Monday, 9 February 2015

Guest Author Interview - Michelle Goff

Mystery author Michelle Goff joins me in this week's Guest Author Interview to tell us about her release 'Murder on Sugar Creek':

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Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
My name is Michelle Goff and if it weren’t for my dog, I’d be the crazy cat lady. I live with my dog as well as three cats in southeastern Kentucky, a rural mountainous region in the States. When I’m not writing, I can usually be found baking, watching classic movies, or weed eating. I also enjoy a good nap.

What first inspired you to start writing?
I’ve always had an overactive imagination. Even as a child, I made up stories in my head. But it wasn’t until my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. King, read one of my humorous stories aloud to the class that I considered committing more of those stories in my head to paper. The story she read prompted an immediate and positive reaction from my classmates that both inspired and embarrassed me. Indeed, I hid under a desk.

Where did the idea for Murder on Sugar Creek come from?
It didn’t come from one specific idea, but I remember the moment I formulated the basic plot. My dad was ill and, as I drove home from the hospital one night, I started thinking up a murder mystery. It might sound strange that a fictitious murder helped me cope with his illness, but it did. After his death, I began writing Murder on Sugar Creek, and that helped me deal with my grief.

How far have you planned out the future books in the series?
Not very far, I’m afraid. I’m a seat of my pants writer. I have, however, imagined certain scenes that I will incorporate into the subsequent books and a general idea of a future murder victim’s identity.

Which book has had the greatest impact on you?
I read Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar the summer between my freshman and sophomore years at college. It didn’t change my life, but the passage where Esther admits to drinking from a finger bowl has stayed with me. Why? A few weeks before I read the book, I went to dinner with my best friend and her family. It was the first time I tried shrimp and, in my ignorance, I tried to cut off the tail with a knife. An uncomfortable silence fell over the table. My exposure to Esther’s faux pas with the finger bowl came at the perfect time in my life.

What is your favourite song lyric?
“Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true or is it something worse” from The River by Bruce Springsteen. I love Springsteen’s music and consider him my favorite poet.

What is new about your stories?
A cozy is by its very nature formulaic. A reader has a general idea of what to expect – an amateur sleuth investigates a crime in a small community. But eastern Kentucky has never been well represented in popular culture except for a persistent hillbilly stereotype as well as the media’s focus on our high poverty rates and thriving drug culture. The southeastern Kentucky “hollers” populated by multidimensional characters in my stories should provide a new experience for most readers and give them a well-rounded vision of the area.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’m completing the second book in the series, Murder at Catfish Corner. As the book opens, the body of a woman is found floating in a pay lake. (For those of you unfamiliar with the term, as its name suggests, it’s a stocked lake that people pay a fee to fish in.) Although the police rule the death accidental, the woman’s sister doubts the official ruling and asks nosy reporter and amateur sleuth Maggie Morgan to investigate.

Tell us about your latest release and how we can find out more.
Murder at Sugar Creek starts as Mac Honaker is beginning his morning with an Iced Honey Bun, a cup of coffee, and a fatal shot to the chest. Mac’s murder stuns Sugar Creek, a small community nestled in the hills and hollows of eastern Kentucky. It also fuels Sugar Creek resident Maggie Morgan’s enthusiasm for true crime, but her interest turns personal when her brother’s childhood friend is arrested for the murder. Maggie dedicates herself to proving his innocence, which puts her in contact with her ex-fiancĂ© the police detective just as she starts a new romance. As Maggie pieces the clues together, an unflattering picture of Mac emerges and she comes to the realization that her brother’s friend might not be so innocent after all.

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