Interview with Jamie Blair, Author of Trash Day Tragedy

25 Nov 2019

What can you tell us about your new release, Trash Day Tragedy?

Trash Day Tragedy is the fourth book in my Dog Days Mystery series, and it’s the only one without a dog on the cover. Cameron, the main character in the series, has five dogs that are away at K9 training school for the week when raccoons start prowling around the town of Metamora, Indiana. Here’s the blurb from Amazon:

When the Dogs are Away, the Trash Pandas Play!

Things are always odd and strange in Metamora, but when the proprietor of the curiosity shop, Odd and Strange Metamora, hosts a spring carnival showing off his collection of oddities, the day goes right in the garbage—or rather, out of the garbage when a raccoon overturns a trash can in the middle of town scattering human bones around the park.

When it’s discovered that the remains date back over a century, rumors start to run as rampant as the pack of furry bandits taking over the town at night.

Cameron Cripps Hayman thought she’d have a quiet week with her canine crew away at dog training, but her relaxation is short lived when another possible murder in town needs solving. With her team, the Metamora Action Agency, on the case, they’ll piece the mystery together bone-by-bone and lead-by-lead, and maybe even find a way to get rid of the trash pandas in the process!

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I began writing about thirteen years ago and my first published novel was released in 2013. I don’t recall exactly what inspired me to begin writing, but I know I always wanted to. Back then I wrote young adult. I’ve also written romance, and it was my attempt to plot a romantic suspense novel that landed me in the cozy mystery genre where I finally found a home. This is a genre I plan to write for a long time.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

This is difficult to answer because I read a lot of different books and have a list of favorites a mile long. I love historical novels, with a special fondness for the Hapsburg’s. A favorite author of mine is Allison Pataki and her novels Sisi, and The Accidental Empress. I also never miss a Flavia de Luce novel by Alan Bradley and pre-order those as soon as they’re available. Markus Zusak became a favorite author of mine when I read I Am The Messenger, which tells us that even the most unlikely of people can make big differences with even the smallest gestures, like buying a tired mom an ice cream cone. For funny mysteries that make me laugh out loud, I turn to Jana DeLeon and Janet Evanovich.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

I would probably ask any historical author – fiction or non-fiction – how they even begin to write. I tried writing a historical novel once and was so distracted looking up things like, did they have toothbrushes back then, that I couldn’t get through the first paragraph. It’s almost like historical authors have time machines and know every detail about life in a certain time period. I applaud the amount of research it must take to write an entire historical novel.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

My favorite thing about writing is spending time with my characters in their world. The setting for my Dog Days Mysteries is the historic canal town of Metamora, Indiana. In 2014, my mom, grandma, and great-aunt spent the weekend in Metamora. It’s a tiny town of about 200 people that has a quirky feel and memorable people. We went through the shops and stayed at a little bed and breakfast, by the time we attended the play Granny Smyth Goes To Washington put on by Metamora Performing Arts on our last evening in town, we could name most of the people in the play and which shops they owned. My mom told me I had to write a book with Metamora as the setting and I agreed, so The Dog Days Mystery series was born. It turned out that my favorite character to write is a rough-around-the-edges, Vietnam Veteran who’s also the town drunk and an unlikely sleuth who helps the main character, Cameron. He’s funny and gruff and I laugh when I write his dialogue.

What is a typical day like for you?

I’m a Workforce Analyst by day and then I write a couple hours each night before going to bed. I work from home, so I don’t have to get up too early and can work in my pj’s with my dog on my lap.

What scene in Trash Day Tragedy was your favorite to write?

My favorite scenes are always the ones with Roy doing something crazy and saying something ridiculous. There’s a scene in Trash Day Tragedy where he helps Cameron… umm… “obtain” a journal and it is so perfect for each of their characters and how they interact. My first (always first) reader, my mom, sent me a text as she was reading telling me she was laughing so hard she had tears in her eyes. That’s always the reaction I’m going for with those two together in a scene.

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

When I was in college and busy going to class full time, working two jobs, and interning, my dad gave me the best advice I’ve ever gotten. Maybe he’s a bit gruff, like my character Roy, but what he said hit home and has always stuck with me. He said, Buck up and Do it. There will always be things in life you don’t want to do that you have to do, and you just buck up and do it. Kind of like the Nike motto, but with a little more motivation.

Jamie Blair is the author of the new book Trash Day Tragedy.

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