Sunday, February 1, 2015

Capping off my Blogaversary...the human's agent, Josh Getzler!


Capping off my blogaversary – a post by the Human’s agent, Josh Getzler!

 


A Cozy Proposal  (Originally posted on Hey, there’s a Dead Guy in the Living Room)



Josh Getzler

I was talking to The Redoubtable Danielle this afternoon, not long after she got back to the office after having coffee with an editor from one of the bigger publishers out there. This editor had passed on one of Danielle’s submissions, a cozy mystery where the amateur sleuth is a sommelier, because it was too edgy. Danielle was frustrated—not so much at the editor, who liked the book (with good reason—it’s excellent!); but at the prevailing sense that the ability to sell these kinds of books is more and more difficult, and the requirements more and more specific.

“She told me that the only cozies she can sell are with crafts and knitting and cats and polite murders in book clubs,” she said.

NOTE! Before my successful cozy clients think that we are disparaging them: We are NOT. We love you. We sell you. You succeed. We are talking here about having the ability to expand what’s acceptable to be able to give readers a wider variety of books to read, so the market as a whole grows and there’s a bigger total readership for your books too. (Toni, we really do love you J) (ROCCO:  It would appear the human’s been singled out, LOL.  Speaks quite well for Nick and Nora!)

Now mind you, cozies are only one type of crime fiction, as I’ve discussed before, and so have any number of other bloggers here on Hey Dead Guy. Terri Bischoff, whom I love and who publishes at this time four series I represent, just gave a very spot-on description of cozies this weekend, and is talking about other kinds of mysteries this coming week. There are procedurals, historicals, noirs (though, as my former colleague Dan Conaway told me many years ago, “noir will break your heart.”), and novels that don’t quite hit a formula head on.

But there are certain publishers, with particular imprints, that specialize in the cozies (many of which are mass-market paperbacks, and now many of which are e-first), and which, if you look at their New Release shelves at B&N, are indeed publishing one croissant-baker series after another carpentry series after a third driving school series (none of which are necessarily real series, but all plausible). They take place in small towns (a driving school mystery in, say, Boston would be too edgy, but not in Missoula), and they are comfortable.

Much of the time, they are also good. Again, that’s not my issue. My issue is that I think we’re glutting the market, and that cozy readers are going to become, frankly, bored.

So Danielle and I—after bemoaning the pass—started to spitball what would work, and here’s what we came up with.

We think there needs to be a chick lit for cozies—younger, more urban, maybe slightly sexier, maybe at times with greater darkness—aimed at the same market romance publishers were working toward with New Adult. We can call them the Hunger Games/50 Shades On The Subway readers (and yes, while it’s sort of funny to put those two together, they were the dominant books of that market for the past couple of years). It would allow for the post-grad-school sommelier solving a murder in Napa, or the actress in her first Broadway play whose rival falls off the rigging (did the hot stagehand do it?) or the young woman doing teach for America who has to deal with the disappearance of one of her students.

We feel like there is a model here that can work. We’re not trying to reinvent the industry. Just keep it from being wrapped in yarn.

One final word:  Again, please understand that this is NOT a screed against cozies. Far from it. It’s a plea for our creative colleagues on the Buy Side to break out of the box. Not a huge amount—just a little! But it could really make a difference.   

 
We couldn't agree more, Josh! How about a cozy about a vampire winery...we're just sayin'  :)
Tuesday: Christine Husom visits the blog! Meow.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Our next Blogaversary guest...J. J. Cook!



Today my guest is author JJCook AKA the writing team of Joyce and Jim Lavene!

Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, best-selling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Penguin, Amazon, and Simon and Schuster along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family. 







R:  Welcome! Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing.

We became interested in writing the old fashioned way – we were readers who wanted to create our own stuff. We both love reading anything, science fiction, fantasy, and mystery are our favorites.

 R: What drew you to the cozy mystery genre?

We liked the personality of it – giving characters quirky names and jobs. It’s fun to write and to read. Plus we aren’t great with too much blood and guts.


R: Tell us about your series, the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade. What  made you decide on firefighting as a career for your sleuth?  And a ghost who cooks???????

Jim was a volunteer firefighter for a while. Joyce has three generations of firefighters in her family. The ghost is just a fun bonus! We wanted to write a firefighter mystery series because we liked the concept. Stella is from Chicago, a professional firefighter. She comes to Sweet Pepper to set up their volunteer squad, and stays because she loves the place. She and Eric, the ghost of the former fire chief, get in scrapes together.

