Author Tyora Moody is no stranger to writing cozy mysteries. She’s back with the fourth installment in her popular series featuring Eugeena Patterson.
Tell me about your latest book.
A Simmering Dilemma is the fourth book in the Eugeena Patterson Mysteries. This is a cozy mystery series under the Christian fiction umbrella. Here is a synopsis:
Eugeena and Amos are married, but the happy couple may see their new life fall apart when Amos’ daughter moves in next door. Briana Jones is cooking up mayhem when she hooks up with old friends.
When Amos receives a call in the middle of the night, he jumps into action to help his daughter who has found a dead body. Eugeena doesn’t want to rock the boat between Amos and his daughter, but she can tell Briana is keeping secrets.
Can Eugeena find the real murderer and keep her new marriage together?
Why did you decide to write it?
I started writing Eugeena Patterson Mysteries in 2008, the first book being A Deep Fried Trouble. The first book was not published until 2013, so this character has been with me over ten years. This book was also my first step into the world of independent publishing. I was traditionally published at the time with Urban Christian/Kensington. I just felt that the character was special, and I didn’t want to try the query process with publishers like I did with my first book, When Rain Falls.
I always knew that the main character had the possibilities to have numerous books. She is a retired teacher and a grandmother who stumbled upon her first dead body while out on a walk in her neighborhood. Her determination to solve that crime started a new retirement hobby of being an amateur sleuth.
It also helps that as a widow that Eugeena has had her eye on another widow, her next-door neighbor, Amos Jones, a retired detective. Alongside solving mysteries, there is a mature relationship being developed between these two retirees.
Who is your favorite character in the book and why?
Definitely the main character, Eugeena. She has quite a few attributes shared by my mom and other older friends in my life. I enjoy watching her growth, revisiting her relationships with her children and grandchildren, her neighbors, fellow church members and of course, how her and Amos’ relationship is evolving. With this book, they are more than neighbors, but are now married and that brought on a whole new set of story ideas.
What was the hardest part about writing the story?
Time is always a factor for me. I usually get most of my writing done late at night (I’m a night owl) and on the weekend. I will say that I was highly motivated by the reviews and feedback from this series. I usually publish a book in this series every two years, and I’m starting to realize now I should consider at least one book a year, so for the first time in this series, I’m already plotting the next book, An Unsavory Mess, for 2021.
If you were to write a book about your life, what would be the title and why?
I had to come back to this question. My motto is “Keep It Moving.” Life will sling things at you out of the blue. The constant is knowing that God will never leave you nor forsake you. There are times where you definitely need to rest and be still, but you also need to keep moving forward and growing. I’m about to approach that half-century mark, and I’m more aware, especially this year that time is precious. Don’t waste it, keep moving forward.
What is something readers would be surprised to know about you?
That’s a good question. I don’t share a lot of my private life online, so I guess there are a lot of things people don’t know about me. I guess the main thing is I do have a day job. I’ve been working twenty-two years at the same company, which happens to be a state agency in South Carolina. Prior to working at the company, I worked at a school district. So, outside of writing and my literary services, I have spent over twenty-five years in the K–12 world. This year with COVID-19, the workload increased when schools went virtual. That kind of cut into the writing time! LOL!
Anyway, I’m actually getting pretty close to being able to consider retirement myself. When I do retire, I have no plans to take on amateur sleuthing like Eugeena. 🙂
Tell me about a book that changed your life and why.
I’m an avid reader, so that’s another hard question! I’m going to go from the point of view of which book(s) motivated me to pursue becoming an author. Yes, books. There are two that stand out to me.
The first Christian fiction book I’d ever read was Passing By Samaria by Sharon Ewell Foster. It was interesting that I picked this book up because I usually reach for mysteries and suspense books first. It was historical fiction, which was not a genre I read too often, but this book really influenced me, and I became hungry for finding Christian fiction books. Fortunately, over the years, the amount of authors who write in the genre has increased.
The second book that really influenced me to begin writing was Murder, Mayhem and a Fine Man by Claudia Mair Burney. Here for the first time was a woman of color as the lead role in a mystery that was also Christian fiction. All the books I’ve read in my lifetime up to that point rarely had characters of color. I think the only books I could recall reading were the Tamara Hayle books by Valerie Wilson Wesley.
Anyway, even today there are still not many authors of color, especially under the Christian fiction genre that write mysteries. A constant comment that I always receive from readers [is] “I never read a mystery until I read your books.” Usually they have been introduced to reading a mystery from this series or one of my other series like the Reed Family and Victory Gospel series.
What’s next for you?
Being home so much this year, I’ve been more motivated to map out a writing schedule. Right now, I’m returning to a book series that I haven’t published any books in since 2017. The Reed Family are novellas that address the lives of siblings in a crime-fighting family. The books about the sisters, Jo, a homicide detective; Toni, a forensic artist; and Asia, an assistant district attorney are available now. I plan to have my next book in the series, With All My Heart, a short story that addresses the mother’s backstory out by the holidays. Then I’m planning to complete the two brothers’ stories in 2021.
Do you have anything you would like to add?
Thank you for the opportunity! I do want to add that I make an effort to work with narrators to create audiobook versions of my books. Sharell Palmer narrates for the Eugeena Patterson Mysteries, and her voice had made the series just as popular on audio as in written form. If you have nonreaders or older readers who find reading difficulty, I encourage you to visit Audible, Amazon or iTunes to listen to the audiobooks.
Use Black Fiction Addiction’s affiliate link to purchase your copy of A Simmering Dilemma.
To learn more about Tyora Moody, visit her online at tyoramoody.com, facebook.com/tyoramoody, twitter.com/tyoramoody and instagram.com/tyora_moody