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This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays. –Douglas Adams

Mabel has trust issues.

I’m so excited. The day I’ve been waiting for is finally here. I get to introduce you to Mabel, the irresistibly crabby heroine of AJ Capper’s A Bother of Bodies. The first time we meet Mabel, she’s threatening her bathroom scale. With a Glock. Mabel has issues: mother issues, trust issues, authority issues, and anger management issues. Especially anger management issues. For others these might form insurmountable barriers. For Mabel, they provide the resume for her success as a field operative in a “semi-legitimate” security firm. But it’s her better qualities—her stubborn, unwavering devotion and fierce protectiveness toward the very few she allows into her heart—that keep getting her in so much trouble. A Bother of Bodies is a funny, edgy, gripping page-turner that made me fall in love with Mabel’s prickly, cynical voice and the heart she tries so hard to keep hidden.

I’ve asked both Mabel and her writer, Amanda Capper, to join us today and answer a few questions.

Mabel's favorite game. (NOTE: she doesn't understand why she always loses. How does everyone know what she's going to choose?)

Mabel doesn’t understand why she always loses. How does everyone know what she’s going to choose?

Do you have any bad habits you are trying to break?

  • Amanda: In relation to my writing, yes. The first thing I do when I sit down to write is check out the social media. The Kill Zone site, where I usually comment, and then on to Janet Reid’s site, and then, in no particular order; my e-mails, your blog, other favourite blogs, FB, Pinterest, etc. I really need to stop all internet activity until I’ve first done some writing on my work in progress. In relation to my personal life, potato chips.
  • Mabel: Smacking people. They usually deserve it, but it makes my brother Dean sad.

Who would you most like to sit next to on an airplane?

  • Amanda: Sue Grafton. I would grill her the whole time about integrating description into my writing. A lot of my scenes end up sounding like talking heads. I’ve only recently started reading her series so I’m a few letters behind. And I wasn’t able to read them in order because our library only had S, M, and D. I ordered A, B, and C from Amazon but haven’t received them yet.
  • Mabel: The pilot.

Dogs or cats?

  • Amanda: Dogs, cats, horses, frogs, turtles, I love them all.
  • Mabel snorts, gets up and leaves the room.
  • Amanda: Should’ve invited Dean instead.

Yes, well, we’ll carry on without her. Best guilty pleasure?

Amanda: Animated films, and I’m not really sure why I feel guilty about this, but I do. And I don’t mean adult animation like Avatar, though I did enjoy that film. I mean I prefer Toy Story, and Aladdin, and shows that are supposed to be for children. Any psychologist reading this would probably start ranting about a Peter Pan syndrome, and avoidance of reality. And he might be right. It would certainly explain why I prefer novels over other books.

Are the names of the characters in your novels significant? 

Amanda: No, not at all. Family and friends will recognize quite a few of the names I’ve used, but they’re names that simply seemed to fit the character. Frank is the name of both my husband and my late Dad, but Frank Robinson, the conflicted Toronto police detective in my book, is nothing like either my husband or my Dad. There’s a Cindy, and a Roy, but these characters have nothing in common with childhood friends. They’re merely names which feel familiar and comfortable. But now you have me worried that every time someone who knows me reads the name “Frank” they’ll picture my husband. Frank Robinson is tall, dark, and brooding. My Frank is none of those. Especially the brooding part.

giphy LIE-DAR CONTEST!

I really am in love with Mabel! I’d want to marry her and have her babies, except science isn’t quite there and then there’s the whole bigamy thing. This book is terrific, and I actually read it in one sitting, flying from Paris to California. Good news for the rest of you. Mabel’s story, A Bother of Bodies, is coming this summer from Divertir Publishing. Cover reveal and updates to follow. Meanwhile, Mabel invites you to play Lie-dar for a chance to win a copy of the new release. Which one of the following statements would Mabel say is the household chore Amanda hates the most?

Nature abhors a vacuum. So does Mabel.

Nature abhors a vacuum. So does Mabel.

  1. Dusting. It’s such a waste of time. You swish the dust around and then it settles right back down into the same place. All you accomplished was giving the dust a thrill ride.
  2. Cooking. Amanda might be the only woman on earth who screwed up Jello.
  3. Vacuuming. Mabel isn’t sure who is more scared of the vacuum, Amanda or the dog.

Please add your guess to your comment below, and you will be entered to win a copy of Amanda Capper’s new contemporary mystery, A Bother of Bodies.

 

A Bother of Bodies:

Amanda J. Capper lives in Northern Ontario with her musician husband and their mutt, Maple. She likes to write, read, golf, garden and dance. Actually, she rarely dances while she gardens but she does consistently forget to use the Oxford comma. Until recently, a totally unknown comma.

Amanda J. Capper lives in Northern Ontario with her musician husband and their mutt, Maple. She likes to write, read, golf, garden and dance. Actually, she rarely dances while she gardens but she does consistently forget to use the Oxford comma. Until recently, a totally unknown comma.

