Monday, May 22, 2017

"Mrs. Odboddy: Undercover Courier" by Elaine Faber

Mrs. Odboddy: Undercover Courier
(Mrs. Odboddy Mysteries Book 2)
by Elaine Faber

Mrs. Odboddy: Undercover Courier is the second book in the Mrs. Odboddy Mysteries by Elaine Faber. Also available: Mrs. Odboddy, Hometown Patriot (read my blog post).

Mrs. Odboddy: Undercover Courier is currently on tour with Great Escapes Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my interview with the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Asked to accompany Mrs. Roosevelt on her Pacific Island tour, Agnes and Katherine travel by train to Washington, D.C. Agnes carries a package for Colonel Farthingworth to President Roosevelt.
Convinced the package contains secret war documents, Agnes expects Nazi spies to try and derail her mission.
She meets Irving, whose wife mysteriously disappears from the train; Nanny, the unfeeling caregiver to little Madeline; two soldiers bound for training as Tuskegee airmen; and Charles, the shell-shocked veteran, who lends an unexpected helping hand. Who will Agnes trust? Who is the Nazi spy?
When enemy forces make a final attempt to steal the package in Washington, D.C., Agnes must accept her own vulnerability as a warrior on the home front.
Can Agnes overcome multiple obstacles, deliver the package to the President, and still meet Mrs. Roosevelt’s plane before she leaves for the Pacific Islands?
Mrs. Odboddy: Undercover Courier is a hysterical frolic on a train across the United States during WWII, as Agnes embarks on this critical mission.

Excerpt from Chapter One
Agnes dodged puddles across Wilkey’s Market parking lot, struggling to balance her purse on her wrist, her umbrella and a bag of groceries under each arm. She lowered her head and aimed for her yellow and brown 1930 Model A Ford, parked two rows over and three puddles down. Why hadn’t she let Mrs. Wilkey’s son, George, carry out her bags when he offered? Maybe Katherine was right. She tried to be too independent. No harm in accepting a little help from time to time. Let the kid experience the joy of helping others.
As she approached her car, a black Hudson slowed and stopped alongside her. The passenger door opened and a man stepped out.
“You Mrs. Odboddy?” He ran his hand over his bald head. A scar zig-zagged across the back of his hand.
Agnes’s stomach twisted. “Depends. Who’s asking?” She took two steps closer to her Ford. “What do you want?” Her gaze roamed the parking lot. Not a man in sight, except the thug blocking her path toward her car.
The man reached out and grabbed her arm. “You’re coming with me!”
Blood surged into Agnes’s cheeks. She caught her breath. Wouldn’t you know it? Kidnapped in broad daylight and not a gol-darned cop in sight! No wonder, with every able-bodied man off fighting the war, leaving defenseless women and children victims of rapists and murderers. In less time than it took to come up with a plan, she dropped her grocery bags, wielded her umbrella and smacked it across the man’s shoulders.
“Hey! What’s the big idea? Smitty! Give me a hand. The old broad’s putting up a fuss.” Scar-Hand snatched the umbrella from Agnes and shoved her toward his car.
Oh, good grief. What shall I do?
Smitty ran around from the driver’s side.
Despite her struggles and a few well-aimed kicks, the two scoundrels shoved Agnes into the back seat and tossed her umbrella onto the floorboards. “Don’t give us any trouble, Mrs. Odboddy,” Smitty growled, rubbing his shins. “Like it or not, you’re coming with us.”
Agnes scooted across the mohair seat, huddled into the corner as far as she could get from Smitty’s leering grin. “What do you want with me?”
Smitty and Scar-Hand jumped into the front seat. Smitty gunned the engine and the car lurched through the parking lot toward the street. He glanced over his shoulder. “Don’t try any funny business, lady. The chief asked us to bring you to him, and that’s where you’re going.”
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"This book is a hoot, wait until you get to the names of some of the characters, Mrs. Whistlemeyer, a rooster, Chief Waddlemucker, the police, and of course Odboddy for a starter, are just a couple, full of chuckles." ~ Maureen’s Musings
"It’s a unique take on the cozy mystery genre. The story is fast-paced, filled with many twists and turns to keep your head spinning." ~ Socrates’ Book Reviews…
"The author writes amazing descriptions, incorporating valuable facts from history. This is a wild train ride and dangerous adventure." ~ Laura’s Interests
"I really think this is a great book for those who love mysteries that take place during wartimes. Definitely keeps you laughing in some areas and following the adventure in others! Can’t wait to see what is next!" ~ Community Bookstop

