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Mystery Most Cozy Interviews Cathy Ace

Cathy, I’m so pleased we could squeeze you into our interview schedule before the celebration ends next week.

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Hello there Fellow MMC-ers…it’s great to have this chance to talk to you all, but I have to admit it’s a bit scary too. Here goes anyway!

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’ve really enjoyed reading the comments and input that folks take the time to put up on the FB page: I like finding out what it is that readers take to and, sometimes, what they don’t care for so much. For example, it’s nice to know that I’m not alone in being bugged by un-resolved red-herrings!

When and how did you discover the Mystery Most Cozy group?

I’m a newbie! I only discovered MMC last year, but I’m so glad I did. I found it on one of my wanders through the online universe…somehow!

How did you know you were meant to write?

To be honest, I think I was born to talk…but writing allows me to chat with others in a different way, even if the people I’m talking to, or through, are those I’ve created myself! That said (you see?!), I was always a child who enjoyed journeying in the worlds made real for me by writers. I suppose I wanted to try to do what they had done. I was fortunate enough to have the chance to study English at University, and did so for a year, but then decided that instead of studying how others had described the human condition, I’d rather gain a better understanding of it for myself, so I switched my studies to psychology.

What fascinates you about mysteries?

I’m naturally very solution-orientated: give me a problem or a puzzle and my instinct is to come up with the answer. Whatever the sub-genre, all mysteries are about puzzles…solving them is what draws me in.

What is the most challenging facet of writing for you?

I wish I could type as fast as the words come into my head. I’m the classic three-fingered typist: I never had lessons, I just hammered away at the keyboard and got faster as time passed. I can’t touch-type: I have to look at the keys as I go, so the screen isn’t a part of my writing experience, until I look up to see the typing mistakes I’ve made. Maybe that’s a good thing: it means I have to read what I’ve written straight away, put the punctuation right as I go along, and I have the chance to reflect on sentences as I build them.

What do you enjoy reading?

I’m a very mood-driven reader: I read widely, but often have two or three books on the go at once, so I can pick up something light or dark, factual or fiction, as the mood takes me. I have a room full of books, which is where I write, and every other room in the house also has a bookshelf, or three! If you looked at what’s on my shelves you’d find pretty much every subject and genre covered, but what would really stand out would be my dozens of red and gold, leather-bound volumes of Agatha Christie’s complete works, into which I enjoy dipping – whatever my mood.

Which authors have influenced you?

Agatha Christie’s works have been a part of my life since I was ten years old, so her structure and plots, as well as her ability to mould our expectations of what a traditional murder mystery should be, are engrained in my psyche. I admire the way she made the rules, then went on to give us what we expected, in unexpected ways. I try to do the same. In my chosen genre, amongst living authors, I would say that PD James inspires me the most, and I always look forward to a new Val McDermid, Ian Rankin, Peter Robinson, Tamar Myers or Louise Penny. I’m especially sad that there won’t be any new books from Reginald Hill, Robert B Parker or Tony Hillerman, but am glad I can re-read their work at will.

How much of a story do you have in mind when you begin a new book?

I’m not just one of life’s problem-solvers, I’m also highly goal-oriented and process driven (okay then, I’m a bit of a control freak!), so I know pretty much all my story before I begin writing.

I prepare very detailed notes about my characters – their entire life-history, my chosen, or imagined, locations, and about the method/s and means of murder I have chosen. Even though Cait isn’t a forensics person, and I certainly don’t write about forensics, I need to know how a body would present under certain circumstances, or how the means of murder work/s in minute detail. I’ll spend time talking to medical specialists, coroners or cops, amongst others, to make sure I get this right.

I also have the outline of what needs to happen within each chapter. Quite often a character will say or do something I’m not expecting – yes, I know that sounds nuts but, honestly, it’s how it happens. So, sometimes, I achieve what I need to happen in a chapter, but in an unexpected way.

When I’m writing, so long as I feel the characters are acting in a way that would be right for them, and the book, I let it play out. That means I update my outline notes as I go along, so that I remember all the clues and red-herrings I have to tie up!

