Welcome, Paige. It’s a pleasure to interview you for MMC.
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 love hearing about what readers are reading. I’m still not aware of all the wonderful cozy series out there. It’s always fun to hear about a new one.
The Mystery Most Cozy members’ support and enthusiasm are so appreciated.
When and how did you discover the Mystery Most Cozy group?
Hmm, I’m not good at remembering time frames, but a year ago, maybe two? I believe Jenny invited me, or maybe Alicia Farage.
How did you know you were meant to write?
Meant? Oh, how I wish I was that confident. I’ve known since I was seven that I *wanted* to write. I’m still not sure I was meant to write.
What inspired you to write mysteries?
I actually began trying to get published by writing romances because the only local writers’ group I could find was a romance group. However, I hadn’t read many romances and I struggled. I’ve read thousands of mysteries and when I finally started trying my hand at those, it seemed the stories came more naturally. I need to add, though, that there’s nothing easy about writing either mysteries or romances. They both have their fair share of challenges.
What intrigues you about writing a series?
The characters. I love watching them evolve and grow. I had no idea I would love that part as much as I do. My characters have become good friends.
What is the most challenging facet of writing for you?
The first revision. Boy, that’s a tough one. I’m attempting to rework how I do things, though, to make that first revision less painful.
What do you enjoy reading?
Everything, really. To be honest, I don’t get to read nearly as much as I would like. I try to read a little every day because I think it’s important to read if you’re a writer, but deadlines keep me at the keyboard almost all day, and I try to keep my evenings for family.
Which authors have influenced you?
I don’t write like any of these authors, but these are the ones who reinforced (and still reinforce) my desire to be a writer: Carolyn Keene, Louisa May Alcott, Mary Norton, Antonia Barber, Phyllis A. Whitney, Sue Grafton, Diana Gabaldon, Stephen King, and Chelsea Cain.
How much of a story do you have in mind when you begin a new book?
Just a small spark. I wish I could outline or know what’s going to happen before it does, but I’m afraid I’m only able to write what the characters show me on a daily basis.
What would you like to say to your readers & fans?
Thank you – from the bottom of my heart! I have become friends with some of my readers and I feel like we’ve known each other forever – I cherish that. And, I’m honored that anyone takes some of their precious time to read something I’ve written.
What advice would you offer a beginning writer?
Never give up. It took me a long time and lots of rejection – some very cruel – to get published. Write at least a little every day. It’s a good habit to get into.
What do you enjoy most about being an author & what drives you crazy?
I love everything about writing except that first revision, which definitely drives me way crazy and keeps me up nights. Everything else is hard work but enjoyable.
If you could meet three people (living or dead) and chat mysteries with them, who would you select? What would you discuss?
Alfred Hitchcock, Phyllis A. Whitney, Diana Gabaldon (though she’s not a mystery author). I would ask them how they think, how they create. Do they feel like they have their own formula or is each experience unique. I would also be deeply curious about their personal lives and would want to know about their childhoods, etc.
Do you like a touch of romance woven into your mysteries? Do you add it into your own stories?
Yes, very much so. I don’t think I could ever write a completely romance-free mystery, and I much prefer to read mysteries with a little romance too. I love the awkwardness of real romance; it’s so humanizing.
What are your favorite “writing” clothes?
Sweats. I once heard Sue Grafton say that she never writes without first getting ready – shower, make-up – for the day. I roll out of bed, pull on sweats, brush my teeth, pour a Diet Pepsi, and get to work. I rarely even take the time to brush my hair first. I feel like I’m wasting work time if I don’t get to the computer right away.
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 wish I dreamed my scenes! No, I’m afraid that though I love what I do, it is very hard work for me. I love my characters but there are days they battle me something fierce. There are days I can’t find words to describe the perfect scene in my head. Fortunately, there are also days when the words seem to write themselves; those days are rare.
Why did you choose cozy rather than thrillers, intrigue or true crime?
My agent told me I had a cozy voice, and she came up with the farmers’ market idea. Everything felt right. However, though I hope I have a bunch more cozies in me, I hope to get a chance to write lots of other things too. When you start writing consistently, sparks of ideas start to multiply. I have an idea file on my computer that I add to almost every day.
Can you read cozies while writing? Or do they influence your own too much?
No, unfortunately, I can’t. I typically read gory thrillers when I’m writing, and only a few pages a night.
What are you writing now?
I’m working on book four of the Cooking School series. No title yet.
Tell us about your newest mystery:
A KILLER MAIZE published December 4. It’s the fourth book in the Farmers’ Market series. The second book in the Cooking School series, IF MASHED POTATOES COULD DANCE, published in October.
Where can we find out more about you and your books?
Thank you to everyone at Mystery Most Cozy. Your support and enthusiasm for cozies is so appreciated, and we couldn’t do what we do without you.
Visit Mystery Most Cozy to find out how to enter the drawing for one of her mysteries.
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