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

April Interviews

4/1 Jennifer Chow, Mimi Lee Gets A Clue
4/8 John Gaspard
4/15 Art Taylor, The Boy Detective & The Summer of '74
4/22 Maggie Toussaint, Seas the Day
4/29 Grace Topping, Staging Wars

Saturday Guest Bloggers
4/4 Sasscer Hill
4/18 Jackie Green

WWK Bloggers:
4/11 Paula Gail Benson
4/25 Kait Carson


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 (wish they weren't having to compete against each other), and Annette Dashofy for Best Contemporary Novel--her fifth nomination!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

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."

Kaye George's first novel in the Vintage Sweets mystery series, Revenge is Sweet, will be released on March 10th. Look for the interview here on March 11.

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

Don't miss Shari Randall's "The Queen of Christmas" available on at Amazon. Shari's holiday story for WWK was too long so she published it for our enjoyment. It's available for 99 cents or on Kindle Unlimited for free!

KM Rockwood's "The Society" and "To Die A Free Man; the Story of Joseph Bowers" are included in the BOULD Awards Anthology, which was released on November 19. KM won second place with a cash prize for "The Society." Congratulations, KM! Kaye George's "Meeting on the Funicular" is also in this anthology, which can be bought for 99 cents on Kindle until November 30.

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, November 14, 2018

An Interview with Maggie Toussaint by E. B. Davis

Men. Seemed like the men in my life had definite ideas of how I should
conduct myself. I had news for them. My perspective mattered when
deciding what was best for me and my family, not theirs.
Maggie Toussaint, No Quarter, Kindle Loc. 970

No Quarter, A Cleopatra Jones Novella by Maggie Toussaint
Amnesia, the doctor says when accountant Cleopatra Jones wakes in a distant hospital. Hours later most of her memory returns. Detective Jack Martinez visits Cleo’s nearby wealthy client, only she’s dead and broke. To Cleo’s horror, she’s a murder suspect. Will she totally recover her memory before the killer returns?

Maggie Toussaint is one of the most prolific authors I know, but I’ve been waiting for No Quarter for five years. I’m not disappointed. This fourth installment in the Cleopatra Jones mystery series is a solid follow up—an accelerator. However—it is a novella. Although satisfying, it’s merely an appetizer. I hope a full-length novel will come out soon. (Sorry to be a nag, Maggie!)

In No Quarter, Cleo, an accountant braving the tax season, must solve the mystery of how she woke up in a hospital without memories of one day. Maggie does a great job of bringing the reader up-to-date on the characters. I love Madonna, Cleo’s St. Bernard, who helps her save the day.

If you haven’t read this series, start with the first, In For A Penny.

Welcome back to WWK, Maggie.                                        E. B. Davis

You are a Southern writer. Where are your roots?
My people are from the Georgia coast and my paternal heritage is from Scottish Highlanders. I grew up on land that belonged to my family for at least six generations. We grew up regulated by the tides, wind, and sunshine—and not much else! I never thought of myself as being rooted here because it went so much deeper than that. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. However, marriage took me to the mid-Atlantic region (where the Cleo books are set), and I spent the next nearly 28 years pining for home. Lucky for me, life is often a circle, and I happily returned home 14 years ago.

Charlie Jones, Cleo’s ex, has wanted to get back together. He jumps in and gives amnesia-stricken Cleo the wrong impression of their relationship. Why does she buy his malarkey?
Cleo loved her married life with Charlie and their two teenaged daughters, until Charlie fell for a smooth operator at the bank where he worked. His betrayal floored Cleo and left her emotionally wounded. It took a couple of years for her to get into the dating scene, and when she did, it was a big splash! But the new boyfriend has commitment issues and isn’t in the same we-gotta-get-married mindset as Cleo. Thus, when amnesia strikes Cleo, she remembers her earlier years first, those wonderfully secure days with Charlie. She needs a rock immediately and accepts Charlie’s offer of marriage to check that off her list. Her best friend has a hissy fit, but Cleo stands by her decision, for a while anyway.

Cleo lives in Maryland, but she is found in Loudoun County, VA. A long-time client of Cleo’s lives there. When the police check the address, the client is missing, and it seems, her two-million dollars have vanished too. Do they suspect Cleo of taking the money and making the client disappear?
In general, things get interesting when someone from out of state is found unconscious with no identification. I used that second layer of confusion to ramp up the conflict for Cleo in No Quarter. The police investigating the missing woman and her missing money don’t have any idea of who Cleo is or that she’s a good person. She’s fighting for her memory and her freedom, but the more she remembers, the closer the killer gets.

How easy is it to get rohypnol? How long does it take to clear the body? What is the crime for drugging someone—is it considered assault?
Rohypnol, also known as the date-rape drug, can be detected in blood for up to 12 hours after dosing, and in urine for up to 72 hours. This drug has never been licensed in the US, but it is legal in Mexico. Teenagers and young males between the ages of 13-30 are the biggest users of the drug. It can be obtained from the person in your neighborhood who sells illegal drugs. Use or possession of rohypnol (and other date-rape drugs) is a serious offense (felony) that can carry penalties of up to 20 years in prison. The legal charge for drugging someone and then having sex with them without their permission is often “rape by use of drugs.” The laws, charges, and penalties vary by jurisdiction.

If you asked me the manufacturer’s name of school buses from my youth, I’d have no clue. How did you come up with that one?
The bus manufacturer’s name, Bluebird, was a random fact that surfaced in my brain while plotting. I blame crossword puzzle clues for the duality. Crossword puzzles often have as clues words that mean more than one thing. So having a brand of bus relate to another more common usage of the word was a confluence of serendipity and a happy muse. As a kid in a small rural community, it was a big deal to ride the bus. All grades of school started at the same time, and for my school, all grades were in the same multi-wing building. Because I was small for my age and because the boys were often out of control in the back of the bus, the bus driver made sure I sat up front where she could keep an eye on me. Pretty much, I had a front row seat of the manufacturer’s name every day.

Even though Cleo notices Detective Martinez wears no wedding ring, Cleo ignores her interest in him in favor of the case. Because Cleo is an accountant, she offers to track down the missing money, but he rebuffs her offer. And yet, he later asks for her help. Is he territorial or protective or passive-aggressive?
Detective Martinez surprised me and my critique partner. After only a few scenes, my critique partner said, “he’s really interesting. Cleo should dump her boyfriend and date him.” What a surprise! I’d just planned for him to pass through the pages of the story and plunge back into the story ether. Nope, his character will have legs for the next entry in the series. Martinez is trying to make a good impression on Cleo, and he believes he can solve the case. However, because he became worthy of her, he also came to his senses and asked for Cleo’s help, when he and all of his men came up emptyhanded during the property search. He’s definitely an alpha male, and he’s been biding his time until the case is cleared before he thinks about asking Cleo out. Good thing he asked her too, or the case would’ve remained open on his books.

It’s said the quiet neighbors next door are the ones who could be “silent millionaires.” Do the Taylors fit that description?
The Taylors told their accountant (Cleo) where their money came from-they made a bundle when a developer planted condos all over their dairy farm. The Taylors lived a modest lifestyle in a regular middle-class home in a middle class neighborhood. Other than their sweet luxury car, no one could tell they had more money than their neighbors.

You use the word “snick.” It’s a great word. How did the lack of a snick help Cleo?
Isn’t it a fun word? To me it’s the sound metal parts make when they fit together. In this particular usage, the lack of a snick meant that the door hadn’t closed far enough for the latch to seat in the strike plate. That meant the door could be pushed opened easily without turning the doorknob.

