You participate in a Facebook page and blog Wicked Cozy Authors. I know lots of authors are struggling with time for writing vs marketing vs their lives. What has been your experience with this group?
I am very, very blessed to have the Wickeds in my life. We’re a very unique group of bloggers because we’re much more than that. We are friends, we are each other’s support system, we are sisters. We had been in the same New England writer circles for years, with varying degrees of knowing each other. And then most of us signed on with agent John Talbot in 2011/2012, and the blog was born. All six of us are now represented by John, and we all have one (some of us have two!) series under contract.
At that time most of us, with the exception of Jessie Crockett and Barbara Ross, hadn’t published any novels yet. We were all feeling out way, and it was so great to have friends along that crazy path!
The blog launched in May 2013, coinciding with the launch of my first book, and we’ve been going strong ever since. We were pretty much winging it when we first started out, but it’s been awesome. Now we’re in a groove with our schedules and planning, we have Wicked Accomplices who join us on a monthly basis, and best of all we have a brand. It’s so great going to conferences and having people say, “Hey! You’re a Wicked Cozy.” But again, the best part is that we are all friends, and I love these ladies.
What’s been the most surprising thing about being an author?
As a cozy writer whose books include recipes, I was quite surprised to find out how much people look forward to that part of the book. I don’t have a lot of time to cook (and I’d much rather read than cook in my spare time) so I never paid much attention to the recipes in books I’ve read. But I’ve had people email me about the recipes to tell me they’ve tried them and how much their pets enjoyed them, which has been really cool!
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What’s the most recent book you’ve read?
My reading time has been severely diminished because of my upcoming deadlines. However, I did manage to sneak away long enough to read my fellow Wicked Cozy friend Sherry Harris’ debut, Tagged for Death, which was a fabulous read.
What was the first mystery book you remember reading (not necessarily a cozy- but a mystery)? What impression did it leave?
I don’t remember which one, but definitely a Nancy Drew book. I thought it was fabulous. What stood out the most was what a tough sleuth Nancy was. As a young girl, she used her intellect and her courage to solve puzzles and face down bad guys—and mostly did it on her own. I remember wanting to be Nancy as a kid. Later, I knew I wanted to write a female sleuth who was brave, smart and sassy too.
Are you a write every day, or a lock yourself up for a weekend type writer? Did you know you were a plotter or a pantser? If you didn’t have a sense of your work style right off the bat, how did you discover your best working method?
With my looming deadlines, I’m a write-as-many-days-as-possible writer. I do tend to lock myself away for the weekend too, just because it’s when I have the most time, as I work a day job during the week. As far as plotting vs. pantsing, I’ve always been a pantser, no matter how much I’ve tried to remedy that situation! I’ve always known that’s how I write, and I’m pretty okay with it. I do try to do more plotting these days just to save time, but things often end up taking their own turn anyway.
Are the animals in your books based on any of your own pets?
Nutty, the Maine coon cat who was the series inspiration, is based on my cat Tuffy, who was a stray in my neighborhood. Nutty has some health challenges in the books, which prompted Stan’s organic cooking and baking, but Tuffy is healthy. He’s also a star in his own right—he has a story in the anthology Rescued, released in January. Check it out: Here
Also in the books—a schnoodle named Scruffy. She is totally based on my schnoodle Shaggy. If you’re not familiar, schnoodles are a cross between a Schnauzer and a poodle, and they are the cutest dogs ever!
What’s your next book about?
The Icing on the Corpse, coming out later this month, is the third installment in the series. Here’s the blurb:
Kristan “Stan” Connor is thrilled to be invited to the Groundhog Day festivities in quirky Frog Ledge, Connecticut. Her organic, home-baked pet treats are a big hit at the annual celebration, though an important guest is curiously absent . . .
When Helga Oliver, the town’s elderly historian, is found crumpled in the basement of the Historical Museum, the close-knit town is devastated. But after some tenacious digging, Stan discovers Helga was pushed down the stairs—and that this picture-perfect New England town may hide some dark secrets . . .
Stan’s dogged determination reveals Helga’s ties to an unsolved death in 1948. But how does that connect to Adrian Fox, who’s just arrived in town to shoot an episode of Celebrity Ghost Hunters? Stan is going to have to be very careful in chasing down the killer—if she wants to live to see another winter . . .