by Cynthia Chow
This week we have a review of Carpet Diem, the latest Tallie Graver Mystery by Misty Simon. We also have a fun interview with Misty. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Carpet Diem. We also have a link to order it from Amazon, and from an indie bookstore where a portion goes to help support KRL.
Carpet Diem: A Tallie Graver Mystery By Misty Simon
Review by Cynthia Chow
Tallie Graver may have left behind her life as a Desperate Housewife to her ex-and-now-late-husband Walden Phillips III, but that doesn’t mean that she can avoid uncomfortable reminders and awkward interactions. Unpleasant even when Tallie was married to high society’s “Waldo,” Present Prescott’s obnoxiousness kicks into high gear now that her new cleaning company is in competition to win a contract for his aunt. Tillie is forced out of contention when her hard work at the mansion is sabotaged, and she is fired by the condescending owner, the imperious and unforgiving Mrs. Petrovski. A humiliated Tallie stormed out of the mansion without her equipment, and upon returning, she discovers that more than just her vacuum has been tossed in the dumpster. Wrapped in a rug is the body of Audra McNeal, the owner of the competing cleaning company and whom Tallie considered to be a new friend. It’s why Tallie is so determined to discover who murdered the successful young businesswoman, especially when the police seem so quick to make an arrest. And while some may call her a nosey parker – with Police Chief Burton doing a lot of eye rolling and pinching of his nose – Tallie honestly only wants to see justice done as a concerned citizen.
Of course, another possible factor is Tallie being at a loss at what to do next in her life, since mostly she only knows that she doesn’t want to be a full-time employee in her family’s funeral business. Being a cleaner was only a temporary measure, but her dream of owning a tea store is still not thought through or practical. For now, Tallie prefers to focus on finding the person responsible for strangling Audra, a woman who may not be as innocent as Tallie thought.
Readers never meet the self-involved, social-climbing trophy wife who was Tallie Phillips, as Tallie Graver came back to her Pennsylvania hometown with her tail between her legs and having a lot of crow to eat. Tallie is still impulsive, intrusive, and overly confident in her investigative skills, but it’s always with the best of intent. Her relationship with the extraordinarily patient Taxinator Max Bennett is going surprisingly strong, although his accounting job in D.C. is stressing Tallie out over whether or not one of them will have to permanently move.
Tallie’s spunk, hilarious inner dialogue, and acknowledgement over just how “extra” she can be make her eminently likable and such a delight. A mysterious hidden room, financial shenanigans, and the division between social hierarchies are compelling elements in this dynamic and fast-moving mystery. Readers will be entertained as Tallie bounces between funeral services, cleaning mansions, and driving hearses. Who knew the business of death could be so much fun?
Interview with Misty Simon:
KRL: How long have you been writing?
Misty: I started writing in 2000 so I’m coming up on twenty years. WOW!
KRL: When did your first novel come out? What was it called? Would you tell us a little about it?
Misty: My first novel came out in 2005. It’s the first book in the Ivy Morris Mystery series and
features my girl Ivy who’s just moved across the country after she inherits a costume shop. Except the shop is a little more than she bargained for and so are the townspeople, not to mention the murderer she has to find before she’s the next victim.
KRL: Have you always written mysteries/suspense? If not, what else have you written?
Misty: I have written many mysteries while also writing paranormal romance and contemporary romance.
KRL: What brought you to choose the setting and characters in your latest book/series?
Misty: They’re set in the town I live in. While I don’t ever name the town (since I didn’t want to get in trouble for killing everyone here) they definitely have the flavor of my little burg in Central Pennsylvania.
KRL: Do you write to entertain or is there something more you want the readers to take away from your work?
Misty: My first goal is always to entertain, but I also like to make my people real and have had many readers get excited about seeing someone survive something or overcome something the reader has been struggling with. I also have a lot of people who love all the big words in the Ivy series.
KRL: Do you have a schedule for your writing or just write whenever you can?
Misty: I write every day after my day job as often as possible. It’s not always every day but the
days I don’t write are for very specific reasons, not just because I didn’t feel like it.
KRL: Do you outline? If not, do you have some other interesting way that you keep track of what’s going on, or what needs to happen in your book when you are writing it?
Misty: I mind map/bubble/snowflake method my stories before I write a single word in the manuscript. Then I take the big sheet of ideas and make a timeline, so I don’t get too far off course.
KRL: If you had your ideal, what time of day would you prefer to write?
Misty: I would love to write in the morning, but with a day job I write in the evenings. It all works out in the end.
KRL: Did you find it difficult to get published in the beginning?
Misty: I had an amazing opportunity with a small publisher for my first ten stories. A woman who got me and my work and helped me tremendously, but that was after five years of making a lot of mistakes. So I guess the answer is both yes and no!
KRL: Do you have a great rejection/critique or acceptance story you’d like to share?
Misty: I missed THE CALL for my first book for Harlequin. We were at Universal Studios for my daughter’s dance class and when I finally was able to check my phone I saw a call, got the voicemail, screamed in glee and then realized that I’d have to wait until Monday to get the details because it was after six on Friday and the offices were closed.
KRL: Most interesting book signing story-in a bookstore or other venue?
Misty: Having someone run up to me and ask if I was Misty Simon. I told her that if it was something good then yes but if it was bad then I thought I saw Misty walking the other way.
KRL: LOL Future writing goals?
Misty: Hopefully move more fully into the cozy mystery sphere while also pursuing some more traditional mystery opportunities.
KRL: Writing heroes?
Misty: I don’t think you have enough space for that! I very much admire Nora Roberts, Debbie Macomber, Darynda Jones and anyone who pulls themselves up by their bootstraps and never gives up.
KRL: What kind of research do you do?
Misty: That really depends on what I’m writing. I do try to get a feel for the town and get to know the quirks inherent in the area. I also make sure to check in with the local police for their procedures and their hierarchy, so I don’t mess anything up too badly.
KRL: What do you read?
Misty: So many things! I really enjoy historical romance and fantasy, both of which I don’t write so I’m able to just enjoy them for the incredible stories they are.
KRL: Favorite TV or movies?
Misty: Lots of 80s stuff! And currently I’m watching NCIS, but I love Supernatural too.
KRL: I just started watching Supernatural last year and I’m loving it. Any advice for aspiring or beginning writers?
Misty: Stick with it. This is not easy but it’s so worth every second.
KRL: Anything you would like to add?
Misty: I’m a big believer in paying it forward and many people have helped me get to where I am. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I love talking writing!
KRL: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
Misty: I can’t touch unpolished wood, like those little paddle thingies that come in Dixie cup of ice cream.
KRL: Website? Twitter? Facebook?
To enter to win a copy of Carpet Diem, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “carpet” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 23, 2019. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address (so if you win we can get the book sent right out to you), and if via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. A new episode goes up next week.
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