Hello, Lorainne, author of many names and many delightful mysteriies. Welcome to our MMC interviews.
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 like the camaraderie of both the readers and the authors. I’m always surprised and thrilled when someone reads my books. Knowing there are crowds of people reading my work is gratifying and humbling.
When and how did you discover the Mystery Most Cozy group?
My friend Leann Sweeney told me about it several (four or five) years ago.
How did you know you were meant to write?
I always had stories swirling around in my head, but it wasn’t until I was in college that I got brave enough to show anyone else my writing. I was pretty much hooked when I started getting good feedback. I had a mentor who took me by the writing hand and helped me learn to craft good sentences, pay attention to pacing, etc.
What fascinates you about mysteries?
I’m drawn to good characterization, so I guess I could be happy reading any genre. I just seem to gravitate to mysteries, probably because they were my first “adult” reading. I was 12 and bored one hot summer day and my mother handed me Ammie Come Home by Barbara Michaels. Admittedly, it’s romantic suspense, but … I liked it, and my mom soon bought me every Barbara Michaels book she could find.
What inspired you to write mysteries?
I loved all of Barbara Michael’s romantic suspense novels because they had a paranormal thread. I said to myself that when I wrote a book, I would write something similar. Only when the time came, I chose to write about an unemployed male protagonist. It was suspense, but nothing romantic. The first book was Murder On The Mind. It’s currently free on all e platforms if any of the Mystery Most Cozy readers would like to give it a try: http://www.backlistebooks.com/2008/10/murder-on-the-mind/
(It’s available as a trade paperback, too. http://tinyurl.com/8mvhqfm )
What intrigues you about writing a series?
I like being able to take my characters on a ride that gives them opportunities to grow, and then I sit back and watch the changes. Sometimes they just take over the story (which is what happened with Angelica in the Booktown Mysteries). Lots of times (and in each book) I’ll write something and say to myself, “Where did that come from?” only to find that it works perfectly with something I’ll write later in the story. That is cool!
What is the most challenging facet of writing for you?
Getting off the Internet and putting my nose to the grindstone.
What do you enjoy reading?
As I said, anything with good characterization. That said, I read a lot of non-fiction and have (what seems like) subscriptions to a lot of cooking and decorating magazines.
Which authors have influenced you?
Barbara Michaels, Dick Francis, Anne Rivers Siddons, Lawrence Block, John Mortimer . . . I could go on and on.
How much of a story do you have in mind when you begin a new book?
Not much. I’m a punster. (I write by the seat of my pants.) I’m always surprised at what comes out of my fingers as the books evolve. I find it very entertaining, and I sure hope my readers do, too.
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 most of my characters. I’m extremely fond of Jeff, Richard, and Brenda from the Jeff Resnick Mysteries. Richard has been with me for nearly 30 years. I knew he had a brother, but until I started coming up with a background for him, I had no idea how special he’d become to me.
You might be surprised to know that Katie Bonner and Victoria Square were percolating for more than 10 years on the back burner before they ever saw print. I love Katie’s independence and how hard she works to make Artisans Alley a profitable business, all the while eyeing the Webster mansion at the other end of the Square with plans to make it into a first class inn.
What would you like to say to your readers & fans?
Keep your favorite authors in print (or ebooks) by buying their books. If you can’t afford to buy them, please ask your library to order them, then not only can you enjoy the book(s), but so can many others. When books don’t sell as well as the publisher wants, the author loses out on a new contract and often has to take a new name because booksellers tend to buy less of every new book in a series—even in a successful series. Go figure!
What advice would you offer a beginning writer?
Write, write, write, and then rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. After that, rewrite some more. If you’re writing a mystery, join the Sisters In Crime Guppies chapter. ( www.sinc-guppies.org ). Without them, I never would have gotten published.
Do you like a touch of romance woven into your mysteries? Do you add it into your own stories?
Yes. My first professional sales were to romance oriented magazines. I learned an awful lot of what I know about novel structure from romance authors—and they’re still teaching me things today about the business of writing. I do like to have some mention of loving relationship in my stories, although poor Tricia doesn’t seem able to stay in a relationship. Will that change in the near future? I’m not telling!
What are your favorite “writing” clothes?
I live in sweats and my slippers. Not just because they’re comfortable, but they’re also warmer. My office is the room farthest from the furnace and by the time the air gets to my heat registers, it’s cold. I do have a small space heater, but even with that, on a cold winter day it can take most of the day to get my office to 70 degrees.
As an 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?
No, I don’t think I ever have.
Why did you choose cozy rather than thrillers, intrigue or true crime?
I really don’t like true crime or thrillers because they’re usually about serial killers and filled with a lot of blood and guts. I like suspense, and I write it (the Jeff Resnick Mysteries). I like cozy mysteries because the characters become your friends. Each new book in a series is an opportunity for me to visit an old friend.
Can you read cozies while writing? Or do they influence your own too much?
I rarely read a cozy mystery while writing one. I don’t want to be influenced by them.
Do you feel you must write your cozies in a series? If so,why?
We’re contracted on a three-book basis. It’s the nature of the beast. A series that only has three books means not enough people found it to like it and it’s canceled. It doesn’t mean the series was bad, but that it wasn’t able to find an audience. Now, with indie publishing, many authors will have an opportunity to revisit their characters, and you might start seeing new books that will thrive in a series that the publisher gave up on too soon.
As a reader, I like the genre. I like that the protagonists are usually strong women who aren’t afraid to seek out justice.
What are you writing now?
Booktown #8, which currently has no name. I’m not going to worry about it. My publisher has rejected most of my titles anyway. I’m going to let them come up with one. I’ll start Victoria Square #4 in March. In between, I hope to work on some of my independent projects. Will I finish any of those soon? That’s debatable. I have a timeline I have to stick with to get the contracted work done first.
Tell us about your newest mystery:
I’ve just read the galley proof for the next Victoria Square book, One Hot Murder. I really enjoyed writing that book, and I hope my readers will enjoy it. It will be available on February 5th. Here’s a description:
Katie Bonner, the reluctant manager of Artisans Alley in the quaint shopping district of Victoria Square, is no stranger to ambivalence. Things have been going hot and heavy with pizza maker Andy Rust—so much so that Katie has moved in over his pizza parlor. But now that summer’s ushered in a heat wave, an apartment above pizza ovens without an air conditioner is making Katie hot and bothered.
At the height of the heat wave, a tragic fire strikes Victoria Square. Wood U, a small store selling wooden gifts and small furniture, is destroyed. But the fire may just be a smokescreen—for murder. Because a body is found among the charred wreckage—and the victim didn’t die from smoke inhalation. He was shot. Now—despite making Detective Ray Davenport hot under the collar—Katie is determined to smoke out a cold-hearted killer…
Where can we find out more about you and your books?
You can find all my indie books here: http://www.backlistebooks.com/?author=13&submit=view
Lust click on the book covers for descriptions and buy links.
My websites list all the other books:
Visit Mystery Most Cozy to find out how to enter the drawing for one of her mysteries.
MYSTERY MOST COZY links: