Monday, July 10, 2017

P.J. MacLayne @pjmaclayne, Author of The Baron’s Cufflinks #AmateurFemaleSleuth, #CozyMystery, #Suspense

I’d like to welcome P.J. MacLayne, author of The Baron’s Cufflinks, to my blog today.

RW:      Tell us about yourself, your family, where you live, etc.

PJM:      I’m an old hippie chick turned computer geek turned in-my-spare-time writer. I live in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains and love spending my spare time exploring the back roads of the area.

RW:       Why did you decide to write? When did you submit your first manuscript and what genre was it?

PJM:     I’ve been writing since high school. (Many years ago!) I wrote poetry for years, and was moderately successful getting published in magazines, but at some point the words seem to dry up. Then I heard about National Novel Writing Writing Month. It sounded like fun, and there was a story kicking around in my brain that wouldn’t work as a poem. Well, I didn’t make fifty thousand words in one month, but I found a new creative release and I haven’t stopped writing fiction since!

RW:       Who are your favorite characters among the books you’ve written?

PJM:    It’s normally the heroine of whichever book I’m working on at the moment! Overall, Harmony Duprie, my main character in the Oak Grove Mysteries, is my favorite. She’s such a quirky character and I enjoy hanging out with her. Plus, she has such great stories to tell!

RW:       How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?

PJM:     There’s a lot of me in my writing. The books I’ve published so far are all take place in the general area where I grew up—the rolling hills of Pennsylvania. But I’ve lived in several different parts of the U.S., so I’ve got room to stretch out. (Spoiler alert—the location for my next Free Wolves book is Wyoming.) I write strong female characters, and I give credit to my mother for that, because she helped my sisters and me to grow up as independent women. But none of my characters are carbon copies of me.

RW:      Would you like to write a different genre or sub-genre than you do now?

PJM:      I’m currently writing two different series—The Free Wolves, which are urban fantasy/paranormal romance, and the Oak Grove Mysteries, which are cozy mysteries. I’ve tried my hand at pure romance, but I’m not very good at it. I’m better at writing action than emotions. So maybe I’ll try a pure action/thriller one of these days.

RW:      How many books have you written and how many have been published?

PJM:    I’m an Indie author, but I’m picky about what I release. I’ve written a dozen books, but have only released five of them so far. (The sixth is coming!) Two more of the unreleased ones have potential, and when I have the time, I’ll whip them into shape and share them with my readers.

RW:       If I were a first-time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why?

PJM:      I can’t pick one, so I’ll pick two. Wolves’ Pawn is the first book of my Free Wolves Series. Each book in the series is stand-alone story, but the overall premise for the series came from that book, so I suggest starting there. In the Oak Grove Mysteries, the plot line through the series is more linear, so it makes sense to start with The Marquesa’s Necklace, the first book. As a bonus, it’s only 99¢.

RW:      Are you in control of your characters or do they control you?

PJM:      We collaborate. I have the basis for a story, and my characters tell me how it really happened. Sometimes we disagree, and I try to trust my characters’ input. Sometimes I have to go back and change things, but usually they’re right.

RW:       What is the single most important part of writing for you?

PJM:     Getting the words on paper in first draft form. Writing the end is always such a great feeling. Once I get through that, the rest will happen. Editing’s a necessary pain, but if that first draft isn’t done, the editing is useless.

RW:    Bubble baths or steamy showers? Ocean or mountains? Puppies or kittens? Chocolate or caramel?

PJM:      Steamy showers. I’ve never been much of a bubble bath person. Mountains, definitely mountains. You only have to check out my blog to figure that out! I’ve lived on both coasts of the U.S. and in the middle of the country, and I’m quite happy being where the mountains are only a short drive away. Puppies or kittens? if I can’t have both, give me kittens. I know they grow into cats, but they suit my personality better. And chocolate, always chocolate.

RW:       If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?

PJM:      I’ve managed to come close already. My current job puts me within sight of the mountains so I can escape to them on the weekends. But if I didn’t need to work, I’d find me a cabin somewhere actually in the mountains (with internet access) and be quite happy hanging out there. The internet access is important, because as an indie writer, I need access for research and to promote my books.

RW Comment: I can’t imagine any serious writer living without internet. Whether we’re indie or we have a publisher, we have to be able to do research and promote our books.

RW:      Tell us about the scariest thing that ever happened to you.

PJM:      I’ve had several experiences that could be classed as paranormal. Many years ago, I was out camping with a bunch of other girls, and we were fooling around with a Ouija board. A sudden gust of wind came up outside the cabin at the same time as a cold chill surrounded us inside. We ended that session quickly.

              Later on, I was researching Tarot cards for a report, and was loaned a deck by the friend of a friend. (No, really!) Following the information I gleaned from several books, I told several people’s fortunes to test my knowledge. Later, one of the unhappy fortunes I told (involving death) came true. When I found out, I returned the cards and never told another fortune.

RW:       If you came with a warning label, what would it say?

PJM:    Warning: Not good at telling white lies. May be overly-truthful. Engage at your own risk.

RW:       Those are all the questions I have for you. Thank you for speaking to me.


The Plot

What starts as Girl’s Night Out ends in murder, and Harmony Duprie is a suspect.

She’s innocent, of course, but with no alibi, the sheriff’s department won’t remove her from the list of suspects. It doesn’t help when a waitress from the bar gets beaten up and the only clue is a slip of paper with Harmony’s name on it. Throw in a rookie deputy dead set on building his reputation, and Harmony must tread carefully.

But caution isn’t Harmony’s middle name, and she plunges head first into danger to defend her honor.

What she finds is a web of half-truths and suspicions implicating several law enforcement agencies, with Jake, her ex-lover, stuck in the middle of it all.

Can Harmony rescue Jake and find the real culprit before she becomes the next victim?

An Excerpt:

I noticed what appeared to be a leather-bound book half-buried under some old college textbooks. I set them aside, picked it up with my other hand, and rubbed my forehead in puzzlement. As thick as the volume was, it should have weighed more.

I ran one finger across the gold-embossed title. Wolf’s Knight, Tasha’s Tale. Another unknown. I gingerly lifted the cover, half-afraid the book would fall apart.

The book was hollowed out to create a hiding place. Inside the empty space was a small, purple velvet-covered box. I hesitated for the briefest of moments before taking the box out and setting it on top of the nearest stack of books.

My mind raced as I imagined what the box contained. A diamond ring? A pair of fancy earrings? Or just some child’s plastic beads? With unsteady hands, I lifted the lid.



Born and raised among the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania, P.J. MacLayne still finds inspiration for her books in that landscape. She is a computer geek by day and a writer by night who currently lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. When she’s not in front of a computer screen, she might be found exploring the back roads of the nearby national forests and parks. In addition to the Free Wolves’ stories, she is also the author of the Oak Grove series.

Book Links:

Contact PJ At:

Thanks for visiting.

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