  R: Tell us about your latest release, IN HOT WATER.

In Hot Water is the third book in the Fire Brigade Mysteries. Stella is trying to keep an overzealous councilman from tearing down Eric’s old cabin and investigating a fire that killed a local representative. There is always Sweet Pepper Festival action too as the town celebrates their hot pepper roots.

 R: Which of (your character) adventures was the most fun for you to write? Were any of them the least amount of fun?

Stella and Eric are always fun to write. The volunteer firefighters have issues too. In this book, they deliver a baby after a wreck. We probably don’t write any characters that aren’t fun to write.

R:  Do you have an “how I got my agent” story you’d like to share?  How did you feel when you got the call your first novel had sold?

We were very excited when Harlequin called because we’d sold our first book. That’s right. We started as romance writers! It was years after that before we got our first agent. We got our agent because she was just getting started and wanted to represent us. It seemed like a good idea.

R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?

Plenty of coffee! That’s the only must have besides each other and the computers.

 R: If you had access to a time machine, which historical moment would you travel to and why?

Probably the age of castles and knights. We’d like to meet Merlin.


R: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?

That we are Doctor Who fanatics?

R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done?

Driving down to the beach (about 4 hours) to watch the sun rise and driving right back.


R: What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?

That all people are interesting and special.

 R: What are you working on at the moment / next?

Our next Taxi for the Dead Paranormal Mystery, Dead Girl Blues, and the next Retired Witches book, Looking for Mr. Good Witch.

 R: Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Both. There is no absolute for us. You do what you need to do with each book.

 R: What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks? :)

We read. Drive. We like to take pictures and go to weird little places most people don’t want to go. Jim likes to take apart computers and put them back together. I’m trying to get back into watercolors.

 R: Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

Write. Write. Write. That’s the most important thing.

 Thanks for a great interview!

As part of Blogaversary Week, Joyce and Jim will give away a copy of IN HOT WATER to one lucky commenter! To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your name and email address (entries without email will be disqualified). For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:



* Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
* Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point) (Link:
https://twitter.com/RoccoBlogger)
* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link:
https://www.facebook.com/ToniLotempio)#!/

* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)


Winner will be chosen at random using random.org.  Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck! This contest ends midnight, Feb. 1.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Blogaversary week continues with.....CATE PRICE



Kicking off my Blogaversary week: I interview author Cate Price!

Cate Price is a regular sight on the streets of her home town walking her two amazing rescue dogs, and she also enjoys gardening, yard sales, and cooking with friends. Writing the Deadly Notions mysteries proved to be rather an expensive project, because while researching auction houses, she also became addicted to bidding on box lots.

LIE OF THE NEEDLE, the third book in the series, is available as of January 6, 2015.

Cate is a member of Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. Visit her at www.cateprice.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/catepriceauthor


R:  Welcome Cate! Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing.


C: I’ve always loved to read. My dad used to say the house could burn down around me and I wouldn’t even notice if I had my nose in a book! I’ve been jotting down stories and poetry all my life, and there are boxes of unfinished bits of manuscripts and other scribbles in my basement. In 2001, I joined Romance Writers of America, and the wonderful mentors I met there helped me to finally finish a book for the first time.


R: What drew you to the cozy mystery genre?

C: I don’t like to read serious violence or horror, and therefore don’t want to write about it. Heck, I might give myself nightmares! I like the intimate setting of cozies, and the quirky characters that crop up. I also really enjoy the puzzle aspect of mysteries.


R: Tell us about your series, the Deadly Notions. What made you decide on that for a setting for a cozy?


C: The Deadly Notions series is set in a fictional village called Millbury in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. I’ve taken some liberties with geography, but some of the places mentioned in the books are real, such as Doylestown, New Hope, and the River Road. I’ve always loved the area and thought the bucolic country setting would be ideal for my heroine’s vintage sewing notions store.


R: Tell us about your latest release, Lie of the Needle.




C: In LIE OF THE NEEDLE, Daisy Buchanan and her friends in the Historical Society are desperately trying to save a farm and its accompanying unspoiled acres from a rapacious developer who would destroy the character of their quaint community. They come up with the idea of a ‘Men of Millbury’ calendar to raise money. But when the photographer winds up dead and one of the models goes missing, Daisy launches into action to solve the mystery and hopefully save her friend’s life.


