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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