There’s a dead body in Mabel’s barn. It’s not her first dead body but it is her first barn and she was hoping to keep it a dead-free zone. So she moves it. End of problem. Until the next one shows up and now she’s more than inconvenienced. She’s pissed, and somebody’s going to pay. Unless the second body is the work of the Irish ‘family’ Mabel escaped from fifteen years ago. Or, worse yet, her mother. 

As Mabel and her brother (or half-brother — no one is really sure), untangle the clues, they come to the realization that their running days are either over, or about to start all over again.

Excerpt:

I watched as Dean started the tractor. “Go open the big doors at the other end of the ring,” he said and handed me keys. “The one with the red tab.”

After a bit of a fumble, I swung the doors open and Dean rumbled up into the riding ring. Lowering the bucket, he gently scooped up Logan and a pile of sand, then backed out of the barn. I locked the doors behind him.

“Make sure there aren’t any limbs sticking out,” Dean said, so I tucked things in neatly and gave him the thumbs up. He raised the bucket. If we did come across someone they wouldn’t be able to see inside. If we were asked to lower the bucket, well, then we’d be in trouble. You learn to weigh the risks.

“You’re good with this thing,” I said, as I clambered up and hung onto the side of the tractor.

“Born to it, I figure. Must be farming genes in me somewhere.”

We smiled bleakly at each other as I made myself comfortable, ass on the floor, feet on the step.

Instead of turning left on the old tractor road, as I did a few days ago with dead body number one, we turned right and headed deeper into the bush. It was dark but the full moon filtered through the maples, giving us enough light to see the trail.

I felt strangely cheerful. “So, Deano, where will this road lead us?”

“Couple different places depending on what fork in the road we take, but we told Berk we’d move the body far from home so I’m thinking we’ll head to the Sylvandale cemetery. May as well leave him there. Someone will find him in the morning.”

I agreed that was a fine idea and we trundled along for a while, not going very fast and not particularly worried about our mission.

“If we see headlights coming,” I said to my brother, “you could probably hit this lever and the bucket would jerk the body into the bush.”

“I don’t think it would be that simple.”

I suggested we give it a try, just for fun, but once more my idea of fun and his didn’t match. Which got me thinking about how much nicer a person he was than me and then he stopped the tractor and pointed.

“That’s the trail to Berk’s.”

I peered into the dark trees. “How can you tell? I don’t even see an opening.”

“Look up. There’s a piece of fluorescent orange tape on the end of a branch. Hunters mark the trails.”

I still didn’t see it but I nodded and we kept going. A couple minutes later he stopped again and turned the tractor off.

“Hey,” I whispered into the silence, “what are you doing? What if it doesn’t start again? Is this where we’re leaving it?”

“Shush. Listen.”

I listened. I had no idea what for but I listened.

Dean started the tractor back up and suddenly we were moving fast out of the trees and onto a paved road.

You learn when not to make conversation. Obviously Dean had a destination in mind and if it meant careening down a main road in a tractor with a corpse in the bucket, then you just hung on and hoped it went as planned.

It almost did. A couple minutes down the road, I saw the moon glint off glass on the side of the road. I nudged Dean and pointed. “Parked car. Act natural and keep on going.”

I kept my eyes moving in the area around the car, trusting my peripheral vision over trying to focus on the vehicle. The car was dark and didn’t appear to be running.

“Teenagers? Parking?” Dean asked.

“Miles of bush roads and they park out here in the open? I don’t think so.”

We were close enough to see it was a dark blue four-door sedan. With a large antenna sticking up from the trunk. Oh, good Lord.

“Just keep moving,” I said. Calmly, I hoped. “If anyone asks, we’ve been at a neighbours doing some work for them. Stayed for dinner and now we’re heading home.”

“Flimsy. It’s an unmarked cop car, isn’t it? What if they ask which neighbour?”

As we passed by, I breathed out air I didn’t know I was holding. The car was empty. “Get off this road, get back in the bush.”

“Couple more minutes. There’s another bush road coming up on our left that leads to the back of the cemetery.”

“What if we made our own road? Just head in the direction of the cemetery. Follow the north star or some such nonsense.”

“It’s a tractor, not a bulldozer.”

I turned and watched as the parked car faded into the dark. Didn’t turn back around until I felt the tractor veer off to the left and we were once again in the safety of the trees.

**—**

Please add your guess to your comment below, and you will be entered to win a copy of Amanda Capper’s new mystery, A Bother of Bodies.  Winner will be announced next Thursday, May 22.

And congratulations to CB, who correctly guessed on last week’s Lie-dar that David would channel his romantic side to get the all-body rambling rose tattoo. (David, you know we’re going to be needing pictures!) CB wins a copy of David Bridger’s new release, Gifted.

***Would you like to be a guest on Thursday Lie-dar? I’d love to feature you and your work here! (interview, contest, book review, guest post) For information, send email to barbtaub@gmail.com***

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