Southern author Maggie Toussaint writes cozy and paranormal mysteries, romantic suspense, and dystopian fiction. She has twenty published novels and is a three-time finalist for Georgia Author of the Year. She’s won three Silver Falchions, the Readers’ Choice, and the EPIC Awards. She lives in coastal Georgia, where secrets, heritage, and ancient oaks cast long shadows.
“I’m sure others have had this experience: you’re suddenly surprised by a friend’s words or deeds. I’ve found that you can know someone all your life but never truly know who they are. Further, it has held true that most people have a public persona and a private one.”
In Seas the Day, those dual personas are precisely the challenge for caterer River Holloway. Driven to find a missing friend, a boat captain, River discovers baffling secrets when she digs into her friend’s past.
Maggie said that the Seafood Caper Mystery series originated because she wanted to write a lighter cozy series after having written a cozy paranormal series of seven books. “That series was inspired by my longing to talk to my sister, who had passed away. After nearly seven years of dwelling in that story world, I needed a change. I wanted to write about a wholesome young woman struggling with everyday issues – elder care, a brother who took a long time to grow up, a boyfriend who moved away, and yet she was/is entirely rooted in her community on Shell Island. To add to the nourishing aspect of this new series, I created a catering sleuth so that she could bring sustenance to all who cross paths with her.”
Maggie said she knows the setting for Seas the Day well. “I have lived on an island in a small community. My family has always lived by the sea, been fisher folk, and enjoyed cooking. The same things that sustain my sleuth—the blended scents of the forest and ocean, the certainty of the tides, the tug of family heritage—sustain me. But she’s the cook, not me. All my life I’ve dreamed of being a person like River, and now I have the privilege of living vicariously through her.”
From Trouble came a nudge
A few years ago, Maggie was invited to participate in a short story collection featuring author Carolyn Haines’ character, Trouble, the black cat. Maggie said the story call wanted a romance, a mystery, and Trouble in each short story. “My story, ‘Trouble with Horses’, was accepted into the Trouble with Cupid anthology which benefits animal rescue charities. The couple I wrote about, River Holloway and Pete Merrick, kept nudging me to give them a book, so I began writing Seas the Day. Since then I’ve decided to issue at least two more full length novels in this series.
“River’s name came to me because she’s very grounded like a river or a stream and yet she’s always on the go, always reaching out and expanding her limits. She’s fluid and yet strong. She knows what she wants and she goes for it. She’s guided by her drive to help others in any way she can. She’s the ultimate neighbor you always count on.
“Her childhood sweetheart, Pete, wants to make his mark on the world and be able to keep River in grand style. He’s a brilliant corporate turn-around expert, but in this story he’s in over his head. His journey is to realize there’s no place like home, and for him, home is now and has always been, River.”
Paying things forward
“The good guys always win, you always get a happy ending in a Maggie Toussaint story, and my story characters act in character throughout the book. I hope readers find my books easy to read, page-turning, and entertaining because that’s my goal.
My sleuths are very invested in family and grounded in their communities and values that I share. I have had many helping hands along the way to this point in my life and I’ve done my best to keep paying that forward. Reader and writer alike, we are all on a journey together through this life.”
And keeping a sense of humor
“The contract for Seas the Day came about as an agented three-book deal. This was the first time I’d sold without having everything finished. Despite many personal challenges in 2019, I kept up with the production schedule for all three books. It was exhilarating and maddening and stressful. And yet, somehow it got done in the lighthearted, entertaining style I like to write. For me, the secret was to focus on what I could do each day instead of worrying about how much needed to be done.”
Of course, part of that work was research. Fortunately, there was nothing too crazy in the research for Seas the Day. At least, nothing like what happened when she wrote Murder in the Buff. Maggie was exhibiting books at a festival when she was confronted by the owner of a nearby clothing-optional site. “He thought I shouldn’t have written about this kind of place without visiting one. That was never going to happen, but I was happy to share that I’d interviewed someone who had visited there. My friend went to dinner there with another teacher and said she kept telling herself ‘don’t look down, don’t look down,’ the whole time. Of course, I used that mantra in the book!”
Visit Maggie Toussaint at maggietoussaint.com.a Rafflecopter giveaway