1) Tell us a little bit about yourself--both something we learn from [the story] and something that readers might not guess? My name is River Holloway Merrick, but you probably already know that. I spend most of my time indoors cooking, so I don’t go for hikes in the woods that often. When I do take hikes, I prep as if there’s a tick or biting insect convention. I wear thick boots, long pants duct-taped to the boots, a long-sleeved shirt, a bandana, and a broad-rim hat with a mosquito net veil. On a hike in Shrimply Dead, we pass by a hole full of snakes, and I freak out. I don’t like snakes. What you don’t know is the reason why I dislike snakes so much. When I was a child, my father got bit by a rattlesnake. He got help soon enough that he didn’t die, but that spot near his ankle was never the same. Dad developed a limp from it. Why that a snake have to bite my father? My dad wasn’t doing anything to the snake.
2) How did you first meet your writer? Writers are fickle creatures. Ideas and story characters float in the story ether until an author latches on to one of us. I had several almost latches a few years ago, but I got lucky with author Maggie Toussaint in that she saw the true potential of my culinary cozy. Once we connected, she let me have my head in the stories, which made it so much more fun.
3) Want to dish about him/her? I get annoyed when Maggie doesn’t write every day because I’m ready to create all the time, like right now I could be starring in an action scene. But no, I’ve got to wait until it suits her to write. I hate it when that happens. I’d much rather it be a regular day when Maggie comes to the keyboard first thing in the morning.
4) Why do you think that your life has ended up being in a book? I was in the right place at the right time. Lucky me!
5) Who's your favorite character? Why? I love my partner in investigating crime, Sam Merrick. He’s been my everything for years, but we were going in different directions for a while. In Shrimply Dead, we’re married but it isn’t all smooth sailing. Marriage doesn’t fix everything, and in fact, it opens up an entire new realm of conflict.
6) Who's your least favorite character? Why? I’m not fond of Sheriff Vargas. For one thing, he doesn’t have nearly enough female deputies working for him. For another, he always rushes to judgment on who is the guilty party in murder cases. I sure hope he gets voted out in the upcoming election.
7) What's next for you? I hope I get another book, but Maggie has already started writing a new series. When she’s done that before, the previous series’ protagonists (that would be me) didn’t get future books, but they did get feature roles in novellas and short stories. I’m crossing my finger for a novella.
About Shrimply Dead
When veterinarian and amateur naturalist Jasmine Garr is shot in her yard, residents of Shell Island press caterer River Holloway into investigating the homicide. River dons her amateur sleuth cap and sets out to discover who killed her former catering customer.
Between Jasmine’s estranged cousin, a rival veterinarian, a wild animal trapper, the chicken lady, and a real estate broker, River has plenty of suspects to consider. As she peels back the layers of Jasmine’s life, dangerous secrets come to light.
Jasmine’s orphaned kitty, Iris, along with River’s cat Major, and her husband Pete help River sift through the evidence. At the same time, River recently expanded her catering business. She must service her regular catering clients, plus provide fresh baked goods for Pete’s ice cream shop.The killer follows River’s every move relishing the thought of another victim. Time is running out. Will River solve the murder before she becomes a cold dish?
About Maggie Toussaint
Southern author Maggie Toussaint writes cozy and paranormal mysteries, romantic suspense, and dystopian fiction, with more than twenty fiction novels published. A multi-year finalist for Georgia Author of the Year, she’s won Silver Falchions, the Readers’ Choice, and the EPIC Awards. She’s past president of Mystery Writers of America-Southeast chapter and an officer of LowCountry Sisters In Crime. She lives in coastal Georgia, where secrets, heritage, and ancient oaks cast long shadows. Visit her at https://maggietoussaint.com/