Monday, January 10, 2011

Author Interview with Maggie Toussaint

The blog studio curtain opens and Carol Ann walks on stage. "Good morning!" The audience applauds and yells "Good morning!"

CAROL ANN:  I'm so thrilled to have a wonderful author with me today. Author Maggie Toussaint is published in mystery and romance. Her recent release, MUDDY WATERS, is a romantic suspense where danger stalks friends turned lovers as they search for hidden treasure. Her debut release, HOUSE OF LIES, won Best Romantic Suspense in the 2007 National Readers Choice Awards. Her other titles include SEEING RED, NO SECOND CHANCE, and IN FOR A PENNY. Two mysteries are contracted: ON THE NICKEL (March 2011) and DEATH, ISLAND STYLE (2012). Maggie’s an active member of Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. Visit her at www.maggietoussaint.com,  http://mudpiesandmagnolias.blogspot.com/, and www.facebook.com/maggietoussaint/ 

The band begins playing Jimmy Buffet's song, "Cheeseburger in Paradise".

CAROL ANN: (Yelling above the music) Please welcome Maggie Toussaint!!
The curtain opens and Maggie dances onstage singing.



CAROL ANN:  (Laughing) Maggie, why is the band playing that particular song?

MAGGIE: I'm on a diet and on this diet, I don't get much red meat, and I could really use a burger right now.

CAROL ANN: It's still morning, but now you've made me crave a juicy cheeseburger, too! Have a seat. I'm so thrilled to have you here today.

MAGGIE: I'm happy to be hear, too. I hear it's going to snow later today.

CAROL ANN: Yes, AGAIN. I'm not relishing the next few months of winter here in mid-Ohio. I love to look at it, but I sure do hate shoveling. But, enough about me. I want the audience to know more about you. Besides books, do you have any collections?

MAGGIE: I collect angels, a practice I started years ago. I am drawn to cherub-styled angels, the ones that have a child-like form with the wisdom of ages stamped across their faces. Living far from home for twenty-some-odd years, I began my collection to honor relatives who passed away. I come from a large family, and through time, my angels spilled into every room of our house. They are a source of comfort and represent (to me at least) a timeless connection with family members.

CAROL ANN: Maggie, I have to confess I learned about this collection several years ago when we did an interview. The way you started this collection to honor relatives who passed away became a part of the book I'm now writing.  Just goes to prove that writers never know when they are going to pick up a bit of information that will later appear in a book. Okay, now  pretend that you are in a restaurant having lunch, when a reporter shoves a microphone at you and you have one minute to tell the world something very important. What would you say?

MAGGIE:  Omigosh! After wasting ten seconds on being stunned and asking if it was a joke, I’d waste another ten sorting through the Ten Commandments and other truths I’ve lived by. Then I’d talk very fast.

“Life is a journey with new delights and challenges around every bend. Treat others as you would like to be treated and live each day to the fullest. Work hard but play too. And while you’re relaxing consider reading for the sheer fun of it. My books ensure a happily ever after while challenging you to solve the who-dun-it before the end of the story. Check out my books at maggietoussaint.com.”



CAROL ANN:  (Laughing) Now that's some fast talking! I hope your writing comes as easily and flows as quickly. Have you ever experienced writer’s block?


MAGGIE: I sure hope I don’t jinx myself, but so far, I haven’t gotten blocked. I’ve had times where I wrote myself in a corner, and I had to backtrack to pick up a viable story thread. Those times were disappointing but have become less frequent as I better understand the finer points of story events and pacing. If I have a slow day where my word count doesn’t meet my daily goal, I push through it and keep writing even if it seems like drivel. I’m always amazed at how editing can lift something mediocre into prose that soars.

CAROL ANN: Who can make you laugh?

MAGGIE:  Growing up and in early adulthood, my favorite commedian was Bill Cosby. I love the way he thinks. I’ve since enjoyed listening to other commedian, but my sense of humor is slightly offbeat. Sometimes a phrase or a person’s expression or an outfit strikes me as funny, and I can’t stop laughing. My husband much prefers watching movies at home where I can laugh at will. He understands me, most of the time, God bless him.

CAROL ANN: 6. Are you an introvert or an extravert? How does that play into your writing life?


