Shrimply Dead, the latest cozy mystery by award winning author Maggie Toussaint
Author Interview + Book & Author Info + Rafflecopter Giveaway
Shrimply Dead by Maggie Toussaint
When veterinarian and amateur naturalist Jasmine Garr is shot in her yard, residents of Shell Island press caterer River Holloway into investigating the homicide. River dons her amateur sleuth cap and sets out to discover who killed her former catering customer.
Between Jasmine’s estranged cousin, a rival veterinarian, a wild animal trapper, the chicken lady, and a real estate broker, River has plenty of suspects to consider.
As she peels back the layers of Jasmine’s life, dangerous secrets come to light.
Jasmine’s orphaned kitty, Iris, along with River’s cat Major, and her husband Pete help River sift through the evidence. At the same time, River recently expanded her catering business. She must service her regular catering clients, plus provide fresh baked goods for Pete’s ice cream shop.
The killer follows River’s every move relishing the thought of another victim. Time is running out. Will River solve the murder before she becomes a cold dish?
Shrimply Dead (A Seafood Caper Mystery)
3rd in Series
Publisher: Muddle House Publishing (April 12, 2021)
• Number of Pages 237 PAGES
Digital ASIN: B08V52RD4W
The Interview with Shrimply Dead Author Maggie Toussaint
What should readers know about River Holloway?
River is an everywoman character. Home, hearth, and family are keenly important to her. She stepped in to help with family responsibilities at an early age when her mother’s health started failing. Through it all, River began making her dream of establishing a catering business come true.
When this series begins, her mother has passed and her younger brother is in his twenties. She can finally devote all her energy to Holloway Catering, but building a sterling reputation amongst tough competition takes time. She doesn’t quit.
She supplements her income with side jobs and tries new ways to market her catering business.
What I admire most about River is that she is generous with her time (and food), but she doesn’t martyr herself in the process. She is also exceptional at finding things (and people!).
Tell us about Shell Island.
It is a wondrous place on the Georgia coast, and it shares many of the same attributes of real life St. Simons Island, though the pace of life on Shell Island is more akin to days gone by.
It is canopied by ancient live oaks, bordered on one side by the Atlantic Ocean and on the other by vast salt marshes. There’s a marvelous fishing pier with lots of room for everyone to admire the stunning views and also space for those who fish or crab.
Sunrises and sunsets here are spectacular because there’s so much sky. There’s some tourism, but there’s also the group who have lived here their entire lives, some going back generations on the island.
Islanders are fiercely independent and get most of their news at the post office.
Shrimply Dead is book three of your Seafood Caper Mysteries, can this be read as a standalone? Or should readers start with book one, Seas the Day?
All of my series mysteries may be read as standalones, and that is true of Shrimply Dead as well. However, the benefit of starting with the first book in any series is that you have a chance to deepen that connection with character and setting.
When I learn of a new series from authors, I enter that world through the book that appeals to me the most. If I like that book, I’ll read the entire series from the beginning. To sum up, every reader should do what’s right for him or her regarding series books.
You write mystery and romance as Maggie Toussaint, and science fiction under the name Rigel Carson. How does your process differ writing romance and sci-fi?
My earliest books were written in third person point of view. In romances, this gave me the opportunity to have multiple points of view, and I used that same process in my Rigel Carson dystopian fiction books.
However, most of my mysteries are written in first person point of view.
It offers a much more intimate feel for me, and I get to know those characters on a deeper intrapersonal level.
The biggest difference for me came through changing from outlining books to trusting my muse and freewriting. Sometimes I had/have rewrites of scenes or sections, but all stories need edits so it isn’t a big deal.
Writing without a net gives my stories more immediacy and spontaneity while at the same time can induce sheer terror to a true-blue outliner.
I try to limit those moments of terror by hybridizing the process: knowing the beginning and a few key turning points. I do not know the killer until the end of the story. All suspects are guilty until they aren’t.
Animals play a role in many of your novels. What’s it like to create non-human characters? Do you approach them differently than writing people? What draws you to including animals?
I love having animals in my books. Over the years, my family has cohabitated with dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and hermit crabs.
