(click this banner for the tour page and access to a Rafflecopter giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card. In addition, several days are left in the tour where Burnout will be available free. Check out the author's website (see link below) for the dates. There is a cute cryptogram puzzle to figure out the dates!)
It’s November in Pecan Bayou, Texas and while the town is getting ready for the Thanksgiving holiday a deadly fire breaks out at the newspaper office. When Rocky, the editor is nowhere to be found, Betsy refuses to believe he has perished in the fire. The entire town is coming down with the stomach flu and Betsy must deal with her husband’s new found celebrity as an on-air weatherman filling in for and under-the-weather Hurricane Hal . Leo loves all the attention he’s getting, especially from the sexy administrative assistant who works at the station. Is their new marriage in trouble already? Find out in the fifth book of the Pecan Bayou Mystery Series. All the characters you’ve come to know and love are back and you’ll find plenty of the Happy Hinter’s recipes and tips included at the end of the book.
1. When you started the Pecan Bayou books, did you know there would be a 5th title in the series?
Actually, yes I did. I plotted from the first book what I wanted to happen to Betsy in the next five books. That means...yes there will be a sixth and final book.
2. What was the hardest book for you to write? Why?
Probably the first book in the series, A Dash of Murder because I had to research and create all the characters who live in Pecan Bayou. I knew what story I wanted to tell, but I am a visual writer and would search out pictures of what I would think each character and each setting looked like. With every new book, I change Zach and Tyler because they have to be older and there are always new settings and characters. For Burnout I had to learn about fire, but luckily I have a cousin who is a volunteer fireman who let me ask plenty of silly questions. Betsy's flu was easy because as luck would have it, I came down with the worst case of stomach flu I've had in years. It was ironic I was writing about the flu and then experienced it in such detail.
3. Does one of your books hold a special place in your heart?
Probably A Dash of Murder, my first book, because that was when I met this cast of characters who became such a part of my life. Aunt Maggie who is part me and part my own mother, Judd, the dad who always shows up with either a kind word or a drawn gun, Leo who stands by Betsy through all of her body-finding mishaps, the kids, the people at the diner and the Best Little Hairhouse in Texas and of course my dear Danny. My husband and I just watched Saving Mr. Banks, and I was so struck by the line P.L. Travers tells Walt Disney about her character Mary Poppins. "Mary is family." What she says is absolutely true. These characters I created evolved somewhere in all of their entrances and exits and became family. Sometimes it's as if they write themselves.
4. Does the writing life get easier or harder?
Parts of it get easier. You get to the point where you know what you need to do to write a book. There are other parts of writing and publishing that are always changing. Staying up to date on the industry and studying the craft of writing is important and can never stop.
5. What are your hobbies?
I love to crochet, sing, read and binge-watch NetFlix with my husband.
6. What's the craziest thing you've ever done?
Waking a homeless person in San Francisco to ask directions. I was eighteen. It was three in the morning and my friend Becky had driven over from another state and couldn't find our hotel. We decided to go to a hospital to get directions and there was a man sleeping in the glassed in area between to sets of sliding doors. He jumped and so did we. You would think that was the scariest part, but then we found ourselves in the middle of two gangs who had been brought into the emergency room because of a street fight. Thanks to the police we ended up unhurt and in the right place. Angels were definitely watching over us that night.
7. If you had to start your writing career over again, would you do anything differently?
I would have buckled down and started writing seriously sooner. Youth is wasted on the young, right? If you are an aspiring writer, don't waste any more time. Write, write, write.
8. Do you have any writing rituals? Music, food and drink, lucky socks, etc?
I drink green tea which is probably why my characters drink so much ice tea. I write on the couch with two book-end dogs, and I love to listen to New Age piano like George Winston.
9. How do you get your writing ideas?
Each day I watch the news and read the paper. Every once in awhile something will just stick in my mind and I start plugging in the characters from Pecan Bayou. I create my characters when I see or hear a funny sounding name. I can remember following some sort of service truck through traffic one day with the guy's name written on the back. It was such a goofy name, that I ran home and put it in my computer. There will never be a Bob Jones in my stories. Gertrude Fortbottom has a much better chance of making it.
10. What is your favorite holiday?
That would have to be Christmas. Someday I want to write a Christmas novel and have written several short stories that take place at that time.
Burnout, the 5th installment in the Pecan Bayou Series (aka the Betsy Livingston Mysteries), by Teresa Trent, was a pleasure to read. I almost felt like a lifelong resident of the little town in Texas. Betsy writes a column for the local paper and at the beginning of the book, she is standing outside of the burning newspaper building. The bad news is no one has seen the editor/publisher "Rocky" since the start of the blaze and it becomes apparent that the fire claimed a life.
This is just the first example of how Ms. Trent draws us into the story. I really wanted to know what would happen. I, like most readers felt sorry for Betsy when she steadfastly refused to allow herself to believe that Rocky was gone.
And there was no shortage of people in the small town whose feathers Rocky had not ruffled - from the tax man with a gambling problem, to the head of the middle school PTA, to the pet rescuer who had been convicted of running a puppy mill in years past.
Add to this the fact that Betsy seems to have caught the flu that seems to be spreading like wildfire through the town, her realization that her 'flu' might be something else and a hilarious episode of trying to keep the purchase of a home pregnancy test secret just adds fuel to the fire of this book's assets.
I want to go back now and read the first four installments, read Burnout over again, and then tap my foot until the 6th (and final) installment of this series is published!
(Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of Burnout from the author and publisher via Great Escapes Book Tours in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was offered, requested or received.)