Part of the magic of writing is creating memorable characters. Who are your favorite characters, why, and which of your mysteries feature them?

My protagonist, criminology professor Cait Morgan, is very much like me: she’s my height, my weight (or thereabouts – there are some things you really don’t need to know about me!) is Welsh-Canadian, had the education I had, where I had it, and, up to a point, she followed a similar career path to myself. Do I like her? Absolutely. Is she perfect? Oh, good heavens, no! But that’s why I like her. Brilliant, judgmental, sharp-tongued and over-indulgent, she’s still quite insecure. In other words, she’s very human. Bearing in mind that the series is called the “Cait Morgan Mysteries” you can bet she’ll be in each one. Truthfully, I enjoy all my characters, however small their role, or rotten they might be. But as for “memorable”? Well, that’s something that only those who’ve read my books can comment upon.

What would you like to say to your readers & fans?

“Thank You for choosing to include my books, and Cait Morgan, in your life. I hope you enjoy her company as much as I do!”

What advice would you offer a beginning writer?

This is a tough one. Other than the general advice that, in order to be a writer you have to actually write, rather than just thinking or talking about writing, I’m not sure I’m well placed to give much advice. I’ve had a bizarre path to being published, and I’ve been fortunate, I know.

There are lots of platitudes about “The harder you work, the luckier you get”, but I honestly believe that, with the work under your belt, there is a certain amount of luck involved in things. Maybe it’s about being prepared to step up and take a risk, which then becomes an opportunity. If you’re working on your writing skills, reading as widely as possible (and I don’t just mean reading books about writing, but books that challenge you and help you understand the way that words work well on the page) then you are better prepared when the opportunities come along.

So: write lots, read even more, and good luck!

I’m sorry if that’s not very constructive or original, but I suspect it’s the best advice I’ve got.

What do you enjoy most about being an author & what drives you crazy?

I’m delighted to say that I haven’t (yet) found anything about being an author that drives me crazy, in fact, just saying or writing the words “I’m an author” makes me glow with joy. There – I’m glowing right now!

As for what I enjoy the most? When I’ve been weeding or planting in the garden all day, aided and abetted by the dogs of course, and I’ve been plotting: multi-tasking at its best!

If you could meet three people (living or dead) and chat mysteries with them, who would you select?  What would you discuss?

1)   Agatha Christie – I’m not sure I’d have the guts to discuss mysteries with her, but I’d enjoy listening to her talking about her time with her second husband, Max Mallowan, on his archeological digs. I enjoy ancient cultures, history, art, gardening and family, as did she, so I might find something I could contribute to the conversation.

2)   Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – again, it’s a bit of an alarming prospect to discuss plotting and deductive reasoning with the man who made these elements his byword, but I’d take a chance! I’d be fascinated to get his take on the technology that now surrounds us in our daily lives.

3)   PD James – I adore her books: the places and people she creates are real to me, and will live with me forever. That’s magic! Over the years she’s generously given many interviews and written a great deal about her writing process, so I think I’d take the chance to talk to her about what she’s read and how it’s touched her, find out what her private passions might be, walk through London with her discussing art and architecture, and find out more about what makes her the person she is, which, of course, is what makes her the writer she is.

What are your favorite “writing” clothes?

Oh dear, this is a bit weird, but I’ll confess all: I wrote my first novel wearing a silk dressing gown that’s heavily embroidered with dragons. I know. How pretentious, right!? But it was fun! I also had a chocolate Labrador on each foot – puppy slippers. That was “winter writing”. For “summer writing” I tend to wear light, comfy clothes, and the dogs lay on the tile in the hallway outside my study to keep cool.

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?

