by Julie, working on my niece’s afghan in Somerville
I am delighted to welcome Alexis Morgan back to the blog today! I love this post about her characters, and how they get to know their author.
GETTING TO KNOW HER…
It seems almost impossible that my new release, DEATH BY THE FINISH LINE, is already the fifth book in my Abby McCree Mystery series. Seems like the first book just came out. Having said that, I’ve had a great time following Abby on her adventures and getting to know her better with each book.
People often wonder how an author creates their characters. I can only speak for myself, but they often start moving around in the back of my mind long before they actually step out of the shadows to introduce themselves. I have a plaque in my office that describes it best: Madness does not always howl. Sometimes, it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “Hey, is there room in your head for one more?”
My answer to that question is almost always yes, especially when we’re talking about a fun character like Abby McCree. When I first started on this journey with her, I thought I knew a lot about her. In my mind, she was at a point where she was starting over on several important fronts. She is in her early thirties and recently divorced. She’s also unemployed because her husband bought out her half of the business they’d built together.
If she wasn’t already reeling from all of that, her beloved great aunt died and left Abby her entire estate. Abby now owns a three-story Victorian home in Snowberry Creek that she shares with a furry roommate—a ninety-five pound mastiff-mix named Zeke. She also inherited the tenant living in the small mother-in-law house at the back of her property. Her aunt always rented it to a college student, but this time he’s a handsome former Special Forces soldier named Tripp Blackston.
I liked the idea of turning a big-city woman loose in a small town and waiting to see what happens. And what better way to kickstart the action, than to have her get suckered into taking on all kinds of committee work? Right off the bat, her aunt’s elderly friends strong-armed her into taking charge of their quilting guild’s annual fundraiser. While the ladies really needed the help, it’s actually their way of getting Abby involved in the community.
It simply isn’t in Abby’s nature to take on a project without making sure it is done right. News of the hugely successful garage sale spread like wildfire, and she is quickly swamped with invitations to take on all kinds of new ventures. Everyone wants to take advantage of Abby’s ability to get things done. As much she tries to resist getting drawn into each new project, she finds she can’t say no to helping out with the Halloween festival, to the veterans group that Tripp belongs to, or the movie-in-the-park night. In DEATH BY THE FINISH LINE, Abby agrees to take charge of the town’s annual 5K run, partnering with a biker named Gil.
Tripp says she’s a soft touch, but there’s more to why she keeps getting involved in things. Over time, strangers have become friends, and Snowberry Creek has become home. And along the way, I’ve gotten to know a lot more about Abby. I don’t know who was more surprised to find out that she’s a whiz at pool—Tripp and his buddies or me. It’s just one more example of how a character often tells their own story. I just write it down.
I can’t wait to see what committee Abby will get “volunteered” for next, and what kind of new trouble she’ll get into along the way. So I’m curious. Have you ever gotten “volunteered” for something? How did it turn out for you? I’ll give away a copy of Death by the Finish Line to two commenters.
USA Today Best-selling author Alexis Morgan has always loved reading and now spends her days imagining worlds filled with strong alpha heroes and gutsy heroines. She is the author of over forty-five books, novellas, and short stories that span a variety of romance genres. Currently, Alexis is writing her first cozy mystery series, The Abby McCree Murder Mysteries from Kensington Publishing.
When a dead body turns up on a race route, Abby McCree hits the ground running to catch a killer…
Overcommitted Abby has once again been drafted to use her organizing superpowers—this time for a 5k charity run that’s part of the Founder’s Day Celebration in Snowberry Creek, Washington. At least she has help, albeit from an unlikely source: Gil Pratt, a member of her handsome tenant Tripp Blackston’s veterans group and co-owner of a motorcycle repair shop with his brother. Abby and Gil may seem like an odd couple, but they work great together.
The event seems to be running smoothly—until city council member James DiSalvo is found murdered in a ravine along the race route. Unfortunately, Gil’s brother Gary had a very public argument with DiSalvo minutes before the race, making him the prime suspect. Now the two race organizers must again team up to prove Gary’s innocence—before the real killer makes a run for it. But one wrong step and Abby may be the next one to come in dead last…
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I would love to read this. I enjoy seeing Abby throwing herself into activities that contribute to her community rather than simply enjoying her newfound inheritance.
Hi, Jeanie–I started out thinking Abby would hate all of her “unwanted” commitments. I suspect she did, too. But as it’s turned out, helping the town has really helped her find friends and new meaning in her life.
I don’t usually get volunteered for much of anything except maybe to bake something for a bake sale to raise money for the cancer society. Thank you so much for this chance at your giveaway. pgenest57 at aol dot com
What a great way to raise money for a charity! You can always get the best goodies at a bake sale!
Congratulations on your latest cozy mystery, Alexis! Sounds like a fun read. Few include motorcycles. Nice touch!
Hi, Grant! Gil Pratt was supposed to be a one-time character in an earlier book. But as characters sometimes do, he made it clear that he’d be back and playing a much more major role. I had such fun writing about him.
Love this series, Abby and all her friends!
Thanks for stopping by to let me know that you’re enjoying Abby’s adventures and getting to know her friends. 🙂
Congratulations, Alexis! I love it when characters surprise me with new skills and talents.
I love it, too. It gives them such depth and makes them so much fun to write!
Oh boy, did I, but I am reticent to talk about it, because it turned out fine. In fact, I learned a lot about the organization and remain a member yet today. I love Abby’s stories and am looking forward to reading this one!
I’m so glad it turned out well for you and that you benefited from the experience as much as the organization did! Thanks for letting me know you’re enjoying Abby’s stories.
