Friday, January 4, 2013

#AuthorInterview Billie Thomas, author of Murder on the First Day of Christmas, a Chloe Carstairs mystery.

I totally spazzed and missed this interview for Christmas. BUT... hey, we know there's Christmas spirit all year round, so... without further ado, let me introduce Chloe Carstairs with a Christmas Murder.

In your first book, Santa gets stabbed with an icicle. Working through a little Christmas rage there, Billie?
Well, it’s not the REAL Santa Claus. Just someone dressed up like one so he can hand out naughty little presents to people who have naughty little secrets. Stuff like that can get you killed.

I'll bet! Chloe and her mother Amanda are interior decorators. Any particular reason you chose that profession for them? An interior designer brings order and beauty to your life. Pretty much the opposite of what a murderer does. Chloe and Amanda’s jobs get them into some of Birmingham’s most beautiful and expensive homes. They know what skeletons their clients are hiding in their closets, what secrets they’ve got coming out of the woodwork. You can’t hide anything from your decorator, which makes them pretty good – not to mention, well-dressed – detectives.

Yes, that's true. Love the concept, but why is Chloe so clueless?
I think the term is “adorably clueless.” She’s the quintessential late bloomer, still figuring things out. She tends to overthink some things (like her love life) and under-think others (like chasing after murderers), two tendencies that always get her in trouble.

Any similarities between you two?
More than I’d like to admit, especially since I’m older than her. It doesn’t bode well for Chloe that I’m still trying to solve the mystery of my own love life.

Speaking of that, Chloe is currently torn between two love interests, Jacob, her on-again-off-again boyfriend and a dishy detective named Max. Any idea which one she’s going to end up with?
No clue. Jacob is a commitment-phobe, who wants to keep their relationship casual. When he saw Chloe’s Fantasy Wedding board on Pinterest, he took off running. Max is showing definite interest, which bears further investigation. Which hopefully Chloe will do with all her clothes on this time.  

I love how you work Pinterest into your story. Chloe has her own website,, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter accounts. What do you do when your character goes rogue like that?
I love it, actually. She’s got her own distinct voice and personality, so let her live in the spotlight and market this book for me. I prefer to stay under the paparazzi’s radar.

What’s your favorite part about being a writer?
I love, love, love sitting down at my computer and getting lost in my story. It’s an absolute joy. But a close second is meeting other writers. Whether its through conferences, classes, my writers’ group or the writer’s collective, IndieVisible, which I helped start, I am so grateful for the friendships I’ve made along the way. Connecting with other writers not only strengthens your work but also helps you market your book – which you have to do whether you go the indie or the traditional publishing route.

Your book is laugh-out-loud funny. Any tips on writing humor?
The better you know your characters, the easier it is to find the humor in your story. The way they relate to a situation or to other characters are great sources of humor. Chloe, for instance, is self-deprecating and a little ditzy. Amanda is more sophisticated and has a dryer sense of humor. Their differences make their banter funny, but their affection for each other keeps it light.

And I’ve got to ask about your pseudonym. Where did it come from?
Chloe tells people I’m in the witness protection program, but truth is that I originally collaborated on this book with my mom, whose name is Billie and my Dad, whose name is Thomas. My mom passed away unexpectedly last year so I thought it was a nice way to honor her. She’s the inspiration for Amanda so I’m incredibly thankful I have this series. Working on it makes me feel close to her.

What a fitting tribute to her. So what’s next for these interior decorators turned amateur investigators.

Murder in a Two Seater will be out in 2013. It’s set at a classic car show and once again Chloe and Amanda have to keep someone they love out of trouble.

Billie Thomas is the pseudonym of a Birmingham-based author who also writes for the advertising industry. She is a founding member of the writing collective, IndieVisible. And other publications include Bar Code: Your Personal Pocket Decoder to the Modern Dating Scene. Billie is raising a Rhodesian Ridgeback  and still trying to solve the mystery of her own love life. Contact her at or on Twitter @ChloeGetsaClue.

You can buy Murder on the First Day of Christmas for Kindle on Amazon.

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