by Karen E. Rigley
Cindy, it’s so fun to interview you for the MMC tenth. Thanks for joining the party.
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 have to admit that I’ve been a lurking, and haven’t really participated in a long time. But I originally joined because I loved the fan interaction and the author interaction. As an author, I always want to know what the fans think, read, want. I also want to learn from the advice and comments of my fellow authors… MMC is the very best of both worlds.
When and how did you discover the Mystery Most Cozy group?
Oh gosh, I first learned of Jenny and MMC on the Yahoo group maybe 6 or 7 years ago and joined the FB group as soon as I heard about it.
How did you know you were meant to write?
I never really knew I was meant to write. But after I edited a medical textbook, as part of my medical secretary job, I decided if they could write so could I. All they did was put their passion – caring for children – on paper. So I decided I would write about my passion – MYSTERY!
What fascinates you about mysteries?
Without a doubt – the puzzle! Exercising your brain without even realizing it…
What inspired you to write mysteries?
Write what you know — I know mysteries. I know cozy. I know romance. I know normal housewife finding herself in extraordinary situations. I don’t know anything about finding dead bodies – that’s where my imagination comes in.
What intrigues you about writing a series?
No boundaries. The stories can keep coming. You don’t have to shove everything into one book, because you can expand a character, setting, or storyline in the next one.
What is the most challenging facet of writing for you?
Working a fulltime job and still making time to write. I’ve sucked at it the last few years. My husband had a heart attack and open heart surgery, when things settled down after that we had our first grandchild, then our second. It seems something always comes up to take my mind off writing. But I have two works in progress and I am going to try my best to set aside some ME time and get back to my passion.
What do you enjoy reading?
Mysteries! I love romance, comedy, and sometimes blood and gore. And I pretty much won’t read anything anymore unless it’s part of a series. I always want more!!!!
Which authors have influenced you?
I’m not sure anyone influenced me, but some of the first authors I read, the ones who made me “a reader,” are: Catherine Coulter, Julia Spencer Fleming, Mary Daheim, James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell, and Janet Evanovich.
How much of a story do you have in mind when you begin a new book?
For my first book, all I had was the manner of death in mind. For the other books I knew the characters first, and developed them in my head a little, before I decided what was going to happen to them.
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 all my characters. Each one of them has a little trait or mannerism about them that means something personal to me. But if I have to pick one – it would be Ruth. Ruth speaks her mind. (or should I say, speaks MY mind…)
What would you like to say to your readers & fans?
Thank you so much for all the support you’ve given me. I’ve been able to meet truly wonderful people and have made lifelong friends all across the country, and even across the world, by networking and sharing my love of books. Hopefully when I finally get my next book out, you’ll still support me. I hope I don’t disappoint!!
What advice would you offer a beginning writer?
Write. Don’t worry about grammar, punctuation, or anything else that would delay you putting words on paper! Get you story on paper, because you can edit and clean it up later. AFTER I finished my manuscript, I joined Sisters in Crime and their group for newbies the “Guppies.” They were wonderful critique partners and helped me make sure my manuscript was ready to be submitted.
What do you enjoy most about being an author & what drives you crazy?
The most wonderful thing someone can say to me is, “I started on your book last night, and I couldn’t put it down.” I know how great it is to find a book that hooks me and keeps me up past midnight. Knowing I gave that feeling to someone else is AMAZING.
What drives me crazy is wishing I’d started writing twenty years earlier so maybe I could have made a career of it.
If you could meet three people (living or dead) and chat mysteries with them, who would you select? What would you discuss?
Stephen King – I would discuss his family, what shows he likes, and see what his sense of humor is like.
Kelly Ripa – I would love for her to read Death Warmed Over and tell me what she thinks about it; and then share it with her audience!!!
Patricia Cornwell – I would love to talk with her about her writing history, her forensic background, and her success back in the day when men ruled the thriller genre.
Do you like a touch of romance woven into your mysteries? Do you add it into your own stories?
I like romantic mysteries. Romance and romantic tension, good or bad, is just a part of life. It reflects who we are and the decisions we make. You’ll always find a few romantic undertones in my stories.
What are your favorite “writing” clothes?
T-shirts and pajama pants.
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?
I’ve never dreamed any of my scenes. But you’ll find me sitting on my back porch for hours at a time talking to myself. Some of my character’s conversations need to be said out loud to make sure they sound right, and to make sure the back and forth flows freely without wondering who is saying what. So I submerge myself into their dialogue pretty extensively.
Why did you choose cozy rather than thrillers, intrigue or true crime?
It’s what I know. Also, I just can’t do too much hard stuff, it messes with my mind. So I like to keep it light.
Can you read cozies while writing? Or do they influence your own too much?
I read constantly, it doesn’t interfere or influence my story. The only thing I won’t do is read someone I’ve been told I write like. If I’ve never read Jane Smith, and someone tells me I write like her, I think it might influence me if I started reading her. It’s a mental thing.
If someone tells me I write like someone I’ve already read, it doesn’t bother me because I know I don’t really write like anyone else. Silly, right? It’s just one of my ‘things’.
Do you feel you must write your cozies in a series? If so,why?
Definitely a series. In a cozy – it’s about the whole family, or the entire community.They all participate in the story. So, if a reader falls in love with them, it’s just plain unfair to keep their antics to yourself.
What are you writing now?
Two things: “Mad Moms in Minivans”, think Desperate Housewives in East Texas; and “Full Moon Over Dixie”, think sweet southern cop up to her neck in half naked hunks.
Tell us about your newest mystery:
Here’s the blurb about Death Warmed Over:
Emerging from her three-year post-divorce pity party, Hannah Evans believes she may have finally found the confidence she needs to step out from under her parent’s wing, and her promiscuous sister’s meddling, and start a fresh new life for herself and her six-year-old daughter. Little did she know she was stepping smack dab into a lustful new relationship and the murder of a beauty queen-both of which are taboo in the East Texas Bible belt she had run home to.
Where can we find out more about you and your books?
Information about all my books, not only my mysteries but my breast cancer book and my children’s book, can be found on Amazon:
You can find about everything you ever want to know about ME at my Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/iwritemystery
Warning, you’ll see grandbaby pictures!! Once I get my next book out, I’ll concentrate on a fan page, but right now one page is all I need.
Visit Mystery Most Cozy to find out how to enter the drawing for one of her mysteries.
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