Murder on the First Day of Christmas by Billie Thomas – Interview

Welcome to Author Billie Thomas

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.

Interview


What is your greatest strength as a writer? 
I’d love to say writing humor, but that’s so subjective. I’ll go with my perseverance. Finding time to write with my demanding job, getting a novel published and doing whatever I can to promote it – I’m certainly not taking the path of least resistance when it comes to my writing. That’s how I know I really love it!
How do you promote this book? 
I’ve let my main character, Chloe Carstairs, have her own blog, chloegetsaclue.com. She does character interviews with other the protagonists in other authors’ books and has made some great connections for us that way. She also solves free mini mysteries on the blog, which have become quite popular. Oh and she tweets like crazy. When I’m trying to get to sleep, I’m like, “Chloe, enough with the tweeting already.” 
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.
How important do you think villains are in a story? 
In a mystery, the villain is crucial because their actions set the story in motion. They have to be tricky enough to keep the investigation interesting, but careless enough to make one fatal mistake that gets them caught.
What are your goals as a writer? 
I would like to keep the Chloe Carstairs series going and going. It’s a numbered series so Murder in a Two-Seater is next, but I want readers to still be clamoring for another book when I sit down to writer Murder, SPF 15. Meanwhile I’d like to experiment with other genres as well, including a YA series.
Murder on the First Day of Christmas
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.