Why is Detective Martinez so concerned about the Feds taking over the case?
Martinez has jurisdiction in his Virginia county. If the Feds learn his case is related to happenings in multiple states, they will take the case. Martinez wants credit for solving this case and clearing Cleo’s name. He believes doing so will sweep Cleo off her feet and into his arms.

No Quarter—the title—it harkens to a different era and pirates. Why No Quarter?
The Cleopatra Jones series has an accountant sleuth and coin names in book titles. Though this story isn’t a full-length book, I continued the naming convention. I had several different titles with the word quarter in it, but I kept coming back to No Quarter. (The phrase “no quarter” means that no prisoners are taken. All on the enemy’s side are killed.) In this novella, the killer didn’t yield quarter to Cleo’s client. The client died. Cleo has some survivor’s guilt because she didn’t wake up dead, but she’s rattled because the killer stole her memory. This killer is a modern-day pirate.

What’s next for Cleo? When?
I know you’re dying for another Cleo story! I do plan to continue this series, but there’s only so much of me to go around. Right now, I’ve got two more books in the Dreamwalker Mysteries to release. (Look for Dreamed It next June!) I’ve also begun writing another straight cozy mystery. If the series premise gets legs, there will be pressure to write more in that line. However, I’m not done with Cleo yet. Rest assured, Cleo and her St. Bernard Madonna have a special place in my heart, and they will be back, in one format or another. Thanks for loving her as much as I do!

Also, thanks for having me here. It’s always a pleasure to visit Writers Who Kill.


Tina said...

Great to see another book from you, Maggie -- congrats! It looks like another winner~

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Congratulations on your new release!

Debra H. Goldstein said...

Looking forward to reading this book. Congrats... and a new series, possibly? Tantalizing.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Good morning to Writers Who Kill bloggers and readers! Apologies for a late start this morning. After watching with young grandkids for ten days, one of them inadvertently shared something that necessitated an antibiotic! Last night was the first time I've slept more than three hours at a time since nearly October. I feel like a new woman.

And really, that's the whole point of my Cleopatra Jones series - becoming a new woman. Cleo gets a new self-discovery journey in every appearance of the mystery series. It was a delight to write No Quarter and to have the opportunity to visit with friends at Writers Who Kill Again.

Thanks to Elaine for a fab interview. She always picks up on things in the story - I swear, her insights are so spot-on, it feels as if she's in my head when I'm writing. Thanks to blogmates Tina, Margaret, and Debra for their warm wishes and kind words this morning.

What a great start for a Wednesday - feeling rested and hanging out with people who love mysteries!

Warren Bull said...

I admire your work ethic.

KM Rockwood said...

Love the picture of the dog!

And I'm looking forward to both this book and your new series.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi Maggie,

Excellent interview! Glad to see you've written a new Cleopatra Jones mystery.
Best wishes.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Thanks, Warren. A long time ago, I convinced my husband that I would work hard at writing if I could just quit my day job. He agreed. Since then, my motivation has been to keep writing or to seek another full time job! I love writing, so I write, even on days when the words don't come easy. After being at this for a number of years, I know that once I have words on a page or screen, I can edit them into something that works. I've been blessed with some fun ideas so I'm hoping to keep my muse happy!

Hi KM, thanks for the kind words. I was really enjoying writing the Cleopatra Jones series when the market started going wonky. Since sales are important, I switched to a new series, a paranormal one, inspired by missing my sister. After writing seven books in that series, I'm ready to veer away from paranormal back into the realm of "straight" cozies. That's the vision for the new River and Pete series, anyway.

Hi Jacquie, You are always so kind and considerate. Thanks for leaving a comment. As for the interview, much of the content is in response to Elaine's questions. It is eerie sometimes how keen an insight she has into Cleo's character. I'm so glad we have this connection.

Gloria Alden said...

I can't wait to read another of your books. I really loved the other ones I read by you.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Thank you, Gloria! I'm excited that readers enjoy my books. It is truly a love of story that keeps me going.