When writing, I am each of my characters in turn, in situ. Total immersion. I move, turn, “look” about at my surroundings, make gestures…the lot. I dare say that, if anyone could see me, they’d think it a bit peculiar. Before I start writing I’ve “seen” the entire movie of the book. When I’m writing, I’m in that movie, trying my best to get onto paper everything that Cait sees, feels, hears, touches, smells, says, thinks and, yes, senses or suspects. The Cait Morgan Mysteries are written from Cait’s point of view, so that’s who I am when I write. I haven’t dreamed any scenes yet, but, in that fog between sleeping and wakefulness, I’ll often be visualizing the movie in my head and something will shift or come into focus…a detail, a clue or an extra complication will present itself to me: that’s when I have to get up and write it down. So long as I don’t disturb the dog on the bed when I get up, I can creep back when I’m done and get off to sleep. If the dog wakes up, then that’s quite a different matter!

Can you read cozies while writing? Or do they influence your own too much?

I can’t read any books at all when I’m writing. Even if I’m watching TV, I know that what’s on the screen is pretty much just washing over me. I’m totally zoned out – or zoned in, depending on your point of view.

What are you writing now?

I’m on the cusp between finished style sheets and outlines, and starting to write my third novel. It will be published in Spring 2014. It’s set in Mexico. I’m not allowed to say more than that right now, but I can tell you that it will pick up where my second novel finishes…oh, and I’ve really enjoyed the research!

Tell us about your newest mystery:

My second Cait Morgan Mystery, “The Corpse with the Golden Nose”, will be launched in March 2013. It picks up Cait’s life a few months after the end of my first novel, “The Corpse with the Silver Tongue”. Here are the jacket notes for the book:

“A world-famous vintner is dead. And when a heartfelt plea to look into the matter is paired with an exclusive gourmet event in British Columbia’s stunning wine country, overindulgent foodie and criminologist Cait Morgan cannot resist. Cait is sure the owner of a family-run vineyard was murdered. Bud Anderson, Cait’s companion for the weekend, is convinced the woman took her own life. That is, until death strikes once again, between the neat rows of grapevines on the banks of magnificent Lake Okanagan. Uncovering obsessions and murderous thoughts among the victim’s wacky neighbors is a start. But, Cait soon realizes that more lives are at stake. Can she think, and act, quickly enough to prevent another death?

The second book in the Cait Morgan Mysteries, The Corpse with the Golden Nose is a classic whodunit featuring the eccentric Professor Cait Morgan.

Praise for The Corpse with the Silver Tongue

 

“[A] smooth debut . . . Cait’s enjoyable first outing should earn

her a well-deserved encore.” —Publishers Weekly

“In the finest tradition of Agatha Christie, debut author Ace

brings us the closed-room drama, with a dollop of romantic

suspense and historical intrigue.” —Library Journal

“[Ace is] a writer to watch.” —The Globe and Mail

“A sharply paced cozy.” —The Hamilton Spectator”

Where can we find out more about you and your books?

You can find out more about my books, click-through to read from/buy them, read some interviews I’ve given in the past, learn about events I’ll be attending, and find my e-mail address, at: www.cathyace.com

The Cait Morgan Mysteries are available in paperback through your local bookstore or library, and are offered in every major e-reader format.

Please consider being my Friend on Facebook? You’ll find me here: Cathy Ace (Cait Morgan Mysteries)

Alternatively, you could Follow me on Twitter: @AceCathy

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Visit Mystery Most Cozy to find out how to enter the drawing for one of her mysteries.

MYSTERY MOST COZY links:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/188620978695/?fref=ts

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MysteryMostCozy/?yguid=482689562

My links:

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Mystery Most Cozy Interviews Paige Shelton

Welcome, Paige. It’s a pleasure to interview you for MMC.

Paige

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?

www.paigeshelton.com

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.

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Visit Mystery Most Cozy to find out how to enter the drawing for one of her mysteries.

MYSTERY MOST COZY links:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/188620978695/?fref=ts

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MysteryMostCozy/?yguid=482689562

My links:

 

Mystery Most Cozy Interviews Sara Rosett

Hi, Sara. Thanks for joining 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 love interacting with other mystery readers–sharing new titles and discovering new authors.

When and how did you discover the Mystery Most Cozy group?