MAGGIE:  Definitely an introvert but I can fake the other for short periods of time. I’m assertive and confident when speaking in public, so that part is good. What folks don’t see is that for an hour’s workshop I give, I put in tons of time up front to prep (as everyone would do) but then I need several hours by myself to be human again. I’m a miserable puppy if I don’t get that solo recharge time.

Being an introvert helps with writing. I don’t mind the long hours alone – they energize me. Many people need the chaos of a coffeeshop to compose, but I need a quiet place where my imagination can take flight. The other stuff is a distraction to me, like static on a radio frequency.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’ve got the inside track to writing nirvana. I’m just fortunate enough to know myself and to optimize my writing experience.

CAROL ANN: That's a wonderful thing. Each writer must learn what works for them and then make that a daily practice. Thanks for sharing that with us. Now for a more serious question. If you knew you only had 30 days to live, what would you do with the remaining days?


MAGGIE: I’d visit friends and family members and spend meaningful time with them. I’d search online for the perfect angel and gift individual angels to each loved one.

CAROL ANN: Wow, that's beautiful. Many people would think of all the things they hadn't done and want to cram them in, but family is so important and life sometimes keeps us from spending quality time with loved ones. Right audience?

APPLAUSE FOLLOWS

CAROL ANN:  Do you have any phobias? Afraid of heights, spiders?


MAGGIE: I share a certain phobia with Indiana Jones. Snakes bug the heck out of me. One of my favorite shows on TV is “Survivor,” and they are forever showing snakes slinking around. **shudder** I know snakes hold a valuable niche in our ecosystem, but I don’t need to see them.

Another odd thing about me is my vertigo. I wasn’t thinking about spatial disorientation when we crammed a kazillion people in the elevator of the Eiffel Tower (and I’m a tad claustrophobic too), but when we stepped outside, I could not go near the edge. I felt like the world was jumping and wavy and if I stepped near the edge I would be sucked into the void and plummet to my death. I caught the next elevator back down. Fortunately, there was a crepe stand nearby, and I immediately felt better.

CAROL ANN:  Thank goodness for food! Which goes along with your choice of a theme song for the day. (BOTH LAUGH ALONG WITH THE AUDIENCE)

CAROL ANN:  We’ve all had one of those “embarrassing moments.” Would you share one of yours with us?


MAGGIE:  Gosh, I tend to block that stuff from memory. But in the spirit of the interview, I will reveal one faux pas.

Long ago in a land far away, I joined my husband for an upscale Christmas party. It was a big deal because this was the first time I would be meeting his new boss. I shopped for weeks to find an outfit that fit into our tight budget that didn’t scream “unsophisticated idiot,” I made an effort with makeup and hair, and I believe I was even wearing jewelry and nail polish – any one of these things would ordinarily be a Big Deal for me. My kids were little, and I bathed them ahead of time, fixed their dinner, picked up the babysitter, rented a movie – well, you get the picture. By the time we arrived at the Christmas party, I was running on fumes.

It was cold that night and of course my sophisticated outfit wasn’t warm. I hurried over to the fireplace, where as luck would have it, stood my husband’s new boss. I think he had high blood pressure or something, because his face was bright red. He had very dark features and dark clothing and was about two inches shorter than me.

Before I even knew who he was, I said the first thing that popped into my head, “You look just like a little devil.”

Yikes! I avoided that man for the duration of my husband’s career with that company, and I also learned to filter my thoughts through my head instead of my tongue.

AUDIENCE LAUGHTER

CAROL ANN: Have your phobias, collections, or embarrassing moments come to play in any of your books?


MAGGIE:  Absolutely. What good’s a strong emotion if you don’t extrapolate it? In Muddy Waters, my most recent release, Roxie’s aunt has an angel collection. Roxie also has a moment where she is alone at night and finds her house unlocked. I translated my irrational fear of snakes into that moment of terrorified flight.

CAROL ANN:  One last question.  Do you have a tattoo?


MAGGIE:  I flirted with the idea of a tattoo, but ultimately I decided against it. Needles are involved, and needles are not my friends. If they could make the tattooing process so that it was as painless as getting your hair colored at the beauty shop, I’d be a candidate. Maybe I’d select a cherub or a heart, something tiny and in a discrete place. Until then, I’m content to be a tattoo virgin.

