Today Magnolia “Maggie” Crozat is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Murder in the Bayou Boneyard, the latest novel in the Cajun Country mystery series.
Welcome, Maggie. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tell us about the novel that you live inside. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.
Hi, I’m Magnolia “Maggie” Crozat, and I live inside MURDER IN THE BAYOU BONEYARD. It’s the sixth book in the Agatha Award-winning, USA Today bestselling Cajun Country Mystery series, which revolves around Crozat Plantation Bed and Breakfast, the Louisiana historic home-turned-B&B that my family and I run. (I’m also an artist, by the way.) In the latest book, an AirBnB-type app is stealing business from us, so I inspire all the local B&Bs to take part in a Halloween-themed “Pelican’s Spooky Past” guest package. Sabotage and murder ensue!
Does the writer control what happens in the story or do you get a say too?
The writer and I work hand in hand. I let her know when something she writes for me doesn’t feel write. Given that this is our sixth book together, we’ve got a pretty good rhythm going, though.
How did you evolve as the main character?
When I first returned to my home town of Pelican, Louisiana – town motto, “Yes, We Peli-CAN!” – I was licking my wounds after a bad breakup and struggling to find myself as an artist. I didn’t want to be in Pelican and didn’t want to envision a life spent trying to keep our family business going. I felt like I’d never fit in in our small town. But now, I can’t envision spending my life anywhere else. I’m engaged and I have a great second job working as an art restoration specialist at a plantation historical site that once belonged to my mother’s family. I love our home and am proud to share it with guests.
Do you have any other characters you like sharing the story with? If so, why are you partial to them? I’m particularly close to my grand-mere. She’s eighty-three and a self-professed “grand dame,” although she’s very tongue-in-cheek about it. On the surface, she’s downright regal, but she’s insightful, sharp as a tack, and has a great sense of humor.
What’s the place like where you find yourself in this story?
Oh, a difficult one! Financially, we’re strained by the Rent My Digs app competition. We’re opening a spa to lure more guests and I hired a distant cousin as the masseuse. She’s shown up with her husband and his twentysomething twins from his first marriage. I’m an only child, so I was excited about meeting our long-lost cousin Susannah and having her work with us. But she and her family turn out to be sketchy as can be. Huge mistake on my part bringing them on board. But how do we get rid of them?
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about you and the book?
Not much more about me, lol. But the book is full of unique Halloween stuff, like fascinating tidbits about Creole and Cajun mourning customs, a play taking place in an abandoned cemetery, and… a rougarou. That’s the Cajun version of a werewolf. If you love Halloween, you’ll love MURDER IN THE BAYOU BONEYARD – if I do say so myself!
Thank you for answering my questions, Maggie, and good luck to you and your author, Ellen Byron, with Murder in the Bayou Boneyard, the latest book in the Cajun Country mystery series.
The novel is available at the following online retailers:
About Ellen Byron: Ellen’s Cajun Country Mysteries have won the Agatha award for Best Contemporary Novel and multiple Lefty awards for Best Humorous Mystery. Her Catering Hall Mystery series, written as Maria DiRico, launched with Here Comes the Body and was inspired by her real life. She’s an award-winning playwright and non-award-winning TV writer of comedies like WINGS, JUST SHOOT ME, and FAIRLY ODD PARENTS, but she considers her most impressive credit working as a cater-waiter for Martha Stewart. A native New Yorker who attended New Orleans’ Tulane University, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband, daughter, and rescue furbaby.