Friday, October 18, 2013

Interview with Author Maggie Toussaint by Jacqueline Seewald

Formerly a contract scientist for the U.S. Army and currently a freelance reporter, Southern author Maggie Toussaint has ten published books. Maggie lives in coastal Georgia, where secrets, heritage, and ancient oaks cast long shadows. Yoga, beachcombing, and music are a few of her favorite things. You can visit her at

Question: What is the title and genre of your novel?  Why did you select them?

Answer:  My latest release is Dime If I Know, and it’s a cozy mystery from Five Star/Cengage. My amateur sleuth, Cleopatra Jones, is an accountant, so each book has money in the title. Book 1 was In for a Penny. Book 2 was On the Nickel. Since Book 3 in the series is about doubts, I liked the play on words of Dime If I Know.

Question:   What inspired this novel? How did it come about?

Answer:  To ramp up the stakes in my series, I make sure that the person charged with committing a crime is someone close to Cleo. In the first book, the spotlight was on her best friend. Book 2 put her mother in the cop’s crosshairs.

Throughout the series, Cleo struggles with not being part of a couple and with living in the moment. Now that she’s been dating Rafe for several months, she longs for a more lasting commitment. Shining the limelight on her boyfriend in Dime forces her to look at what she wants and makes her realize how little she knows about the man she’s in love with.

Question:  Could you tell us a little bit about the heroine and/or hero of your novel?

Answer:  Cleo is a divorced mother of active teenage daughters. She also rides herd on her free-spirited mother who lives under her roof. Her loyalty runs bone deep. Most nights she shares her bed with a Saint Bernard she inherited from the victim in the first book, but she’d rather share it with Rafe. Cleo’s the kind of person that likes problems solved and neatly filed away. Trouble is, her life is messy and a little broken. Her ex has seen the light and wants her back, but she’s having none of that. Her affection lies in the direction of the sexy golf pro, Rafe Golden.

Rafe is an enigma to Cleo. He doesn’t want to be tied down, though he is keenly interested in his hot affair with Cleo. In Dime, the reasons for his behaviors come out, and they aren’t pretty. His estrangement from his family drives Cleo crazy. She can’t imagine not being surrounded by family. As an aside, Rafe looks like a young Ernie Els, who is a professional golfer. Be still my heart.

Question:   Can you tell us about some of your other published novels or work?

Answer:  In addition to writing mysteries, I also publish romantic suspense novels. Hot Water is my latest romantic suspense, and it’s the story of Laurie Ann the cop and Wyatt North the arson investigator. Together they chase a serial arsonist around South Georgia, hoping to stop him before he kills again. On Amazon, Hot Water is highly rated at 4.7 stars out of 5, with a total of 37 reviews.

Question:   What are you working on now?

Answer:  I’m editing the sequel to Hot Water right now: Rough Waters. It’s another romantic suspense set in the small coastal town of Mossy Bog, featuring a florist and a shipwreck hunter searching for stolen gold sovereigns.

Question:   What made you start writing?

Answer:  I’ve had a lifelong affair with stories and the written word. My earliest memories are of sitting around and listening to family members share stories, and, oh, the places I could go in books! After college, career, marriage, and children, I decided to try my hand at writing a book. It was much harder than I thought it would be! Many years later, I was lucky enough to land two book contracts within a three-month span.

Question:   What advice would you offer to those who are currently writing novels?

Answer:  Don’t hold back. Write at “wide open” all the time. Write about people and places and issues you care about. Do your best every time you sit down to write. Learn the craft of writing and the business of writing. Develop thick skin. Rejection is an occupational hazard for writers at all levels of this business.

Question:  Where and when will readers be able to obtain your novel?

Answer: Dime If I Know is available in hardcover right now from most online bookstores. Sometime in early 2014, it should release in digital format. Hardcover at Amazon: and at Barnes and Noble

Thanks, Maggie, for a great interview! Readers, leave comments for Maggie and she will respond.


Maggie Toussaint said...

Thanks for the opportunity to showcase my books at Author Expressions, Jacquie! I look forward to chatting with readers here.

Jacqueline Seewald said...


It's a pleasure having you here today!

Susan Oleksiw said...

I hope Cleo has lots of relatives and friends for her to investigate. It sounds like a fun series.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Thanks, Jacquie!

You're sweet to say that Susan. And I forgot to mention that the earlier two books in the series are available on kindle for $2.99 each. A bargain in anyone's book! In For a Penny and On the Nickel are the titles. Enter my name into the search bar and click on my page if you're interested.

Unknown said...

Maggie--I'm waiting for the copy of Dime if I Know to arrive at the library.
I'd like to know more about Rafe, since he's had minor roles in the first two books, so this new release should satisfy my curiosity. Can't wait to read it.
Congratulations on its release--and I love the cover--and good luck.

Susan said...

Great interview and good advice. Cleo Jones sounds like a winner.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Celia, You make my heart go pitty-patter with delight! I hope your library gets Dime very soon, as I hate to keep you waiting. Thanks for the comment about the cover. I've been very fortunate to have good covers with this series.

Hey Susan, Thanks for dropping by. I created Cleo in tribute to a divorcee I knew in Maryland. She got dumped for a younger version of herself and had to cope with a lot of shenanigans from her ex. It's hard to raise teens with two parents; I wouldn't have been able to raise two teens by myself - but that's where the fun comes in for an author. I can have Cleo make mistakes and show character growth. Fortunately kids and dogs are resilient - and no harm was done to any kid or dog in my books!

Sandy Cody said...

Great interview. Love the "write wide open" advice. Both of your series sound like good reads. Good luck with them.

