by Karen E. Rigley
Welcome, Duffy. Thanks for joining our MMC party and it’s a delight 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?
Thanks for having me at Mystery Most Cozy and major congrats on the Tenth Anniversary! My favorite thing about MMC is all the above esp the reader interaction. The best part of being a writer is the readers. I’ve met such great people and nothing is more fun than sharing new books with them, discussing characters, settings and what makes for a great mystery!
When and how did you discover the Mystery Most Cozy group?
When I switched from writing romance to writing mystery other authors told me about MMC and I’ve been here ever since. You all are the best for keeping up with the readers, what books are in their TBR pile and what they want to read next.
How did you know you were meant to write?
One day I asked my lovely husband of many years, “So, husband, what kind of stories do you think about?”
His intelligent blue eyes peered at me over the top of his newspaper. “Huh?”
“You know, stories you make up while waiting in line at the grocery or bank about the people around you. Do you think up mysteries, romances, adventure, self-help?”
“I think that I’m in the wrong line ‘cause it’s moving so darn slow.”
I was stunned. He didn’t think of stories? What the heck did the man think about? I mean the slow-line thing took a split second so then what?
Up until then I thought everyone thought in stories. My first clue.
What fascinates you about mysteries?
Love the mystery part…takes a lot of thought to pull off a mystery and have all the clues, characters, red herrings etc fall together and make it fun and make the readers laugh.
Love the small town setting, not that it has to be a small town but a setting in a town or city. Like in Stephanie Plum books the setting is the burg…a small setting in New Jersey.
I love the characters and that they can be off the wall and help solve the mystery. I write/read for the humor. Life is serious enough. I want escape! Fun!
What inspired you to write your mysteries?
I wrote romance for twenty years and they always had a mystery element. When I realized I liked writing the mystery more than the romance I decided to switch genres. Not there there’s not romance in the series…there is! Walker Boone is a hung to die for. A badboy and who doesn’t love reading and falling for the badboys. But the mystery is the focus and that’s the most fun of all.
What intrigues you about writing a series?
Series are great because people get invested in the town and the characters’ lives and not ready to give that up after one book. Too much fun finding out what they’re up to next, the new characters they meet, new situations that come their way and new trouble brewing. Also you get to see the characters grow and change. Having a love interest is neat because they grow together while solving the mystery. And you get to explore more of the setting, in this case Savannah.
What is the most challenging facet of writing for you?
Writing is a challenge. If it were easy to get published everyone would be. LOL This is a job, much more than a 9 to 5 job. It never ends. But I love it. Cannot imagine doing anything else. And the best part of all is meeting the wonderful readers along the way. I cannot tell you how many readers have become good friends. Tons! Love this job!
What do you enjoy reading?
I read cozies.
One for the Money Stephanie Plum book one. I think it is pure genius. Best cozy ever!
Truly Madly by Heather Webber. Heather makes me laugh and fall in love. An amazing author
Dead Air by Mary Kennedy Great characters and setting.
Which authors have influenced you?
Mary Kennedy gave met confidence to try cozies and Heather Webber is a true inspiration. Both these gals are true friends and helped me enormously.
I’ve read One for the Money so many times the pages are falling out of the book. All the Plum books are good but the first there are magic. I love the humor and the characters and when I read One for the Money I knew that’s what I wanted to write. I was hooked!
How much of a story do you have in mind when you begin a new book?
I’m a plotter. I map out the story first with beginning, middle and end. Red herrings, clues and dangerous situations. Characters, who they are and what they want.
What would you like to say to your readers & fans?
I write to entertain…a mini vacation to Savannah. I want readers to laugh and say, “Honey, listen to this.” I want someone to ask the laughing reader, “Is it really that funny?”
What advice would you offer a beginning writer?
Don’t give up. Learn to accept rejection or you’ll never last in this business and remember all that matters to a publishing house is the bottom line…how much money can you make for them.
Don’t take rejection personally. It’s just business. Write something new and submit it and the only advice you follow is the advice of an editor. Critique groups can be death to your voice.
If you could meet three people (living or dead) and chat mysteries with them, who would you select?
I’d love to talk to Michael Connelly. He’s a down to earth author and could tell me a lot on writing a series. He’s been around the block and not a pompous ass. And I’d love to talk to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. I’m a Holmes nut. My license plate is Sherlock and my cat is Dr. Watson.
Do you like a touch of romance woven into your mysteries? Do you add it into your own stories?
Yes, but the romance has to be merged into the mystery. The mystery part is the most important part and all the characters have to be part of it.
What are your favorite “writing” clothes?
Anything comfy. If I’m deep into the book there are days when I’m in my jammies 24/7. I sleep when I’m tied and eat anything I can grab. I don’t even look at the clock but just work till I run out of energy then crash.
My house is trashed, no clean clothes or food in the fridge and the grass needs cutting, no kibble in the cat bowls. Good Lord, where are the cats!
When writing/promoting books there is little time for anything but that. And I do work at a consignment shop…how I got the idea for Iced Chiffon, a consignment shop in Savannah…so there is that. I need a clone!
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?
After writing all day and feel like I’m coming back to the real world I think: okay what season is it? what month? day? day or night? where the hell am I?
When writing I’m not in Cincinnati but where the setting is and with the characters. I know…call the guys in the white coats, this author is nuts!
Do you dream any of your scenes?
No, I don’t dream about my characters but after a day of writing and start dreaming at night…or day…I do it with quotation marks around what they say and put punctuation in the dialogue. Talk about weird dreams!
Why did you choose cozy rather than thrillers, intrigue or true crime?
I want to have fun in a story not angst. There’s enough of that on the news and in the papers. And I want the focus to be on the characters and the setting. A lot of thrillers are focused on fear. I want there to be mystery and questions but not terror.
Can you read cozies while writing? Or do they influence your own too much?
I don’t read while writing. Gets too confusing…my story or their story. I watch TV and mystery movies instead to catch the humor and analyze the characters and their movies.
What are you writing now?
Killer in Crinolines is the second book in the Consignment Shop Mystery series. It comes out in May, 2013. I’m putting the finishing touches on that.
The mystery involves her good friend Chantilly, a UPS driver. Pearls and Poison is the third in the series and involves her mom, the judge.
Tell us about your newest mystery:
Iced Chiffon is a first person book so we see what Reagan Summerside sees, feels, eats etc. She’s recently divorced by a scum-bucket who kicked her to the curb for the young Cupcake.
I wanted a heroine who was struggling to reinvent herself but someone smart and hard-working. Reagan is rehabbing an old Victorian herself and opening up a consignment shop to make ends meet. She gets sucked into solving murders to save her house or help a friend or her mom.
I love Reagan because she never gives up. Things don’t always go her way…heck they rarely go her way…but she keeps at it and best of all…she has a great sense of humor through it all.
Where can we find out more about you and your books?
www.DuffyBrown.com has excerpts, covers, fun things about Savannah and the characters. Enjoy!
Visit Mystery Most Cozy to find out how to enter the drawing for one of her mysteries.
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