Monday, March 4, 2013

Murder on the First Day of Christmas by Billie Thomas: Interview and Review



What is your favorite quality about yourself? My optimism. I naturally approach things from a positive place, with humor and enthusiasm. I think that expecting things go your way is the first step toward making sure they actually do.

What is your least favorite quality about yourself? I always think I’m right. And I’m not.

What is your favorite food? An heirloom tomato salad with fresh mozzarella and basil. Perfection. The tomatoes you get at grocery stores can’t even begin to compare to the ones you get at a farmer’s market. When they’re in season, I eat them every day!

What’s your favorite place in the entire world? My house. Not just this specific house I live in now, but wherever I call home. I used to call my house my fortress of solitude but I’ve learned to share it with my boyfriend and my dog. And even that is tricky at times. I love having a calm, cozy place to close out the world and enjoy my own company for a while.

How much of the book is realistic? Well, no one really killed Santa, but there are several parts of the book that are realistic. The setting, instance. I love Birmingham and want everyone to know what a great city it is. It’s a character itself – often underestimated, full of surprises. Another Birmingham author, the late Anne George, was a master at using Birmingham as a backdrop for her stories. She was a definite inspiration. Also the relationship between Chloe and Amanda, as I’ve mentioned is very much like the one I had with my mother. Even better though, the relationship between Chloe’s parents is similar to the one my parents had. A true love story, full of humor and affection. Definitely something to aspire to!

Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot? Several of my characters are inspired by real people in my life. The mother-daughter relationship is like a greatest-hits version of the one I had with my own mother. I’m so thankful I have this series When my mom died unexpectedly of an aneurism at the end of 2011, I was so glad I had this book and that it was the first in a series. Working on it makes me feel close to her.

Can we expect any more books from you in the future? Absolutely! I’m working on Murder in a Two-Seater now. It’s set at a classic car show and someone close to Chloe and Amanda is accused of murder, forcing them to investigate again.

What are your current writing projects now? I’m very excited about my main character Chloe’s blog, The character interviews she does are so much fun and we meet the best authors that way. She also stars in her mini mysteries “From the Case Files of Chloe Carstairs.” Those are getting to be so popular that I may have to release a book of short stories here soon, to tide readers over while I finish Murder in a Two-Seater.

What are some of the best tools available today for writers, especially those just starting out? I’m part of a writers’ collective called, which helps connect indie writers with the resources they need to be successful at self-publishing. It’s a lot hard work to go indie, but very fulfilling to take your destiny into your own hands.

Do you have any advice for writers? Connect with other writers. I love writing but it’s not the solitary experience everyone thinks it is. You need to workshop your early drafts and network at conferences. You need have people to commiserate with when rejections start rolling in. And you’ll need connections to help you market your book – which you’ll have to do yourself whether you go the indie or the traditional publishing route. I’ve met some of the best, most creative and generous people through writing .


Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Mystery
Rating – PG
It’s beginning to look a lot like murder.

Finding a severed hand at a client’s house might throw lesser decorators off their games. But Chloe Carstairs and her mother, Amanda, won’t let a little thing like murder keep them from decking the halls. With a body under the partridge’s pear tree and a dead Santa in a sleigh, they have to crack the case before the killer strikes again - this time much too close to home.

Filled with laugh-out-loud humor, romance and a delightfully difficult mother-daughter relationship, this new series from Billie Thomas offers a fast-paced caper as these two southern ladies try to keep their very merry Christmas from turning into the Noel from hell.

I really got into this mystery that was told by 30-something Chloe Carstairs.  I loved Chloe and her mother Amanda.  Chloe and her mom are frequently at odds but they are able to appreciate each other’s strengths during the course of the book and I delighted in the fact that they came out of the Christmas season stronger people.  In fact, this book is filled with memorable characters.  There are quite a number introduced but the author does an exceptional job, I think, of making the important ones memorable in some way that seems natural.
I think one of the major reasons I enjoyed this story so much is because it read easily and each page seemed to be filled with humor.  Along with the unveiling of the murderer, there are some very funny secondary stories, too.  One of the funniest characters in the book is Bunny. The rivalry between her and Amanda is well-depicted, and there are some very funny moments via catty double entendres and one-line zingers that helped keep the story light-hearted and amusing.
Chloe will apparently be poking around into more mysteries in future books and I, for one, want to be there with her. This is a series I’ll be reading!
This book was given to me by the author in exchange for my honest review.
Reviewed by Laurie-J

Billie Thomas is the pseudonym of a Birmingham-based author. After the real Billie passed away unexpectedly at the end of 2011, getting Murder on the First Day of Christmas, the first of a series, revised and published was her daughter’s top priority as a way to honor the mom who had given her a lifelong love of books.

In her real life, Ms. Thomas writes within the advertising industry and is a founding member of the writing collective, IndieVisible. Other publications include Bar Code: Your Personal Pocket Decoder to the Modern Dating Scene.

The author enjoys combining her interests in decorating and gourmet cooking with her writing. She is still trying to solve the mystery of her own love life.

Ms. Thomas welcomes your contacts at You are welcome to friend her on Facebook as chloe.carstairs.73 and to tweet with her as @ChloeGetsAClue

Connect with Chloe Carstairs (Heroine of Murder on the First Day of Chrismas) on Facebook & Twitter & GoodReads

Next Few Stops
5th March – Guest Post, Book Feature & Giveaway at Books Are Magic
9th March – Author Interview at I Am A Reader
End of Tour

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