by Karen E. Rigley
Una, thanks for joining our MMC 10th anniversary interviews.
What inspired you to write mysteries?
A good friend invited me to hear Miriam Grace Monfredo speak about her writing. She teaches about women’s rights through mysteries. This made me believe I could teach about the law the same way. Maybe I can convince a few people that lawyers are people.
When and how did you discover the Mystery Most Cozy group?
Some kind soul helped me to get here where I am very comfortable. Thank you.
How did you know you were meant to write?
Reading has always been a passion, and writing was simply the next step. When I took writing classes with Harry Mark Petrakis, master story teller and writer, my heart beat faster and I didn’t want the classes to end.
What fascinates you about mysteries?
The plots are the very best. Sherlock Holmes yells fire, to see where the suspect hides the stolen goods. Simple explanations place an ordinary object where it later takes on sinister characteristics to the police. The characters are fun to watch since we know more about them than most people we meet.
What intrigues you about writing a series?
Books are friends and series are close friends. Sometimes I return to a series just to see what the characters are doing. My protagonist, Fiona Gavelle, is a good person and I like writing about her. She will grow up a little, but always keep her sense of humor.
What is the most challenging facet of writing for you?
Editing. I can write, edit and repeat only to return to the exact words I tampered with, naturally they sound better after I try valiantly to fix them.
What do you enjoy reading?
Cozies, occasional thrillers, books about law, books of friends and cookbooks. Who knew you could heat mayonnaise? Cookbooks have similarities to mysteries in putting pieces together.
Which authors have influenced you?
Monfredo, Petrakis and to a lesser degree, each book I read teaches me something. Sometimes I see something I want to avoid.
How much of a story do you have in mind when you begin a new book?
I start with how I will do away with the victim. Then I look to what I want to teach. The plot evolves constantly which is fun.
Part of the magic of writing is creating memorable characters. Who are your favorite characters, why, and which of your mysteries feature them?
Agatha Raisin appeals to me because she is imperfect and doesn’t learn from experiences in love.
What would you like to say to your readers & fans?
To everyone who has given me a chance and read Judge vs Nuts, a hearty thank you. Friends and family are required to read and love my book. However, when a new to me person says I made them laugh, and when they say they learned something about the law and lawyers, I smile all day, and everyone wonders what I am up to. A reader also becomes my friend, how really cool is that?
What advice would you offer a beginning writer?
Read, write, repeat. Talk to other authors, they are the best folks around.
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?
To sleep perchance to dream? I play scenes out loud, hoping the neighbors think I’m on the telephone. Sometimes I talk like a character to see if they are distinct enough. The puns come without much thought, also making me laugh at myself.
Why did you choose cozy rather than thrillers, intrigue or true crime?
The evening news has enough to make me check under the bed for monsters without inviting more scary things into my life. I learned a lot about myself when I wrote. Cozies are a great teaching mechanism for me.
Can you read cozies while writing? Or do they influence your own too much?
I don’t feel well unless I can read, even if it’s the time I spend reading on my android on the subway going to downtown Chicago for court. I use styles as writing exercises and will redo a chapter in the Robert Parker style, meaning almost all dialogue. When I imitate another author I have to find a place for bougainvilleas.
What are you writing now?
I have two fiction projects; the first is a short story for the readers of Judge vs Nuts as a thank you. The second is another judicial murder, set in Chicago, with Fiona Gavelle.
Where can we find out more about you and your books?
Please stop by my website: http://Unatiers.com
My book trailer is at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55XqIbk0VY4
EBook: Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Judge-vs-Nuts-ebook/dp/B007BSD4RU
Visit Mystery Most Cozy to find out how to enter the drawing for a for one of her books.
Mystery Most Cozy links: