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

February Interviews

2/5 Heather Weidner, Glitter, Glam, and Contraband
2/12 Rhys Bowen, Above The Bay of Angels
2/19 Elizabeth Penney, Hems & Homicide
2/26 Annette Dashofy, Under The Radar

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
2/1 Valerie Burns
2/8 Jeannette de Beauvoir
2/15 Kathryn Lane

WWK Bloggers: 2/22 Kait Carson, 1/28 & 1/29 Special Interviews with Agatha Nominees by Paula Gail Benson


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.

Paula Gail Benson's story "Wisest, Swiftest, Kindest" appears in Love in the Lowcountry an anthology by the Lowcountry Romance Writers available 11/5 in e-book and print format on Amazon. The anthology includes fourteen stories all based in Charleston, South Carolina.

Kaye George's "Grist for the Mill" was published in A Murder of Crows anthology, edited by Sandra Murphy on October 9th.

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.

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


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

An Interview with Maggie Toussaint by E. B. Davis

The fall from superstar to worker bee in a matter of seconds
felt meteoric, but truthfully it was another day at the office.
I was the sheriff’s new app. Instead of point
and click, I’d become point and sniff.
Maggie Toussaint, Dreamed It, (Kindle Loc. 1266)

Justice for the dead and solace for the living is Baxley Powell’s creed, but she faces uncharted territory in this sixth book of the Dreamwalker Mystery Series. The Suitcase Killer has struck again, only this big city menace is now a problem for Baxley’s hometown. As that investigation heats up, a local woman is reported missing. The sheriff orders Baxley to work the missing person’s case. Listening to the dead is familiar ground for Baxley but finding a missing young lady isn’t in her skill set. Besides, her dreams rarely follow a timeline. With the clock ticking, can this crime consultant discover a way to reach the living? Her main source of help in the afterlife, a mentor named Rose, is unavailable. Instead, Baxley must rely on her wits and her Native American boyfriend, Deputy Sam Mayes, to find leads. Each shared dreamwalk and energy transfer binds them closer together, creating another issue. Mayes wants to marry Baxley but it isn’t that easy. They’re hampered by their community roles in opposite ends of the state. Baxley juggles the pressure of two high-profile cases, a determined suitor, and expanding her limits. One thing is certain. Without her extrasensory sleuthing, the missing woman will die.

If you’ve followed Maggie Toussaint’s Dreamwalker series, this cover shows changes the new sixth novel Dreamed It introduce. While previous covers had color, few had a human figure on them let alone full face. It’s not Baxley Powell, Maggie’s dreamwalker main character, because she doesn’t have white hair.

Baxley has solved the riddles of her past and made peace with them. She still has ongoing issues with her mentor, Rose, who is curiously absent in this book. I can’t say I missed her. Although Baxley’s dreamwalks help solve the mystery, most of the action takes place in reality—real world dilemmas that are life threatening.

Dreamed It is one of the best reads in this series. I loved the others, but this one realigned the series. It’s powerful. It’s a balance between Baxley and Sam Mayes, her boyfriend, between Mayes and Sheriff Wayne, and hopefully will become a balance between the dreamwalkers and Rose.  We’ll see what Maggie brings us next!

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

Thank you, E.B. Davis, for the opportunity to visit Writers Who Kill. I always love coming here and your interviews are so much fun.

At the start, Baxley and Sam wake up from a dreamwalk they don’t remember, but they also find that they are in a different place. Although they eventually figure out what happened, they don’t know who is responsible. If it had been Rose, wouldn’t one of Baxley’s tattoos Rose seared on Baxley’s arm disappear or change in some way indicating she owed Rose less time?

Based on the rules of this story world, one assumes that would happen. However, as you’ve mentioned some key elements are shifting in this saga. There’s still that dichotomy of “is Rose really what she says she is” playing out, i.e., is she really an angel masquerading as a demon? Baxley doesn’t exactly trust her Other World mentor, but she relies on Rose for help in the afterlife so she is allied with her.

When a body of a woman is found inside a suitcase near a closed stripper bar, Sam Mayes calls his boss, a sheriff from a northern Georgia county, to get reassigned so he can stay near to Baxley and also get involved in the high-profile case. How can another sheriff reassign personnel to another county without a request?

In this fictional world where Mayes’ boss is running for governor, anything is possible. Baxley’s boss, Sheriff Wayne Thomson, is savvy enough to realize he doesn’t want to be on the wrong side of the future governor of Georgia. Though Wayne is all-about-Wayne, he agrees to have Mayes temporarily reassigned to his unit. After all, he requested Maye’s help in a previous case (Confound It), so there is already a precedent set wherein all the players have established a cooperation basis.