I joined during the Yahoo phase and I was thrilled to find a group dedicated to cozies!

What fascinates you about mysteries?

I love the puzzle aspect of mysteries, the figuring out who did it and why. I also love returning to favorite characters and settings.

What is the most challenging facet of writing for you?

I’m always nervous when I start a new book. During the writing process I’m always terrified that it won’t be long enough, but it always works out about right, thank goodness!

Which authors have influenced you?

I grew up reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon then moved on to Phyllis Whitney, Elizabeth Peters, and Mary Stewart. The first modern cozies I read were by Carolyn Hart and they had a big influence on me.

How much of a story do you have in mind when you begin a new book?

I know the beginning, the main characters, the murderer, the victim, and the suspects. The middle is always a little hazy. I have to get into the book to sort out the middle.

Part of the magic of writing is creating memorable characters. Who are your favorite characters, why, and which of your mysteries feature them?

My latest favorite character is Gabrielle in MISTLETOE, MERRIMENT, AND MURDER. She’s a rival professional organizer and a thorn in Ellie’s side. I’d never explored a rival for Ellie and the interaction between them was fun to write.

What would you like to say to your readers & fans?

Thank you so much for reading my books and supporting me. I appreciate every email, tweet, and review so much!

What advice would you offer a beginning writer?

Read, read, read! Things are changing fast in publishing, so stay on top of what’s happening. Go to writer’s conferences to meet other writers and refine your writing.

What do you enjoy most about being an author & what drives you crazy?

I love having written. I don’t like the first draft. Great sigh of relief when that’s over.

Do you like a touch of romance woven into your mysteries? Do you add it into your own stories?

I don’t have much romance in the Ellie books, just a bit here and there, because Ellie is married so there’s not going to be a huge emphasis on it, but in my new series, the On The Run books, there is more romance. I’d classify it as “sweet” or romance at a low simmer. That’s about all I can handle as a writer!

What are you writing now?

I’ve just finished Ellie #8, which takes place during a family beach vacation. I’ve started the second book in the On The Run series, Secretive.

Tell us about your newest mystery:

Super organizer Ellie Avery could really use some Christmas cheer when Gabrielle Matheson, a grinchy professional rival, sets up shop in the same small Georgia town. But before the halls are even halfway decked with holly, someone uses Ellie’s terrifically tasteless white elephant swap gift as a murder weapon! Ellie’s now a suspect. Besides playing Mrs. Santa for her Air Force pilot husband and their two kids, shielding her eyes from the garishly over-decorated house down the street, and helping a client who’s a hardcore hoarder, Ellie also has to solve this ho-ho-homicide and find a killer who wishes her a very deadly Christmas.

Where can we find out more about you and your books?

You can find me at http://www.SaraRosett.com, Facebook, Twitter, GoodReads, and Pinterest.

Book link:

Mistletoe, Merriment, and Murder:

http://www.amazon.com/Mistletoe-Merriment-Murder-Ellie-Mysteries/dp/0758269218/ref=tmm_mmp_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1351869744&sr=1-1

Elusive (Book #1 in the On The Run series)

http://www.amazon.com/Elusive-Book-1-Run-ebook/dp/B0094HZVWC/ref=la_B001IXRPSS_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1352161606&sr=1-9

Bio:

A native Texan, Sara is the author of the Ellie Avery mystery series and the On The Run travel thrillers. As a military spouse, Sara has moved around the country (frequently!) and traveled internationally, which inspired her latest travel thrillers. Publishers Weekly called Sara’s books, “satisfying,” “well-executed,” and “sparkling.”

Sara loves all things bookish, considers dark chocolate a daily requirement, and is on a quest for the best bruschetta. Connect with Sara at www.SaraRosett.com or sign up for her newsletter list here. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Goodreads.

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Visit Mystery Most Cozy to find out how to enter the drawing for one of her mysteries.

