baxley, but was this her first dreamwalk?

Larissa’s talents are still forming. She once had dreams about her missing friend, but those are the only visions she’s had. Baxley’s plan is for Larissa to have a normal childhood for as long as is possible.

Will the military give her Roland’s body?


Do you think people can become possessed by demons or other spirits?

I think anything is possible. It’s probably not as likely as, say, a car accident, but it could happen.

What’s next for Baxley?

Some big changes are coming down the pike for Baxley now that she’s a single woman again. Look for her next book, Dreamed It, tentatively scheduled for June 2019.

And now the most important question—why hasn’t Baxley washed her drapes in forever?

Ha Ha! Who puts washing the drapes on their to-do list? I don’t remember my mom ever washing our curtains when I was growing up. Baxley inherited her house from her grandmother, so those curtains have been gathering dust for a really, really long time. Also, many old-timey drapery materials are dry-clean only, and until recently, Baxley scraped together every penny to put food on the table.

Elaine, thanks so much for this visit. Your insightful questions certainly kept me on my toes.


Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Congratulations on your new release!

At the Blue Dot donut bakery in New Orleans, I made the acquaintance of Percy the potbellied pig, who trotted right in for his favorite powdered sugar donut hole.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Thanks again for the wonderful, on-point questions, Elaine. You make me sound as if I have a clipboard of ideas to get across when my writing process has become much more organic. I insert myself into the slipstream of story possibilities and enjoy the journey, same as a reader. That near magical process is what keeps me coming back to the computer to write again. I'm delighted to be featured today at Writers Who Kill. Thanks for the showcase and for your interest in this paranormal mystery series.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Thank you, Margaret! I'm sure Percy was quite the character!

Warren Bull said...

I admire the way you make the psychic aspect of your work conform to a consistent set of rules. It reminds me of J K Rowlings fantastic but logical magical universe.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Thanks, Warren. I think the rules aspect comes from my training as a scientist. Within each science experiment, the analysis works when you limit the number of variables. I applied that to the paranormal world and I think it bolstered the "reality" of such a setting and added conflict on several levels.

E. B. Davis said...

Maggie--thank you so much for the interview. I love this series, but then I love many of your series. What I'd really like--a few new Cleopatra Jones novels. I like the character and her dog! I so demanding--sorry!

Vicki Batman, sassy writer of funny fiction said...

Maggie, this is a super interview and delves into so much story. Thank you!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Excellent interview! Congrats on continuing this fine series.

Debra H. Goldstein said...

Great interview... brought out a lot of the conflicts within the story and the characters. Engaging!

Maggie Toussaint said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone!

Elaine - Cleo is out of the book business and into the world of novellas now. I'm not sure when I'll write another one, but you can find "No Quarter" in the Sleuthing Women II anthology.

Thank you, Vicki. I always enjoy Elaine's interviews.

Jacquie, thanks for stopping by!

Debra, I am happy to share space at this blog with you today. Confound It was a challenge because each choice I made set the scene for the next books in the series. That kind of long range plotting doesn't come naturally to me. Luckily, people like the story, so I feel like I acquitted myself well, despite all the planning involved!

Gloria Alden said...

Maggie I love your series and look forward to reading your latest book.

Jim Jackson said...

Yesterday finished before I was done with all I wanted to do, so I'm late.

It's a fun book, Maggie and I wish you and it an ocean's worth of success.

KM Rockwood said...

Great interview! I'm fascinated by the insights.

I have read some of this series, and intend to continue until I've read them all.

Morgan Mandel said...

Wonderful interview! Sounds like writing a series isn't that easy, with considering what you have to remember for the future books.

Morgan Mandel

Polly Iyer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Polly Iyer said...

Baxley is a wonderful character, and Maggie develops her and her relationships in such a way that the reader wants to know more. Congratulations on a terrific series, Maggie. Kudos to Elaine for another great interview.