CAROL ANN:  Maggie, our time is up, but I want to leave our audience with the information on your books and also where they can learn more about you. Thank you again for taking time out of your busy schedule to join me here in the Blog Studio. Audience you can learn more about Maggie by visiting her at http://www.maggietoussaint.com/, http://mudpiesandmagnolias.blogspot.com/, and www.facebook.com/maggietoussaint/



MAGGIE:  My pleasure, Carol Ann! Also, I would like to give away two advance reader's copies of my upcoming book "On the Nickle" to commenters on this blog. Here's a bit about the book.



Blurb:

Mama’s strange behavior jolts accountant Cleopatra Jones from her whirl of late summer activities with her daughters, her pregnant Saint Bernard, and her new boyfriend. When Cleo overhears the heated argument between Mama and her church-lady rival, Erica Hodges, she realizes Mama is out of control. The police report Erica files about Mama’s threats add to Cleo’s growing unease.


Two days later, Erica is dead, the victim of a hit and run. Though Erica’s reputation of arrogance, bossiness, and rudeness is well-deserved, she is descended from the town’s founder and the mayor pressures the police to obtain justice for the town’s leading citizen.

To Cleo’s horror, there’s a person-sized dent in Mama’s gray Olds. Mama denies killing Erica but refuses to account for her whereabouts that night. Mama’s secrets are maddening, but are they deadly?

CAROL ANN:  That is so nice of you! Okay, people, here is your chance to get a copy of that book before it can be purchased in the stores! All you need to do is leave a comment and Maggie will pick two lucky commenters! And, below is some info about her another of Maggie's wonderful books which you can purchase through her publisher or through Amazon.




A blurb for Muddy Waters:


Roxie Whitaker is struggling to make her grandmother’s real estate business a success. When her coastal home is burglarized, her rosy worldview dims. Altanta security expert Sloan Harding distracts her from her torubles, but is Mossy Bog’s former bad boy serious about her?

Never one to shy away from muddy waters, Sloan is determined to find his alleged missing inheritance. Sparks fly as he enters into a business arrangement with Roxie to oversee the restoration of his childhood home. With her help, Sloan resurrects old secrets while a dangerous predator stalks them.

When passion meets danger, will love win the day?

Buy Muddy Waters as print or ebook: Kindle and Wild Rose Press and Amazon.

36 comments:

Maggie Toussaint said...

Thanks for such a great interview, Carol Ann. I'm delighted to visit your blog studio and hang out with you.

The Diet continues. I'm down 4 pounds. Still a lot to go, but I'm on the right track.

Maggie

Maggie Toussaint said...

Folks who are interested in the On The Nickel: Please leave your email addy if you want to be included in the drawing. I need to be able to contact you after the contest closes this evening.

Thanks! Maggie

Diana Quincy said...

"On the Nickel" sounds like a lot of fun. I love the premise of Mama possibly running over her church lady rival!

Anne K. Albert said...

Great interview. I especially enjoyed the faux pas with your husband's little devil...um, I mean, his boss!

Diana Cosby said...

:) Maggie, totally fun review! I so did not know you collected angels. Wow. Neither about your phobia with snakes. I'm psyched for you about your release of On The Nickel, and wishing you continued success! I'm so proud of you!!! *Hugs*

Diana Cosby, International Best-Selling Author
www.dianacosby.com

Anonymous said...

I'm still laughing about the devil comment, Maggie! Very funny!!!!! I'm sure it didn't feel like it at the time, though.

Gail Barrett

KJ Bain said...

Maggie, Loved the interview. You still have me giggling. The only problem was I'm not sure which I want more, a hamburger or a crepe.

susan said...

On The Nickle sure sounds like a book I could get into. Please please include my name in the drawing. I hope you have a wonderful day too and thanks for sharing your time with all of us. susan Leech garysue@dejazzd.com

Maggie Toussaint said...

I rolled up my sleeves and tried to update my MySpace page. There's a lot of social media stuff that always needs to be done, LOL. Anyway, I'm thrilled to have so many comments already.

Diana Quincy, thanks for stopping by. If you (or any commentor) want to enter the contest be sure to drop me your email addy here.

Anne Albert, Shhh! that fax paus still engenders bad feelings in my household and it's been nearly 20 years. I've since learned to be a bit more careful, but sometimes my mouth gets the best of me, LOL!

Hey Diana C, You know a person for years but do you ever know them? We're as complex as the characters we write!

