is back again where authors are invited to interpret my "How Did That Happen?" title in any way they choose.
Today, I'm welcoming back a Crooked Cat Books author friend - Joan Livingston - who has a fabulous post to share with us. Her topic is essentially 'her mother', and it can't be all that often that an author actually includes her/his mother in their latest novel.
I'll hand over to Joan and let her explain How did That Happen!
My Mother is a Character
In real life, my mother, Algerina Medeiros is a smart and spunky 94-year-old woman. She’s also the inspiration for Isabel Long’s mother in my new mystery, Chasing the Case, and being a big reader, she gave her approval. Yes, my mother is indeed a character in my book.
Both Isabel and her mother, Maria Ferreira are widows. Maria, who is 92, came to live with her in the town of Conwell in Western Massachusetts because both were tired of living alone. Also, Isabel has the most room of her siblings.
Maria likes to stay up late reading and watching TV. Being Portuguese, she makes family favorites like kale soup. And when Isabel takes on her first case, her mother not only gives her wholehearted support, she helps out.
I like Maria. She’s got a quick sense of humor. Isabel says she inherited her nosy gene, which came in handy when she was a journalist. Now, it will help her as a P.I.
Isabel’s first case involves disappearance of a woman 28 years earlier in Conwell, which only has a thousand people. She has the time, given she lost her job as the managing editor of the newspaper where she worked for thirty years. And, she has a Watson in her mother.
Here is a brief excerpt. Isabel is burying a dead pet cat in the backyard.
I dig the shovel’s point into the earth. I chose a spot in the backyard away from my vegetable garden. Damn, it’s cold for late October. The ground isn’t frozen yet, thank goodness, or I’d have a problem today. I’m in a sweatshirt and wearing gloves. I swear I see snowflakes when I glance up from my digging.
I hear a tap at the kitchen window. My mother’s face is in the glass. Ma came to live with me this summer. Her name is Maria Ferreira. She didn’t want to be on her own, and I’m her kid with the most room, lots of room, actually. She’s been a widow a few years. Having your ninety-two-year-old mother move in could be a pain, but not my ninety-two-year-old mother. She hasn’t lost her edge. She stays up past midnight, later than me, watching TV and doing puzzles. I got her interested in some of the stuff in our dinky town, plus there are the kids and granddaughter.
Ma still drives. She’s got a heavy foot like she’s behind the wheel of the getaway car in a bank robbery.
The other day I told her, “Ma, you’re moving a little bit fast.”
She joked, “No, it’s the car.”
I let her drive me around, so she doesn’t forget. That will change this winter. My commute to the newsroom was at times an adventure, snow, and the worst, ice. Sometimes I had to find a place to sleep in the city. The road crews do their best, but the weather can be unpredictable and fast.
Ma checks my progress. I asked her not to come outside because it’s so cold. I give her a wave and keep digging.
My mother read Chasing the Case, plus my other books. Actually, I credit her for my love of reading — she took us to the library at least once a week. She says she loved the book, but she did have a question. How about writing a historical romance next? Oh, my mother.
Joan Livingston is the author of novels for adult and young readers. Chasing the Case, published by Crooked Cat Books, is her first mystery and the first in a series featuring Isabel Long, a longtime journalist who becomes an amateur P.I.
An award-winning journalist, she started as a reporter covering the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts. She was an editor, columnist, and most recently the managing editor of The Taos News, which won numerous state and national awards during her tenure.
After eleven years in Northern New Mexico, she returned to rural Western Massachusetts, which is the setting of much of her adult fiction, including Chasing the Case and its sequels.
Chasing the Case
How does a woman disappear in a town of a thousand people? That's a 28-year-old mystery Isabel Long wants to solve.
Isabel has the time given she just lost her husband and her job as the managing editor of a newspaper. (Yes, it's been a bad year.) And she's got a Watson — her 92-year-old mystery-loving mother who lives with her.
To help her case, Isabel takes a job at the local watering hole, so she can get up close and personal with those connected to the mystery.
As a journalist, Isabel never lost a story she chased. Now, as an amateur P.I., she's not about to lose this case.
Chasing the Case officially launches May 18.
Here’s the link to order Chasing the Case in paperback, or the Kindle version: http://mybook.to/chasingthecase
Your mother sounds like a very interesting person to know, Joan, and the book a very entertaining read that I'll look forward to.
It was my father who took me to the library as a kid. At that time, my mother always said she had no time, or energy to read at night. She also had the excuse that when she was growing up her own mother frowned upon my mum, or my aunts, (the female siblings) spending time reading, though it wasn't a problem to my grandfather who was a well-educated shipyard worker on the Clyde, in Glasgow. Of course, my grandmother had no issue with my uncles if they picked up a newspaper, or a book!
By the time I was in my late teens, my mum was visiting the library and taking out a couple of books each week. She liked historical sagas and romances but to me, she was a very slow reader. I could read about five books in the time it took mum to read one novel, though the time taken was immaterial. By then, she loved being immersed in a book.
Thanks for sharing your mum with us today, Joan. Best wishes with your newest book launch that's coming up very soon (18th May 2018)!