Dot Morgan is visiting Ascroft, eh? today to tell us about The Twist and Shout Murder, in the Swinging Sixties mystery series.
Welcome, Dot. 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.
My name is Dot Morgan, and I would love to tell you about Camden, Texas in the year 1962. Even though we’re a small town, we’re pretty modern. It’s not the 50s anymore. I ‘m studying at Hudson Secretarial School hoping to enter the world of business someday. Secretarial school can be challenging mostly because shorthand is a real bear. Wouldn’t it be great if somebody invented something to take down people’s words more efficiently than having to learn hieroglyphics?
It’s summertime in Texas and one storm on the horizon is a hotly debated political contest between my father and the brother of our local D.A., Morton Manning. A seat on our city council has opened after Phil Boggs choked on a chicken bone. As a court clerk, my father has spent years helping others. Morton Manning’s brother, Anson, is well known around town as a rich boy who is having problems settling into a career, so naturally politics is the most obvious answer for him.
Does the writer control what happens in the story, or do you get a say too?
Sometimes I’m not sure if there is any control at all when I end up in dangerous situations.
How did you evolve as the main character?
Reviewers have told me I grow quite a bit. I look like Sandra Dee with a blond ponytail. My author says a modern version of me would be similar to Amanda Seyfried. In the beginning of my story, I don’t argue with my elders. In secretarial school, Miss Robinson is a heartless dictator, but I wouldn’t even think of telling her off. If I want to get my degree, I need to put up with her bossiness. You see, in 1962, as a woman your choices are to be a secretary, a nurse, a teacher or a wife and mother. Just between you and me, I feel like I want a little more. I’m proud of my actions during the book although sometimes I was scared to death. John F. Kennedy, our president, says, ” There is, in addition to a courage with which men die; a courage by which men must live.” Isn’t that great? I’m sure he meant to say “women” must have courage to live, too.
Do you have any other characters you like sharing the story with? If so, why are you partial to them?
A small town is really a big family of people. I share much of my adventure with my landlady, Arlene Clark. I live upstairs in her house with my cousin Ellie. Speaking of Cousin Ellie, she owns the Bluebonnet Dress Shop and has been dating her boyfriend for over five years. I thought they’d be married by now.
Mom works at the library and as you already know, dad works at the courthouse. He is a clerk there. Finally, and I don’t know if I should mention him, but I started becoming friends with Ben Dalton from the Camden Courier. He’s awfully handsome and seems to want to know all about the election. Not only does he cover the election, but we discover a body together.
What’s the place like where you find yourself in this story?
I enjoy being close to Dallas, but not too close. Sometimes we get visits from people like Lady Bird Johnson and her daughter Lucy. Camden is the perfect place to be. I know my readers are living in an entirely different time, so let me tell you a little about our society where I live. Men wear ties to work and some still wear fedoras, a leftover fashion from the 50s. Women mostly wear dresses, although, I have to tell you some hemlines have been going up a bit lately. I wonder where that will go. We have a new restaurant named McDonald’s where you can get a hamburger for $0.35 in an instant.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about you and the book?
This is my first adventure in The Swinging Sixties Mystery Series. In your bustling world, sometimes it’s better to turn back the page and visit a quieter time. Kennedy is in the White House, which comforts me that nothing bad will happen. Come join me in The Twist and Shout Murder.
Thank you for answering my questions, Dot, and good luck to you and your author, Teresa Trent, with The Twist and Shout Murder, in the Swinging Sixties mystery series.
The novel is available at the following online retailers:
About Teresa Trent: Teresa writes historical mysteries, cozy mysteries, romance, and short stories. She lives in South Texas with her husband and son with Down syndrome and splits her time between writing and caretaking.