Tag Archive | Texas

TERRY SHAMES-THE SAMUEL CRADDOCK SERIES

 

Terry Shames 3 photo by Margaretta K. Mitchell Terry Shames is the author of the award-winning best-selling Samuel Craddock series, set in the fictitious town of Jarrett Creek, Texas. MysteryPeople named Terry Shames one of the top Five Texas Mystery authors of 2015!

Welcome Terry, I am excited you are here and anxious to hear about this series. 

What brought about the writing of this particular series?

 I had been struggling to find a publishing niche for several years. I took time off when my son was in middle school and high school and when I went back to writing, I took a weekend workshop that changed my writing life. In it, one of the workshop leaders spoke passionately about the need to find your own voice. I had heard this advice before (“Find an empty space on the bookstore shelves and fill it,” and “Write the book that only you can write.”). Maybe I was ready to hear the advice, but a month later I sat down and thought about the book only I could write. I had written a few short stories set in the fictitious town of Jarrett Creek, which was based on the town where my grandparents lived when I was growing up, and I thought it would be a natural setting for me. And when I thought of a main character, there was really no question. I was very close to my grandfather. He was no angel, but he had a strong sense of fairness and responsibility. I thought those qualities would be excellent in a protagonist who solved crimes. The first book in the series poured out of me as if it had been waiting to be told.

I love the rural life you create your story in and the Texas setting. It’s that small settlement feeling, where everyone knows everyone. And the characters you create just come to life.

killing-at-cotton-hill-175  This book, A Killing at Cotton Hill, was a finalist for numerous awards and won the Macavity for Best First Mystery, 2013.

For those who don’t know The Macavity Award’s name is the “mystery cat” of T.S. Eliot (Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats). Each year the members of Mystery Readers International nominate and vote for their favorite mysteries in four categories.

Is there a purpose behind the story that you want your readers to know?

I have heard it said writers have one main story to tell, or one main idea to explore. I am always interested in the way secrets affect people. The person keeping the secret isn’t able to fully be part of a family and community. I’m not talking about small secrets (when you stole a lipstick from the drugstore when you were nine), I’m talking about the big ones. Big secrets ripple all the way through the community. Sometimes an entire community has made the decision to ignore an open secret. When I was growing up, there was a woman in our community who was a kleptomaniac. Everyone knew it and was complicit in allowing her husband to quietly return purloined items.

nonie-blake-175    Families sometimes simply don’t talk about the family member who is a little “off.” In my latest book, The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake, the family has chosen to hide a family member who did something terrible by sending her to a mental facility. But as the book reveals, there’s more to it. Liars keep secrets in order to save face. And sometimes they even kill to make sure the secret doesn’t overwhelm them.

What was the most challenging part in writing this story?

For some reason The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake didn’t present the challenge I talked about in the prior answer. It seemed to unfold easily. But in that book most of the challenge was in researching how mental illness would have been described and handled twenty years ago.

dead-broke-175  Every book seems to present a challenge at some point. Usually for me it’s the plot resolution. I know how I want it to end, but I don’t know exactly how to get there. My third book, Dead Broke in Jarrett Creek, lead me astray until I had a complete mess. Finally I went back to the middle and realized where I had gone wrong. Sometimes it’s when you try to force your characters into roles they don’t want to inhabit, but sometimes it’s not exerting enough control over your story. It’s a delicate balance. 

death of jacklast-death-175 The Last Death of Jack Harbin was a Macavity finalist for Best Mystery, 2014 and named one of the top ten mysteries of 2014 by Library Journal and top five of 2014 by MysteryPeople.

Tell us about this book.

 Right before the outbreak of the Gulf War, two eighteen-year-old football stars and best friends from Jarrett Creek, Texas, signed up for the army. But Woody Patterson was rejected and stayed home to marry the girl they both loved, while Jack Harbin came back from the war badly damaged. The men haven’t spoken since.

Just as they are about to reconcile, Jack is brutally murdered. With the chief of police out of commission, it’s up to trusted ex-chief Samuel Craddock to investigate. Against the backdrop of small-town loyalties and betrayals, Craddock discovers dark secrets of the past and present to solve the mystery of Jack’s death.

Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge When I finished my fourth book, A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge, which came out last May, the end didn’t satisfy me. It was empty and didn’t give me the resolution I wanted. My editor told me to keep thinking about it. Finally I appealed to my agent, and she told me that one scene didn’t quite work for her. I immediately realized that what was in my head hadn’t fully made it onto the page. Fixing it required a whole new scene and a big expansion of another scene. When I was done, I knew it was right.

 I read A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge. Could not put it down. Loved the twist you created in the story. In fact, I liked it so well, my husband decided he wanted to read it. He too could enjoyed reading this book and liked your story style.

Did the writing require a lot of research and if so what kind?

All the books require some kind of research. I do “backwards” research, which I fear one day will get me in trouble. I usually write my books the way I “think” things would go. If I have a question about the way law enforcement works, how an autopsy would be handled, or the type of gun someone would carry, for example, I write it the way I think it would be and put big stars around it. When the first draft is done, I go back to find the stars and research how it would really happen—to make sure I haven’t made any glaring mistakes. In a couple of books, I’ve had to go back several years to find out how things would have been done.

In book three, I relied on an official website for information about law enforcement. After the book was edited, I had the good fortune to attend a talk at Heart of Texas Sisters in Crime, given by a veteran detective. I asked him about the protocol. He laughed and told me that officially it was supposed to work that way, but in reality it was handled much differently. I instantly phoned my editor. Fortunately, it wasn’t too late to make the few lines of changes. Here’s the thing: it wouldn’t have really mattered if the book had been published with the error. I doubt that anyone would have quibbled. But I knew that it was wrong, and I wanted it to be right.