MYSTERY MOST COZY links:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/188620978695/?fref=ts

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MysteryMostCozy/?yguid=482689562

My links:

 

Mystery Most Cozy Interviews Clea Simon

by Karen E. Rigley

Welcome, Clea, and thank you for joining our MMC interviews.  Cats and mysteries certainly go well together as your entertaining books prove.

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?

 Do I have to choose? I love hearing what everyone is reading, what they love, and why. I find this is very helpful to me as I write my own feline-centered cozies.

When and how did you discover the Mystery Most Cozy group?

 I don’t remember. It was way before Facebook, I know that!

How did you know you were meant to write?

I have always made up stories to amuse my friends and family, from as early an age as I can remember. My mother kept some of my first stories from when I was learning to write. It was only a question of learning that I could do it professionally – which I dared to try after close to 20 years of being a journalist (which is telling other people’s stories, kind of).

What fascinates you about mysteries?

 I love the puzzle aspect and also the ability to bring order to the world. Maybe not the real world, but my own little universe. I shake things up, like in a snow globe, and then I get to set them right.

What inspired you to write your mysteries?

I have always read them. I had written a nonfiction book about women and cats (“The Feline Mystique: On The Mysterious Connection Between Women and Cats,” St. Martin’s Press, 2002), and, Kate, the owner of a local mystery bookstore (the aptly named Kate’s Mystery Books) invited me to sign at her annual holiday party. I said, “But I don’t write mysteries.” She said, “Clea, believe it or not, there’s a huge overlap between women who love cats and mystery readers.” So I came and signed books with about 20 other authors and a few hundred readers and had a blast. And at the end of the night, Kate said to me, “You should write a mystery.” So the next day I started what became, with many revisions, my first mystery, “Mew is for Murder” (Poisoned Pen Pres).

What intrigues you about writing a series?

 I love getting to develop the characters. I hate ending a book, but with series I know I’ll see them all again – and I get to watch them grow.

What is the most challenging facet of writing for you?

 Making myself revise is hard, hard, hard. I love the inspiration. The perspiration part not so much – but it is soooo necessary.

What do you enjoy reading?

 Everything! I am now in a John Lawton World War II mystery (“Bluffing Mr. Churchill”) and have a Stuart Nevile up next. I guess I read darker than I write.

Which authors have influenced you?

My childhood faves were C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books, and it has been pointed out to me that my Mr Grey owes a lot to Aslan from those books. Also, Tolkein and Ursula LeGuin.

How much of a story do you have in mind when you begin a new book?

I usually have the central puzzle or dilemma in mind, but not necessarily how it will resolve.

Part of the magic of writing is creating memorable characters. Who are your favorite characters, why, and which of your mysteries feature them?

Well, I adore my cats – Mr Grey in the Dulcie Schwartz books and Musetta in the Theda Krakow books. And, of course, Wallis the tabby from my Pru books. She’s got so much attitude!!

What would you like to say to your readers & fans?

Thank you!! I am always hoping that readers will take my books as they are – not look for them to be like anyone else’s books. If they try them and they enjoy them, I so deeply appreciate that! Oh, and if they do, they could spread the word!

What advice would you offer a beginning writer?

Write every day, even if you don’t feel inspired. Oh, and when you’re done with a chapter or a story, put it aside for at least a few weeks and then read it through. You’ll be surprised – so much stuff you thought was in there never made it out of your head and onto the page! Revising is so important. Also, read read read constantly. Writers have to be readers first (and always)!

What do you enjoy most about being an author & what drives you crazy?

 I love getting to create little worlds, with people and characters of whom I grow quite fond. What I don’t like is realizing that I’ve been sitting at my desk for 10 hours and I have missed daylight… this happens all too often.

If you could meet three people (living or dead) and chat mysteries with them, who would you select?  What would you discuss?

Agatha Christie, of course, Jane Austen, and Hilary Mantel. Mantel is still alive and writing, for which I’m so grateful! But I think of these women as just the masters at creating memorable characters. And that, really, is key to creating a story – and a mystery is a story first.

Do you like a touch of romance woven into your mysteries?  Do you add it into your own stories?

I do and I do. I want my characters to be real and have lives – and that includes pets and families and love lives.

What are your favorite “writing” clothes?

ANYTHING COMFY!! I bought these “velour lounging pants” on sale, so I wear them all through the winter (with a big, soft top). In warm weather, I go the opposite direction – cutoff sweatpant shorts and a T-shirt.

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 have dreamt scenes, when I’m deep into a book. I always try to feel my way through my characters – I can’t make them do anything I don’t understand or, really, wouldn’t do myself. Even my killers have to have motives I believe in. I have to see how I could be pushed almost that far.

Why did you choose cozy rather than thrillers, intrigue or true crime?

I don’t know. I read darker than I write – but I can’t write a scene where someone is tortured or anything like that. I like my characters and their happy endings too much!

Can you read cozies while writing? Or do they influence your own too much?

I usually don’t read mysteries when I’m writing – too close to home! Its funny but I just don’t WANT to when I’m writing. I read a lot of Victorian fiction: Anthony Trolloppe and the like while writing.

Do you feel you must write your cozies in a series? If so,why?

I do. Publishers want series – and I do like staying with my characters!

What are you writing now?

I just sent in the edits for “Grey Dawn,” which will be the sixth Dulcie Schwartz feline mystery (for Severn House). So I should start the fourth Pru Marlowe pet noir, but I haven’t yet.

Tell us about your newest mystery:

That would probably be “True Grey,” the fifth Dulcie mystery – my heroine is working on her thesis, but when she goes to meet a visiting scholar, she finds her lying dead, knocked out by a piece of statuary. And since she was the one who found her, she immediately becomes a suspect…. luckily, her ghost cat, Mr Grey, knows she is innocent.

Where can we find out more about you and your books?

You can read excerpts and find out news at my home site at

http://www.cleasimon.com – you can also “friend” me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @Clea_Simon  – thanks so much!

http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2F

http://www.amazon.com/Clea-Simon/e/B000APUNRK/

Visit Mystery Most Cozy to find out how to enter the drawing for one of her mysteries.

Mystery Most Cozy links:

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fref=tshttp://groups.yahoo.com/group/MysteryMostCozy/?yguid=482689562

My links:

 

Mystery Most Cozy Interviews Nancy Lynn Jarvis

by Karen E. Rigley

Nancy, it’s a delight to have you join our author interviews to celebrate the MMC 10th anniversary.

When and how did you discover the Mystery Most Cozy group?

It’s been so long ago, I can’t remember. I think it was through Jenny or Karen.

How did you know you were meant to write?

I didn’t. I was bored and started writing as a game to see if I could.

What fascinates you about mysteries?

I love the logic and structure of mysteries. Except for “Backyard Bones,” where I wanted the reader to figure out who the murderer was one chapter before my protagonist did and be yelling, “No, no, Regan, he’s the one who did it,” I think anyone paying attention should be able to solve the mystery. The fun and the challenge for me is to see if I can drop clues without giving away the murderer’s identity too soon.

What inspired you to write mysteries?

It’s not a what, but who in my case. I grew up reading Agatha Christie and loved her style and I read all of Tony Hillerman’s books just before I started writing.

What intrigues you about writing a series?

I enjoy watching the relationships between returning characters develop, and in my protagonist Regan McHenry’s case, seeing how she gets better at being an amateur sleuth as she gains experience. She didn’t trust her instincts at the beginning of “The Death Contingency.” By the time she is in “The Widow’s Walk League,” she knows what she’s doing, although she still sometimes jumps to the wrong conclusion for a time.

I’ve always thought she isn’t quite as good at solving mysteries as she thinks she is, and her ego in regard to that is fun to play with in a series, too.

What is the most challenging facet of writing for you?

Even though I’ve written four mysteries and one other book― so I know I can create a book―and have an outline, a psychological profile and a life story for all characters so I know who they are, sitting at the computer staring at a blank screen is a challenge. I have to know in great detail how the book opens, because at that moment, I have no idea how to write.

