Maggie Adams: Whistlin’ Dixie

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Author Insights

Whistlin’ Dixie and the rest of my Tempered Steel series, has been written for awhile. I was a little hesitant to try and publish after the many rejection letters from publishers. But it wouldn’t leave me alone, so I decided to give it one more shot.

The series revolves around the efforts of one family to rebuild their community after a devastating flood. I know just how horrific a flood can be to a small town like Grafton, Illinois, the setting of my series. My friends and family lived through the Mississippi River Flood of 1993.

My family and I actually lived in the Grafton area for several years. We moved in February of 1993, but my daughter went to kindergarten at the Grafton School and my son was baptized at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. I saw the pictures on the news. I heard the stories from other family members, but unless you are actually there, you just can’t fathom that type of destruction. It gave me the idea for this series.

It’s a story about real life struggle, and how fate plays a hand in life. The novel, Whistlin’ Dixie, book one in the series, tells the tale of the romance between the eldest brother of seven, Mac, the owner of a construction company, trying to rebuild the town after a flood. Vandals have wreaked havoc on the new construction and he’s determined to find the culprits. When evidence points to the brother of the new schoolteacher (Dixie), she locks horns with the stubborn construction company owner. They grudgingly agree to combine efforts to find the vandal, but their relationship is volatile at best.

Although the story is romantic fiction, many of the places and events portrayed are in Grafton, Illinois. It has humor, suspense, and a healthy dose of steamy romance, along with sites many locals would recognize. The bluffs, the river, Pere Marquette Lodge, and the marina, as well as several local businesses, names changed, of course, are all a part of the story.

And I had the cover design in mind—it’s actually my daughter and son-in-law’s engagement pic. So yep, that’s them. He’s tall, dark and handsome. She’s short, sassy and sweet.  Just like Mac and Dixie. It was more than that, though. The symbolism was perfect – the box she stands on represents the ways to overcome their issues. The old barn in the background, weathered but still standing, a testament to true love’s journey. The “00” represents a tie, or stalemate, where no one wins. Their arguments prove that. And the entire cover like a yellowed photo – tempered in loss, sorrow and pain, yet still precious, cherished, timeless.

Now, I just had to find someone to make it real.

Here again is where fate plays a hand. A friend of a friend living in Grafton, went to school with a graphic designer. Turns out, she does book covers for many of the bestselling authors on the market today. And, she lives a few miles from Grafton. She was happy to help out; not only with cover design, but also with editing and marketing.

So that’s how I ended up here, promoting my first novel, and getting to meet such wonderful new fans. It is, indeed, a small world. I hope to make it a more romantic one.


About Whistlin’ Dixie

A man on a mission….

Mackenzie Coalson was determined to rebuild his hometown after a devastating flood left it in ruins. He has no time for a relationship and all the romantic junk that goes with it. He has a vandal to catch and no sweet smelling bundle of femininity is going to sway him.

A woman protecting her family…..

Dixie Harris charged into the county sheriff’s office with a sassy sway and a smart mouth, eager to give the sheriff, and anyone else, a piece of her mind. When she locks horns with the devil himself, in the form of Mac Coalson, she quickly learns he has a temper to rival hers, even if he’s the living epitome of her sexual fantasies.

When the two unite to catch a potential murderer, it’s in everyone’s best interest to keep it, “business only”. But that’s hard to do when their combined attraction is volatile enough to burn down the town.



Knocking again a little more forcefully, he pleaded. “Dixie baby, please open up. You didn’t see what you thought you saw. Please. Just let me explain.”

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00064]“I may be young, but I’m not stupid. And I am most certainly not blind,” she snapped at him from the other side of the door. The man was unbelievable.

“You are the most infuriating bit of baggage I have ever encountered. If I didn’t care for you so much, I’d leave right now and never look back.”

“You call that caring?! I call it a line of crap! The only thing you cared about begins with an “F” and ends with me losing my virginity!” Oh, God! Had she really just shouted that?

Pounding on the door with his fist, he shouted, “Dixie Harris, you open the door this minute, or I’ll break it down!”

“Then I’ll just have you arrested for breaking and entering. Sort of ironic, don’t you think?” she countered sweetly. She felt like crying the Mississippi River because he broke her heart, but she was not going to let that arrogant pain-in-the-ass know just how much she was hurting. She had her pride!

“Fine. Just fine. I should’ve known better than to get involved with a little girl, anyhow. Maybe, in a few years, when you grow up and if you have apologized nicely, I might just take you back! And bring a damn soapbox to stand on. My neck’s getting sore from looking down at you!” he snarled. After giving the closed-door another good pounding, he stomped out of the house, slamming the front door.

“Oooooh!” Dixie’s eyes narrowed to mere slits and her hands balled into fists as Mac’s last remark registered with the banging of the screen door. It was like pouring gasoline on a bonfire. She was out of her bedroom and on the front porch in seconds. Heedless of the people walking down the street, she advanced like a mad woman across the yard, screaming. “Apologize to you? When pigs fly, you Mississippi River rat.

About the Author

Hi! I’m Maggie Adams. I live near St. Louis, MO, with my high school sweetheart, Ned, and my wonderful kids, Katie (Kyle) and Ross (Valerie). My life is like a walking, talking sitcom from I Love Lucy, but I love it, although people do tend to keep their distance from me!

Writing has always been my dream, with reading my favorite hobby. When I’m not writing, I can be found singing, dancing, and cooking, often all at the same time. I try to include a little bit of my life in everything I write, so when you read my books, keep your eyes wide open – I’m in there somewhere! Happy reading!

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