Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Billie Thomas – 10 Things You Didn’t Know

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Murder on the First Day of Christmas

by Chloe Carstairs 

1. It’s a rom-com mystery.

One look at the icicle sticking out of Santa’s back on the cover and you might’ve guessed that this is a whodunit that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Chloe doesn’t take herself too seriously either. She tends to overthink some things (like her love life) and under-think others (like chasing after murderers), two tendencies that always get her in trouble.

2. Chloe’s love life is the one mystery that may never get solved. Sherlock had his Moriarty. The Mentalist has his Red John. Chloe has Cupid. Though she’s currently torn between two love interests – her on-again-off-again boyfriend, Jacob, and a dishy detective named Max McGowan, Chloe’s ready to file a missing person’s report for Mr. Right. I constantly have to remind her that a good detective – even the amateur kind – always gets her man.

The relationship between Chloe’s parents, Amanda and Alex, is based on a true story.

When it comes to investigating, Amanda and Alex are like Dashiell Hammett’s Nick and Nora  – only with Southern accents. But I took inspiration from their incredible love story right from my own parents. I still tear up thinking about how deeply my mom and dad cared for one another. It’s an impossibly high standard by which to judge a relationship, but I wouldn’t want Chloe – or myself – to settle for anything less.

It’s set in Birmingham.

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.

People really do spend that much on their Christmas décor. Several years ago, I wrote a monthly column for Birmingham Magazine about some of the most beautiful homes in town. I got to interview a lot of interior designers, including one who did Christmas decorating like the kind Chloe and Amanda do in the book. Yes, there are people who spend thirty thousand dollars and up – way up – on their Christmas décor.

It’s the first in a numbered series.

Chloe and Amanda’s second case is called Murder in a Two Seater. I hope the series continues through Murder SPF 15 and beyond.

It started out as a collaboration between my mother and me.

My mom and I always traded mysteries back and forth, so when I set out to write Murder on the First Day of Christmas, I knew my mom would be my biggest fan and toughest critic. The idea of a fun, funny mystery with a mother-daughter relationship much like our own, appealed to both of us, and our relationship was the perfect inspiration. The first draft was a joy to write. I’d work on a chapter, send it to my mom, she’d make suggestions and I’d rewrite. Easy. Fun. Maybe even therapeutic. Sadly, my mom died unexpectedly of an aneurism at the end of 2011 and never got to see Murder on the First Day of Christmas get published in December 2012. But luckily, when it comes to Chloe and Amanda’s relationship, I have a lifetime of inspiration from which to draw.

I let Chloe go rogue and do all my social networking.

My main character, Chloe Carstairs is a thirty-year old. Chloe has her own website,, Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads and Twitter accounts.

I love that got her own distinct voice and personality, so let her live in the spotlight and market this book for me. I prefer to stay under the paparazzi’s radar.

There’s a poignant reminder to always wear good underwear to a crime scene, lest you end up mooning half of the Birmingham Police Department.

Poor Chloe. The girl just can’t catch a break sometimes. But she did make quite an impression on Max, which bears further investigation. Which hopefully Chloe will do with all her clothes on this time.

A cast-iron cornbread skillet and can of non-stick cooking spray make effective weapons. Hey, that’s how we do it in Alabama. Sometimes you have to use whatever’s close at hand to defend yourself. And that cartoonish “Conk” sound when metal meets skull? So satisfying.

Hopefully, I’ve piqued your interest enough to investigate Murder on the First Day of Christmas a little further. Here’s how:

Links to books

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Mystery

Rating – PG

More details about the book

Connect with Chloe Carstairs on Facebook & Twitter & GoodReads


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