Rose Anderson said...

Enjoyable interview Maggie. Best luck. :)

Alyssa Maxwell said...

It sounds like this series is very layered emotionally, with lots going on in Cleo's life besides solving murders! I admire any author who can actively write in more than one genre. Do you find it at all difficult to switch gears between romance and mystery?

Renee Ryan said...

Maggie, your book sounds amazing. I mean, any woman who can wrangle teenage daughters is my kind of heroine! I can't wait to read this one!

Maggie Toussaint said...

Thanks for stopping in Sandy Cody and Rose Anderson. I hope that you will try one of my Cleopatra Jones mysteries in the near future. While I am always delighted when someone wants to purchase their own copy, I wanted to make mention that you can also request for your library to buy a copy of DIME IF I KNOW.

Hi Alyssa Maxwell, Thank you so much for your question about switching genres. My answer about switching genres is "sometimes" its hard to switch back and forth. I work from rough outlines so I know where each story is going, and I also know which story line, either the romance or the mystery, has to carry the freight of the story. Where it gets hard for me is if I'm writing in one genre and doing copy edits in another genre. Then I start crossing my personal wires. But one nice thing about working with the same publishing houses is that you know you have good editors. I try to catch every mistake I make, and then I have backup eyes that go at it with the same energy and diligence.

Hi Renee, You have my utmost admiration for all you've done for your daughter. I had two girls and I know how chaotic it can be. My sleuth is lucky that she's only living these experiences on paper. Real life moms earn their gray hair!

Thanks everyone for making my day brighter with your comments!

Beth T Irwin said...

Using Hot Water & Dime If I Know to learn how to use the dreaded ereader as I know your books are so good they'll force me to master the page buttons & synching other devices because I can't stand not learning how they turn out.

Anyone on the fence, they're really that good!

Jan Christensen said...

Maggie, all your books sound great! Good luck with them. Interesting interview, too. Thanks for introducing me to a new (to me) writer, Jacquie.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Congratulations on the new release, Maggie. I'm putting "Dime if I Know" high up on my TBR list. Thanks, Jacqueline, for featuring Maggie and her series.

Terry Odell said...

Love your series, and this one looks like it'll be right up there with the rest.

gail farrelly said...

Good interview. Maggie, Lots of luck with DIME IF I KNOW. It sounds terrific. I love your titles.

Betty Gordon said...

Good interview, Maggie. As always, Jacqueline asks the right questions. I, too, like the 'write wide open' theory.

Good fortune with your new work(s).

Morgan Mandel said...

I can see where having the person charged with the crime close to the man character can really heighten the suspense.

Also, I read somewhere that the police usually first consider family members and friends when they are looking for a villain.

Morgan Mandel

Morgan Mandel said...

I can see where having the person charged with the crime close to the man character can really heighten the suspense.

Also, I read somewhere that the police usually first consider family members and friends when they are looking for a villain.

Morgan Mandel

Polly Iyer said...

I'm lucky because I get to read Maggie's books before anyone else. She's a terrific writer with a style that readers love and the stories to match. Nice interview, Maggie.

William S. Shepard said...

Enjoyed this interview, and I very much liked "In For A Penny." I'll look forward to reading the latest in this interesting series.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Gosh, I had to slip into work this afternoon and a party broke out here while I was gone! I feel so blessed to have so many comments.

Beth, You're such a trooper - I know you can master the buttons on your ereader. Like you say, knowing there's something good inside is a great enticement!

Hello Jan Christensen! I'm delighted to meet you. Please feel free to check out my website, blog, and other social media sites.

Thanks for the praise, Patricia Stoltey and Terry Odell. You guys are true blue.

And hello to Gail Farrelly! So nice to make your acquaintance. I hope you give Cleopatra Jones a try. If I forgot to mention it, the first chapters of each book in the series is posted on my website.

I'll post this and answer the rest of the comments in another post.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi to Betty Gordon! Thanks for leaving a comment. So nice to know we share the same "write wide open" philosophy.

Hey Morgan, I'm happy to hear double from you!! I've very much enjoyed writing the Cleopatra Jones series. I have ideas for book 4 of the series percolating in my head. In this one, Cleo would be the chief suspect.

Thanks for your kind words, Polly, and thanks for being the guinea pig who reads my first drafts.

Hello to William Shepard. I'm happy to know you enjoyed the first book of this series. I hope you find the time to catch up with all of Cleo's exploits!

Whew! I'm all caught up. Thanks so much for the wonderful support, everyone!

Nancy Means Wright said...

Good questions, Jacquie,and an interesting interview. I can see how popular your books are, Maggie, with over 30 Amazon reviews. Amazing! And the new book sounds fun and intriguing. Good luck with it!

Maggie Toussaint said...

Thanks, Nancy. I'm thrilled to (hopefully) be gaining some momentum.

And thanks everyone for making me feel so at home here at Author Expressions. Have a great weekend!

Mary F. Schoenecker said...

Good interview Jacquie. I love the play on words in Dime If I Know. Congratulations Maggie.

Kathy McIntosh said...

Love the titles. Your advice to writers is spot on. I particularly enjoyed "write wide open," and your reminder that it's important to keep the stakes high for the protagonist.

Anonymous said...

Maggie, I like your advice to write wide open. I plan to put your Cleopatra Jones series on my reading list.
Catherine Dilts

Anonymous said...

This looks wonderful, Maggie. Can't wait to read it. Love your advice to new writers. I will definitely take the advice and share it.

Unknown said...

Great interview, Maggie. And after hearing your talk on pacing at the FCRW meeting, I'm sure your books are page turners!

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