R: Which of (your character) adventures was the most fun for you to write? Were any of them the least amount of fun?


C: In this book, I touch on issues of Alzheimer’s and also the history of the Underground Railroad in Bucks County, both of which can obviously be dark and heart-wrenching subjects. Hopefully there’s a good balance between the serious side of things and the fun interaction between the characters. My main characters are in their late fifties and early sixties, but they still have a real passion for life. One of my favorites is Eleanor Reid, who drinks Beefeater martinis, flirts with the hot detective, and rides a red Vespa, not necessarily all at the same time.


R:  Do you have an “how I got my agent” story you’d like to share?  How did you feel when you got the call your first novel had sold?


C: One thing actually happened right after the other. I’d contacted my dream agency, BookEnds, with a completed manuscript that had done well on the RWA contest circuit, and was sort of a hybrid romance/murder mystery.


The bad news was that they didn’t think that that particular book would sell, but the good news was that they loved my writing style. They knew an editor at Penguin who’d come up with the idea for a series and was looking for someone to write it, and they thought I might be a good fit.


In about a month, I came up with a proposal, which consisted of a synopsis and the first few chapters of GOING THROUGH THE NOTIONS, and my agent negotiated a three-book deal based on that partial alone. For an unpublished author, it was really something. I don’t think I jumped up and down too much when my agent told me. I think I was in complete and utter shock.


R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?


C: I like quiet when I write. I know many writers go to coffee shops and can work with lots of noise around them, but my favorite place is at my dining table, looking out onto the porch of my hundred-year-old house. Long walks with my dogs are a great time to mull over ideas, too. I’ve come up with lots of inspiration on our hikes together.


R: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?


C: I can’t sew. I’m writing a series about someone who owns a sewing notions store, but I’m absolutely hopeless.


R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done? 

C: I played women’s rugby in college, but I quit before I lost my teeth.


R: What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?

C: I can only hope that I give them a great experience and that they close the last page with a sigh of satisfaction. My dearest wish is that someone would read the book, keep it, and then pick it up a few years from now and enjoy reading it all over again.

R: What are you working on at the moment / next?

C: I’m working on a proposal for a new series, which might be more of a traditional mystery series rather than a cozy.

R: Are you a plotter or a pantser?

C: I used to be both, but for this series I have to turn in a proposal for each book. So I’ve had to learn to plot the entire thing ahead of time, which seemed like an enormous task at first, but I’ve come to appreciate the value of a “road map”. I still change things up as I go, but it’s comforting to know that the book will hold together before I waste time writing myself into a dead end.

R: What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks? :)

C: Gardening, cooking, going to estate sales and yard sales, trying new recipes out with friends, walking my dogs. In college, my party trick was that I used to be able to tie a cherry stem into a knot using only my tongue. Not sure I can still do that!

R: Do you have any advice for beginning writers?


C: Don’t be in a rush to be published. Take the time to learn the craft, and fill up your writer’s toolbox with as many tools as you can. When you do get a contract, and have to write to a deadline, you’ll be glad you have that experience under your belt.



Just for Fun:

Night or Day?  Day

Dog or Cat? (answer carefully)  I have two wonderful rescue dogs, so I have to say dogs, although I love cats, too (my sincere apologies, Rocco!)

Beach or Pool?   Pool

Steak or salad?  Salad

Favorite Drink?  Chardonnay

Favorite Book?  The Donovan Legacy by Nora Roberts

Favorite TV Series?  Currently it’s “Fixer Upper”

Favorite Movie?  Something’s Gotta Give

Favorite Actor: Keanu Reeves

Favorite Actress: Judi Dench

Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Martini, but with a twist, not olives

Hawaii or Alaska? Hawaii

Finish this sentence:  If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be my dad, who passed away in 1995. I’d love to talk to him again and tell him about everything that’s going on right now! I think he’d be very proud.

If I had just one wish, it would be that the world would stop, take a deep breath, and regain some sense of civility. We need to be kinder to each other.

If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be no one. I like being me!

Thanks for a great interview, Cate!

Folks, here are all the places you can keep up with Cate:



Twitter: @catepriceauthor

www.pinterest.com/CatePriceAuthor




Cate will give away a copy of LIE OF THE NEEDLE (or GOING THROUGH THE NOTIONS OR A DOLLHOUSE TO DIE FOR, if someone hasn’t read those first two books in the series yet)to one lucky commenter! To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your name and email address (entries without email will be disqualified). For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:



* Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
* Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point) (Link: https://twitter.com/RoccoBlogger)
* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link: https://www.facebook.com/ToniLotempio)#!/

* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)


Winner will be chosen at random using random.org. Contest ends midnight, Feb. 1!  Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck!



