Hello, there. This is a first. I usually don’t interview human characters, but I have a woman here who wants to speak about her pet co-stars, so I’ll make an exception. Hello, Lady. What is your name and your author’s name?
I’m caterer River Holloway Merrick, and my author is Maggie Toussaint. My newly adopted dog is Artie, and he’s a retired police dog. I have two cats. My black cat Major has been in all my books, and he’s quite the sleuth. My second cat, Ivy, has calico coloring, and she’s very shy.
My author has two real-life cats that are black and calico-colored. In our Cobble Cove series, I also have a calico, KittyKai, who joined us a few books ago. We also have Fido, a golden retriever and Ruby the beagle.
What book(s) have you appeared in? Please list them and their genre.
This is my (River’s) third Seafood Capers Mysteries, a culinary cozy series. The books in order include Seas the Day, Spawning Suspicion, and Shrimply Dead. Artie the dog only appears in Shrimply Dead. Major is my cat with detective leanings.
Sounds great. My author doesn’t eat much seafood, but I love it. Most cats do.
Are you in a series? If so, please give information about it.
This series features my (River’s) catering business, Holloway Catering, and my hometown, Shell Island, Georgia. I’ve lived here my whole life. I’m married to my high school sweetheart, Pete Merrick, and I have a brother with children and a wife. Everyone raves about my cooking and my yummy desserts but truthfully, I’m just barely getting by on my catering income. To raise my total income, I often help a friend with her housecleaning business. My goal is to increase my net profits so that I spend my time cooking, which I adore.
My German Shepherd Artie was inspired by a needy Labrador Retriever that my author once had. Artie’s tricks of eating off the counter and sleeping with his head on the pillow came from my author’s grand-dogs.
You sound like an interesting character and so does Artie and your other pets.
Can you share an excerpt from one of your books that features you in an important scene? If so, please include it.
Artie didn’t sleuth in this book, but my kitty Major did.
“Stay back.” Pete told me as he hurried to the open doorway. “Anybody here?”
No response. I took the stairs two at a time. “Hello?” I called out from beside him.
His exasperated gaze spoke volumes. “I told you to wait down there.”
I gestured with my hand. “You did, but no one is here, except our cat.”
He stepped in front of me and called out again. “Hello!”
Not a sound came from inside the house, and I was tired of being protected. I ducked under Pete’s arm. “Major…Here kitty, kitty.”
The cat yowled, and my concern mounted. “Something’s wrong. I need to get him.”
A shot rang out. My heart stalled and echoes of that shot reverberated in my ears. Pete hauled me down the steps and wrangled me into the Buick. When I could speak, I asked, “What about the cat? We can’t abandon him.”
“That cat has nine lives. You don’t, and we’re not dying today.” Pete sped away from the Garr property. “Major will hide until help arrives. He’s a clever cat. He’ll be okay. Meanwhile, call the deputy.”
I glanced over my shoulder at the Garr place and swallowed around the lump in my throat. “Thanks for getting us out of there. That gunshot stunned me. I was so sure the house was empty, and Major had found another clue.”
“He did. He let us know somebody was in that house.”
Purrfect excerpt. Thanks for sharing.
What do you like most about your role in your authors’ books?
River will continue to answer… I like showcasing my home town of Shell Island, and I enjoy sharing my love of cooking with others. If you were to ask my pets, Major would say he loves protecting our family and finding things; Ivy would say she’s glad she has a new fur-ever home; and Artie would say I love having a new pack, even if there are cats in it.
Do the pets talk in your books or stay silent and only bark or meow occasionally?
The pets in the Seafood Caper Mysteries are super smart, but they do not talk in human language. They indicate danger, displeasure, and love with different animal sounds and behaviors. Trust me, there is a lot of pet communication.
The pets in the Cobble Cove books have recently started talking with one another but not with the human characters, but they also find ways of communicating with them especially Alicia, the main character, and Gilly, her friend.
What advice would the pets give other pet characters?
Artie insisted on answering this one! Don’t let the cats hog all the detecting glory. Your dog nose is much keener than any cat’s, so you can pick up the scent of anyone who’s intruded in your home. Your hearing is keener too. Regardless of what they tell you, cats do not rule, but it’s best to let them think that’s true.
Don’t give up if something happens to your human. My first person after I stopped being a police K-9, Duvall Shannon, was with me for many, many moons. I could smell his sickness on him when he brought me to the vet clinic for my surgery to remove a fatty tumor on my leg. I never saw Duvall again, and I couldn’t eat. My new person, River, came to the clinic, and I loved her right away. She smells like food, her voice is soft and sweet, and she doesn’t push me away when I need to hear her heart beating.
I like that reply. It was nice to hear from you, Artie, even though you’re a dog.
Do you have any new books coming out? Please give dates and details.
My author Maggie is writing another paranormal mystery series, so Shell Island and all my friends are currently on hiatus and enjoying the seashore. If you want more books in this series, let the author know. She will have another mystery out in late 2021 or in 2022
I will share that with my readers and also your author’s blog tour and giveaway. Thanks for the interview, River and Artie.
Shrimply Dead (A Seafood Caper Mystery)
by Maggie Toussaint
About Shrimply Dead
Shrimply Dead (A Seafood Caper Mystery)
3rd in Series
Publisher: Muddle House Publishing (April 12, 2021)
• Number of Pages 237 PAGES
Digital ASIN: B08V52RD4W
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/
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