The furry ones were the ones that stole our hearts, and anyone who’s lived with pets know that they have very direct ways of letting you know their needs and wants. I haven’t written any talking pets, but my brother is urging me to write a science fiction book with talking cats.
The animals in my books are fully formed in my head, and I sincerely hope that translates onto the page. Also, people who have pets identify with others who have pets. They know what its like to give your entire heart to a fur-baby, and thus relate well with pet-loving story characters.
Through using first person POV, I tell the story through my protagonist’s eyes. This means I characterize all other people in the story through their words and behaviors.
It is easy to do the same thing for dogs and cats. In Shrimply Dead, there’s a retired police dog at Happy Paws who needs a foster home temporarily while his owner recovers from surgery.
River has the trait of being a pet whisperer, and she’s the one who gets Artie to eat. Artie responds by laying on her and following her everywhere. His profound loneliness is shown through his behavior and clinging to the one good thing that’s happening to him in a crazy world.
It makes me wish River Holloway could visit each of us to bring comfort with her big heart and delicious cooking.
What are you working on now?
I know readers want more River Holloway stories, but this series (and others authors’ series) were orphaned by my publisher. It is difficult to interest another publisher in picking up a series, so it was back to the drawing board for me.
I’m about two-thirds of the way through drafting a brand new lightly-paranormal series set in Savannah, GA.
Two key aspects of the series are energy and light. I didn’t want to take this one into the afterlife like the Dreamwalker Mysteries, and it isn’t about witches or the occult. It’s an entirely different lane but very fun and unpredictable.
Fans of my mysteries will know that this will be another light, fast-paced read that showcases Southern living and the foibles of family.
The underlying theme of this first book is “how well do you really know anyone?”
Final Words of Wisdom for Aspiring Writers:
It is tempting to keep editing that first book over and over and over. If you haven’t had any luck placing it after a reasonable amount of time and effort, my advice is to write a different story world with different characters.
Try writing with a different point of view, or vary whether you outline your plot or not. Once you hit upon the writing style that puts you in “the zone,” you’ll be the writer you’ve always dreamed of being.
Great advice! Thanks, Maggie!
Author Pet Corner
I am currently pet free right now, though I am helping my sister with her finicky cat and the large dog she recently inherited.
I enjoy their affection and return it.
This sweet little terrier belongs to a neighbor and happened to be present during my last author photo session.
She’s such a cutie!
Elena totally agrees! What a little cutie pie!
Southern author Maggie Toussaint writes cozy and paranormal mysteries, romantic suspense, and dystopian fiction, with more than twenty fiction novels published.
A multi-year finalist for Georgia Author of the Year, she’s won Silver Falchions, the Readers’ Choice, and the EPIC Awards.
She’s past president of Mystery Writers of America-Southeast chapter and an officer of LowCountry Sisters In Crime. She lives in coastal Georgia, where secrets, heritage, and ancient oaks cast long shadows. Visit her at https://maggietoussaint.com/
To learn more about Maggie, click on her name, photo, or any of the following links: Facebook – Twitter – GoodReads – BookBub – Blog – Linked In – Pinterest – Book Lovers Bench
Visit all the stops along the Shrimply Dead Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour
April 13 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
April 13 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW, RECIPE
April 13 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST
April 13 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT
April 14 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 14 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
April 14 – Tea Book Blanket – SPOTLIGHT
April 15 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 15 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
April 16 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW
April 16 – Literary Gold – REVIEW
April 17 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
April 17 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 17 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
April 18 – I Read What You Write – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 18 – Cozy Up With Kathy – SPOTLIGHT
April 19 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
April 19 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
April 20 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
April 20 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
April 21 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – GUEST POST
April 21 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
April 21 – My Journey Back The Journey Back – CHARACTER GUEST POST
April 22 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – CHARACTER GUEST POST
April 22 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW
April 23 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT
April 23 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
April 24 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE
April 24 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
Elena Taylor is the author of All We Buried, available now in print, e-book, and audio book format at all your favorite on-line retailers. And don’t forget many independent bookstores can order books for you and have them shipped to your home or for curbside pickup.
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Foreword INDIE Award Finalist, Best Mystery 2020