Author Spotlight: Meet Trixie Silvertale
This week I had the great pleasure of interviewing Trixie Silvertale, best known as the author of the Mitzy Moon Mysteries series of paranormal cozy mysteries about a seemingly ordinary woman who inherits a fortune from a grandmother she never knew, along with a bookshop of rare tomes that are brimming with magic. Trixie's latest book, All Swell that Ends Spell, is the second in the Magical Renaissance Faire Mysteries series that also includes books by Erin Johnson and Nova Nelson.
One thing readers say over and over again about your books is how much they love your fun and snarky characters. When you're writing a book, what comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?
Characters. Always the characters. There’s no right or wrong way, but for me it always makes more sense to understand WHO I’m dealing with and then uncover WHAT they’re doing. It doesn’t work, for me, to have a character walk into a room and cry. I need to know who they are before I know what makes them cry. Are they old or young? Are they married, single, divorced, widowed? Are they rich, poor, middle class? Are they introverted, extroverted, introverted pretending to be outgoing? How do they dress? What do they eat? Where do they work? Are they retired, unemployed? As you can see, I have to travel pretty far down the rabbit hole before I get to “what does this character do in the story.”
Even though you write about a magical world, you keep your characters grounded with realistic traits. Do you ever model a character after someone you know?
Oh, yes!! I have experienced the joys, sorrows, and soul-level catharsis of stirring bits and pieces of real-life folks into my characters. Although, I never make carbon copies. It’s always more interesting to treat character creation like a buffet. Walking through my “people storage” (in my mind - I don’t have actual people stored anywhere!)… Anywhooo, I grab a little of this and a little of that and then I zhuzh it up to make each character unique and memorable. I adore observing humans and collecting interesting tidbits for future characters. Also, weird stuff happens to and around me! Maybe I’m paying closer attention than most, or maybe I’m a magnet for the strange. Either way, I don’t think I’ll ever run out of material.
With fourteen books in the Mitzy Moon series and the fifteenth due out any day now, you've definitely created a main character readers want more of. But If you were to write a spin-off about a side character you've created, which would you pick?
Is it wrong to say, “I love all my characters equally”? LOL! Honestly, I would love to write a spin off about any of my secondary characters. I have such vivid backstories for each character in a series that it would intrigue me to dive in anywhere. If I had to pick one at this moment… In the Mitzy Moon Mysteries series, I developed a character in Hearts and Dark Arts that begs for her own series. Here’s a snippet of description from this young inventor’s intro: “A tiny, elfin-like creature, with lavender hair, violet eyes, steampunk attire, and a wholly anime vibe. The assortment of buckles, straps, and gears connecting her garments boggles the mind.” She’s smart and fascinating, and I could see her accomplishing great things—fictionally speaking.
It sounds like you have a huge amount of inspiration to draw from for upcoming books and series. I'm curious, what do the words “writer’s block” mean to you?
I believe the term comes from the Latin. Writer - a person who has a looming deadline and will do anything to avoid making the words; and, Block - a deep and abiding need to clean one’s house and alphabetize one’s recipe books. Seriously, I dislike the term, because it’s a bit of a myth. Writing is a lot like any other job. Some days you love it and some days you don’t. It helps that I have a writing schedule, and I write six days a week—whether or not the muse is sitting on my shoulder. A first draft is not meant to be perfect, it’s meant to be done. So, technically, there are days when the words don’t flow as easily, and I could call this writer’s block, but the only true block is if you stop.
Haha, yes. You can always tell in my house when I'm struggling with a deadline because I will develop an overwhelming need to scrub the insides of my kitchen cupboards or shampoo the rugs. Actually, one of the things I find that helps me get over the feeling of being blocked is going someplace new, or taking a trip to a place that served as inspiration for the setting of the book I'm trying to finish. Have you ever traveled as research for your book?
Yes! Yes! Yes! I love to travel, and it provides me with wonderful opportunities to collect sensory data. Although, I don’t think I’ve specifically traveled to a place in the middle of writing about it, rather I travel often and collect impressions/information for later use. That’s why my characters and places are more of an amalgam of interesting bits, as opposed to an exact reproduction. However, there are some scenes in my books that I can trace back to one specific incident or location—but that is the exception.
I know you've made the transition to full-time writer, which is a huge achievement, but also must be quite an adjustment for you and your family, Who has been the biggest supporter of your writing?
My immediate family has been extremely patient and supportive. My story is not one of overnight success! (Is anyones?) As I transitioned from part-time writing to full-time writing we all had to make adjustments. Schedules and budgets were the hardest hit, but everyone stepped up. It wasn’t easy for the kids to understand the “don’t bother Mom when she’s writing” rule, and it wasn’t easy for me to commit to a routine. Now that I’m writing full time and have my schedule locked down, things are pretty harmonious. One of my sons even works part time for me now. There may be some events I have to skip, but I’m introverted and don’t mind missing out on certain social engagements. I’d rather be writing!
Trixie, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today. And readers, make sure to check out All Swell That Ends Spell to meet Coriander the Conjurer, a fairy with lopsided wings who must solve the murder of a mermaid to broker peace within the realm.
Check out All Swell that Ends Spell on Amazon!
And don't miss the next Mitzy Moon book, Schemes and Bad Dreams, coming to Amazon on August 31, 2021. This time, the beloved psychic sleuth is the victim! When Mitzy disappears without a trace, is it an impromptu road trip, or something more sinister? If Mitzy can't outsmart her captor, it could spell the end for her.
Find Trixie Silvertale online:
Amazon Author Page