As part of blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I am happy to have Maggie Toussant as my guest today as she celebrates the release of her latest Seafood Caper Mystery – Shrimply Dead. In her guest post, she lets us in on her take on inventing interesting characters.
By Maggie Toussaint
Remember the phrase “carbon copy?” It originated from typewriter days when you would insert a piece of carbon paper between two sheets of paper and then roll the set into the typewriter. When you finished with the typed page, you’d have an extra copy, a carbon copy. In time, carbon copy got shortened to “cc” on memos, letters, faxes, and emails, though no carbon paper is involved now.
Authors are often asked if the lead character in a work of fiction is a proxy for the author, i.e., a character with identical character traits as the author. Most of the time, I live vicariously through my characters because they are so much more interesting and braver. If I wrote about my life, I doubt that would interest most people.
As the author of several series, I have multiple protagonists. Here are a few:
- Cleopatra Jones is the owner and operator of Sampson Accounting in Maryland. She’s the mother of two teenaged girls and a St. Bernard. Her hobbies are golfing, sleuthing, and riding herd on her flamboyant mother. (3 books and 1 novella series, Cleopatra Jones Mysteries)
- Lindsey McKay comes home to coastal Georgia with her dog to take over the family newspaper business when her father’s accused of murder. She reconnects with a high school crush, Sheriff Ike Harper. She’s too busy to have hobbies other than investigating, which comes to her as naturally as breathing. (3-novella series, Lindsey & Ike Mysteries)
- Baxley Powell lives in Sinclair County, Georgia, and she develops her entire repertoire of paranormal talents during the course of her 7-book series. She’s a conduit to the dead, an energy sharer, a walking lie-detector, and more. She’s married to Deputy Sam Mayes, and they have a son and Baxley’s daughter from a previous marriage. She also has a menagerie of cats and dogs, including Elvis the therapy dog.
- River Holloway owns Holloway Catering, and she loves to cook more than anything else in the world. She’s energized throughout the day. She’s super good with cats and dogs, and she’s rescued two cats and a dog. She’s married and wants children. Her favorite place after her backyard is the beach. (Dreamwalker Mysteries)
So let’s take those four fictional women and compare them to me in 10 different categories.
Marital status: Baxley, River, and Maggie=married; Lindsey and Cleo=single
Pet owner: Cleo, Baxley, Lindsey, and River=yes; Maggie=no
Children: Cleo, Baxley, Maggie=yes; Lindsey and River=no
Favorite beverage: Lindsey, River, Cleo=coffee; Baxley=restorative broth; Maggie=tea
Beach or mountains: Cleo and Lindsey=mountains; River and Baxley=beach; Maggie = beach but not when it’s sunny
Read books or watch TV: Maggie=read; Cleo, Lindsey, River, and Baxley=watch TV
Occupations: all 4 have different occupations, none of which Maggie ever attempted.
Family loyalty is key: true for all
Strong sense of right and wrong: true for all
Compassionate, caring individuals: true for all
Thus it seems clear that while there are differences among my female protagonists, the same bedrock traits apply to all, traits that I share. Definitely not carbon copies but there are some likenesses. That’s what makes it interesting, don’t you think?
About Shrimply Dead
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?
Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win one of two print copies of Shrimply Dead (A Seafood Caper Mystery) by Maggie Toussaint (U.S. Only).
About the Author
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/
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