Broken Pieces

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Author Interview – Billie Thomas

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

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Genre – Mystery

Rating – PG

More details about the book

Connect with Chloe Carstairs on Facebook & Twitter & GoodReads

What is your favorite quality about yourself? My optimism. I naturally approach things from a positive place, with humor and enthusiasm. I think that expecting things go your way is the first step toward making sure they actually do.

What is your least favorite quality about yourself? I always think I’m right. And I’m not.

What is your favorite food? An heirloom tomato salad with fresh mozzarella and basil. Perfection. The tomatoes you get at grocery stores can’t even begin to compare to the ones you get at a farmer’s market. When they’re in season, I eat them every day!

Do you intend to make writing a career? I work in advertising so I do write for a living. It’s a very creative, but at times very stressful job As long as I can balance the two – writing novels and writing commercials – I’ll do so. But if I had to choose, I’d choose novels. Unfortunately, right now, the choice is between writing novels and eating. And a girl’s gotta eat.

What is your greatest strength as a writer? I’d love to say writing humor, but that’s so subjective. I’ll go with my perseverance. Finding time to write with my demanding job, getting a novel published and doing whatever I can to promote it – I’m certainly not taking the path of least resistance when it comes to my writing. That’s how I know I really love it!

How do you promote this book? I’ve let my main character, Chloe Carstairs, have her own blog, She does character interviews with other the protagonists in other authors’ books and has made some great connections for us that way. She also solves free mini mysteries on the blog, which have become quite popular. Oh and she tweets like crazy. When I’m trying to get to sleep, I’m like, “Chloe, enough with the tweeting already.”

How much of the book is realistic? Well, no one really killed Santa, but there are several parts of the book that are realistic. The setting, instance. I love Birmingham and want everyone to know what a great city it is. It’s a character itself – often underestimated, full of surprises. Another Birmingham author, the late Anne George, was a master at using Birmingham as a backdrop for her stories. She was a definite inspiration. Also the relationship between Chloe and Amanda, as I’ve mentioned is very much like the one I had with my mother. Even better though, the relationship between Chloe’s parents is similar to the one my parents had. A true love story, full of humor and affection. Definitely something to aspire to!

Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot? Several of my characters are inspired by real people in my life. The mother-daughter relationship is like a greatest-hits version of the one I had with my own mother. I’m so thankful I have this series When my mom died unexpectedly of an aneurism at the end of 2011, I was so glad I had this book and that it was the first in a series. Working on it makes me feel close to her.

How important do you think villains are in a story? In a mystery, the villain is crucial because their actions set the story in motion. They have to be tricky enough to keep the investigation interesting, but careless enough to make one fatal mistake that gets them caught.

What are your goals as a writer? I would like to keep the Chloe Carstairs series going and going. It’s a numbered series so Murder in a Two-Seater is next, but I want readers to still be clamoring for another book when I sit down to writer Murder, SPF 15. Meanwhile I’d like to experiment with other genres as well, including a YA series.

Have you ever considered anyone as a mentor? I have so many mentors. Writers are so generous with their time and talents that I’m always connecting with someone who inspires me to work harder or improve my skills.  You always have something to learn and it’s wonderful to be open to what others can teach you.


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