Gail, Yes that glaring moment has a sterling place in the annals of Toussaint history. That may have been the exact time I decided to become a writer so that I could edit what I said - multiple times - and not get into trouble.

KJ Bain, There's something about comfort food that grabs us and won't let go. Glad I brought a smile to your face today.

Keep the comments coming folks. Be sure to leave contact info so we can select two winners.

Maggie

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hey Susan, Your comment came in while I was working on my monster reply above. It's always wonderful to meet another book lover. If you'd like to subscribe to my newsletter, there's a link on my website, on the LINKS page. Thanks for stopping by.

susan said...

I loved this interview and needed to laugh today. ON THE NICKEL sounds so good. I am on a diet as well..doctor's orders and no fun but like you I am trying very hard. My big problem is eating before going to bed and I am doing good so far. I keep jello handy in case I need a little something..jello is much better then high carbs. susan Leech garysue@dejazzd.com

Maggie Toussaint said...

Susan, I understand and commiserate. I also like to go to bed on a "full tank." Seems like everyplace you cut calories, others sneak in and mess you up. I had graduated to skim milk and a cereal that was mostly sticks and twigs before this diet, but even that couldn't keep the pounds off. Hopefully the eating lessons will stick this year. I hate the thought that I'm becoming a serial dieter. Yikes!

Stacey said...

Carol Ann, thanks for having Maggie as your guest today.
Maggie, I loved your book In For a Penny and hope I win the ARC of On the Nickel. FYI: I received a Kindle for Christmas and your book, Muddy Waters, was the first thing I downloaded. It was great! Keep up the good writing.
Stacey

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hey Stacey,

Your words are music to my ears! I'm so excited that you enjoy my writing and I wish you well in the drawing.

Carol Ann said...

Hi Maggie, I'm delighted to see that people have come to visit and learn more about you. I had so much fun interviewing you and I want to highly recommend any of your books to the viewing audience. You are a terrific writer, and I'm really anxious to read your upcoming release...even though I misspelled the title. Geesh, I should never type when in a hurry. I was hustling to get to church for my volunteer stint as receptionist this morning. Your books reside on my Kindle in their own folder with your name. I'm looking forward to adding more! Thanks again for agreeing to be my guest today.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Carol Ann,

I'm super excited to be here today. The blog Studio is always fun. We're birds of mistaken feathers as I forgot to add the links in my first burst of announcements to loops. Oh well, it all comes around in the end.

We also have a mutual admiration society going on. Your books are among my favs as well.

Maggie

Stacey said...

Maggie, I forgot to leave my email address just in case (fingers crossed) I win a copy of your new book. It is: staceycoverstone@gmail.com

Pat Browning said...

One of the best and funniest blog interviews I've read. Hats off to 2 authors with great imagination and spirit of fun! Maggie, ON THE NICKEL sounds great -- just my cup of java. I first thought I'd get MUDDY WATERS until you mentioned snakes. Please tell me there are no snakes in it!

Would love to win a copy of ON THE NICKEL. My e-mail addy is browning.pat@gmail.com.

Pat Browning
author of ABSINTHE OF MALICE

Celia Yeary said...

Hey, Maggie--I read every word of your interview, and you and I both know sometimes we skim. Your answers are like your writing, the indefineable kind that keeps me moving along at fast clip, savoring every sentence. I have an angel collection, too, except I didn't know it. The first came from a Dollar General story--a good friend found a shelf full and bought one for each of seven friends. After all, they were only a dollar.Since then--years later--I now have four, and one is really a pin. I try to show them off, but visitors don't seem to be impressed.
I'm looking forward to On the Nickel. Be sure to let us know when it's available, and I'll get my library to order it--that means I'll get to read it first.
Celia

Mona Risk said...

Hi Maggie-- I enjoyed knowing you better through this interview. So we share a height phobia and I too never reached the top of the Eiffel tower. What a shame. I can't wait to find time to read Muddy Waters.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

A charming interview, Maggie. Wishing you every success with your new novels.

Sharon Ervin said...

Loved the interview and would love to win a copy of ON THE NICKEL.

Not all writers get writers' block, you know. It is not required. Also, few of us have the time, the interest, or the inclination to acquire a tattoo.

I think Maggie is a REAL WRITER. It shows in her work, too.

J K Maze said...

I would love a copy of ON THE NICKEL. I also intend to read the first one in the series. I love cozies. The characters seem delightful and different.

