Todays’ exclusive interview is with novelist and MTW_2017 participant, Morgan C. Talbot. Morgan lives and writes in Walla Walla, WA and her newest release is titled, Nine Feet Under (Caching Out Book 3). It’s a Traditional/Cozy Mystery, available in paperback, .epub, and .mobi formats.
Here’s a blurb from the book which was named a Big Al's Books & Pals 2014 Readers' Choice Awards: Mystery Nominee:
Margarita and Bindi have big plans for the Fourth of July, involving borrowed bicycles, a geocaching power trail, live podcasts, and plenty of fun. But their day quickly goes awry when they stumble upon what looks like a murder in progress.
Strange rivalries and secret alliances test Margarita’s puzzle-solving skills, and Bindi suffers a rather painful setback when she comes face to face with someone she never thought she’d see again.
The overly stoic sheriff can’t be in two places at once, so the girls need to figure out whodunit and rescue the next potential victim before the explosive finale.
Tell us something(s) about the book that the blurb doesn’t reveal:
Willamette Valley heat waves don’t get that hot, but the humidity can be pestilential, and A/C is not a universal luxury in small towns more accustomed to days of fog and rain. I tossed my main characters out-of-doors on such a broiling day so they could try to solve a murder mystery in the same conditions I experienced during the summers of my childhood. Additionally, one of the other characters is based on a real person—something I almost never do.
What was your favorite or most surprising comment/review about the book?
Offbeat Vagabond reviewed the book and said “Every time I thought I was right, she threw [me] for a loop.” I always try to leave enough clues that the killer is obvious only in retrospect, and it seems like I nailed it again with Nine Feet Under.
If given a chance, which author (living or dead) would you like to meet (have met)?
Agatha Christie. I want to ask her for tips on notebook organization. She’s known to have had dozens of notebooks throughout her lifetime, one in most rooms of her house at any given time, so she could jot down story ideas as they came to her. I do something very similar, but I want to pick her brain on what she did after she wrote them down. Did she cross-reference? Bookmark her favorites? How did she organize them so she could pull from them and create future books? I’m desperately curious to know if she had a more efficient method of corralling her ideas than I currently use.
If your book was made into a movie, who would you cast as which characters?
Honestly, I’m terrible at thinking this way. I have no idea which actors would be good for the roles of my characters. Their faces don’t match the faces in my head, and I think typecasting is an unfortunate thing to be avoided, so I don’t want to borrow people from cozy mystery movies I’ve seen on the HMM channel. And I have nominal aphasia, so I’m particularly terrible with names when put on the spot. If this event were ever to take place for real, I’d leave all of this up to my casting director.
What other jobs have you held (even what you’re doing currently):
I ran a hay baler one summer—that was awesome. Worked in a large hospital business office for a few years. I loved working in a professional laundry in the Napa Valley—such efficient machinery. I’ve also been a content editor for a small press, and I currently write books at whatever pace I can maintain, while juggling school-age kids and medical issues.
What gave you the idea to write this book?
I enjoy the hobby of geocaching. Honing the skill of spotting things that are disguised in plain sight was so much fun! And I’ve always loved reading mysteries. The two concepts merged in my head, and when I realized no one had written any geocaching mystery books, I decided to try my hand. Geocachers are always so excited to find fiction books that deal with their specific hobby, and that makes me happy.
What are you working on next and when do you expect it to be on the shelves?
My next series is culinary/cozy in nature: the Moorehaven Mysteries series. The first installment, Smugglers & Scones, will be out in early February of 2017. The series follows a B&B owner in a small Oregon Coast town known for its world-famous mystery writer, A. Raymond Moore, who used to live in the Victorian mansion that became the B&B. My plots have a current timeline and a historical one, and there’s always yummy recipes in the back. I’m writing the second book now, and it’s making me hungry.
Are you traditionally published or self-published and why?
I’m a hybrid author. My mystery novels are published through a small press, and I have five self-published epic fantasy novels, in two series. Both methods give me different benefits and freedoms, and I enjoy seeing more than one aspect of being published.
What advice do you have for other writers based on your experience?
Never follow someone else’s guidelines purely because you think that’s How It’s Supposed to Go. Being a writer is art with a bit of magic mixed in. If there were one perfect method to fame and riches, we’d all be doing it. There is no one right way. And someone else’s right way may be perfectly wrong for you. Don’t break yourself trying to meet someone else’s definition of success.
If you were going to dabble in a different genre, what would it be and why?
My first genre was epic fantasy. In fact, until February 2017 I’ll have more fantasy books published than mystery books. I was introduced to epic fantasy novels in high school, and I fell in love with the perfectly endless possibility of other worlds, magic systems, and as many cultures and creatures as I could conceive of. I have another eight-book fantasy series brewing in the back of my mind, but it still needs plenty of work before I’ll feel ready to write it. In the meantime, I’m focused on the mystery side of my writing, hanging out on the breezy Oregon Coast and creating clever murderers and delicious recipes. And somehow, all this fits together seamlessly in my head.
Where Can Readers Find You?
I’m on Facebook and Twitter:
And here is my website:
Mysteriouser and Mysteriouser