Congratulations on the new book Alexis!
Given my contrarian (okay, grumpy and cranky) nature, I can’t recall ever being volunteered for something. At least not since I was a kid. I refuse to do something I don’t want to do (except pay taxes).
However, I did purposely volunteer as a coach for the youth basketball league in my town for 25 years and though it’s been more than a decade since I did that, it did turn out pretty nicely for most of those years.
Hi, Jay–I loved working with kids, so I’m sure your experience as a coach meant a lot to you over the years.
I haven’t been volunteered for anything that I didn’t already have my toes dipped 8n, like for one of my charities or something for my kids schools way back when. But I like joining in and being a part of things, so its never a burden. Sounds like Abby enjoys her volunteering too!
Hi, Kathy–Abby might complain a little when she gets volunteered, but she’s strong enough to say no if she wanted to. I think she’s learned that it’s not about the work, but about the people you’re working with and those you might be helping.
I love that plaque. So true.
I get volunteered for a lot of things. Once it was to be treasurer for my son’s Cub Scout pack. That was an adventure, since numbers and I have a tenuous truce at best.
Hi, Liz–okay, that made me laugh. I got “drafted” to be the scorekeeper for my son’s Little League team. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. When he stopped playing ball, I didn’t know what to do with my evenings!
That reminds me of something else I got drafted for – scorekeeping at my kids’ summer swim league. I didn’t mind that one so much.
Welcome Alexis! In the past I’ve been a pushover for saying yes to things, but now I’m more cautious.
Hi, Sherry! Caution is never a bad thing when it comes to volunteering. There are only so many hours in the day, and picking to use your time on something that is meaningful to you is a good thing.
I’ve always been “volunteered” to work. Being reliable is not a good thing in a workplace full of people that call in at least once a week.
Hi, Alicia–Sadly, that’s so true. I’m glad you stopped by today!
A boss volunteered me to be on the on call tech support list. Fortunately I never got called and the company paid more for my monthly cell phone stipend than I was paying
I’ve been volunteered to bake a lot of bake good for a school function ages ago when my oldest was in elementary school. I enjoyed it though. Excited to read your new book! Thanks for the chance!
Hi, Sandy G–That worked out well for you! I appreciate you stopping by to share today.
I tend to push back against being volunteered for something unless I was already interested myself. I’m too blunt to go along with stuff like that, I guess. (And yes, please enter me in the giveaway.)
Hi, Mark! I’m not fond of getting volunteered myself. It all depends if it’s a friend asking a favor because they really need help or someone who just assumed I would be happy about it. Thanks for stopping by!
I have worked and helped set up many a bake sales years ago when my kids were young then for every activity they played. Saw that you were posting today about your book on facebook and had to read what the book was about and so glad that I did sounds so good, Plus a print which is the only way I can read as battling RSD and have been for many years it has taken my entire body although the worst is not deaf in one ear but the deformed hands. I wish you so many new followers and a great selling of this book Alexis!
Hi, Peggy–while I read both e-books and print books, when it comes to my favorite authors I prefer print. I’ve even worn out a few favorites and had to buy new copies. I did a lot of cookie baking when my kids were little, too. Thanks for taking the time to stop by today.
I don’t think I’ve been volunteered for anything since I was a kid. My parents were good at volunteering us for all sort of stuff. Especially shoveling snow and cutting grass for the neighbors. Looking forward to reading the latest addition to the series.
Hi, Dianne–okay, that made me smile. Parents have a way of doing things like that. I bet the neighbors really appreciated your efforts, though.
Love book cover, title, excerpt, review/interview. Love books like this.
I volunteered when I was a lot younger.
I can’t wait to see how this book ends. Sounds so intriguing.
Would love to read & review in print format.
Hi, Crystal! I’m glad that you like so much about my post and book today–thank you so much for stopping by to say hi today.
I enjoy this series and look forward to more adventures with Abby.
I used to get volunteered and I would do my best.
Hi, Dru–I’m glad you’ve been enjoying Abby’s stories. It means a lot. One thing Abby has learned is that doing a good job means more people want her to volunteer!
When my husband and I were a young married couple and he was in the Air Force, I was volunteered to be the chairwoman of our husband’s class made up of two flights. Many times the wives of one flight did not agree with the wives of the other flight. I often felt pulled in two directions at once. However, it was a good learning experience for a novice like me. And, we made some great friendships that have lasted over 50 years.
Hi, Judy! I can just imagine trying to give equal voice to both flights. I bet they appreciated you efforts. Please accept my thanks to both you and your husband for your service to our country.
Hi Congratulations on your new book, it sounds like a very good read! Yes, I have been volunteered for bake sales, Halloween Carnivals and they were all fun, it’s been a while though , it used to happen alot when my now 2 grown adult children were young. They all turned good since it was for our Church for for my kiddos schools. Have a great week and stay safe.
Hi, Alicia–I did most of my volunteering for my kids and their activities when they were young–bake sales, cookie and candy drives, keeping score at little league games, etc. I always figured it was a good way to show not only my kids but the other ones how much they mattered. 😎
Alexis, you are a new to me author and your book sounds like one I definitely would enjoy reading. I have never been volunteered because I always loved helping at my children’s school on my own. I did bake sales, holiday store, tag sale and book fairs (my favorite!).
Hi, Maryann, I loved working the booksfairs, too! Always ended up spending a lot of money because, well, books!
You are a new author to me and I love finding new books to read!
The story looks delightful with the catch of solving a murder. I remember being voluteered for things by my mom and then finding out how much I got back from the effort and comraderie.
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