Saturday, January 24, 2015

Kicking off Blogaversary...ROCCO's very special guest....PRINCESS FUZZYPANTS!



My Special Guest Today-

Facebook’s own PRINCESS FUZZYPANTS!


I am SO pleased to welcome my very special guest to the blog: Facebooks’ own Princess Fuzzypants!  She’s taken FB by storm and she’ll steal your heart too!

A bit about the Princess:

I am two years and four months old and am a Classic Red Tabby Maine Coon.  That is unusual for a girl and a Maine Coon.  While the mating of my parents gave meow my beautiful colouring, it also gave meow hip dysplasia. Oddly, this ensured that I was able to adopt my family.

My sister, Sammi, mom's first kitty, died suddenly at the end of November 2012. My whole family was devasted, especially mom.  Sammi didn't want to leave but she made sure that everypawdy was ok.  Mom never would have looked in Kijiji if Sammi hadn't made her and there she found meow, looking right back at her with one paw raised.

What made this even more unusual is Mom has volunteered at the Humane Society since 1998 and she has bugged my daddy about all sorts of kitties she wanted to adopt.  Giggle.  When Sammi left for the Bridge, there was not one kitty whom Momma wanted to adopt badly for maybe the very first time.

Momma contacted the lady who bred meow and despite lots of other people saying they wanted meow, she chose Momma.  Then they did an x-ray and discovered my hip dysplasia.  The lady was devasted.  She said she would understand if Momma backed out.  She said I was the first kitten who had the problem.

Instead of backing out, Momma said it made her happier to give meow a good home.  I would be an only kitty and I would be given all the comforts and if my hips got worse, I would have a family who would take care of meow.  It made her feel less guilty that she didn't adopt any of the shelter kitties.

Mommy, Daddy and my brother picked meow up on December 13, 2012, my gotcha day.  I have had them wrapped around my paws ever since.

When Momma retired, I decided that to start a Facebook page.  I wanted to meet other kitties and humans who love animals.  I wanted to help homeless animals find their furever homes.  I wanted to give humans and animals a smile and make them happy.

I wanted to share with others.

On New Year's Eve, Facebook deleted my page.  My crime was being a kitty.  Pfft,

Neither Momma or meow believe in giving up so I borrowed her page, which she never used, to get the word out.  I also started a Community Page https://www.facebook.com/Princessfuzzypants2012

so that my furriends and I could share and not be harassed by trolls.  It is only a week since it started but I have connected with so many old furriends and made so many new ones, I cannot stop purring.  It only proves what we already know:  never quit and never surrender.

Purr, trill, coo, warble and chirp.


Rocco here! The minute I looked over my human’s shoulder and saw posts on FB from the captivating PRINCESS FUZZYPANTS, I knew I wanted to have her as a guest on my blog!  The Princess is a beautiful long haired tabby who has captured the hearts of all her FB followers, moi included!  Might be worth a trek to Canada just to meet this fabulous feline!

However, (sigh) in the meantime I shall have to adore – and interview – her from afar!

R: Welcome,Princess! Now,for all our interested readers out there – particularly the feline ones  – describe a typical day in your life.

Princess: Thank you, ROOCCO! A typical day for meow starts early.  I usually sleep right on top of my mom so it's purrty easy to nudge her awake.  If she and my daddy are slowpokes, I will demand that they get up.

All meals have an order of importance.  Kitties get fed first and I love my dollop of stinky goodness(Fancy Feast) that mom puts on top of my Maine Coon kibble.  I usually chat with everypawdy and demand some play time as well as the tap turned on so I can drink.  I do not drink out of a bowl.  Yuck!  I want fresh water from the tap. After everything is cleaned up, I position myself in the sink to purrform my sink lion duties.  If they are slow in clearing up, I will voice my concerns.  I also like to announce when I have made a deposit in the bank of Missi (my real name).  I like everything to be just so.

I am quite vocal and I am around my people most of the time. I follow Momma around the house.  If for some reason I lose track of my humans, all I have to do is yowl and someone will answer meow

I love looking out the windows both front and back although it's better when it's not winter.  There is so much more to see.  I had all sorts of toys and while I am quite prepared to play by myself, I do purrfur interactive play.  I like to run around the house but everypawdy is careful that I do not injure my hips.

