By Becki Willis
Wildflower Wedding (With a Killer Reception) is the latest addition to The Sisters, Texas Mystery Series. Like the stories before it, Book 8 features a stand-alone mystery that needs no prior introduction. A continuing thread weaves among the stories, however, that entices readers to come back for more. Readers often tell me they can’t wait to read the next book because it’s like visiting with old friends.
Even though ‘the sisters’ are definitely characters in the series, they aren’t people: they’re towns. My tales are about the community as a whole, particularly Madison Reynolds and her network of family and friends.
When Madison finds herself widowed and penniless before the age of forty, she has no choice but to return to her hometown and live with her grandmother. This wasn’t how she envisioned her life, but as the mother of teenage twins, she’ll do whatever it takes to provide for her children. She opens In a Pinch Temporary Service and tackles any job that comes her way. As long as it’s legal, Madison gives it her all.
Her services are varied, and the more colorful jobs are interesting enough to merit their own book. And somehow, even the most innocent sounding jobs lead to danger and excitement. People hire Madison to spy on cheating spouses, to find a missing chair and missing Christmas presents, and to prove a teetotaler didn’t die of alcohol poisoning; not naturally, at any rate. She’s even taken on the formidable task of proving a man innocent of murder. In this latest book, an old man hires her to find his estranged family via a home DNA test, but he doesn’t live to hear the results. (Hence the killer reception.)
For me, the fun of writing is creating believable characters in believable situations. The homespun, quirky folks of Naomi and Juliet (aka The Sisters) are prime examples. Like any single parent, Madison worries about how to pay her bills and if she’s doing the right thing, uprooting her children and bringing them back to live in a small town filled with busybodies. Son Blake is a typical fifteen-year-old boy; life revolves around sports and his next meal. Twin sister Bethani resents the move to no-man’s land; she misses her friends, civilization, and the mall.
Granny Bert has an uncanny knack for knowing everything that happens in either town. The high-spirited octogenarian is full of witty sayings, sage advice, and gruff love, but she’s Madison’s biggest supporter. So is Genesis Baker, Madison’s best friend from junior high and owner of the local eatery. Between the two of them, they supply Madison with all the gossip and background information she needs to do a job.
Brash deCordova is Madison’s crush from high school and now the local Chief of Police. After following their unfolding love story in books 1-7, readers have been waiting for the Wildflower Wedding that unites this couple once and forever. Add in handsome firefighter Cutter Montgomery, Brash’s bubbly teenage daughter Megan, Madison’s flamboyant part-time employee Derron, Granny Bert’s old flame and rodeo legend Sticker Pierce, a recurring cast of nosy neighbors and disgruntled townspeople, and it could be any small town in the USA. These are people you instinctively know.
The stories are full of mystery and are often funny, but don’t be surprised if you get misty-eyed at times. These tales are also about families, and telling their stories can get emotional.
Most of all, I try to make my books believable. Many of the themes stem from something that has happened in my own life. (Don’t worry. I’ve never killed anyone.)
As for The Sisters, I first came up with the idea of sister cities when my son got married a few years ago at a venue that was once part of a large cotton plantation. Even now, you’ll find white tufts dotting the rural landscape near harvest time. A railroad runs amid the fields, complete with an old depot, but back in the day, it stopped to load cotton bales straight from the farm. The setting sparked a back-story for the series, which you can read on my website.
You may not find the towns of Naomi and Juliet, Texas on a map, but wander the backroads along the Brazos River—or through the pages of my books—and you may get a glimpse of the towns as they exist in my mind.
I hope you’ll decide to visit.
And drop in for an e-chat anytime! email@example.com.
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The post Interview with Becki Willis, author of Wildflower Wedding: With a Killer Reception appeared first on NewInBooks.