Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fun Facts from Mystery Author Maggie Toussaint

Maggie Toussaint writes mystery, romantic suspense, and contemporary romance for multiple publishers.

The bio on Maggie's blog says:

"I grew up a tomboy and didn't own anything pink until after I was married and expecting - and then it was a hand-me-down pregnancy top. So I've never been a girly-girl. I'm just me. I thought I would be an astronaut when I grew up. I never considered the fact that I was extremely myopic, prone to motion sickness and vertigo, and a person who needs to pee frequently as a drawback, but apparently I am not prime astronaut material. That's okay too, cuz I learned to fly with words and stories."

I'm pleased to welcome you back to Guest Thursday, Maggie.


Fun Facts by Maggie Toussaint

I remember watching a program called “What’s my line?” when I was younger. At the end of the show, they asked the real contestant to stand up. Sometimes I guessed right, sometimes wrong. But when I’d guessed right, it felt really good.

You may have a stereotype of female mystery writers in your head. Perhaps you think we all look like Sue Grafton or Charlaine Harris. Perhaps you think we are all rolling in dough. Or maybe you think we spend all our spare time talking guns and poisons. I can’t speak for all mystery writers, only myself, and I hope you enjoy getting to know me better. (By the way, not so much dough for this writer, thumbs up for guns and poison, and as for my look, you be the judge.)

Here are four fun facts about me:

I’m colorful. I like to surround myself with bright primary colors, and my closet resembles a jumbled crayon box with colors gone wild. Color is more than a look for me. It gives me strength on troubling days; conversely, a lack of color helps me to wallow in the blues, a necessary state for writing many scenes. Consequently, I require fashion consultants when stepping out in the real world, and my conservative daughters are a big help.

I wear many hats, literally and figuratively. These days I wear hats to keep the sun off my face. I’ve got derbys, floppy Southern belle hats, cowboy hats, Aussie hats, and more. One of my favs is made of two different colors of ribbons, giving it a striped look. It’s so lightweight, I wore it painting a fence last summer and ruined it for anything but yard work, but that blue paint just makes me love it more. As for my varied roles in life, here are a few current ones: wife, mother, sister, grandmother, reporter, book writer, musician, and vocalist.

The Prince of Tides was more than a book to me. Pat Conroy’s book about a shrimp fisherman’s family captured the push and pull of the tides on my family. Granted, the situations were different, but the small town mentality, the boom and bust feel of shrimping, the hard work and long hours, the unconditional love, the deep love/respect of the sea, the tendency to drink too much, the sense that others were outsiders – those were all things I experienced in my extended family growing up. I am a shrimper’s daughter.

Tickets, get your tickets here. My first job was as a ticket seller at a movie theater on a Georgia barrier island. We didn’t get many patrons, so I doubled as the popcorn and candy person, too. My second real job was working on a golf course under construction during my college summers. I ran the smaller machines. They started me on the sand trap rake, basically a four-wheeler that dragged rake-like plates, and I moved up to a bush hog that mowed the rough. You always had to watch out for deep holes and hornet nests. My second summer there I was allowed to cut the greens (a stinky job because those short clippings reek), but I never made it to the top – the big gang mower for cutting the fairways. I still wish I’d mastered that one.


Thanks, Maggie. I can imagine you tooling around the golf course on the sand trap rake and the bush hog. That could be very valuable experience if you decide to write a country club mystery series.

Learn more about Maggie and her books at her website and her blog, Mudpies and Magnolias.

Maggie's new release from Five Star, Death, Island Style, is available now from online booksellers.


Margot Kinberg said...

Pat - Thanks for hosting Maggie.

Maggie - It was a pleasure (and fun) to learn a little about you. I wish you much success with Death, Island Style.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Your job on the gold course confirms you were a tomboy!

Kathryn Elliott said...

Ah..a fellow pink-avoider! :-) Nice to meet you, Maggie. Popping Death, Island Style on my Goodreads shelf!

Maggie Toussaint said...

Good morning, friends! I'm delighted to be hosted here by Pat. She's a great author and a good friend to open her blog to guests.