Joan

Cheryl Pierson said...

GREAT INTERVIEW!!!! I loved it!!! Maggie I can just see you saying that to your husband's boss. Boy, I've done some things like that in my day, too. LOL Very funny--but not at the time, I'm sure. LOL I loved to read all about you and learned some things I didn't know!
Hugs,
Cheryl

Kari Wainwright said...

Regarding tattoos, the only kind I've ever had were the temporary ones that last a few days at most. I'm not a big fan of needles, either, plus what I like at one age doesn't necessarily mean I'd like the same thing 30 years later.

On the Nickel sounds like a fun read. My e-mail address is:
gkw9000 [at] gmail.com

Maggie Toussaint said...

Stepped out for a bit to work and returned to find so many lovely comments. Thanks, guys!

Pat - rest asssured there's not a single snake in Muddy Waters. To date I haven't written a snake into anything published. I'm leaving that prop for others to exploit!

Celia, Thanks for your kind words about how well the interview flowed. I'm glad it held your interest. And how cool that you collect angels too. Soul sistahs!

Hey Mona, If we ever get stuck on top of a skyscraper we can scream together. Thanks for the comment.

Jacqueline, Thanks for stopping in. A pleasure to see a Five Star author here ((grin)).

Hi Sharon, Sounds like you and I share a few traits as well. Way cool. And I don't know what a REAL WRITER is, but it reminds me of what handwriting script was called when I was in thrid grade: real writing. Some things hang with you forever, LOL. Thanks for coming by.

JK Maze, How lovely to meet you! I hope you enjoy my Cleopatra Jones series. I share Cleo's poor skills in the game of golf.

Hey Cheryl, I must issue a warning. You used up about two years worth of exclamation points in your comment, but what the hey!!!!! It's fun to mash that button. Thanks for your heartfelt comments.

Hi Kari, Those of us with needle-phobias should stick together. I don't think I would have gotten my ears pierced way back when if I'd know a needle was involved. They tricked me because they called it a piercing gun. So nice to meet you.

Whew! Think I'm caught up for a bit. I'm going to let it ride for a bit more and make the selection later tonight - probably during the football game.

Smiles, Maggie

Allene Reynolds said...

Loved the interview format. It was fun and informative. Pass that along to Carol. As an author of a mystery readers review blog your name is on my list of authors to read. Would love to have a copy of 'On The Nickel'.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Allene,

Carol Ann does a GREAT job with interviews. I love her fun personality and her cool blogsite.

Thanks for stopping in!

Maggie Toussaint said...

I just listened to the most beautiful rendition of God Bless America for the Auburn and Oregon football game. It took my breath away.

In a blind draw, my husband selected our two book winners.

Congratulations to Pat Browning and Susan Leech - you each won a copy of On The Nickel. I'll be emailing you in just a few minutes.

Thanks so much to Carol Ann for opening her Blog Studio for me today. I had a blast.

Maggie Toussaint

Abigail Sharpe said...

Dang it! Too late! I knew I should've read this at work!

Mary Marvella said...

I just keep learning more interesting things about you, Maggie. Gonna have to get this book!

Barbara Graham said...

Hi Maggie, Sorry I'm late to the party! I love your interview but have to admit I never think of you as someone needing to lose weight. Me yes. Good work with the new books. See you soon in DC.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Thanks to Gail, Mary, and Barbara for dropping by and leaving a comment. Bidding you all adieu once more!

Maggie

Patricia Stoltey said...

Thanks for interviewing Maggie, Carol Ann. I loved getting to know her a little better...and now you've both made me hungry for a cheeseburger...maybe a bacon blue cheeseburger. Yum!

Anonymous said...

I found it interesting to learn about Maggie and even more interesting to read her articles on her website about her writer's journey with the year of the agent, the year of the editor, the year of the contest, and the year of the critique group. I can sympathize because I've been there although I tried to do it all at once.
I found the reason she collects angels charming.
All her mysteries sound interesting, and I would like to win a copy of one.
Carolyn Williamson
carolynwilliamson@charter.net

Maggie Toussaint said...

Thanks for stopping by to read the interview, Patrica and Carolyn. I appreciate your kind words.

Maggie

ps this book contest is closed. Contact me directly for the next giveaway - maggietoussaint @ darientel dot net