Guess who’s in the house today? Author Heather Gilbert! Her newest book released—Miranda Warning, a twist-turning mystery! Today, she’s agreed to play a few rounds of Would You Rather and then share with us the inspiration behind the book. Here’s a peek!
Child of the Appalachian mountains, Tess Spencer has experienced more than her share of heartache. The Glock-wielding, knife-carrying housewife knows how to survive whatever life throws at her.
But when an anonymous warning note shows up in her best friend Miranda’s mailbox—a note written in a dead woman’s handwriting—Tess quickly discovers that ghosts are alive and well in Buckneck, West Virginia. Hot on a cold trail, she must use limited clues and her keen insight into human nature to unmask the killer…or the next victim might be Tess herself.
Tinged with the supernatural and overshadowed by the mountains’ lush, protective presence, this twisting psychological mystery is the first in A Murder in the Mountains series.
Okay, Heather, let’s begin with the fun questions!
Would you rather….
...be famous or the best friend of someone famous?
Miranda: Oh, honey, I think I'm too old to be famous. But if I were, I think I'd want it to be for playing chess. I'm always beating that sweet little Tess Spencer and she says I'm really good at it.
Tess: Famous? Me? I don't have time to be famous. I'm in the middle of something right now...and I'm actually pregnant. Yes, that is a latte I'm drinking. I'm not always one to follow rules, you know. I would like to see my husband, Thomas, make a little more money at his lawyer job. But fame? I'm pretty happy where I am. In all actuality, right now I'm kind of trying to lie low...
Heather: I'd love to be famous for writing great books, so I could be a financial blessing to others as others have been to me over the years. But in the meantime, I can say I know some famous authors in Christian circles and they are some of the humblest, sweetest people I know. That's the kind of author I have so much respect for.
...find out that the life you are living now is an ongoing memory and you are actually older and looking back on your life with life-like detail OR your life was a very detailed imagination coming from a younger you imagining your future?
Miranda: I'm not sure I understand the question. I've been getting these heart flutters and can't seem to concentrate. But I am older and looking back on my life, and so I spend a large part of my days walking down memory lane. I like thinking about my husband, Russell. Why that man had to leave this earth before me, I'll never understand.
Tess: I already have a better memory than I'd like (almost like photographic, only in videos). But instead of looking back on life with intricate detail, I'd much rather be young again and re-imagine myself a new childhood. Mine wasn't the best.
Heather: Call me weird, but I've always looked forward to being old and the wisdom that comes with it. So I'd rather be old, but still looking toward the future, if that makes sense. I had a great childhood and I'd love to remember that in detail. But I also love looking forward to living life to the fullest as I grow older. Someday I look forward to being in heaven, maybe reviewing my life and understanding why certain things happened and how everything fit together.
...be a thief or a beggar?
Miranda: I'd be a beggar. I'd never steal from anyone.
Tess: Well...my husband is a lawyer, so let's just keep this quiet, but if my family was starving, I'd be a thief. Only I'd be a nice thief. I wouldn't kill anyone, I promise.
Heather: Wasn't that Jean Valjean's crime in Les Mis, stealing food for his family? To be honest, I'd rather not beg. I would ask for something nicely, but if people refused to help and my family was in need, I think I'd find a way around it. I'd try a lot of resourceful options before stealing, and even then, I might not do it. But I would find a way to help us survive. I just watched Catching Fire so obviously I'm in a dystopian, end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it mood. :)
Thanks so much for playing, Ladies! Loved your answers. Now, share with us what inspired this story.
I was inspired to write this Appalachian mystery because I've grown up reading mysteries: in particular, Agatha Christie. I love her married detectives, Tommy and Tuppence Beresford, and how they are different yet they work their strengths to solve crimes. Even though my mysteries center on Tess Spencer, housewife detective, her husband, Thomas, plays a large role in supporting her and helping her see crimes in new ways (he's a lawyer).
I also loved the psychological vibe of Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier and I knew I, too, wanted to get deep into my characters' heads in each mystery. Plus, I've recently moved back to my home state, West Virginia, and it's chock-full of paranormal stories, so it lent itself very handily as a setting for this series.
I wanted to explore West Virginia the way it really is today, with all its beauty and yet its heartbreak. This series will delve into some dark and sad places, but ultimately the light of God shines through, just like it does in real life. However, sometimes people choose to reject it and I feel it's important to show the ultimate end of those choices, as well. That's why I say my writing is bittersweet.
I do hope Tess is a "sleuth" (love that word!) people can root for. She has her foibles, yes. She's newly married and has issues that plague her from her past. But she's going to grow and change even through the hardships of hunting down murderers. Her marriage will also change. I'm looking forward to taking readers along for the ride.
I rooted for her, Heather! Looking forward to the next one.
Okay, everyone! Pick one or all of the questions and answer in the comments!
***The winner of Donna Pyle’s prize package is . I will notify Donna of the winner.
Heather Day Gilbert enjoys writing stories about authentic, believable marriages. Sixteen years of marriage to her sweet Yankee husband have given her some perspective, as well as ten years spent homeschooling. Heather is a monthly contributor to Novel Rocket, a site dedicated to bringing helpful information to authors.
You can find Heather at her website, Heather Day Gilbert–Author, and at herFacebook Author Page, as well as Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube. Her novel, God’s Daughter, is an Amazon bestseller. You can find it here in three formats–Kindle, softcover, and audiobook.