Tricia O'Malley - Creating Fun Paranormal Mysteries
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author, Tricia O'Malley, lives in the Caribbean with her much doted-upon dogs, Briggs and Blue. Tricia loves fun vacation reads, hates wimpy characters, and hosts a serious addiction to traveling the world. She finds inspiration on the go – and you’ll often find her books set in beautiful settings with characters tangled in affairs of the heart…or murder. As our Author of the Day, she tells us about, Tequila for Two, which is part of the fun multi-book Althea Rose series. We also talk about Tricia’s latest novel in her new paranormal island romance series: “Good Girl."
Please give us a short introduction to what Tequila for Two is about.
Tequila for Two is fun romp into the less mainstream side of Tequila Key, with events like pagan festivals, magickal spell tutorials, and small-town love triangles. Althea Rose and company handle it all with grace…errrr, at least some of them do. With the help of her more esteemed magickal colleagues, Althea hopes to resolve the latest mystery that has descended on Tequila Key.
What inspired you to write about a psychic who botches a spell?
Althea is still learning all of her talents. Naturally, while learning, one is bound to make a few mistakes. I wanted to have some fun with what the consequences of her mistakes would be. Namely, the introduction of a new and well-loved character!
Tell us more about Althea Rose. What makes her so special?
I love Althea because she is perfectly imperfect. She embraces the fact that she lives a life far outside what is considered the norm, and yet she struggles with some of the same insecurities that many of us do. I’ve enjoyed watching her come into her own, especially as she’s gained control over some of her extrasensory abilities as well as making strong decisions in her love life.
Your first book in this series only dipped its toe in into the paranormal. In this book, the story seems to jump head first into the deep end. Why did you take this approach?
It’s just more fun that way.
Despite the grim topic of murder, you manage to keep the story light and humorous. How did you pull this off?
I think, in some respects, we’ve become a bit desensitized to gruesome news. Because I’m not deeply examining the terror or emotions behind a murder, and instead focusing on the emotions of those looking to solve the murder, I’m able to keep a cushion between the sadness and pain of a difficult subject matter and introduce humor to break the tension a bit.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I’m not so certain this is a “secret” skill, but I’m an avid scuba diver. I live on a small island in the Caribbean and try to get out diving several times a week. Which in turn has led to me working on my underwater photography, something that Althea and I have in common.
Do any of your characters ever take off on their own tangent and refuse to do what you had planned for them?
Yes! Sometimes, I’m surprised by it. I think my biggest surprise in a book was when I realized the killer wasn’t who I had planned it to be. That little U-turn had me doing some serious late night editing.
Which one of your characters do you think you would get along with the most? What about the least?
I would really love to spend time with Miss Elva. I love her no-nonsense attitude and her willingness to embrace all the fun aspects of life. My least favorite would likely be, Margaret, from my Mystic Cove series. She’s just a little too controlling, unwilling to compromise, and uptight for me.
When working on a new book, what’s the first thing you do?
Typically, I sit down with a notepad – always outside – and let my mind drift for a bit. Now that I live on an island, I sit by the sea and daydream for a while as I start writing out my “What-if’s.” What if my character was like this? What if x,y, or z happened to her? What if she doesn’t learn this lesson? That helps me create a loose roadmap of where I would like the story to go.
Do you have any interesting writing habits, what's your average writing day like?
I work extremely well under pressure. Sometimes, I feel like I’m back at university and cramming for the big test the night before when I’m approaching a deadline. I’ve tried to teach myself to be more adult about writing a certain number of words every day and pacing myself, but it just never works that way. After twenty or so books, I’ve come to realize that writing an entire book a few weeks before it is due is my process.
What are you working on right now?
Right now, I’m working on Up to No Good: Book 2 in the Siren Island series. I hope to have that finished before the end of the year and then am working on a super-secret book for 2019. That project will lend itself more toward women’s fiction, and I’m very excited to jump into it.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
My website is www.triciaomalley.com where you can sign up to my mailing list, find information on Wild Irish Heart and One Tequila, which are both free. You'll also find a list of my books which are available from all your favorite vendors in ebook, paperback, and audiobook formats. You can find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/triciaomalleyauthor/ where you’ll see me posting island pictures and hosting giveaways.