Her challenge to me was to write about my life in way that told more about me, about the woman behind the story. For the most part, I live in my office, which my husband has dubbed "Maggie-world" and I can guarantee happy endings that way. Once I leave these four walls, it's anyone's guess as to what will happen.

I write mystery and romance and often blend the two.

Nice to meet you, Margot, Alex, and Kathryn!


Jackie Griffey said...

Loved reading about you, Maggie and I really enjoy the realistic scenes, relationships, and humor in my cozy mysteries - thanks for beeing Maggie and good reading and happy writing to all of us,
Jackie Griffey
(Maryvale Series)

Patricia Stoltey said...

I always enjoy Maggie's posts, but this one is extra fun. I'm thinking of asking more authors to do posts like this, maybe start a whole series.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Thanks for your kind words, Jackie. There are so many wonderful authors out there, and a big bunch of them write cozies. Trying to carve out a micro-niche in this market is challenging. I fell into mine by default. I kept trying to write like everyone else for a number of years and then decided to heck with it and wrote what I wanted. The result was 3 contracts with Five Star / Cengage and I hope to be with them for a good long while.

Thanks for your nice comment, Pat. Sometimes I look at my life and wonder if I'm living up to my potential. Then I shrug and say, who cares? I'm having a blast!

It doesn't get any better than being paid to make stuff up, and that's the truth.


Celia Yeary said...

Maggie--guess what I'm reading? Go ahead! Guess.
Okay, I'll tell you--Death, Island Style. The library orderd it for me--and everyone else--and I got a notice to pick it up at the reserve table yesterday. So far, I'm only on Ch. 3, but I love the people in the town already. Especially Gabby. I need a Gabby right now, as a matter of fact.
I loved your fun facts--so YOU! I with I liked hats, but cannot stand anything on my head. So, as usual, I just look at others wearing hats--you can do a hat justice!

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Celia, I'm so glad you're excited about the characters in Death, Island Style! I had the best time putting this story together.

Gabby is the black barber in town, but he's gifted with hair. He can put his hands on your head and know exactly how the hair wants to be.

Who among us hasn't dreamed of having a perfect hairstylist?

Thanks for the comment, Celia!


Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Maggie and Pat,

It's so nice learning more about you! You're and interesting and colorful person and a fine writer.

Maggie Toussaint said...

The trouble with being a colorful person is that sometimes colorful language comes out of my mouth! I have to watch what I say like a hawk. Which only makes writing that much sweeter - plenty of chances to say the right thing in a book.

Thanks for the visit and comment, Jacqueline!


StephB said...

Maggie your closet is the opposite of mine, but I love the vibrant colors. I have a lot of earthy tones in mine. Maybe I'm homesick for NE.

And your hat. Your hat rocks. I'm not one for hats because they flatten my curls. LOL!!

How fun to find out about you. I think I may have to put The Prince of Tides on my reading list now.


Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Steph, I have those other colors too, and I pull them out from time to time. Some days you just can't wear fire engine red, you know?

Thanks for liking my funky hat. I'll need to see if I can find another one like that one to wear out in the world.

Thanks for the comment and the visit! Maggie

Adelle Laudan said...

You are an amazing lady. Just when I think I know you, I learn something else.
Sue Grafton and Charlaine Harris got nothing on you. Since I don't know them personally I can't say, but you... you are beautiful inside and out.

Adelle Laudan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patricia Stoltey said...

Thanks to everyone for the great comments today, and many thanks to Maggie for another wonderful guest post. Come back anytime, my friend.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Thanks for your kindness, Adelle. I don't usually think of my name in the same vein as Sue Grafton and Charlaine Harris, but I'm thrilled that you think of me that way.

Pat, thanks again for hosting me. It's always cool to hang out here.


LK Hunsaker said...

Late to the party, as usual, but a fun blog! I'm with you on the hats, but only figuratively. Can't stand to wear them on my head. ;-)

I know Death, Island Style has to be as fun as you are.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi LK,

Thanks for stopping in. Don't worry about the hats. I wear enough for both of us!

Thanks for your kind words.