A Troll Falls Author Interview & Giveaway!

About the Book

Book: A Troll Falls

Author: Marji Laine

Genre: ChristianHistorical Mystery, Fairytale retelling

Release date: March 7, 2023

Murder. Even the word sounds ugly. Almost as ugly as the corpse on the shore.

Dallas, Texas, 1948

Opal Stedman enjoys caring for old Mrs. Farnesworth. But keeping her sister Ruby out of trouble, well that is another issue entirely. Especially now that Ruby has stepped into high society with her new beau. A dubious man. Maybe even duplicitous.

Even the handsome security guard warns her sister about him.

When a body is dragged onto the shore of the lake that borders their home, rumors and worries over the new man become assurances. But why has he involved her household in these gruesome shenanigans?

And why are Opal’s loved ones suddenly having “accidents”?

Loosely based on the little-known fairy tale of “Snow White and Rose Red” this mystery twists its way all along the banks of White Rock Lake during its heyday.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Marji Laine is a graduated home-schooling mom of four with two college students staying in the nest for a little longer. She and her hubby of 34 years also share their North Texas home with a rescue pup named Rosie. When Marji isn’t editing or publishing the books for her authors at Write Integrity Press, she indulges in penning her own mystery, suspense, and romance novels. She loves acting in musical comedy, has directed many stage productions, leads a high school Bible study and sings in her church choir. She prefers mountains to beaches, dogs to cats, NASCAR to football, Magnolia pie, white roses, green, and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. You can find her at her website: MarjiLaine.com

More from Marji

A Troll Falls is set in my hometown of Dallas, Texas around the time that my grandfather served as one of the fire captains in the area. I have pictures of my mom and my aunt posing near the spillway of White Rock Lake.

Yep, White Rock Lake is a real place less than ten miles from the central district of Dallas. I remember doing a Walk-a-Thon around the lake and playing softball on Saturday mornings at Winfrey Point, overlooking the lake with a view all the way to downtown. Swimming in the lake was never an option in my lifetime, but my mom remembered swimming there. Because the lake was a major reservoir for Dallas, they had to close it to swimming in the early 1950s due to a drought. By the mid-1950s, boating had made the lake dirty and crowded, so the city of Dallas closed it to motor boats that traveled faster than ten miles per hour. Aside from little fishing boats here and there, White Rock Lake is primarily a sail-boat lake now, and a beautiful sight on a clear day with a light breeze.

The Bonnie Barge is a real thing as well. The double-decker party and dance boat sailed around White Rock Lake from 1945-1956. Fraternities, church groups, reunions, and all types used the Bonnie Barge. Even such famous people as Gypsy Rose Lee and Billy Graham are rumored to have sailed on it, though not at the same time! Johnny Williams, Jr. grew up on the barge that his father built, often steering it even though he was underage. The young man who has the “find” in the Prologue is fashioned after him. Johnny actually did find a body once when he was sixteen, in a similar manner to what I described, except the deceased was a woman who had fallen into the lake and drowned after a night of drinking. The Bonnie Barge was a mainstay on White Rock Lake, but it relied on speed boats to come help in case of trouble. When the speed boats were ousted in 1956, the Bonnie Barge floated her last party as well. You can learn more about the Bonnie Barge here:  https://lakewood.advocatemag.com/a-boat-named-bonnie/

On the shores of that lake lies the Dallas Arboretum, a beautiful collection of gardens that I visited often, field trips for my homeschooled kids. The focal point of the Arboretum is the DeGolyer House. Built in the 1930s, the house is fashioned after a Spanish Hacienda. I heard rumors about the house and the rare book collection that Mr. DeGolyer kept locked away in his library, and it became the inspiration for the Halling Estate in my book. You can learn more about the Dallas Arboretum (well worth the visit!) and the DeGolyer House here: https://www.dallasarboretum.org/

My fictional Halling Estate is situated on the lake about where the DeGolyer House still stands, but my imaginary house is a two-story hacienda instead of a single story. I also created a covered drive (called a dog-trot) that separates the kitchen from the garage and the servant apartments above the garage.

While I took some liberties with my 1948 Dallas, the Adolphus Hotel is the real deal. (I shared about it in my first book, A GIANT MURDER, too.) They really did have ice skating shows in their Century Ballroom in the 1940s and 50s. And the dance floor really did glide back over the ice for dancing after the shows were over. You can learn more about it here:  https://flashbackdallas.com/2014/10/26/century-room/

I’ve always loved writing mysteries. I love the unexpected twists, and I usually have an idea of who the murderer will be before I start the story. Adding the element of history to the mix has been sheer pleasure. I love setting my stories in and around real places, events, and people. I hope you enjoy A TROLL FALLS as well!

Author Interview

  • What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

I enjoyed learning about the entertainment barge that used to tour the lake near where I grew up. It was so much fun uncovering the Dallas where my mom grew up.

  • Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I tend to ask questions when I send out newsletters to my crew, and they answer. I love hearing about how one of my stories inspired them or encouraged them. That means the world to me!

  • How do you overcome writer’s block? Do you have any advice for others in finding their process to overcome it?

I’ve never really had writer’s block. I have trouble finding time to write, but usually when I get the chance, I run out of time before I run out of words. I do dictate while I’m driving sometimes. That helps get the thoughts organized so the writing is much easier when I do have the time.

  • Do you read the genre you write? Why or why not?

Absolutely! “I love a good mystery,” isn’t just my tagline, it is the truth! Growing up a Trixie Belden fan, I loved Nancy Drew and Phyllis A. Whitney. Now, it’s Patricia Bradley, Robin Patchen, Elizabeth Goddard, and Lynnette Eason.

  • How did you come up with the title for your book?

My first “Ever After Mystery” was A GIANT FALLS, based on Jack and the Beanstalk. I wanted this book, my second title, to match the first. Since the giant was the antagonist of the first fairy tale, I used the troll who was the antagonist of “Snow White and Rose Red” to make A TROLL FALLS.

  • What’s your favorite writing snack, drink, and/or music?

I tend to listen to thunderstorm sounds or movie soundtracks while I’m writing.

  • What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given about writing?

Keep writing. It’s so easy to get caught up in the other details of a writing career, but “writer’s write.”

  • Do you participate in writing challenges on social media? Why or why not?

I participated in Nanowrimo for several years, but November has become busier over the last few. A couple of writing buddies and I will Zoom and have writing sprints together. I get a lot of words in when I can do that with them!

  • How did publishing your first book change your writing process?

My publisher ended up giving me her publishing company. Now, I’m not only an author, I publish books for 19 other authors who are part of my small house and a number of others who have hired me to help them self-publish their own work. All of the publishing work definitely changed my writing process, but I do love helping other authors!

  • Is your writing space pristine or organized chaos?

In between. I don’t function well in any type of chaos or clutter, but I’m never exactly pristine.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 27

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, April 28

Denise L. Barela, April 29 (Author Interview)

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, April 29

Texas Book-aholic, April 30

Locks, Hooks and Books, May 1

For the Love of Literature, May 2 (Author Interview)

Lily’s Book Reviews, May 3

Connie’s History Classroom, May 4

Guild Master, May 5 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 6

Blogging With Carol, May 7

Through the Fire Blogs, May 8 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, May 9

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, May 10


To celebrate her tour, Marji is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.


1 comment

  1. Thank you for sharing your interview, bio and book details, I have enjoyed reading about you and your work and I am looking forward to reading A Troll Falls

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