What do you enjoy reading?

Pretty much everything, but more non-fiction than fiction; history is a favorite.

How much of a story do you have in mind when you begin a new book?

I know the story line and have an outline which varies in detail from chapter to chapter. In “Buying Murder” there was one chapter where all that my outline said was, “Regan knocks on Isabelle’s door.” I sat back and watched what the characters did and said after that and let them write the chapter.

Part of the magic of writing is creating memorable characters. Who are your favorite characters, why, and which of your mysteries feature them?

Dave, the police ombudsman who is Regan’s best friend, is my favorite recurring character because he and Regan are constantly trying to one-up one another and it’s fun to write their bickering.

Mrs. Rosemont from “The Death Contingency” remains my favorite character, however, followed closely by Olive from “The Widow’s Walk League.” Both are older women who look at the world a little differently than most people do; I enjoy that about them. In fact I enjoyed writing those characters so much I took a break from mysteries to write “Mags and the AARP Gang” which is about a group of octogenarians living in an about-to-be-foreclosed mobile home park who decide to rob the bank that holds their mortgage and pay it off with their heisted money.

What advice would you offer a beginning writer?

Do it! You’ll have such a great time and so many adventures as a writer.

What do you enjoy most about being an author & what drives you crazy?

Surprisingly I love to get up in front of an audience and tell them about my books. As Nancy Lynn Jarvis, which is my pen name, I’m told I’m an entertaining speaker. If I try to speak in public as myself, however, I do a terrible job.

Even though I tell myself I shouldn’t let it, what irritates me the most about being an author is reviews given by people who haven’t read the book they are critiquing. It especially astounds me when they begin their review by announcing, “I didn’t read past page four, but…”

Why did you choose cozy rather than thrillers, intrigue or true crime?

Hey, I have to write the books. Thrillers and violence scare me.

Can you read cozies while writing? Or do they influence your own too much? (tone, voice, etc.)

I can’t read any non-fiction when I’m writing which is why I have a growing stack of books I want to read soon.

What are you writing now?

I’m just finishing up a book called “Mags and the AARP Gang” which is a complete departure from the mysteries I’ve written. As a mystery writer, I’m a fly-on-the-wall type who writes in third person because I’m more comfortable observing than being in the midst of things, but Mags is written in first person from the perspective of an eighty-three year old woman. It was a challenge for me to write. I did use the same structure to unfold what happens as I use to unfold a mystery, though, so that helped.

Tell us about your newest mystery:

I’m working on the outline for the next book in the Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries series tentatively titled, “The Murder House.” I visualize people I know as I start writing many of the characters in my books. I’ve already told the real Realtor who gets murdered in chapter two that she’s doomed.

Where can we find out more about you and your books?

You can go to my website: www.goodreadmysteries.com or to my Amazon author’s page:

http://www.amazon.com/Nancy-Lynn-Jarvis/e/B002CWX7IQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1350796873&sr=1-2-ent

Visit Mystery Most Cozy to find out how to enter the drawing for one of her novels.

Mystery Most Cozy links:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/188620978695/?fref=ts

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MysteryMostCozy/?yguid=482689562

My links:

Mystery Most Cozy Interviews Nicola Slade

by Karen E. Rigley

Nicola, thank you for joining our Mystery Most Cozy author interviews.  It’s a such pleasure 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?

I’m a new member and am still discovering things about the group but so far the best thing is finding myself among kindred spirits!

When and how did you discover the Mystery Most Cozy group?

Fellow author Anya Wylde told me about the group

How did you know you were meant to write?

I was about six years old when I realized books came out of people’s heads and decided that was what I wanted to do. My first short story was accepted when I was 23.

What fascinates you about mysteries?

Partly it’s the puzzle element but there’s a tidiness about a cozy; evil is always punished, right always triumphs. (Almost always!)

What inspired you to write your mysteries?

My mother and grandmother adored the greats: Christie, Allingham, Wentworth, Sayers, so I was brought up in a house full of cozy mysteries!

What intrigues you about writing a series?