Mayes contacts an agent in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) without getting Wayne’s permission. He knows the agent has been collecting data about the Suitcase Killer. Was it an inadvertent gaff or was it done “accidently on purpose?”

Those new to the series might not know that Mayes is being groomed for Sheriff Blair’s job in North Georgia. He’s used to running his own investigations and working without close supervision. However, Sheriff Wayne Thompson keeps all of his staff on a short leash. To Mayes, contacting the GBI agent was the next step, and since they were acquainted, it was expedient for Mayes to initiate contact. Wayne did not take that well, and overreacted, which put Baxley in a near-death situation.

A missing-person’s report is filed on a young woman in Baxley’s county. After Baxley is over stimulated and passes out from exposure to the stripper bar, Sheriff Wayne assigns her to the missing-person case. How does Baxley contact the living?

As an author, this was a fun problem to have! In each book of the series, Baxley has been opening herself to accepting all of her psychic powers. She’s gone from only dreaming in her sleep, to dreaming in a meditative state, to touch readings, and more. In this book, she struggles to access the missing woman. What she is able to first detect through touch readings is the woman’s despair and loneliness. Her ghost dog also helps track the missing woman, so she doesn’t have to do this by herself.

Is Mayes’s Native American name for Baxley, Walks with Ghosts, a misnomer? She seems to be able to walk with the living as well.

Mayes gave her that nickname because he knew that Oliver, an earthbound dog spirit, was attached to her. In language and religion, there are times when the words ghost and spirit are used interchangeably. I favor this usage, and by extension, have Baxley contacting the spirit portion of a living person in addition to her communion with spirits of the dead. However, as with learning any new skill, there are speedbumps and errors along the way.

What does u ge-yu-di mean? Why won’t Mayes tell Baxley what it means?

It means lovely. And he does tell her. He’s also sneaky about using her ignorance of his cultural traditions to get them engaged Native American style before he asks her parents for her hand in marriage. Mayes knows a good thing when he sees it, and he’s made no secret of the fact that Baxley is the life mate he wants by his side.

You made up the embarrassing tale involving the embezzlement of public funds and the mayor of Tampa, FL, right?

Absolutely! One hundred percent fiction. In the first book of the series, Rose had Baxley contact a woman in Tampa as a test. When I needed someplace for Baxley to go in Dreamed It, Tampa was the logical alternative. As for mayor scandals, there are a good many reported online from other cities.

Why doesn’t Baxley like surprise gifts?

A long time ago, she got the terrible surprise of sitting in an uncle’s chair and getting trapped in the rift. Not knowing how to traverse the area between the living and the dead, she tumbled out of control until someone noticed her plight. Ever since then, she’s very guarded and prefers to have order in her already chaotic life.

Baxley asks good questions. Mayes makes good deductions. Is that why they are a good team?

It’s part of the dynamic. Mayes is also a dreamwalker so they can work together in this world or the next. His skillset is slightly different, and one of the things he can do is generate energy to recharge Baxley when she overdoes it. Basically, he speaks her language on every plane of existence.

Baxley and Mayes get into an awkward situation at the morgue. Because the ME bleached the victim’s bones, they must team up to dreamwalk because the connection is too weak. To do so, Baxley lays down on top of Mayes while each of them holds a bone of the victim to tap into her memories. But they are caught by the morgue staff, who thinks they are doing something kinky. Why is Baxley so adamant to rectify their perception and Mayes doesn’t seem to care?

As a local crime consultant, Baxley can’t afford to have avenues of investigation closed to her. Plus she’s mortified that the M.E. thought she would do anything unprofessional in the morgue. Mayes is more pragmatic. The M.E. has a closed mind and nothing Mayes says or does will change that. It’s cultural. Baxley dreams of universal acceptance while Mayes feels that some people’s prejudice’s run too deep for acceptance.
Does Cherokee custom mandate the prospective groom ask for the bride’s mother’s permission to marry?

Yes. Cherokee have a matriarchal society.

When Wayne gets into trouble with the FBI, Mayes seems eager to take over the sheriff’s position, and yet, when Wayne covers for them, Mayes is fine with Wayne taking credit for finding the serial killer. I find that a bit hard to believe. Doesn’t Mayes want credit?

Mayes is quite comfortable in the role of acting sheriff due to being groomed to take over as sheriff in his home county in north Georgia. One thing to remember about Mayes. He isn’t a lawman for the glory of it. It’s one more tool in his skillset to fight the evil in this world. Like Baxley, he’d prefer to stay out of the limelight. In Dreamed It, Mayes and Baxley grapple with their careers being in opposite ends of the state. Mayes would give up being a deputy if it meant he got Baxley.

