Interview with Pearl R. Meaker – Author of The Devil’s Flood

The Devil's Flood (Emory Crawford Mysteries Book #3)Can a house disappear without a trace?

Emory and Jebbin are with an archeological dig on the shore of Sutton’s Lake west of Twombly looking for a house that might only be a legend. Madison Twombly has plans to investigate a “super booze” being handed out at clandestine drinking parties.

When the house is found it contains two mummified bodies. The parties stop because a young man is killed in a drunken duel. Emory and Madison realize there are connections between the hundred year old mummies and the current day crime.

Sometimes the past won’t stay in the past.

 

The Devil’s Flood – #3 in the Emory Crawford Mystery series

Genre: Cozy Mystery
My Rating: **** (4 stars)

The Devil’s Flood finds Emory Crawford and her husband Jebbin at an archaeological dig searching for a legendary house that may or may not exist. The book follows two separate cases, one in the present day, and one that took place around 1844. Emory thinks the two cases may be related, but can she use her intuition to prove it in time to convince the police that her friend Melva is innocent? I enjoyed the twin mysteries in this installment, and I’ll be looking out for more Emory in the future!

Besides getting to read her latest novel, I also had the opportunity to ask Pearl a few questions about her writing career. Please help me welcome her to The Book’s the Thing! 🙂

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Shortly after we got our first home computer. There was no way I was ever going to write even a long short story by hand.

Actually, that’s not quite honest.

After I learned how to use our Apple IIc, I wrote three fan-fiction stories (didn’t even know there was a name for that type of story back then) but strictly for fun. That was in the late 1980’s early 90’s and it was two Dr. Who stories (Doctors 4 and 5) and a Zorro story.

But I didn’t write anymore until late 2002 early 2003 when I found out about Tolkien based fan-fiction and online fan-fiction archives where you could post your stories for people to read. A friend recommended I try it and see if I liked doing it. I did and people really liked my story – and I was hooked.

All told I’ve written somewhere over 150 Tolkien based stories, mostly short stories, but a few novella length and two novel length. Most are pretty good, a few are real clunkers, some are very good. They are posted on either Fan-Fiction.net or Stories of Arda under the author name of Pearl Took.

Several of my regular readers suggested I try writing something original that could be published and sold. So I took an entry level writing course and a novel writing course, wrote my first book “The Devil’s Music,” and submitted it to an independent publisher and, to my complete amazement, they accepted it. And now I have three cozy mystery books out in the world.

I guess I would have to say it all just sort of happened.

Do you have a favorite book that you’ve written? (or a favorite character, setting, etc…)

Not just because it’s the newest, but I think I like The Devil’s Flood the best so far. It’s a little more complex. I like history and archeology. I’ve always wanted to go on a dig, and now I have through Emory, Jebbin and the Twombly College dig team.

I also liked how the story came about. My hubby suggested writing about a flood since we were having a flood year in our part of Illinois that spring and summer. I was able to use one of my favorite places – an area west of town where two creeks converge and there’s a large lake formed from gravel mining. I love to go walking and bird watching there. When I did a little research and found out the area had always had issues with flooding because of the creeks, and that there had been a record flood there in 1844, everything just started to come together.

I also love Twombly College. I have so much fun putting all sorts of interesting gardens and buildings on the campus. The main building, Blythe Hall, is basically the high school I graduated from. You can see a pen and ink drawing of it in The Devil’s Hook book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vO-jeBVQdOM  right when it’s talking about “A personal assistant . . .” at 0:14. It was built in the late 1920’s and it’s a beautiful building. I always loved it.

Do you have any writing rituals that you adhere to?

No. I wish I did as I think they can help stave off writer’s block and other such dry spells. But with my ADD/ADHD I don’t do much of anything consistently and so have never developed a ritual or routine.

Do your real life acquaintances or experiences ever find their way into your writing?

Yes, they do.

Emory and I share a lot of interests and we both do a variety of crafts that come into play in the stories. Crocheting was part of the inspiration for The Devil’s Hook.

Emory and Jebbin are loosely based on a couple who are dear friends of my hubby and me. They are both chemistry professors at a nearby community college and the wife plays awesome bluegrass fiddle. The banjo playing and some of Jebbin’s personality are from my sweet hubby.

I was a fencer for about five years and that came into use in The Devil’s Music.

AnnaMay Langstock, the librarian friend of Emory’s, is a combination of a couple of dear real-life friends of mine, one of whom really is a librarian. And Emory’s friend Aine McAllister is based off a good friend of mine from St. Louis.

Melva Suter, a new character in The Devil’s Flood, got her name and a fair amount of her personality from my sister-in-law.

And all of them know they are the inspirations for the characters. 😉

Coffee or tea?

Both. Either. Hot or Iced. Flavored or Not. Cream and Sugar in the Coffee. Tea – Black No Sugar (Earl Grey is a favorite). Do we have cookies, scones or donuts to go with it?

What hobbies do you enjoy when you’re not writing?

Reading. I like to read while I’m eating, except for dinner when my hubby is home.

Like Emory, I knit, crochet, do origami, embroidery, needlepoint and counted cross-stitch. I’ve also done painting, drawing and calligraphy.

Also, again like Emory, I play bluegrass fiddle along with my husband’s banjo picking. We even do real gigs sometimes with our fiddle playing chemistry prof. friend who Emory is sort of based on. We call ourselves Fully Vested and we all wear different vests.

What book(s) / series can we expect to see from you in the future?

Well, more Emory for certain. I have a fourth book in the works, though it’s not too well thought out yet. It will happen at a music festival and involve a southern style rock band that is led by Emory’s older brother.

I am thinking I might try branching out and doing something that isn’t a cozy mystery sometime along the way, but not exactly sure what yet. Perhaps some sort of fantasy/paranormal setting.

What are you reading now? (or bird watching, or listening to….)

Right now, I’m answering questions. 😉

Otherwise, I’m currently reading Nun Too Soon by Alice Loweecey and really enjoying it.

I mostly read cozy mysteries because they are relaxing, entertaining and good escapism, which is what I hope I’m bringing to my readers. But I also enjoy historical books, some biographies, true crime that isn’t overly sensationalized, and occasionally a Christian or light romance. Things like:

Stiff by Mary Roach. (informational)

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. (true events)

Give The Lady a Ride by Linda Yezak. (Christian romance)

Killer Nurse by John Foxjohn (true crime)

The Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong. (paranormal)

The Citadel 7 series by Yuan Jur. (fantasy/paranormal/scifi/time-travel)

No Stone Unturned: The true story of NecroSearch International by Steve Jackson. (true events)

Bird watching lately has been warblers stopping by my yard on their way south. I’ve had Myrtle Warblers, Black & Whites, Redstarts, and others. Oh, and fat little Hummingbirds before they all left a week or so ago.

I’ve been listening to relaxing music, environmental music and medieval/Renaissance music along with some bluegrass. I’ve been crazy busy lately and enjoy the calmer music when life is hectic.

Pearl is having a release party on 10/25 – join us there! https://www.facebook.com/events/322818058086058/ 

Connect with Pearl R Meaker

Twitter | Goodreads | Web | Facebook

NOTE: I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

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7 thoughts on “Interview with Pearl R. Meaker – Author of The Devil’s Flood

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