Guest Blogger: Maggie Toussaint – The Evolution of a Bad Guy

Maggie Toussaint

The Evolution of a Bad Guy
By Maggie Toussaint

When I began plotting my second paranormal mystery, Bubba Done It, I knew one thing for sure. All the suspects had the nickname of Bubba. Other than that, I didn’t have a clue.

Before I could cast men in the suspect roles, I considered my setting and the types of characters I needed. I’m familiar with the setting as I use a fictional locale that’s similar to where I live in coastal Georgia. We have townies and imports. We have people with plenty and people with nothing. We have blacks and whites. We have a stalled economy and our share of foreclosures.

All of the top suspects needed a motive to kill the banker. Some good motives to consider were previous criminal record, financial trouble, and love.

The sheriff immediately adds four Bubbas to his suspect list. Since seafood is the main industry around here, it would be good to have a fisherman Bubba. I also wanted someone who’d moved to the county as a retiree, someone who didn’t quite get locals or their customs. That worked. Two Bubbas down, two to go.

Drugs are a universal problem in today’s world. I decided upon a Bubba with a bad track record as a crackhead, but who had allegedly reformed into BubbaDoneIt_cover2an evangelist.

Lastly, I wanted to ensure my sleuth Baxley Powell had a definite call to action. She’d taken the heat in Book 1 as the top suspect, so for Book 2, I found a patsy in her brother-in-law. Why would he want to kill the banker? Baxley knew her Bubba was a dreamer who often needed money for get-rich-quick ventures. Baxley and her husband had bailed Bubba Powell out of financial scrapes for years.

With her husband dead, the task of saving Bubba fell to Baxley. She’s certain he couldn’t have done it.

Or at least she feels that way at first. With each layer of story revealed, she discovers more reasons for the Bubbas to have killed the banker. Her challenge is to sort through the evidence, in this world and the next, to finger the killer.

To summarize:
Populate your suspect list with characters fitting to your setting.
Give the suspects motives to kill your victim.
Layer the suspects’ relationship with the victim to create complex characters.
Make sure the sleuth has a clear call to action.

Maggie Toussaint

Buy link for Bubba Done It:
Amazon hardcover

0 thoughts on “Guest Blogger: Maggie Toussaint – The Evolution of a Bad Guy”

  1. You do such an amazing job with secondary characters, Maggie. I loved the crackhead, and I hope Baxley has to deal with him again since he has something in common with her. Although your suspects have great motives for killing, each one stands out as very different and distinct. You have a gift for characterization. I’m reading and learning!

    1. maggietoussaint

      Thanks. EB. I am happy to have fans of my characters. And yes, the crackhead shows up in subsequent books. It was easier for me to create characters once I started writing about people instead of characters, if that makes any sense.

    2. E.B. Thanks for stopping by. It really says a lot when an author can create characters that we become fans of. It makes us long for the next book in the series. No matter which of Maggie’s books I’ve read, her skill at developing characters is a definite hook for me to come back to read anything she writes.

    1. maggietoussaint

      Thanks, MM. My husband uses examples in his golf instruction lessons, and I thought it would be helpful in this case to illustrate my points. I appreciate that you clicked over to the blog, and thanks for the comment.

  2. Grace Topping

    Congratulations on the publication of your book. It sounds like an interesting book–populated by Bubbas. Wishing you much success with it.

    1. maggietoussaint

      Thanks for your comment, Grace. I hope folks aren’t turned off by the “Bubba” part of the title and book. Seems people either like and understand the name “Bubba” or they just aren’t interested. Go figure. Anyway, the Bubbas make me smile, and I hope they bring a smile to many a reader. Appreciate the visit!

  3. When I first moved to the South, I thought people were pulling my leg when they told me someone’s name was Bubba. Oh, there’s that Yankee, let’s tell her his name is Bubba. Ah, no. They really were named Bubba. I’ve met more than a few since.

    Love your Baxley stories, Maggie. Actually, I love them all.

  4. maggietoussaint


    Thanks for hosting me at your blog today. I had a blast and I am always happy to meet up with new and good friends at blogs. I appreciate your invitation to guest here.

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