Will Baxley learn much from her dreamwalker grandmother’s journals?

Baxley struggles with her unusual skill set, wanting a normal life for her daughter, and community acceptance. The journals represent a way for her to see how an ancestress dealt with similar issues. There is a bond that occurs when people share the same journey and the net effect is to give Baxley a clearer view of who and what she is.

“Perception versus truth” is a big element of Dreamed It. Why and how does it apply?

Authors rarely write in a vacuum, and I have found that larger scale events in reality can sneak into my work. I don’t have a degree in sociology, so apologies if I misstate this principle. “Like attracts like” is a real thing. If a room was filled with orange people and there were two blue people at opposite ends of the room, more than likely the blue people would seek each other out. The reason for this is that people in general are comfortable with people who look like us, act like us, and think like us. People with different customs, manners, behaviors, and more take us out of our comfort zone. Further, some people value perception over truth. In our nation and the world, we see that playing out over and over again. In Dreamed It (and other Dreamwalker novels), Baxley and Mayes face people willing to believe perception and unwilling to hear uncomfortable truths. Sound familiar?

What’s next for Baxley?

In fall of 2020, book seven of this series, All Done With It, will release. Writing this book challenged me in ways I couldn’t imagine before I started on it. My goal for this book is for everyone to have a sense of closure as various elements of the series come together and reprise in a new way. I don’t want to say too much and give away the plot but I think it’s pretty darn awesome.


Grace Topping said...

Congratulations, Maggie, on another outstanding publication.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Congratulations on your new release!

Paula Gail Benson said...

It's always great to follow Baxley's progress. Thanks, Maggie, for your innovative and fascinating storytelling!

Debra H. Goldstein said...

I've enjoyed all the books in the series, but this one, being a little different in terms of how Baxley must work against time to save the living was a compelling read. The pages turned until I finished the book....so thanks, for disturbing my planned bedtime.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Thank you to Grace, Margaret, Paula, and Debra for your kind words about this series. One thing most folks don't know is that I've written my previous books mostly using outlines with a lot of room for variance. The Dreamwalker series was a totally pantser write, and it was both terrifying and exhilarating on my end. I'm a person who plans in real life and doesn't do well with surprises. These characters and these stories were full of surprises, and I think that's how they HAD to be written. I was way out of my comfort zone and I am most thankful that the stories hang together as compelling reads.

Thank you also to Elaine, who is the best interviewer I've ever had. She challenges me to look deep for why I did things. She sees threads and themes that my conscious mind missed. She makes me work for each of the answers but I'm always pleased with the result and delighted of course to visit Writers Who Kill.


carla said...

Maggie, it's really interesting that you were a pantser for this project. Stepping out of our comfort zones can lead to incredible stories--but dang, that loss of control!!

Maggie Toussaint said...

I hear you, Carla. I was lucky not to put on twenty pounds from all the coping chocolate I consumed. Maybe walking the floor helped burn some of those calories. I'm thrilled it wasn't a wasted effort and even more delighted at the reception this series has had.

Thanks for your comment, Carla!

Connie Berry said...

Congratulations, Maggie. The blurb is deliciously tempting. Can't wait to read!

Morgan Mandel said...

So glad you're getting so much accomplished! Keep going with your series, girl!

Cheryl Pierson said...

Maggie, congratulations! I admire anyone who can write a series, and you are going great guns! So happy for your success with this series, and I'm looking forward to reading it--I love the mysticism you have included! Hugs!

Maggie Toussaint said...

Thanks for your comments and encouragement Connie, Morgan, and Cheryl. I appreciate every word!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Congrats, Maggie, on the publication of your latest novel. It sounds like a fascinating book. I enjoyed reading this excellent in-depth interview.

Maggie Toussaint said...

I appreciate the visit, Jacquie. Thanks for your kind words about the interview.

KM Rockwood said...

All the elements of mesmerizing mysteries! No wonder they are so popular.

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

GREAT interview Maggie!
LOVE your covers
Good luck and God's blessings

Donnell Ann Bell said...

Fascinating interview, Maggie and E.B. And Maggie what a cover. I've missed your series, do I need to start with book 1. Sorry to be out of the loop!

Vinnie Hansen said...

I enjoyed stopping by and finding out more about your work, Maggie. Fascinating!

authorlindathorne said...

Very interesting. You got a lot said here about your books and they sound great. E.B. Davis did a great job and so did you.

Maggie Toussaint said...

I am so very thankful for all these kind and encouraging words. Thank you, KM, Pamela, Donnell, Vinnie, and Linda for stopping by and commenting. I hope you’ll all give the Dreamwalker Mysteries a spin.