Today Teresa Trent is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Die a Yellow Ribbon, her latest novel in the Pecan Bayou mystery series.
Welcome, Teresa. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tell us about your novel. Is it a part of the series? If so, tell us about the series too.
Die a Yellow Ribbon is the ninth book in the Pecan Bayou series. When I wrote it, I wanted it to be part Amazing Race and part It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. I wanted to write a great summer read where the characters of my little Texas town are running around in the heat trying to find a plastic pecan spray painted gold.
When you write this many books in a series, you have plenty of characters to play with and bring into the stories. In the beginning of the Pecan Bayou Series, Betsy was a single mom with one child and now she has married her wonderful Leo and they have three children. Her father is the local law, and she works at the newspaper writing a helpful hints column. I love her world because she is a mom, a daughter, a niece, and a part of the local media.
Where did the idea for the mystery come from?
It was a couple of things. I love reality television. My two favorites are Survivor and The Bachelor. The yellow ribbon comes from the Amazing Race where they try to find a yellow clue box. There is so much going on with the hunt for the Golden Pecan, it becomes a great backdrop for a murder mystery. The potential suspects are scattered, and the motives are plenty. There is an ongoing feud with the owner of the natural foods store and the owner of a vitamin supplement shop that aides in muscle building. With all that wholesome healthy living you’d think there be peace and reasoning, but not so much.
The second influence was the incredible book by Marie Kondo, Tidying Up. Talk about a helpful hints writer’s paradise. Betsy falls under the spell of total organization.
Is there a theme or subject that underlines the story? If so, what prompted you to write it.
My main character has just read tidying up by Marie Kondo and has subjected her family to excruciating reorganization to the point of trying to control her oldest son who is about to be a senior in high school. Her mega-organization is an effort to gain control of things in her life that are changing. She’s having a tough time with the thought that her kids are growing up. Of course, any sort of control is fleeting. Whether it’s a murder investigation or a sock drawer, you can’t manage everything. I came upon this theme after I read Tidying Up and started cleaning out closets and straightening drawers. It got so bad my husband asked me who had been folding his clothes, because it sure wasn’t me.
How do you create your characters? Do you have favourite ones? If so, why are you partial to them?
I try to write people I would like to have in my home. Then I write a bunch more I wouldn’t want around. My favorite characters usually come from Betsy’s family including her cousin Danny who has Down Syndrome. I have a son with Down Syndrome, who, although he doesn’t function at as high a level as Danny, inspired my writing of his character. Welcome to my world, which involves people of all abilities. His mother, Aunt Maggie is my dedication to all the wonderful women in my life who have always been there no matter what.
How do you bring life to the places you are writing about?
When I write a setting, first I use my senses. What does it look like, smell like, feel like, and then I filter it through my characters. Betsy would love the smell of the apple pie at the diner, while her boss the newspaper editor, would be listening to the conversations, looking for his next headline.
What research do you do to provide background information for the novel.
Research on Die a Yellow Ribbon was interesting. When I first wrote the novel, the vitamin supplement shop was a vape shop. I wanted to use something I considered unhealthy, yet seductive. I had never been in a vape shop and was a little nervous about it, but went in and asked a few questions to an exuberant young man and then explained I was writing a murder mystery. He became very excited and demonstrated the process of vaping with a large plume of strawberry scented vape that surrounded us both. Then he went on and told me all these ways I could kill someone with vaping supplies. I had to get out of there before he asked for a byline in the book! Eventually I changed the vape shop to the vitamin supplement shop because investigations into the harmful effects of vaping became disturbing news stories. I was worried they would close all the vape shops before the book came out.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about the book?
Yes! Die a Yellow Ribbon is free on Kindle from June 15-19, so get your free copy! If you love the book, think about leaving a review on Amazon, Goodreads or wherever you leave reviews. I hope you enjoy your trip through the summer heat of Pecan Bayou, Texas in search of the Golden Pecan!
Thanks for answering my questions, Teresa, and good luck with Die a Yellow Ribbon, the latest book in the Pecan Bayou Mystery series.
The novel is available online at Amazon
About Teresa Trent: This is Teresa’s ninth book in the Pecan Bayou Series that takes place in everyone’s favorite little town in Texas. Teresa writes the Pecan Bayou and Piney Woods series, but Pecan Bayou has always been a favorite place to call home for her. Teresa lives in Houston, Texas with her family.