Thank you Terry for visiting with us today. We have enjoyed learning more about your writing and books. I recommend them for other readers, knowing they will enjoy your stories and writing style.

Be sure a visit Terry Shames at:

http://terryshames.com/

http://terryshamesbooks.blogspot.com

 

 

 

Tina Bausinger–Busy Is Living

tina bausinger1Tina Bausinger, knows about being a mama to teenagers. Her newest book, Cold Coffee and Speed Limits: Encouragement for Mamas of Teens is a book for you if you have teenagers. It’s an honest guide to the joys and heartbreak of raising teens.

Tina Book CoverShe is a mother of three teenagers, a writer, experimental cook, and an English professor.

“I live in Texas (the land of Old Yeller) and I survive on large amounts of coffee and ungodly amounts of sugar. It’s really not healthy.”

Tell us more about you.

“Besides being a mom, and a wife of 24 years, I’m a scholar, a writer, a poet, a public speaker and an English professor.”

You’re  also an award-winning writer and you’ve been published in several venues.

“I also like to cook. I like cooking good southern dishes that fill the stomach and warm the soul.”

Tell us some of the groups you’ve spoken to.

“The Dallas Fort Worth Writers Conference, NISOD (National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development) in Austin, The South Central Writing Centers Association Conference in Corpus Christi, and the Keynote Speaker for the Sigma Kappa Delta Induction Ceremony at Tyler Junior College.”

I noticed how much you give back in helping other writers as well as mothers. In reading some of your blog, I found where you share writing techniques and give moms’ encouragement.

WarEagleWomen2_850 (1)Tell us about your book,  War Eagle Women.

“It’s about strong Southern women who, although they are hopelessly flawed, put nothing else above those they love.  You might be interested in seeing the book trailer for War Eagle Women. It  was featured on USA Today. Here is the link:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/492651646714260003/

Thank you for visiting with us today Tina. Let us know when your next book comes out.

Be sure and visit Tina at: http://tinabausinger.com/

Beth Wiseman-Soaring

beth wisemanBeth Wiseman is the best-selling author of the Daughters of the Promise series and the Land of Canaan series. Having sold over 1.5 million books, her novels have held spots on the ECPA (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association) Bestseller List and the CBA (Christian Book Association) Bestseller List. She was the recipient of the prestigious Carol Award in 2011 and 2013. She is a three-time winner of the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award, and an INSPY Award winner. In 2013, she took home the coveted Holt Medallion. Her first book in the Land of Canaan series–Seek Me with All Your Heart was selected as the 2011 Women of Faith Book of the Year. Beth is contracted with HarperCollins Christian Publishing into the year 2018, and she has published twelve novels and nine novellas to date.

 

Thank you for dropping by and visiting Beth. I am anxious for you to tell us about your new book, Her Brother’s Keeper, releasing July 7.

 

Her-Brothers-Keeper-book-cover-275x400This is a new series I’ve begun called Amish Secrets and this is the first novel in the series. Her Brother’s Keeper. Charlotte Dolinsky is not above playing dress-up and telling a few lies to find out what happened to her only brother. In fact, that is exactly what she’s come to Lancaster County to do. Now, calling herself Mary and slipping on a kapp, Charlotte will lie her way into the confidence of anyone who knows why Ethan had to die. Unless she gets found out first.

But when Charlotte befriends a quiet Amish man named Isaac Miller, she begins to rethink her motives. And with a little help from a friend back home, Charlotte might find out that love comes packaged in ways she couldn’t have foreseen.

Isaac’s been caring for his cancer-stricken father and sympathizing with his frustrated mother for three difficult years. And that means he hasn’t been dating. He believes Hannah King is the woman for him, but Hannah is still grieving the loss of her fiancé, and Isaac has all he can handle on the farm. When Hannah’s family plays host to a woman named Mary, their new cousin shakes things up for all of them.

As Charlotte digs deeper into the mystery of Ethan’s death, she finds more than she’d bargained for in the community he once called home. But will she ever learn the truth? And what will the community—and her new family—do if they learn the truth about her?

I read on your website that you wanted this series to be a bit different, a little edgier. Tell us about that.

 After writing two other Amish series and lots of Amish novellas, I wanted to create a new series that would be a bit edgier than what I’ve done in the past. Her Brother’s Keeper deals with serious subject matter. I wanted to challenge the characters to search their hearts and beliefs when tragedy strikes.

What intrigues you most about the Amish?

Their ability to forgive, often when it doesn’t come easily.  But since they do believe that all things are of God’s will, they accept whatever happens to them or loved ones as something more far-reaching than they might be able to understand.   Their sense of family is so strong, and I love being around the Amish children.  There is a sense of innocence that shines through.  And I love the fact that the Plain People are so funny.  They love to tell jokes, and many of them have a dry sense of humor.

You were just interviewed in Southern Writers Magazine, the March/April issue.Cover March 2015 med One of the things you talked about was spreading your wings and breaking into a new setting.

Yes. As a born and raised Texan, it seemed logical to write about what I knew.  I alternate between Amish stories and non-Amish contemporaries, which truly is the best of both worlds for me.  It’s like making new friends and visiting old friends—silver and gold.

It has been a pleasure talking with you about your new book. I hope you will visit again soon.

Be sure and visit Beth Wiseman on her website:    http://bethwiseman.com/