Oh My Shelves welcomes author T.A. Moore to the blog today for her newest release Bone to Pick out next week, August 14th, 2017. She comes baring gifts, and her inspiration for her latest book. Please welcome Moore to the blog! Don’t forget to comment below for your chance at $20 gift-card to Dreamspinner!
Thank you for having me over today to talk about my new novel Bone to Pick by TA Moore, which will be available from Dreamspinner Press on August 14.
This blog tour is a bit of a departure for me. Usually I do a short story split between the blogs. However, that didn’t really work with Bone to Pick (the characters had met, briefly, before the start of this story but it didn’t go well. Someone might have got punched; someone might have deserved it!). So instead I thought I would give you a spoiler-free introduction to the cast of characters you’ll be meeting in Bone to Pick and tell you a little bit about how I came up with them — and maybe a bit about what I have planned for the future. I hope you enjoy meeting them! I love them all, even the terrible ones.
First of all, though, you’ll want to know what Bone to Pick is about.
Cloister Witte is a man with a dark past and a cute dog. He’s happy to talk about the dog all day, but after growing up in the shadow of a missing brother, a deadbeat dad, and a criminal stepfather, he’d rather leave the past back in Montana. These days he’s a K-9 officer in the San Diego County’s Sheriff’s Department and pays a tithe to his ghosts by doing what no one was able to do for his brother—find the missing and bring them home
He’s good at solving difficult mysteries. The dog is even better.
This time the missing person is a ten-year-old boy who walked into the woods in the middle of the night and didn’t come back. With the antagonistic help of distractingly handsome FBI agent Javi Merlo, it quickly becomes clear that Drew Hartley didn’t run away. He was taken, and the evidence implies he’s not the kidnapper’s first victim. As the search intensifies, old grudges and tragedies are pulled into the light of the day. But with each clue they uncover, it looks more and more unlikely that Drew will be found alive.
Ok, I talked in a previous blog post about how Bone to Pick started its life as a Christmas short story. What I didn’t go into was that in that iteration Javi was mentioned in passing as an ex of Cloister’s. He was a civilian who couldn’t handle the dangers of Cloister’s job, and after a rescue went wrong he broke up with him.
‘I got the dog. Javi got the friends, the apartment, and the vacation.’
The problem was Cloister immediately informed me that he was still massively hung up on his ex, and if I ever turned this short into a novel he wanted to get back together with him. So when I started to write Bone to Pick, Javi made his first on-screen appearance. As a food critic and TV chef. The whole plot was sketched out. He was going to be…well, the plot is actually quite good, so let’s just say he would have been the dude in distress.
Except apparently he wasn’t down with that. I couldn’t get past the first chapter without everything falling over and lying on the ground making whining noises. Nor did Javi want to be a forensics specialist OR the local pathologist, a role that was instead eventually filled by Dr Amanda Galloway. No, Javi had to be an uptight FBI agent whose outward respectability masks nearly as many issues as Cloister has.
The only character note that continued throughout is that he still doesn’t like dogs as much as Cloister does (but then, no one likes dogs as much as Cloister does), but he kind of likes Cloister a lot.
Of course, all that makes me sound a bit batty. However, personifying the characters is, for me, the easiest way to track down whatever flaw my brain is sticking on in the narrative. Some authors talk about ‘just making the characters do what you want’, but that’s never worked for me. If the story isn’t flowing then there’s a reason for it, and if I don’t identify that and course correct then it is going to be a problem.
Javi the food critic was fun to write. He was snarky, defensive, and totally in lust with the sexy deputy the minute that Cloister turned up. However, the minute that this book was over he’d be relegated to either just the love interest or would have to become the most unlikely food critic in the world.
‘Why?’ he would wonder, as another corpse rolled out from a dumb water, ‘Why do I keep finding corpses? I need better friends, alive ones!’ Sometimes that can work, but not in this world.
As FBI Special Agent Javi Merlo he is much more of an equal partner to Cloister in the structuring of the novels, an essential player in whatever plot is going on instead of just an attractive hanger on. Besides, he technically outranks Cloister and he does like that.
Five Facts (that are not spoilers but are interesting) about Javier Merlo
1: He loves his family, but the only one he is really close to his grandmother. Both his parents are successful professionals in demanding careers, and neither of them are that good with children (although they only realised that after they had two). His grandmother is a wicked old besom.
2: Javi has a younger sister, who gets to make all the stupid, destructive decisions that he never got to make.
3: The last time Javi was in love it ended very, very badly and it was, in his opinion, mostly Javi’s fault. He doesn’t intend to repeat the experience.
4: He is a little bit jealous of how much Bourneville loves Cloister too. Not enough to ever consider getting a dog, but still…nothing and no-one has ever looked at him with that much adoration.
5: His family know that he is gay and they are fine with it. Absolutely fine. Of course, if they ever met Cloister they’re going to be relieved that they dislike him on grounds of class…instead of any other reason.
Who is TA Moore?
TA Moore genuinely believed that she was a Cabbage Patch Kid when she was a small child. This was the start of a lifelong attachment to the weird and fantastic. These days she lives in a market town on the Northern Irish coast and her friends have a rule that she can only send them three weird and disturbing links a month (although she still holds that a DIY penis bifurcation guide is interesting, not disturbing). She believes that adding ‘in space!’ to anything makes it at least 40% cooler, will try to pet pretty much any animal she meets (this includes snakes, excludes bugs), and once lied to her friend that she had climbed all the way up to Tintagel Castle in Cornwall, when actually she’d only gotten to the beach, realized it was really high, and chickened out.
She aspires to being a cynical misanthrope, but is unfortunately held back by a sunny disposition and an inability to be mean to strangers. If TA Moore is mean to you, that means you’re friends now.