Who’s your favorite character in Tupelo Landing and why?
There are so many great characters in Tupelo Landing.…My favorite? Some days it’s Mo and some days it’s Dale. I admire Mo’s humor and courage and heart, but there’s also something about Dale. I love how he thinks. Dale totally cracks me up. Then there’s Lavender and Harm. And…wow! That’s a hard one to answer. Let’s move on!
Are Mo and Dale based on real people?
No, they aren’t, but of course any character you write is a little bit you and a little bit everyone else you’ve ever seen or known or dreamed about.…Mo and Dale are fiction, which is a lot of fun, because that means they can do or say anything without getting me in too much trouble with my family and friends!
What is the most popular special at Miss Lana’s café? Do you have fun thinking up things that Mo can make without using the stove?
I’m going to have to ask Miss Lana to get her recipes together for me, since people write to me and ask for them. I notice that in the next book, she’s offering Potatoes a la Parole for court day, and that’s pretty popular. And of course Dale and Harm love her Hamburger Fromage and Fries Francais—cheeseburgers and French fries. So I’ll go with that.
I do like Mo’s stove-free dishes. When I visit schools, I show kids a photo of one of her favorites (and mine)—an open-faced peanut butter and cucumber sandwich. Yum! And Mo and I both love tomato sandwiches with extra mayo—especially if the tomatoes are fresh off the vine. Miss Rose is adding to her garden, so I think Mo may be coming up with some new foods in the next book. A collard smoothie, anyone?
Did you read mystery stories when you were young? Who are your favorite mystery writers?
Yes! I really loved reading Hardy Boys mysteries! I liked the excitement and I also loved knowing the characters in the series. The characters seemed like old friends to me. Maybe that’s why I enjoy writing mysteries today. Who knows?
Mo tells us all about what three things in her life are lucky. If you were to pick three lucky moments for you in your life or in your career as an author, what would they be?
Great question! Okay, let’s talk career. I’m lucky once because of my family. My parents taught me to love stories and books when I was young, and my husband really supports me and my work. All of my family does!
I’m lucky twice because I’ve always had great teachers. I decided to become a writer in first grade because of my teacher’s encouragement. I still have a great writing teacher today.…I’ve always had great teachers behind me.
I’m lucky three times because I have a dynamite editor. Kathy Dawson is a great editor because she’s an undercover poet—she knows her way to a story’s heart. She knows how to ask the right questions and she doesn’t rest until we find a story’s truth. I love working with her!
So that’s three times lucky in my writing career. But really I am lucky in so many ways throughout my life. Aren’t you, when you think about it?
book.box (bukboks) n. A cardboard receptacle, typically rectangular in shape
with lid, containing words, pictures, ideas and dreams, often
accompanied by excitement, anticipation and the love of reading.