IT IS OUR PLEASURE TO WELCOME TODAY….
Thursday Morning Breakfast (and Murder) Club by Liz Stauffer
LIZ: Having spent some 30 years in the corporate world, writing everything from political encyclopedias to technical documentation, I retired a few years ago to travel and write fiction. Since that time, I’ve visited some 50 countries on four continents and have written five books –at least one that will always remain hidden away in a drawer somewhere. Thursday Morning Breakfast (and Murder) Club is the first book to be published. I live most of the year in Hollywood Florida, with my two dogs, where I own a vacation rental business. I still travel as often as possible.
LIZ: I love close knit communities, and I believe we’re moving away from them in our very busy modern lives. Relationships in cyberspace have replaced relationships down the street. I’m guilty of my own complaint. I, too, love having friends all over the world, and Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter have given me far more pleasure than I ever dreamed they would. But I miss the small town community I grew up in, and the city based community where I raised my two sons.
I wanted to revisit those times, so I created a community where friends and family are of first importance, and technology is still used infrequently. I could do this partly because the area is rural, and in the mountains, and the infrastructure for the technology is still primitive.
Mount Penn is the best of all communities. People still accept and enjoy and love each other, despite their differences. In fact it’s often their differences that make them so lovable. The Thursday morning ladies automatically assume they have most things in common with each other, and they do. I’d like my readers to feel a part of this community when they read my book and maybe, yearn to visit it again, when they finish the last page.
MBA&M: What if anything made you choose to use this particular setting, an Appalachian village?
LIZ: I have a summer house in Pen Mar, Maryland, a small mountain village on the eastern slope of the Appalachians, a community that is not unlike Mount Penn, the setting for Thursday Morning Breakfast (and Murder) Club. I love the area, it’s scenery, it’s people, and it’s history. Once a grand railroad resort in the late 1800’s, the Pen Mar Resort was destroyed with the advent of the automobile and the subsequent destruction of the railroad system. Now virtually forgotten, I wanted to reintroduce this amazing place to the rest of the world.
MBA&M: Which character was the easier for you to write and which was the hardest?
LIZ: My characters came easy to me. They were real and alive in my brain from the very beginning. I’ve known people like them my whole life. Dear, unpretentious, special people who care about their family, friends, neighbors, and community. None of the characters were particularly hard to write, but then none of the characters were particularly complex – at least not on the surface. As I get to know more about them, I realize how wonderfully unique and human they are, how blessed they are in their (albeit fictional) lives, and how deep and complex and rich in spirit they really are.
MBA&M: Can you tell our readers how your characters come to life?
LIZ: My characters have been talking to me for years, so they came to life for me through a natural process. They created their own stories and then used me as the vehicle to get them told. This sounds terribly weird, but is more true than not – and wonderfully fun.
MBA&M: Where is your favorite place to write your stories?
LIZ: I do my best writing at my front room desk, looking out over the Hagerstown valley in Pen Mar, Maryland, in the spring and summer and early fall. Birds chirp and leaves rustle, but other than that, it’s amazingly quiet and peaceful. It’s cool and crisp, and the smells are as delightful as the scenery. It really is a special place and I’m so lucky to be able to write there.
MBA&M: What is your next project?
LIZ: I’m almost finished polishing the second Thursday Morning Breakfast Club mystery, and have outlined the third. I plan to write that book in late summer, early fall. I’m also working on a grand epic novel that is set in the 1920s during the demise of the Pen Mar Park resort. Henry Ford is one of the characters.
MB&M: Which author would you say your writing most resembles?
LIZ: Agatha Christie has influenced my work, as has Georgette Heyer, authors whose books I have read, many times over, since I was very young. I’ve always loved the way Christie and Heyer use an ensemble of characters in plotting and solving crimes. I have attempted to do a bit of the same in my books.
While Lillie Mae Harris has some of the characteristics of a younger, feistier, more modern Miss Marple, she is also very different from Miss Marple. Her motives are the same, to solve the crime, but her methods are unique to her.
Louise Penny and Jan Karon are contemporary authors who have influenced me greatly. I love their use of quirky, yet lovable characters, and their unerring commitment to community. The British writer, Ann Granger, who writes traditional village mysteries, has also influenced my work.
MBA&M: If you could have dinner with anyone in the world who would it be and why?
LIZ: This was a hard question for me and I thought long and hard before I dared answer it. I’ve found in the past that those people I think I most admire often disappoint me when I meet them in person. It’s hard to be a public figure, either a politician, or an author, or an athlete, or whatever, and not have one’s ego distorted in some way, although I’m sure there’s lots of people who haven’t been damaged by success. But I don’t want to take a chance that if I share a meal with my heroes or heroines, I leave the table thinking them jerks.
So if I could have dinner with anyone in the world, I’d like to have dinner with my mother and father. This is not possible since neither of my parents are still alive. But if they were, and if we could, the meal would be unpretentious. We’d have to go to a family restaurant that serves country meals at a fair price – preferably fried chicken and ham, and maybe oysters. Although I’m a vegetarian, for this one meal, I’d eat the meat, since my parents, who grew up during the depression, would think a vegetarian was as odd as a Martian.
Ah, but the questions I would ask them– the ones I should have and wished I had asked -when they were still alive.
MBA&M: Please tell our readers where to connect with you and where to purchase THURSDAY MORNING BREAKFAST(AND MURDER) CLUB?
LIZ: Thursday Morning Breakfast (and Murder) Club is available as a paperback and ebook on Amazon, July 5th, 2013.
Release dates for other platforms will be announced later.
Please stay in touch with me at www.lizstauffer.com ,or on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. I look forward to your feedback.
Thank you, Liz for such a candid interview! What a pleasure to have you with us and our readers!
Thursday Morning Breakfast (and Murder) Club by Liz Stauffer
When Clare Ballard sports a new bruise on her right cheek the day after a contentious town meeting, the ladies of the Thursday morning breakfast club suspect her husband Roger of abusing her, but Clare warns her friends to be silent on the subject. That same day Hester Franklin, another Thursday morning breakfast club lady, is called to rescue her grandson Patrick after he’s arrested for transporting drugs. Proclaiming his innocence, Patrick threatens that those who set him up will pay. Roger Ballard is high on his list. But it’s when Lillie Mae Harris, the club’s leader, discovers the body of the local drug dealer on the nearby hiking trail, that the community is upended. Roger Ballard, the primary suspect, goes missing, and when his body turns up in his own back yard, Clare Ballard confesses to his murder. No one believes she did it, but Clare insists she’s guilty and refuses to talk to her lawyer, the police, or her family and friends. The Thursday Morning breakfast club ladies believe she’s protecting someone. They vow to find out who it is.
Charlie Warren, the town’s homegrown policeman, using unconventional means, collaborates with the Thursday morning breakfast club ladies to draw out the real criminal. But danger lurks. Alice Portman, the matriarch of the breakfast club, is struck down in her own yard and is sent to the hospital. Then others in the small community start to disappear –one after the other. As the ladies get closer to the truth, they get closer to the danger. In a rush against time, they form a plan to capture the true culprits before someone else is murdered.
(Sponsored by the publisher)
*Prize mailed directly from the publisher*
We are offering 1 lucky commenter either a print or digital copy of Thursday Morning Breakfast (and Murder) Club by Liz Stauffer.
Giveaway open to US residents only! Sorry everyone else. Giveaway will run from August 15 until August 22,2013.
*Please tell us rather you prefer digital or print in your comments*
GOOD LUCK EVERYONE AND HAPPY READING!