Interview with the Author
Elaine Faber joins me today to discuss her new book, Mrs. Odboddy: Undercover Courier.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
This is written for adults but teens will also enjoy. The story includes WWII era information in the way folks lived and some little known historical war-time events are woven into the tale.
What sparked the idea for this book?
I was asked to write a scenario about an eccentric, outspoken, spunky elderly woman as a potential plot for a TV sitcom. I thought setting it on the home front during WWII would add fun elements to the plot. Before long, Mrs. Odboddy had more adventures and it evolved into three novels. In Undercover Courier, Agnes carries a package to President Roosevelt which she believes contains secret war documents. Oh my!
So, which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
Idea for the plot comes first and as I begin to write, the characters jump in to "tell their own story". Agnes is sure that a Nazi spy on the train will try to steal her package. When she is witness to the suspected spy "committing murder", she is convinced that she is next on his list.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
Starting at the beginning and setting the scene, introducing the plot and the goal, and laying the groundwork for the story to progress to the exciting climax is the hardest part. I unfold the sequence of events in a chronological order. Knowing the general story arc, I’m always anxious to get to the exciting part, say ... on pages 180-200. Little patience.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I want to lift the reader from whatever problems they have, take them into a tale where they can laugh and forget their troubles. The Mrs. Odboddy series also incorporates little known war-time events and customs and issues. I hope the reader will want to read my other novels.
How long did it take you to write this book?
Mrs. Odboddy: Undercover Courier took about six months and two more months to decide on the best title and cover to convey the concept of a humorous book about a journey across country by train. How did we do?
I think you succeeded! What is your writing routine?
I write when "the spirit moves". As an Indie publisher, I have no deadlines and no pressure to produce any given number of pages or words. I do pursue my writing every day, however, in the form of blog posts, teaching a writer’s critique class, editing, writing, or in some way to promote my published books.
How did you get your book published?
My son owns a small Indie publishing house. Lucky me!
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Hone your "writing craft" sufficiently before attempting to seek either traditional publishing or Indie publishing. Attend workshops, join a critique groups, seek advice from knowledgeable people, study independently with a mentor. Don’t be in a hurry to publish.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I volunteer at the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop, read mystery books, work in the yard and help new writers learn better skills.
What does your family think of your writing?
They are very proud of my success and love my stories.
That's great. Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
Small town, youngest child, animal lover, poetry and short story writer with a huge imagination.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
Loved reading. I could read before I started first grade.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve written short stories and poems since childhood but never pursued publication until nearly retirement years.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
Paul Gallico wrote The Silent Meow, a book "supposedly" written by his cat. The concept of the cat telling the story influenced my first novel, Black Cat’s Legacy, a cat mystery. I wrote three Black Cat books before the Mrs. Odboddy series. Of course, there’s a cat!
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
My readers say they feel as if they are "there" in the story and love my characters and ask, "When is the next book coming out?"
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
A third Mrs. Odboddy adventure will be published next year: Mrs Odboddy: And Then There was a Tiger! And yes, there will be a real live tiger. I’m also working on the fourth cozy cat mystery. I hope many of your readers will choose to read my novels. All are available on Amazon.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by today, Elaine. Best of luck with your future projects.

About the Author
Elaine is a member of Sisters in Crime, Inspire Christian Writers, and Cat Writers Association. She lives in Northern California with her husband and four house cats (the inspiration for her three humorous cozy cat mysteries, Black Cat’s Legacy, Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer, and Black Cat and the Accidental Angel).
Mrs. Odboddy’s character is based in no way on Elaine’s quirky personality. More Mrs. Odboddy adventures will publish in the near future. Many of Elaine’s short stories have appeared in magazines and multiple anthologies.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of three ebook copies of Mrs. Odboddy: Undercover Courier by Elaine Faber (US only).