I like the continuity, the familiarity with my protagonist; I know how she thinks and that sends me off in different directions. I have two series, a Victorian one and a contemporary one, and it’s fun to ring the changes.

What is the most challenging facet of writing for you?

Making myself actually sit down to write!

What do you enjoy reading?

Well, mysteries, of course! I also love historical novels and again, I was brought up by two women who believed reading was the most important key you can give a child, so I read what they read – and they read mystery and history!

Which authors have influenced you?

Dozens, ranging from Victorian bestseller, Charlotte Yonge, to contemporaries, Lindsey Davis & Terry Pratchett, via all the 20th century schoolgirl series (Elinor Brent-Dyer, Elsie J Oxenham et al)

How much of a story do you have in mind when you begin a new book?

Not a lot, usually! My second Victorian cozy (Death is the Cure) began with two scribbled notes: ‘woman with wooden leg’ & ‘man who loves funerals’.

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 both of my protagonists, Charlotte Richmond who is my Victorian heroine(Murder Most Welcome & Death is the Cure), and Harriet Quigley, my contemporary sleuth (Murder Fortissimo & A Crowded Coffin). Why? Because they’re feisty and wimpy, clever and silly, brave and terrified and very funny – in other words, they’re human beings!

What would you like to say to your readers & fans?

Thank you for reading my books,’ would be the first thing!

What advice would you offer a beginning writer?

Just write. Keep submitting your work and take notice of criticism and advice.

What do you enjoy most about being an author & what drives you crazy?

The best bit of all is when a reader tells me she has fallen in love with my book! The most irritating is when someone says: ‘How much did you have to pay to get published?’ I smile sweetly and say, ‘They paid me.’

If you could meet three people (living or dead) and chat mysteries with them, who would you select?  What would you discuss?

King Richard III (I’m a big fan) – I’d ask about his life; Prince Rupert of the Rhine (English Civil War) – I’d probably just goggle at him – he was a very handsome, charming hero! And author Charlotte Macleod whose books showed me that mysteries can be funny.

 Do you like a touch of romance woven into your mysteries?  Do you add it into your own stories?

I do like to find some romance in mysteries and I certainly include it in mine. Love and hate, life and death are all intertwined.

What are your favorite “writing” clothes?

Comfortable, scruffy jeans.

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?

Charlotte, my Victorian heroine is Australian and earlier this year I was in Tasmania and felt her very near me. I was so aware of her I could almost see her crinoline twitch out of sight – just out of the corner of my eye. It was fabulous, I’ve never been that close.

Why did you choose cozy rather than thrillers, intrigue or true crime?

Because that’s what I like to read. I don’t want too much gore and grime, I want to enjoy myself.

Can you read cozies while writing? Or do they influence your own too much? (tone, voice, etc.)

I don’t think I’m influenced by them, but I prefer to read my old favourites, my comfort reads while I’m writing – at the moment I’m working my way through all 30 Miss Silver novels.

Do you feel you must write your cozies in a series? If so,why?

It just happened that way. I love to read a series and it seems natural to write one.

Do you enjoy “stand alone” cozies that are not part of a series if written well?

If I’ve enjoyed a ‘stand alone’ I’ll always wish I could read more.

What are you writing now?

I’m at the thinking-it-over stage with my third contemporary cozy, featuring former headmistress, Harriet Quigley & her clergyman cousin, Sam Hathaway. It’ll be set among amateur artists.

Tell us about your newest mystery:

A Crowded Coffin’, out January 2013. It’s contemporary, featuring Harriet Quigley. She gets involved in a treasure hunt that turns nasty. Lots and lots of history in this one.

Where can we find out more about you and your books?

Blog: www.nicolaslade.wordpress.com (would love people to Follow me!)

Website: www.nicolaslade.com

Visit Mystery Most Cozy to find out how to enter the drawing for one of her mysteries.

MYSTERY MOST COZY links:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/188620978695/?fref=ts

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MysteryMostCozy/?yguid=482689562

My links: