Special Guest – Joanne Phillips – Author of Murder at the Maples (2 Giveaways)

special guest blue

great escape tour banner large Murder at the maples640So thrilled to have Joanne Here today!

Finding Ideas and Inspiration
by Joanne Phillips

Joanne PhillipsThe release of a new book gives me the opportunity to meet lots of new people, and one of the questions they invariably ask is: ‘So where do you get your ideas from?’ Usually I smile and say a variation of: ‘Oh, you know, everyday life, my past, stuff …’ and then I tail off, not sure where to go from there. Because it is a very good question, but not one that’s easy to answer in a sentence or two.

Most writers find success a little later in life. Not all, of course, but many will have served a fairly long apprenticeship, mastering the craft, being rejected time and again, learning what works and what’s dire. During this time they will no doubt have clocked up a few years and quite a few experiences. Life, is the simple answer to the ideas question. I get my ideas from life. My life, and the lives of those I’ve observed, talked to, read about, or imagined. But of course, like most things it’s not that simple at all.

cover murder at the maplesLife is often messy and complicated, but it’s also just as likely to be pretty boring and mundane. The idea for a novel can’t be lifted directly from real life – that’s no recipe for exciting fiction! Ideas are like seeds, containing the blueprint for a plot, or a character, or perhaps a single scene. Before I became a published author one of the (many!) careers I had was hairdressing. Boy did I meet some interesting people and hear some juicy gossip! ‘You could write a book about this’, was something clients would say to me from time to time (they all knew I was a hairdresser by day/frustrated writer by night). But they were wrong. Usually the stuff they told me wasn’t any where near interesting enough to write a book about, no matter how exciting or out of the ordinary it sounded.

Ideas for fiction are all around, and the grain of an idea may well come from a story we’ve heard or some gossip or a newspaper clipping. But the writer’s job is to flesh it out, to make it larger than life, to give it some zing. And this is where my interest in psychology helps – an interest I also gave to Flora Lively, my amateur sleuth in Murder at the Maples. What brings ideas to life is the characters who act out events, and what brings characters to life are the motivations – overt and hidden – that drive them. Through all my various jobs – hairdresser, air hostess, librarian, to name a few – I’ve always been a people watcher. And this, more than anything, is what gives me inspiration.

I love to write about characters who become real to me – and hopefully live for the reader too. I love to explore their inner world, to give them challenges and problems, and then see how they react. I like to think: ‘What if?’ and then get to work. I hope the characters in the Flora Lively series come alive for you, and I hope you find yourself rooting for them, getting annoyed and frustrated with them, but most of all I hope you enjoy them. I certainly enjoyed writing them.


About The Author
Joanne Phillips lives in Shropshire, England with her husband and young daughter. She’s the author of commercial women’s fiction Can’t Live Without and The Family Trap, and the Flora Lively series of cosy mysteries. Can’t Live Without was an Amazon top 100 bestseller in 2012 and her books regularly appear on category bestseller lists. Joanne blogs about writing and publishing atwww.joannephillips.co.uk

Author Links:

Website: http://www.joannephillips.co.uk

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/joannephillipsauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/joannegphillips

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2862086.Joanne_Phillips

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Joanne-Phillips/e/B0083UEG86/


cover murder at the maples
Murder at the Maples:
Flora Lively Mysteries Bk. 1

Cozy Mystery
Published by Mirrorball Books (September 6, 2013)
Paperback: 276 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0957309425
File Size: 414 KB



A tragic death. A reluctant sleuth. A childhood prank that went horribly wrong.

When Flora Lively inherits her father’s business she’s totally out of her depth. Shakers Removals is in trouble, and manager Marshall isn’t helping one bit – the ex-pat American delights only in winding her up. But Flora has other things on her mind, like Joy: surrogate grandmother and resident of the Maples Retirement Village. When Joy’s pet pug has a brush with death, Flora is pulled into a series of bizarre incidents at the Maples, where fear is starting to take hold.

Could harmless old Mr Felix really be the boy from Joy’s past, determined to exact his revenge, or is it Joy’s guilty mind playing tricks on her? And what about the Captain’s death? Accidents happen, even to the most careful people, but Flora’s not convinced the old man simply fell down the stairs … Playing detective seemed like a good idea at first, but before long Flora realizes the stakes are far higher than either she or Joy imagined.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Joanne Phillips has laid a really good foundation to start the Flora Lively series.

Flora feels the family obligation of her inheritance but working with Marshall definitely makes her wonder what her father was thinking. The relationship she has developed with Joy shows Flora’s caring heart. It is so hard for those in nursing homes with no family to visit them and I could see Flora easily “adopting” many surrogate grandparents.

The subplot surrounding a childhood incident added an extra dimension to the story. The main plot puzzle started to fall into place for me quite easily but the thought of Joy’s past entering her life so many years later kept me guessing.

I think Flora is like a young Jessica Fletcher that just happens to find herself in surrounded by mysteries. There was hint of romance in her future and plenty of room for all  the characters to grow.

This was a delightful cozy and I look forward to more adventures with Flora.

just you and a friend


Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
The Rafflecopter asks you to Leave A Blog Post Comment. I will choose one randomly to receive an e-copy of Murder at the Maples (Flora Lively Mysteries) on October 24. Be sure to leave your email address or some way to contact you 🙂

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

34 thoughts on “Special Guest – Joanne Phillips – Author of Murder at the Maples (2 Giveaways)

  1. Thanks so much for hosting a stop on my tour – and thanks for the lovely review 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it, and I hope we get lots of entries for the giveaway. Jo x

  2. British Traditional Mysteries are my favourite!!! I adore Agatha Christie, P.D. James, Anne Perry and all the British mystery writers {and Jane Austen and the Brontes and so many others}. And as a long-time and ardent lover of Midsomer Murders, Inspector Lewis, Inspector Morse, Miss Marple, Sherlock Holmes, Poirot, and all the other brilliant British Mysteries, I Love the notion of Bridget Jones meets Midsomer Murders. I’ve added Murder at the Maples to my TBR List and look forward to reading it and many more in the series! Lovely interview and review and thank you for the chance to win a copy! Cheers~ Elizabeth MacGregor

  3. I have added to my Goodreads TBR list.

    i also have always loved to watch people. When my sister & I were little, Mother would take us downtown where we’d park; then we’d stay in the car and just watch the people shop and go about their daily lives. Sometimes, someone would stop by the car and visit, but usually we just watched. My sister isn’t shy about starting conversations with people she doesn’t know — me, I still just watch and.

    I agree that those things that are unusual or exciting in our lives or in lives of those around us really aren’t story material — at least as those events really are. And I admire the writer who can take that event, or story, and really make it into an interesting and enjoyable reading experience.

    1. my email is with this entry sign-in. Or you may PM on facebook {Donna Hammer Durnell}. I would really love to win this book 🙂

  4. Book sounds intriguing and very interesting. Thank you for the opportunity of a giveaway.

  5. Congratulations on the publication of Murder at the Maples! It sounds like a very interesting book. Thanks for sharing about your inspiration.

  6. Ever since I opened this book tour on my blog, I have truly wanted to read this book. It sounds amazing, and I hope this author writes many books for years to come!

  7. I truly love cozy mysteries and this book series sounds exactly like the kind I love to read. With characters that pull you in and make you feel like they could be a friend in real life, to the adventures they encounter along the way.

Comments are closed.