A Conversation with Tricia L. Sanders

Can Mattie clear her hubby’s name and reclaim their pup before the villain turns their golden years into iron bars? — Flea Market Felony (The Mattie and Mo Mysteries) by @tricialsanders

What inspired the idea for your book?

 I’ve always been fascinated with RVing and thought a travel type series with a mystery in every book would be a great way to get readers who may never travel be able to enjoy some adventures with a little murder thrown in. My family has traveled in the U.S. and abroad extensively, so I wanted to share some of my travel related experiences.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in writing this book? 

My characters develop minds of their own as the story progresses. Out of the blue they say or do something I had never envisioned. I liken that to the story growing organically rather than being scripted. Usually, I’ll run with the change and see where it takes the story.

If you were friends with a character in this book, what kinds of things would you do together? 

Mattie and I would have lunch on a regular basis. Shop in quirky shops and stand in front of the greeting card display and read and laugh and the humorous sayings on the card. We’d take a craft class together—maybe chalk art or pottery. 

What does it mean to you to be called an author? 

I love the sound of that word. People are reading stories I’ve created. It means a lot to earn the trust
of someone who is willing to invest their time and energy into reading things I’ve written.

Do you have any quirky writing rituals? 

I write with my writing group at 6:15 am every weekday morning. I suppose that is quirky.

What comes first for you — the plot or the characters? 

My characters are always the base of the story. Then I work them into the plot.

As an author what do you think makes a good story? A plot pulls me along for a journey that I become so involved in I don’t want it to end. I become invested in the characters and want to see their stories continue.

What was the defining moment that made you say to yourself, “Today, I am going to write a book that I will publish.”? 

Easy. I had been submitting humorous essays to various magazines and when one was finally picked up by a woman’s lifestyle magazine, I decided why stop at essays, why not keep the words flowing and create a book? 

How do you avoid or defeat writer’s block?

I wish I knew. I am a huge procrastinator. Always have been. The one that keeps me pushing through is a deadline. It must be a firm deadline, or I will keep extending it. If there is a drawer or closet to be cleaned, I will abandon my laptop every time.

Who is your audience? 

Mostly women aged 30ish and up. Though I have male readers too, so anyone really who wants a light, humorous read.

What has been your favorite reader feedback? 

My favorite review said she would love to be best friends with my main character. For me, that is high praise. I want my readers to love my characters and since friendship is an overriding theme in my books, it makes me feel I’ve hit my mark.

How do you interact with your readers? 

I have a reader group on Facebook, Tricia Sanders’ Cozy Clique, a newsletter, and try to do several book signings a year. Though, book signings have been on hold since Covid. I’m also available to do Zoom calls with book clubs who would like the opportunity to talk to an author.

What is the first book that you remember reading?

As trite as it sounds, it was the Dick and Jane books I read in kindergarten and first grade

What is your all time favorite book or author? 

Do you think this has influenced your writing? My all-time favorite author is a toss-up between Harlan Coben and Mary Kay Andrews. Coben because he is a master at creating a suspenseful plot. Andrews because she has a way with humor and snark.

What difference do you see between a writer and an author? 

I’ve always seen that line as being published. I’ve been writing since I was a kid, so I’ve always been a writer. I feel like the first time I saw an article in print that I had become an author.

Aside from writing or reading, what are your hobbies or interests? 

I love to travel, take photographs, and quilt.

What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book? 

Listen to your inner voice. Find a great critique group that “gets’” what you write. Ignore the people who try to squelch your creativity. And finally, don’t give up.

If you could have lunch with 3 authors (past or present) who would they be and what do you think you would all talk about during lunch? 

Harlan Coben and talk about his strategy for building a great suspense plot. Mary Kay Andrews and talk about her brand of humor and snark. Harper Lee and ask about what she thinks about her having a book that has captivated readers for over 70 years.

What would your dream library look like? 

It would be multi-storied overlooking a beach. A shaded patio would be dotted with comfy chairs and hammocks and tall frosty drinks would be available and the glass would never sweat and leave water stains. The books would be housed in carousels and you would push a button on the arm of your chair and the carousel would deliver your book. There would be soft pillowy places for readers to discuss books and meet authors.

If you had your own talk show, what would the topic be and who would be your first guest(s)? 

This is way out of the reading realm, but my first guest would be Ansel Adams (providing we could have someone living or dead) and we would discuss black and white photography. Black and white photography has always intrigued me.

If your book were made into a movie, which actors would play your characters? 

Ugh, I never, ever do this. I want my readers to picture the characters in their own heads without me giving them ideas. I can name several movies where the actors who were chosen were such a letdown after I had read the book and imagined the characters.

Name three fun facts about you or your work. 

1) My first story was published when I was in 4th grade, thanks to a perceptive teacher. 

2) My next story was published more than 40 years later. 

3) I don’t know if this is fun, but I think it is probably unique. I have an extra bone in each foot. 

If you had a secret room that opened by pulling a book on a shelf, what book would you choose? 

My first one, of course, Murder is a Dirty Business.

If you went on a road trip with any author, dead or alive, who would it be, and where would you go? 

Cheryl Strayed and we’d hike the Pacific Crest Trail. That counts as a road trip, right?

What is something you can do better than anyone else you know?

 I wish I knew. I’m a champion procrastinator and worrier. I can’t claim to be the best, but I’m pretty darn good at both.

These new retirees have just hit the road. Will their first campsite’s shenanigans land them both in handcuffs?

Mattie Modesky’s been hankering to start retirement right. Even if it’s in an RV. The sassy senior believes there’s no time like the present after her policeman husband hangs up his badge and they hit the road.

When they reach their first RV park, the yoga instructor hitting on Mattie’s man turns her peaceful vacation sour. In an effort to stand her ground and confront the sneaky resident, Mattie finds a new friend, a stiff corpse, and her husband as the prime suspect.

She is shocked to her core when her man’s newly purchased pocketknife is the murder weapon. But when the real killer makes the fatal mistake of dognapping her beloved pooch, the silver-haired sleuth sets her sights on solving the crime herself and proving her lawman’s innocence.

Can Mattie clear her hubby’s name and reclaim their pup before the villain turns their golden years into iron bars? Or will the killer roll away in a motor home with Mattie’s dog in the passenger seat?

Flea Market Felony is the adventure-packed first book in The Mattie and Mo Mysteries series. If you like irresistible characters, fun surprises, and captivating whodunits, then you’ll love Tricia L. Sanders’s clever read.

Buy Flea Market Felony to catch a dastardly devil today!

Purchase Links: Amazon – Books2Read 

Tricia L. Sanders lives in the Austin, Texas area and writes about women with class, sass, and a touch of kickass. A former instructional designer and corporate trainer, she traded in curriculum writing for novel writing, because she hates bullet points and loves to make stuff up. And fiction is more fun than training guides and lesson plans.

When she isn’t writing, Tricia is busy crossing dreams off her bucket list. With all 50 states checked, she’s concentrating on foreign interests. She’s an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan, so don’t get between her and the television when a game is on. Currently, she is working on a mystery series set in the fictional town of Wickford, Missouri. Another project in the works is a women’s fiction road trip adventure.

Her essays have appeared in Sasee, ByLine, The Cuivre River Anthology, and Great American Outhouse Stories; The Whole Truth and Nothing Butt. She is a proud member of The Lit Ladies, six women writing their truths into fiction.

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