by Karen E. Rigley
Nicola, thank you for joining our Mystery Most Cozy author interviews. It’s a such pleasure to interview you.
Mystery Most Cozy is celebrating their tenth anniversary. What is your favorite thing about the group: reader interaction, fan support, being able to connect with fellow authors or what and why?
I’m a new member and am still discovering things about the group but so far the best thing is finding myself among kindred spirits!
When and how did you discover the Mystery Most Cozy group?
Fellow author Anya Wylde told me about the group
How did you know you were meant to write?
I was about six years old when I realized books came out of people’s heads and decided that was what I wanted to do. My first short story was accepted when I was 23.
What fascinates you about mysteries?
Partly it’s the puzzle element but there’s a tidiness about a cozy; evil is always punished, right always triumphs. (Almost always!)
What inspired you to write your mysteries?
My mother and grandmother adored the greats: Christie, Allingham, Wentworth, Sayers, so I was brought up in a house full of cozy mysteries!
What intrigues you about writing a series?
I like the continuity, the familiarity with my protagonist; I know how she thinks and that sends me off in different directions. I have two series, a Victorian one and a contemporary one, and it’s fun to ring the changes.
What is the most challenging facet of writing for you?
Making myself actually sit down to write!
What do you enjoy reading?
Well, mysteries, of course! I also love historical novels and again, I was brought up by two women who believed reading was the most important key you can give a child, so I read what they read – and they read mystery and history!
Which authors have influenced you?
Dozens, ranging from Victorian bestseller, Charlotte Yonge, to contemporaries, Lindsey Davis & Terry Pratchett, via all the 20th century schoolgirl series (Elinor Brent-Dyer, Elsie J Oxenham et al)
How much of a story do you have in mind when you begin a new book?
Not a lot, usually! My second Victorian cozy (Death is the Cure) began with two scribbled notes: ‘woman with wooden leg’ & ‘man who loves funerals’.
Part of the magic of writing is creating memorable characters. Who are your favorite characters, why, and which of your mysteries feature them?
I love both of my protagonists, Charlotte Richmond who is my Victorian heroine(Murder Most Welcome & Death is the Cure), and Harriet Quigley, my contemporary sleuth (Murder Fortissimo & A Crowded Coffin). Why? Because they’re feisty and wimpy, clever and silly, brave and terrified and very funny – in other words, they’re human beings!
What would you like to say to your readers & fans?
‘Thank you for reading my books,’ would be the first thing!
What advice would you offer a beginning writer?
Just write. Keep submitting your work and take notice of criticism and advice.
What do you enjoy most about being an author & what drives you crazy?
The best bit of all is when a reader tells me she has fallen in love with my book! The most irritating is when someone says: ‘How much did you have to pay to get published?’ I smile sweetly and say, ‘They paid me.’
If you could meet three people (living or dead) and chat mysteries with them, who would you select? What would you discuss?
King Richard III (I’m a big fan) – I’d ask about his life; Prince Rupert of the Rhine (English Civil War) – I’d probably just goggle at him – he was a very handsome, charming hero! And author Charlotte Macleod whose books showed me that mysteries can be funny.
Do you like a touch of romance woven into your mysteries? Do you add it into your own stories?
I do like to find some romance in mysteries and I certainly include it in mine. Love and hate, life and death are all intertwined.
What are your favorite “writing” clothes?
Comfortable, scruffy jeans.
As author you create magic offering readers an escape into your story. As you write how deeply do you submerge into your own characters, setting and plot? Do you dream any of your scenes?
Charlotte, my Victorian heroine is Australian and earlier this year I was in Tasmania and felt her very near me. I was so aware of her I could almost see her crinoline twitch out of sight – just out of the corner of my eye. It was fabulous, I’ve never been that close.
Why did you choose cozy rather than thrillers, intrigue or true crime?
Because that’s what I like to read. I don’t want too much gore and grime, I want to enjoy myself.
Can you read cozies while writing? Or do they influence your own too much? (tone, voice, etc.)
I don’t think I’m influenced by them, but I prefer to read my old favourites, my comfort reads while I’m writing – at the moment I’m working my way through all 30 Miss Silver novels.
Do you feel you must write your cozies in a series? If so,why?
It just happened that way. I love to read a series and it seems natural to write one.
Do you enjoy “stand alone” cozies that are not part of a series if written well?
If I’ve enjoyed a ‘stand alone’ I’ll always wish I could read more.
What are you writing now?
I’m at the thinking-it-over stage with my third contemporary cozy, featuring former headmistress, Harriet Quigley & her clergyman cousin, Sam Hathaway. It’ll be set among amateur artists.
Tell us about your newest mystery:
‘A Crowded Coffin’, out January 2013. It’s contemporary, featuring Harriet Quigley. She gets involved in a treasure hunt that turns nasty. Lots and lots of history in this one.
Where can we find out more about you and your books?
Blog: www.nicolaslade.wordpress.com (would love people to Follow me!)
Visit Mystery Most Cozy to find out how to enter the drawing for one of her mysteries.
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