Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Overdue for Murder-Teresa Trent

Teresa Trent wasn't born in Texas but after a few glasses of sweet tea and some exceptional barbecue she decided to stay. With a father in the Army, she found herself moved all over the world, settling down for a while in her teens in the state of Colorado. Her writing was influenced by all of the interesting people she found in small towns and the sense of family that seemed to be woven through them all. Teresa is a former high school teacher and received her degree from The University of Northern Colorado.  Teresa is presently working on the third book in her Pecan Bayou Series.  Her second book, Overdue For Murder, came out in June of 2012.   

What inspires you as a writer?
I am inspired by newspaper headlines and people. I collect interesting incidents in the news and just keep my eyes open. One day I was driving down the street and saw a bakery van. The name of the baker would be a wonderful character name, so I wrote it down later! Also, I probably shouldn't admit this, but I love to watch reality TV like Survivor or Project Runway and watch the personalities clash. There is so much of human nature that can be learned from observing these people. 

When did you have that ah ha moment when you knew you were a writer?
Not until I had Bride's Magazine call me and tell me they actually wanted something I had written. They really just used my article as research, but there I was writing about the fascinating world of ... tuxedos. After that, I continued to write and submit, but mostly scored rejection slips. I started writing fiction during that time and decided it was a whole lot more fun. 

What is your writing process?
In writing a novel I start out with a crime story and then add a "what if?" The story needs to fit into life in my small town in Texas. Once I have that story down I start thinking about subplots and how they might weave into the main story. The subplots often involve secondary characters either recurring or new. Then, I sit down and plot the main and subplots separately. Then, I create an outline of everything. Before I can start to actually write, I work on character sketches and settings. Finally, I start writing. One thing about this process is it is always fluid. Even if I outline a certain event, once I get into the flow of writing I may make a change. My original outlines are never the same as the final product. I write and I rewrite and then someone else reads it and I rewrite again....and again.... 

Tell us about your favorite character and why you chose to write about them?
That's tough. It's like your asking me to pick just one child. In Overdue for Murder I guess it would be Martha the librarian. She's disagreeable to the very end. In the series it would have to be Betsy, my main character. She is patterned after so many single moms I've had as friends over the years. This is a tough group of ladies that would make perfect amateur sleuths! 

What are you currently working on?
Right now I'm editing and rewriting my third book and driving myself crazy trying to come up with a title. 

Any upcoming events?
 My cupcake Giveaway to celebrate Overdue For Murder ends on December 14th so make sure you register below! 

If you could be anyone you like, who would you be?
 I've always been pretty happy being me. My life isn't perfect, but it's mine. 

Do you have any advice for new writers and something that a seasoned vet can learn?
If you are self-publishing hire an editor. Plunk down the cash and do it. Also, learn all you can about publishing because you are now that as well as your own agent. Work at it every day. Don't stop writing, even after you get a negative review. Everybody gets them. 

Where can your followers find you?
Visit me on my blog teresatrent.wordpress.com, or follow me on Facebook /http://www.facebook.com/teresatrentmysterywriter and Twitter. (ttrent_cozymys) 

Any last words?
Thank you for letting me come and visit! I really appreciate the opportunity to talk about my books and writing. 

OK: This sounds like a fantastic read. Thank you so much for stopping by Teresa. Please leave a comment and follow along the tour for your chances of winning. 

Overdue For Murder Excerpt

"Aunt Maggie, have you ever made one of these fancy cakes?"

"Like what? Like what you see at the grocery?" Maggie's voice rose at the end, exaggerating her Texas accent.

I propped up the book for her to see a cake titled "Undersea Fantasy," which featured crabs, turtles and dolphins all crafted out of what looked like marshmallows and licorice strings. She peered at it, adjusting her bifocals on her nose as I explained to her what Rocky had asked me to do for Creative Cooks Day. 

"Gee, Betsy. I'm thinkin' you're in over your head this time. I remember when you tried to make Danny that smiley face cake. The black icing you used on the grin ran down the side and it about scared him to death. Surprised he made it to his next birthday without counselin'."

I scratched my head. "Oh, yeah. I forgot about that, no wonder on the video all the kids were screaming." 

"Sure, and then there was the time you tried to make Judd that cake and forgot to put the eggs in."

"I should have caught that."

"Yeah, we had to put candles on a box of honey buns that day. You got a track record  for  bad baking, baby girl."

Zach and Danny ran into the kitchen. "Mama," Danny said. "We're going to break the world record."

"What world record?" Maggie asked.

"All of them!" Danny answered.

"We're still figuring out what incredible thing we're going to do, Aunt Maggie, so I'm glad you got your hair done." Zach stretched out his arms, imagining his future paparazzi. "There will probably be hundreds of reporters out on the lawn after we do it." 

"Thanks for the warning," she smiled.

I paged through the glossy photos in the cookbook. There were cakes that looked like circuses, swimming pools, insects, hats, cartoon characters. I started having a case of baking terror. "You know, Aunt Maggie. I could always drive into Houston and buy something and bring it back.

They'll never know."

"You'll know."

I sighed. 

"You could make a cake out of rubber bands," suggested Zach.

I nodded. "That's original, but not too tasty." I turned the page and spotted the cake labeled "Beginner's Crocodile Cake." How kind of them to have a cake that was supposed to be easy enough for people like me. I grabbed a pen and started writing down the ingredients I would need. Surely I could stir up some green frosting and turn it into something.