So excited to be closing out the blog tour today for Haircuts, Hens, and Homicide by Stephanie Dagg! Thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invite! I love this cheery, colorful cover and I hope you enjoy my author Q&A below. I always enjoy learning more about the authors behind the book – fascinating stuff!
Megan finds mayhem when she arrives in France to bury her Gran and sort out her affairs. She expected difficult encounters with civil servants and red tape but not with wandering chickens, an imperious policeman and a dead body. Together with her unlikely new friend, the elderly and grumpy Alphonse and his canine equivalent, Monsieur Moustache, Megan becomes involved in investigating the fowl-related foul play that’s at work in this sleepy part of rural France.
She’s helped but mainly hindered by the people she comes across. These include the local mayor, who wants Megan to stay and set up a hair salon in his village to help keep it alive. There are the cousins Romain, the gendarme, and Nico, the clumsy but hunky farmer. They have always clashed, but do so constantly now that Megan is on the scene. Michelle, Romain’s terrifying ex who wants him back, appears along the way, as does Claudette, a wheelchair-bound old lady, and Kayla, Megan’s best friend, who is hugely pregnant but not above taking on the forces of French law and order when Megan finds herself the prime suspect after Alphonse is stabbed.
There’s excitement, humour and lots of ruffled feathers in this rom-com slash cosy mystery, the first in a projected series.
purchase link – getbook.at/HHH
about the author:
I’m an English expat living in France, having moved here with my family in 2006 after fourteen years as an expat in Ireland. I now consider myself a European rather than ‘belonging’ to any particular country. The last ten years have been interesting, to put it mildly. Taking on seventy-five acres with three lakes, two hovels and one cathedral-sized barn, not to mention an ever increasing menagerie, makes for exciting times.
The current array of animals includes alpacas, llamas, huarizos (alpaca-llama crossbreds, unintended in our case and all of them thanks to one very determined alpaca male), sheep, goats, pigs, ducks, geese, chickens and turkeys, not forgetting our pets of dogs, cats, zebra finches, budgies , canaries, lovebirds and Chinese quail.
Before we came to France all we had was a dog and two chickens, so it’s been a steep learning curve. I recount these experiences in my book Heads Above Water: Staying Afloat in France and the sequel to that, Total Immersion: Ten Years in France. I also blog regularly at http://www.bloginfrance.com.
I’m married to Chris and we have three bilingual TCKs (third culture kids) who are resilient and resourceful and generally wonderful.
I’m a traditionally-published author of many children’s books, and am now self-publishing too. I have worked part-time as a freelance editor for thirty years after starting out as a desk editor for Hodder & Stoughton. Find me at http://www.editing.zone. The rest of the time I’m running carp fishing lakes with Chris and inevitably cleaning up some or other animal’s poop.
social media links – @llamamum
1) When/how did you know you wanted to become a writer?
As soon as I could write I started making little illustrated books. They were mainly about a pair of fruit and veg chums, Apple and Carrot, or so I seem to remember! From then on I was generally scribbling in notebooks, and all through school English was far and away my favourite subject. So I think it became clear quite early on that writing was my thing. I won a few essay competitions and got some articles into magazines and papers during my teens and twenties, but it wasn’t until I was in my thirties that my first books were published by two Irish presses. Since then I’ve had around thirty books published, and they’ve been translated into four languages. I’ve self-published another dozen or so books too.
2) How do you come up with the names of your characters?
Usually a name just pops into my head. Sometimes it’s the same one though! I seem to have a bit of thing for Holly and Mark, so occasionally a bit more thought is required. I had to do some research on French names for ‘Haircuts, Hens and Homicide’ to find out which ones are popular, and how to spell them properly!
3) What was the inspiration for your book?
A lot of it has come from my own life as an expat here in France. Like Megan, I live in the rural heart of the country, and I have chickens. Poultry don’t feature largely in literature so I thought I should do something about that. I prefer light-hearted books that make you chuckle rather than give you nightmares so that decided what type of book mine would be. Also, like Megan, I admire my adopted country and its people, but not unreservedly! The rest of the novel has come from my imagination, and online research.
4) Who/what are some of your favorite authors/genres to read?
I enjoy many different genres but I have a particularly like cosy mysteries and romcoms. Also, as an expat myself, I always enjoy reading about other people’s experiences of life in an adopted country.
I could go on for days listing my favourite authors so I’ll just say here that I’m a huge fan of indie authors whom I admire for their commitment, enthusiasm, talent and entrepreneurial spirit.
5) What’s your favorite place to write? Do you need complete silence or do you like to be surrounded by sounds/music?
I write at the kitchen table early in the morning, about 6.30 to 7.30 before I have to start seeing to children and livestock. We have a farm with a variety of animals – alpacas, llamas, pigs, sheep and poultry of all kinds. It’s generally quiet then, just me and my husband up and about. It’s a lovely, peaceful time of day. A quick cup of coffee and my brain soon gets into writing mode. I usually get between 1,000 and 1.500 words written in that hour.
6) Do you have any pets?
See the above! Some of the chickens are sort of pets, particularly my feathery-legged brahmas, and there’s one turkey called Pilgrim (as she hatched on a Thanksgiving Day) who will never end up on the table. I’m a bit of a crazy bird lady, and I have budgies, canaries, finches, Japanese quail and love birds. My house is slowly filling with cages. We have two dogs and six cats too, and I’m temporary custodian of my daughter’s Russian hamster while she’s away at uni.
7) If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Australia again. I had a week in Sydney last year, visiting my daughter who was working there for a while. It’s a fascinating country and I loved every minute. We explored, bushwalked and swam in ocean pools. I’m a bit of a crazy bird lady so I was in my element seeing all the exotic birds. It was a fabulous experience.
8) What were your favorite books as a child?
Anything by Enid Blyton. I adored her books, especially the Adventure series (Castle of Adventure etc). I loved the Swallows and Amazon series by Arthur Ransome. I’m in my mid-fifties, and back in the day there wasn’t the huge range of children’s books that there are today. I read and adored many of the classics for younger people – Black Beauty, Anne of Green Gables, The Railway Children, The Secret Garden, for example – and then I move on to Jane Austen and other ‘grown up’ authors. I really loved reading, and I still do.
9) Top 3 favorite foods:
Muesli, croissants and chocolate.
10) What book character would you want to go out to dinner with?
Hmm, this is a tricky one! I’ve encountered so many amazing characters over the years. But time to be decisive, so I’ll say Paddington Bear.
11) What do you do when you get stuck?
I don’t stress too much if I hit a brick wall with a story because I know from experience that it won’t last too long. I’ll go for a walk or bike ride, or do some knitting. Or just start writing something else!