Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I am an author of ten books (two series), both mysteries. I am also the publisher at Cozy Cat Press where I shepherd over 40 authors and around 200 titles. We only publish “cozy” or “gentle” mysteries–like Agatha Christie or the “Murder She Wrote” television series. Every year at Christmas time, our authors get together and do a group project. Two years ago, we wrote a group mystery with each author penning a chapter. That is CHASING THE CODEX. Last year we produced a cook book focusing on dishes our characters like to eat. This year, we created COZY CAT SHORTS, an anthology of short mysteries from 25 of our authors.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My own latest book is FIRECRACKERED, the fifth in my Essie Cobb, senior sleuth mystery series. In this one, Essie is watching fireworks displays on the front lawn of her retirement home when one of the gentlemen residents sitting next to her is attacked in the kiester by a wayward firecracker. Essie doubts that the “accident” is that and she begins to investigate.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I use an outline and plan 30 chapters then write one chapter each day during one month until I am done.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Most of the major mystery authors such as Agatha Christie, P. D. James, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and other classic British authors. I also read most all of the recent American cozy mystery authors.
What are you working on now?
As I just finished COZY CAT SHORTS, which is a huge project, I’m really ready to rest a bit. However, I have quite a few authors who have books in various stages of readiness and my job is never done. As for my own writing, I long to write a six book in my Pamela Barnes acoustic mystery series. I have an idea nagging at me about Pamela solving a major terrorist plot using her knowledge of acoustics (sound) technology, but I can’t quite fit it all together.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I recently discovered Wattpad where I have uploaded my first book in my Pamela Barnes series. That has garnered me some new readers I believe–and probably younger readers than I am used to having.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Write every day. Don’t be afraid to cut large as well as small segments (but SAVE anything you cut out in a folder).
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
I’m paraphrasing something I heard from Sheryl Sandberg the other day:
“Perfect is wonderful, but done is better!” All publishers will appreciate this one.
What are you reading now?
A new submission from a new author and a new submission from one of our regular authors.
What’s next for you as a writer?
As I said, I’d really like to write the book where Pamela solves a terrorist plot using her knowledge of sound technology, but I’m not there yet. If anyone out there has an idea of how a sound specialist might come to take down a terrorist or terrorist ring, let me know!
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Oh, Voltaire’s CANDIDE. I could read that over and over again. It’s really like music–and fun music. Probably some Agatha Christie, even if I remember the plot, I can enjoy the dialogue. Then, probably two very long mysteries that I haven’t read yet.