Murder in G Major
A Gethsemane Brown Mystery
Genre: Cozy Mystery / Suspense / Paranormal
Publisher: Henery Press
Date of Publication: September 13, 2016
Number of Pages: 268
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Stranded in Ireland after losing both a gig and her luggage, African-American classical musician Gethsemane Brown hopes to win her way back to the States by accepting a challenge: turn rowdy school boys into a champion orchestra. She’s offered lodging in a beautiful cliffside cottage once owned by her favorite composer. The catch? The composer’s ghost. He can’t rest in peace until he’s cleared of false charges of murder-suicide. Desperate after a quarter-century, he begs Gethsemane for help. A growing friendship with the charming ghost spurs Gethsemane to investigate. Her snooping provokes a long-dormant killer and she soon finds herself on the wrong sort of top ten hit list. Will Gethsemane uncover the truth as she races to prevent a murderous encore or will she star in her own farewell performance?
PRAISE FOR MURDER IN G MAJOR
“Gordon strikes a harmonious chord in this enchanting spellbinder of a mystery.” —Susan M. Boyer, USA Today Bestselling Author of Lowcountry Book Club
“Just when you think you’ve seen everything, here comes Gethsemane Brown, baton in one hand, bourbon in the other. Stranded in an Irish village where she know no one (but they all know her), she’s got just six weeks to turn a rabblesome orchestra into award-winners and solve a decades-old murder to boot. And only a grumpy ghost to help her. There’s charm to spare in this highly original debut.” — Multi-award-winning author, Catriona McPherson
“Gordon has composed a masterful and magical debut. . .Murder in G Major captivated me from the first page to the last, transporting me to the windswept cliffs of Ireland.” — Gigi Pandian, USA Today bestselling author of Michelangelo’s Ghost
“Alexia Gordon’s debut is delightful: an Irish village full of characters and secrets, whiskey and music – and a ghost! Gethsemene Brown is a fast-thinking, fast-talking dynamic sleuth (with a great wardrobe) who is more than a match for the unraveling murders and coverups, aided by her various –handsome – allies and her irascible ghost. Can’t wait to see what she uncovers next!” —J. Suzanne Frank, AKA Chloe Green, author of the Dallas O’Connor mysteries
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Where did your love of books and reading come from?
My love of reading books came from my parents, especially my mother. My parents’ house is filled with bookshelves crammed with books, some two layers deep, some stacked on top of each other. Mom is never without a book. She joked she got a job volunteering at the library so she’d have a chance to check out the new releases before anyone else. When I was growing up she and Dad worked in the same place. Dad did the driving to and from work and Mom either worked on her needlepoint or read. Now she checks out books on tape so she can listen to books while she sews. My parents let me have an unrestricted library card as soon as I was old enough to have a library card which allowed me to check out books from both the children’s and the adult sections. I grew up reading Agatha Christie, Rex Stout, and Edgar Allan Poe right alongside Lucy Maud Montgomery, Frances Hodgson Burnett, and Lewis Carroll. My parents never told me no in a bookstore and a box filled with the latest Nancy Drews always appeared under the Christmas tree.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing for almost as long as I can remember, at least since the first or second grade. I’m an introvert and I’ve always found expressing myself in writing easier than expressing myself orally. One of my earliest elementary school class projects was bookmaking—writing and illustrating the story, making the covers, assembling the books. When we finished our books the school librarian added them to the library shelves. I won my first (and, so far, only) writing prize in the sixth grade for a (rather dreadful when I re-read it as an adult) poetic saga about a superhero named XY. I still have the prize—a copy of Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends. In high school I was on the staff of the yearbook and the literary magazine (lots of bad poems about talking cows). As an undergraduate at Vassar College I enrolled in every creative writing class I could find. I even passed up spending junior year abroad so I could take playwriting and screenwriting with Professor James Steerman. I also had the good luck and the pleasure to study children’s literature with Newberry Medal winner, Nancy Willard. Writing took a backseat to medicine while I finished medical school and my family medicine residency (although some of my patient histories did take on a storyteller-like flare as I wrote my chart notes). Once I started working as a full-fledged physician I enrolled in writing classes and workshops whenever I could. Creative writing helped refill my spiritual and mental wells as I dealt with illness, trauma, and drama day in and day out. Eventually, work led to Dallas, Texas where I found SMU’s creative writing program, The Writer’s Path. That program led to a finished manuscript which led me to where I am now, a debut author with a mystery, Murder in G Major, being published by Henery Press.
Are there underrepresented groups in my book?
My protagonist is a college-educated, upper middle class, African American female. She’s the child of professionals who were the first generation to go to college and who grew up under (and triumphed over) Jim Crow. In other words, she’s like most of the African Americans I know (including me) but who I never saw represented in books, movies, and television shows until recently.
I got tired of media (visual and print) portrayals of blacks as current or former prostitutes, pimps, drug dealers, drug addicts, thugs, felons, con artists, deadbeat parents, down-and-outers, and victims. These weren’t the people I knew, the strong, hardworking, honest people who met the challenges thrown at them, survived, and thrived despite forces only too happy to see them fail. These people had stories, too, important stories. So I followed Toni Morrison’s advice and wrote the book I wanted to read but hadn’t been written yet.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose names based on liking the way they sound or their meanings? Do you have any name choosing sources you recommend?
I have trouble writing about a character until I find a name that fits. When I struggle to form a mental image of a character or to find their voice it’s usually because I’ve chosen the wrong name. Occasionally, the perfect name for a character comes into my head seemingly out of nowhere but usually I have to test multiple names until I discover the right one. Ninety-nine percent of my name choosing is based on the way the name sounds. Does it flow? Do the first and last (and sometimes middle) names “go” together? Can I imagine a character with whatever name I’ve chosen doing what I want that character to do? Every now and then I try to choose a name based on its meaning but that often results in a contrived, clunky name I end up changing. Often a name I’ve chosen for its sound will end up having a meaning significant to the character or the story. I take it as a good omen when that happens. Sometimes I choose names to fit a theme. After I named my protagonist Gethsemane Brown—a name that popped into my head—I gave all of her siblings Biblical place names: Meribah, Shiloh, Asher, and Zebulon. Those names didn’t make it into the book but I still have them listed in a notebook and they may show up in future novels.
I try not to give two different characters names with the same initials but that’s not always easy. The alphabet only has twenty-six letters to work with. In a novel set in a village or small town where almost everyone is related to everyone else some characters have to have the same surname so I have to be careful to make their first names distinctive enough to avoid confusion.
I’m a fan of baby name generators for first and middle names. You can search lists of names until you find one you like. You can look up a name you think you might want to use and see what it means. Some generators let you do the reverse and search on a meaning instead of a name. You can find names in many languages and cultures. Most generators will give you the history of a name’s origin and usage. Some list famous (and infamous) people who share the name. Some include audio files so you can hear how the name is pronounced. One I like, www.babynamesofireland.com, features the voice of the late Frank McCourt. For last names I often use surname databases. Once in a while I’ll use a name I saw on a billboard or street sign or read in a news story or magazine article. I seldom use family names—what if the family member dislikes the character named for them?—but if the family member is a long-dead ancestor and the name isn’t used by any living family members I may borrow it.
If you could speak with any accent from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?
Irish. I love brogues. I’m not sure which Irish regional accent I’d choose, though. Maybe all of them. That would be a neat party trick.
What did I enjoy most about writing this book?
Finishing it. Realizing that more than seventy-thousand words coalesced into a coherent narrative and worked their way from my brain onto the page.
What was the hardest part about writing this book?
A writer since childhood, I won my first (okay, so far, only) writing prize, a copy of Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends, in the 6th grade. I continued writing through college but put literary endeavors on hold to finish medical school and Family Medicine residency training. My medical career established, I returned to writing fiction.
Raised in the southeast and schooled in the northeast, I migrated to the southwest after a three-year stint in Alaska reminded me how much I needed sunlight and warm weather. I completed Southern Methodist University’s Writer’s Path program in Dallas, Texas then moved to El Paso, Texas where I currently practice medicine. If pushed, I will admit Texas brisket is as good as Carolina pulled pork. I enjoy classical music, art, travel, embroidery, and a good ghost story.
I am a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and the Writers’ League of Texas. I am represented by Paula Munier of Talcott Notch Literary Services, LLC and published by Henery Press.
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September 20 – September 29, 2016
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|9/20||Author Interview #1||Byers Editing Reviews & Blog|
|9/22||Excerpt||Texas Book Lover|
|9/23||Review||Reading By Moonlight|
|9/24||Guest Post #1||My Book Fix Blog|
|9/25||Promo||Kara The Redhead|
|9/27||Author Interview #2||The Crazy Booksellers|
|9/28||Guest Post #2||The Librarian Talks|
|9/29||Review||Margie’s Must Reads|
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