Friday, May 15, 2015

The Devil's Music by Pearl R. Meaker

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B&N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Welcome, Pearl!

Thank you for inviting me to be on your blog. Also, thank you Goddess Fish Promotions for bringing us together.

Where are you from?

I’m from the state of Illinois in the Midwest part of the United States. That is also where The Devil’s Music is set, though it isn’t set in the town I actually live in. Twombly is a fictional town that has elements of my town and several other places I’ve lived.

What genre do you write in?

The Emory Crawford Mysteries are all cozy mysteries. My first favorite author, when I was nine years old, was Agatha Christie, and my love for her genre has stuck with me since. It is still my favorite genre to read in and was where my muse took me when I decided to write a book.

Why are you an Author?

This is a tough one. Needed to give it some thought before I answered.

I’m an author because I love stories, I love reading, and I discovered almost by accident that I write well. I’ve found the thrill of sharing a story with readers and having them fall in love with where I take them and the people I introduce them to. It is a totally amazing feeling. Every bit as wonderful as when I’m the reader and a story transports me.

What inspires you?

All sorts of things inspire me. Songs inspire me, and both The Devil’s Music and my next book The Devil’s Hook were inspired by the song “Didn’t Leave Nobody But the Baby” from the movie Oh Brother, Where Art Thou.

I also enjoy writing challenges where you’re given three or so words that seem random and unconnected and you have to write a short story using them all. Or you’re given a starting sentence – things like that. I used to write for a fanfiction challenge group and had a different challenge every month. It was a lot of fun, a good “school” on how to write and full of inspiration.

Where and what times during the day do you work best?

My time of day really fluctuates. I’m rather moody so it’s usually when the fit takes me. I’ve awoken in the middle of the night with something that just has to get written down “right now” and I’ll be at it still come morning.

Location is usually my living room, or my kitchen (where I am while I’m doing this interview), my office/craft room, or out on our patios in our backyard.

I’m a computer writer. I never wrote a story until we had a computer. I don’t like having to make messy corrections or not be able to move things around without having to rewrite whole pages by hand.

Who is your target audience?

Well, research says that it should be middle-aged women. But I read my first cozy when I was nine and loved it! So what that Hercule Poirot was an old man? Who cared that Miss Marple was an old, grey haired spinster who was a former nanny and knitted little fuzzy things? I loved them!

Think about it. The Harry Potter books are basically written for children, then growing into books for youngsters then teens. But right from the start adults loved them too. I think industries are often too quick to put prospective customers into neat little categories that don’t always fit.

I know the genre appeals to a wide range of people so mostly I’m concerned with writing a good, entertaining “who-done-it” with interesting plots and characters. If I do that it won’t matter much what the statisticians think.

How do you want your readers to feel as they read your book?


I want them happy when the story is being happy. Sad when the murder happens. Frightened when something scary is happening. I hope they feel what the characters in the story are feeling with each scene they read.

But over and above all, I want them to feel like they’ve been well entertained by escaping their everyday lives for a while.

What is one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?

Study the craft – but don’t think you have to follow every piece of advice experts have to offer.

Sift through all the helpful hints and down-right insistence that this or that idea is THE BEST WAY TO WRITE. I myself, and many other writers I’ve come to know, have been badly messed up and had to spend some time recovering themselves, recovering their own style and voice, because they’d been convinced they were doing it wrong.

Try new ways and means if you want to, but start a new project, like a short story, to try them with. That way, if you find it doesn’t suit you, you haven’t ruined your larger work.

I did that with the “plotters vs. pantsers” issue. To read many writers opinions, you are doomed to failure if you don’t outline your book in intensely deep detail. For me, with the two short stories I tried it with, after I put all that detail into the outline, my brain knew it had written the story out in full and I couldn’t get it shifted into prose. Doing the deep, thorough outline didn’t work for me. I’ve read interviews with many successful authors who are “pantsers.” I prefer to call us “intuitive plotters.”

One writer I know tried the intense outline process on a novel she’d already been working on. She ruined that story and had to start over, working the way she had before, with a whole new novel. Which is why I say try the new technique on something small instead.

Share one thing about yourself that you would like readers to know.

I’m willing to try things. If I find I can do something and like it, I keep doing it. That happened with writing, with fencing for five years, with playing bluegrass fiddle. It’s happened with all sorts of things. I still struggle with wanting to do well at things I just don’t do well at, just because I think they are things others expect of me. But I’m getting better at setting those aside and focusing on what I do well.

Emory Crawford doesn't do martial arts nor is she an athletic, leggy woman who is built like a model. She's a wife, grandmother, and empty nest lover of crafts, reading, birding and bluegrass music.

When an acclaimed scholar, best-selling author and fellow bluegrass musician is found murdered on the Twombly College campus where her husband teaches chemistry and forensics, Emory takes up her knitting caddy, to help her channel the spirit of Miss Marple, and heads off to help solve the crime.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Stars shone in a sky hazed with moonlight from a half- moon. The fountain played its merry music. The smell of late spring flowers wafted on the cooling air. Soft lights in the fountain made the area cozy while keeping it from being scary-dark. But our playful mood faded as we saw the silhouette of someone sleeping on one of the backless benches near the fountain.

“Drat! I was looking forward to some romance.” At forty-seven I still sound like a sulky child when I’m disappointed.

“So was I.” Jebbin didn’t sound it though. He was too busy squinting at the figure on the bench. He nodded his head toward the figure. “Something’s odd there, Emory.”

I looked closer. The figure’s arms both dangled down, hands resting on the ground. The legs were straight, hanging off either side of the bench in an uncomfortable looking position. We edged closer until we could see, lit by the light of the fountain, the body of a man splayed lengthwise on the bench. Several pouches and odd amulets rested on his chest. On the ground, the hand nearest us was holding a fiddle with no strings.

Jebbin grabbed my shoulders, turning me toward the fountain and away from the bench.

“He’s been strangled.” Jebbin’s body was tight, his voice tense. “It’s Archie and he’s been strangled.”

Pearl R. Meaker is an upper-middle-aged, short, pudgy homemaker, mother, and grandmother who in 2002 became a writer. Initially writing fanfiction she soon tried original fiction at the encouragement of her regular readers. She has been a life-long lover of mystery stories and automatically went to that genre for her first book, The Devil’s Music. She and her husband of nearly 40 years live in central Illinois. They both love bluegrass music, playing fiddle and banjo and singing. Pearl also does many crafts – when she’s not reading or writing - knitting, crochet, origami, needlepoint, and cross-stitch among them. She also enjoys birding and photography and is a former fencer.

Visit Pearl here:

Twitter link:

Buy The Devil’s Music:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?

    1. I'm sorry I'm late answering, Mai, and thank you for being here and commenting

      I had this as an interview question but can't remember for which blog stop. I hadn't really thought about it before then.

      Tiffani Thiessen would would be a good Emory. David Krumholtz would be good for Jebbin - except he's too short - but his hair and face are great!

  2. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Thank you for great post!

    1. Hi Betty,
      As with Mai, please forgive my late reply.

      Sticking to it. I'm easily distracted and there are days I mean to write but get caught up in other things and don't get the writing done.

      Working through edits is a huge challenge. When I've typed "the end" (which you do so that everyone who reads the manuscript know that it's finished) my brain acknowledges that and says, "Yep! Okay. Done and done," and really really hates to go back and rehash this thing it thinks it's done with.

      Thanks for a good question! :-D

  3. I really enjoyed your comments. Loved the excerpt.

    1. Thank you so much, MomJane! :-) Sorry I'm late replying and I'm glad you're enjoying my blog tour. :-D

  4. I really enjoy reading about authors so thank you for the interview with Pear!

    1. You're most welcome, ReeDee, and I'm sorry this is such a late reply. Thank you for commenting and following the tour.

  5. I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.

    1. Thank you so much, Patrick, and sorry for my delay in replying. I've had fun doing the tour. :-D

  6. An interesting interview thank you.

    1. Thank you, Mary, and hope you'll forgive my late response. Glad you enjoyed the interview and thank you for commenting. :-D

  7. Thanks for the great interview and excerpt...I enjoyed both. I'm from the midwest too...northern Iowa.

    1. Please forgive my late reply, Glenda. I'm glad you were here and enjoyed my excerpt and interview.

      I've been through some parts of northern Iowa :-) We lived in Sioux Falls, SD for 5 years so went through Sioux City several times when travelling. I live nearer the eastern border now so have been more to Davenport, Burlington and to Keokuk to see the Bald Eagles in the winter!

  8. I love the excerpt! Thank you for sharing!

    1. You're most welcome, Betty.

      You must have wondered why I hadn't responded :-( I'm so sorry I am so late getting back to folks here. I know you've been following along since the beginning. My sincere apologies.

  9. Replies
    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the bit from The Devil's Music, Rita. :-) And I'm sorry I've been so slow responding. Thank you so much for coming here and for commenting. :-D

  10. To the "three generations of booklovers" who are "It's Raining Books," I am sincerely sorry I didn't respond to all these lovely commenters on Friday.

    Also, you didn't get your thanks for stepping in on short notice to help me and Goddess Fish Productions out. I really am deeply sorry for my mess up and deeply appreciative of your hosting my book and me.


So... inquiring minds want to know: what do you think?