Author speaks at local book club

Friday, May 2, 2014

By Jessica Moore

Staff Writer

Price McNaughton, author of the mystery novels "Murder is Ugly" and "A Vision of Murder," met with the Book Club at the Senior Center Wednesday morning. The young author has been a lifelong lover of literature. Writing is something she had dabbled in nearly her whole life, but what really pushed her into completing her first novel was an unfortunate accident with a horse. She was seriously injured and put on bedrest for several months. The only way she found she could escape the pain was to be in a dark room. She explained to the club where her idea for the novel originated. While on bedrest, she had been watching a show where neighbors fixed each others yards. One of the neighbors on the show commented on how ugly the others yard was, to which someone responded, "You aren't the best looking yourself, maybe they don't like looking at you." With that her idea was born, and she wrote "Murder is Ugly."

"I started to get really bored. Once I was cleared by a doctor to use a computer again, all I had to do was type out my story. By that time, I had already written it in my head," explained McNaughton.

She also talked back and forth with the club members about favorite characters, plot twists, and themes. She was excited to hear that some of the readers picked up on the themes she had laid out in her novel. One of the main themes she emphasizes within the novel is that there is more to life than just the material things. The readers felt this message was clear while reading. She went on to talk about her characters explaining that once she began writing these characters they seem to become their own people, and write their own stories.

"My favorite character to write was Mrs. Darly," said McNaughton. As a writer, McNaughton didn't want to see her novels changed in anyway. Because of this, she chose to create her own publishing label, Talebearers Publishing, and self-publish her novels. By doing this she doesn't have to sacrifice any of her creativity with cover design, title choice, and even elements within the novel.

Currently McNaughton is working on a sequel to her second novel, "A Vision of Murder," with the working title, "The Murders at Rock Haven," from which she read an excerpt to the book club members. It was both exciting and refreshing for those listening to see someone enjoy their work and the interaction with their readers as much as she did.

Price McNaughton wears more than one hat within the writing industry. Not only does she write and publish her own murder mysteries, but she also operates under a second pen name, Leah Price, writing fiction for children. These are written for, and most appealing to, young readers typically between ages 8 and 11. As a writer she always knew she wanted to write for children, so it was very important to keep those genres separate. She never wanted to worry about a child ending up reading a novel intended for her older readers. McNaughton grew up in the Giles County area and continues to live there today. She has studied abroad and spends time traveling when she can. Her No. 1 favorite author is Agatha Christie, followed closely by Jane Austen and James Herriot. After being asked what advice she would give to an aspiring writer she replied, "The number one thing is to always read. Don't give up. Keep trying. There will be people that like your work and people who don't, just concentrate on the good and keep going."

This month the club will meet at 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 28, in the card room of the Senior Center at the Hardison School Annex. For the month of May they plan to read "The Long Man," by Amy Greene.