Things are not always what they seem in Liz Stauffer’s fast paced book of murder, mystery, and intrigue. When the “breakfast club” ladies of idyllic Mount Penn see bruises on Clare Ballard’s pretty face, they suspect her hot-headed husband of abusing her, but the truth is much more complicated. When violence disrupts this Appalachian village’s lazy routine, the ladies, led by the irascible Lillie Mae Harris, jump feet first into danger as bodies appear, neighbors disappear, and Clare is arrested for murder. Follow Lillie Mae and the other “breakfast club” ladies, who, armed with casseroles and pastries, help the police uncover the deep secrets this town hides beneath its perfect facade.
~ Book Publicity Services
If you were to describe your e-book/book in only one word, what would it be?
What would you say inspired you to write it?
I have a vacation house in Pen Mar, Maryland, a mountain village not unlike Mount Penn. And, there is a group of ladies who have been having breakfast together on Thursday mornings for many years. That’s the extent of anything real in the book. I did want to introduce a place like Mount Penn (Pen Mar) to the world, since it really is special.
I love close knit communities, and I believe we’re moving away from them in our very busy modern lives. Relationships in cyberspace have replaced relationships down the street. I’m guilty of my own complaint. I, too, love having friends all over the world, and Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter have given me far more pleasure than I ever dreamed they would. But I miss the small town community I grew up in, and the city based community where I raised my two sons.
I wanted to revisit those times, so I created a community where friends and family are of first importance, and technology is still used infrequently. I could do this partly because the area is rural, and in the mountains, and the infrastructure for the technology is still primitive.
Mount Penn is the best of all communities. People still accept and enjoy and love each other, despite their differences. In fact it’s often their differences that make them so lovable. The Thursday morning ladies automatically assume they have most things in common with each other, and they do. I’d like my readers to feel a part of this community when they read my book and maybe, yearn to visit it again, when they finish the last page.
Have you ever been hit by the infamous “writer’s block”? What did you do to escape it?
Since I spent much of my time in the corporate world in a job that’s main purpose was to write, it really what I know best, so I’ve been lucky not to have writer’s block, yet. If I get to a point where the next sentence or idea is not coming, I just stop. I’ll read for a while, take a walk, play with the dogs, and usually when I return to my desk, I’m off writing again.
Asking the question, what did this person do next, is something that’s help me move ahead. Since I know how my book ends before I begin writing, it helps me to keep a focus on the ending and ask, what happens next to get to where I’m going.
Your all time favorite book?
Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice
What made you pick that one above all others?
Pride and Prejudice is a microcosm of human behavior. It’s brilliant in its depiction of human kind.
What’s the longest time you’ve spent working on a project?
It was six years from the time I wrote The End the first time on Thursday Morning Breakfast (and Murder) Club until it was finally published. That seems like a long time. But I wrote the book for me never dreaming it would be published.
Would you say becoming an author has changed you? In what way?
I’m a natural introvert. When I worked in corporate America, I was forced to become more social. Since retiring from business, I’ve drifted back into my own world. Becoming an author has forced me back into the world of other people. This has been great fun, but whenever possible, I migrate back to my laptop and the people that live in my mind.
Was there ever a time, during your work on the e-book/book, when you felt like giving up? What made you change your mind?
I did want to quit more times than I like to count. I kept on going because I knew this project was bigger than me. My older son is my agent, my younger son is my social media technician, so it’s become a family business. My family has become closer knit because of this project. I keep writing for my family.
What does your day-to-day life consist of? What else do you do, aside from writing?
I get up early, take the dogs to the park, maybe get in a bike ride if possible, and try to be at my desk working by nine. I spend an hour after lunch reading, then back at my desk from two to five. If the weather is kind, I take a walk after dinner before settling into my evening – which can consist of many things – from dinner with friends, community meetings, or even watch TV once in awhile. Whenever I have a free moment, I read.
I also own a vacation rental business in Hollywood FL so some of my time each day is making certain everything is in order there.
How do you deal with bad reviews or acid criticism? What would you advise other authors to that effect?
Good reviews are wonderful – and so right on target! A great story, wonderful characters, a well thought out plot, are all good words for an author to hear. But what have good reviews taught me? Not much, really. I feel good – really good sometimes, if I get a super good review. But I don’t always learn very much from them. It’s the bad reviews that can teach me to be a better writer or even a better person.
Not everything in a bad review has value but there are key points – especially if they’ve been noted by other reviewers – that can lead to better writing downstream. I do try to get past the emotion to understand exactly what the reviewer is trying to tell me. It’s this taking control of how I react to the bad review that has help bring discipline to other areas of my emotionally life that has helped make me a better person.
That said, I usually treat myself to an extra piece of chocolate or a second glass of wine on a day I receive one.
Is this title part of a series? Without giving us spoilers, of course, what can we expect from the next e-books/books in the series?
Yes, Thursday Morning Breakfast (and Murder) Club is the first book in a series. The Thursday morning breakfast club ladies set out on their next adventure when a man in Mount Penn wins the lottery and then is arrested for murder.
What do you have stored for us in the future? What are you working on/planning on next, aside this title/series?
I’m currently writing my third Thursday Morning Breakfast Club mystery. My second one is in the done pile, and hopefully, will be released in 2014. I mentioned in an earlier question the other mystery series I’ve written.
My grand epic, not even nicknamed yet, set in 1920s Pen Mar, Maryland, against the advent of the mass produced automobile and the demise of the railroads, is under construction. Henry Ford is a central character. This book, based on a lost history, is going to be so much fun to research and write, and, I hope, equally fun to read.
If you were stranded on an isolated island, what’s the one book you’d absolutely wish to have with you?
Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santmyer. It is delightfully long, and so wonderful, I could luxuriate with it for many days, then read it again. I’d have my Kindle with me on the island, of course, so hopefully in today’s world, I’d have some connection at least part of the time so I could download more books.
Name your favorite fruit
Coffee or tea?
Coffee in the morning, ice tea the rest of the day
Winter – I live in south Florida
How about fav time of 24 hours?
9 AM when I start my work day
Were you a boyscout/girlscout?
A girl scout.
Favorite food for breakfast?
Subway egg and cheese on flatbread with lots of veggies – yum, yum
Latest book you’ve bought and read?
Margaret Atwood’s Maddaddam. I read the other two books in the trilogy and have been waiting for this one which just came out.
Do you collect things, like stamps, or key chains, or shoes?
Drama or comedy?
I like quality entertainment – although it’s not easy to find, it can take many forms – including drama and/or comedy.
Have a fav quote or personal motto?
I like to live in the moment, but if I don’t like the moment, I’ll eat a cookie!
Cats or dogs?
Dinner by candlelight or a night out clubbing?
Dinner by the beach!!!
About the Author & Links:
After some thirty years writing everything from political encyclopedias to software manuals, I retired from corporate life to write fiction, travel, and play on the beach. Since that time, I’ve traveled extensively throughout the United States and the world. I live most of the year in Hollywood, Florida, with my two doggie best friends, Mattie and Jakey, where I own and manage a vacation rental business.
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