Monday, October 27, 2014

Fact or Fiction

 A biography I was reading about the first female big cat trainer in the circus led me to pen The Language of Silence as Peggy Webb. The iconic King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, who happens to be from my hometown, lives on in my sleuthing basset hound in the Southern Cousins Mysteries.
        The question most often posed to me is this: Did you base your story on something that’s true, or is it fiction? My answer is no… and yes. A real story I saw in the newspaper inspired me to write The Sweetest Hallelujah as Elaine Hussey.
            My writing process takes me deep into the unconscious mind where fact is never just that but a magical mixture of truth and fantasy, a heady brew that spews forth as Lola subduing golden-eyed tigers (The Language of Silence), Pony communicating with roses (The Tender Mercy of Roses), and Sweet Mama cooking up a pie with the foretelling scent of peaches (The Oleander Sisters). It becomes a sassy dog narrator who used to eat fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches at Graceland (the Southern Cousins Mysteries).
            Still, after I’ve written a novel and then go back to edit, I’m always astonished to discover so much of myself in the story - Billie, who rode stick horses, elevated eavesdropping to an art and idolized Roy Rogers; Sis, the family fixer who would fight a cross cut saw for those she loves; Lovie and Callie, Ruby Nell and Fayrene, who echo my own close friendships.
            The most telling example of fact finding its way into fiction is the hospital scene I wrote for The Oleander Sisters. I didn’t have to research coma. I knew exactly what it was like to stand at the bedside of a dear friend in ICU and say over and over, “Jane, you are strong; you will come out of this.” A fall had caused massive brain injuries, and she wasn’t expected to live, let alone rise out of her coma, fight her way back to full cognitive abilities and teach again. Months after the fall, when she was still in recovery mode, she told me, “Peggy, it was your strong voice that pulled me out of the coma.”
             Now, here is some book news! My latest Southern Cousins Mystery, Elvis and the Buried Brides, is available in the multi-author collection, Risky Brides. I’ve teamed with some great authors for this set. It’s available for a limited time and it’s the only place you can get the Elvis mystery! One of the things I love most about this set is the variety of stories – thriller, comedic mystery, sweet romance, historical romance and romantic suspense!
I’m delighted visit with you today. If you already have Risky Brides, tell me what you think.  If not, tell me what you’d love to see in another collection. Thanks for stopping by.

Peggy Webb is the USA Today bestselling author of nearly 70 books and has won numerous awards. She writes literary fiction as Elaine Hussey and is a member of PEN. You can visit her at or
Here are quick links to Risky Brides.


Peggy Webb said...

It seems the tail end of a previous blog I wrote found its way into the beginning of this blog. LOL. I'm the least tech-savvy person you know. I'll try to do better next time around!

Thanks for stopping by.

Rita Herron said...

Loved the Oleander Sisters as I do all of your books! Looking forward to the new Elvis mystery and thrilled to be in a collection with you!

Tara Randel said...

I always love to read about a writer's process. Everyone is so different. So excited to be in Risky Brides with you.

Piper Bayard said...

There's a real trick to that "write what you know" thing. Sounds like it's quite natural for you, which explains the heart you put into your writing.

Can't wait to read Elvis while I eat a peanut butter banana sandwich. :)

Peggy Webb said...

Tara and Rita, the best part of a collection like Risky Brides is teaming with authors I know and getting to know those I've just met. Vicki Hinze is fabulous about making that happen!

Peggy Webb said...

Thanks, Piper. It's such a treat to have you and Holmes on board for this collection.

Vicki Hinze said...

Very much enjoyed your post. It's fascinating how your mind works, taking you from literary to humous mysteries. I love the tidbits about your characters!

Kathy said...

Peggy, you are one of the most talented authors I have ever met. You make me laugh, cry, and then laugh again. Loved getting a glimpse into your process! It's such a pleasure having the opportunity to be with you in the Risky Brides boxed set!