Naps and cuddles are an important part of my day.  It is usually  the afternoon nap in which I will curl up with mom and we will read books, do reviews and catch up on our correspondence.

Momma is an inveterate pawpawrazzi.  The camera is always at the ready.  I do furbear most of the time but confess to being less than cooperative at times.  She should not take meow for granted. (Don't mew agree, Rocco?)

After dinner, we settle down to do power watching of movies or streaming.  We love Netflicks and Amazon Prime.  I now start on my brother's lap, if he is home,  and then move to Momma's.  We have a fun routine for bed time, including Momma taking my three mousies up to her bed, having my  drink of water and my insistence for everypawdy to go to bed.

Momma will try to groom meow either when I am on her lap or when I am helping her get ready for bed.  Sometimes I like it...so far.  Other times she calls me a stink pot.

After we have read for a while and the light is turned out, I will  settle on top of Momma and we will go to sleep while she pets and says she loves meow.


R: How did you feel about getting your on page on Facebook?

Princess: I was so excited when I got my FB page. By the time they zapped meow on New Year's Eve, I had almost 2500 furriends.  Luckily Momma had a page she never used so I could borrow it to get the word out.  Now, I have my community page-https://www.facebook.com/Princessfuzzypants2012

and I am excited again.  I am getting all sorts of likes, many of my old furriends have found meow and I am meeting a ton of new kitties.   I don't know why FB doesn't like kitties when all we want to do is entertain and make people happy.


R: Tell us about some of the books you and your human Susan have read recently. What ones stand out?

Princess: Momma and I have read books together since our first days but since Momma retired, we do it lots.  My favourite books, of course, are the ones with kitties.  I loved your book, MEOW IF IT'S MURDER.  I am particularly fond of cat mysteries with strong feline characters so I love mew and Hamlet in the Bookshop Mysteries and Diesel in the Cats in the Stacks.  I also adore Leann Sweeney's books and the Magical Kitties..  Momma first got into cat mysteries when she read the Midnight Louie series.  She then found Mrs. Murphy and then Joe Grey.  Can you say hooked?  Giggle.  (R: Sounds like my human –only she found Mrs. Murphy first and then Midnight Louie. I don’t think she has read Joe Gray, but she and your human appear to have similar tastes, meow!)

We also enjoy Clea Simon's Pru Marlowe books and thought her recent one was one of the best.  We also really liked Miranda James' spin off Bless Her Dead Little Heart.  We are big fans of Shannon Hill's Lil and Boris series and have her fifth one at the top of our  TBR list

R:  What do you love most about Susan?  Dislike most?

Princess: What do I love most about Susan? She's Momma and she adores meow.  I love how close we are and how she is comfy and warm when we snuggle.  I have her well trained so life is purrty sweet.  She is just a big softie.

What I don't like is when she goes away.  I thought this retired gig would mean she would be here with meow all the time.  Pfft.  Also when she grooms meow and we hit a snag, I don't like that or when I have to go and get my claws clipped.  

R: What’s the story behind your name?

Princess:   Princess Fuzzypants is my nickname that Momma called meow when I first arrived.  She loved my plumage and my fluffy pantaloons.  I have several other nicknames but when  we set up my page, there was no doubt what my moniker would be.

I am just surprised that some humans got the very wrong idea that it meant something else.  Yuck.

R:If you could change one thing about your human  what would it be?

Princess: What would I change about my humans?  Hmmmm.  Probably that they never would go away on powders.  I like things the way they are.

R: Your humans travel a lot – how do you amuse yourself when they are gone?

Princess: My parents do travel...a lot.  Luckily my brother stays home almost all the time and if he goes, I have a very dear furriend who moves into the house and takes care of meow.  When my parents are away, we do FaceTime.  It is weird when they are in that little box.  I can entertain myself with my toys and the world outside my windows and naps until a human comes home.  I can zoom around the house if I need some exercise.  My brother and my furriend are  almost as well trained as my mom.  I still get lots of love and attention, just not Momma.

R: Do you have a boyfriend? Would you be open to the idea of a handsome tuxedo courting you from afar?

Princess:  I do have a boyfurriend. His name is Prince Buddy Peters and he is also a very handsome tuxedo.  We travel the world together and he posts it on our pages.  Sometimes we go with furriends but we have a wonderful time.  However, I am most happy to be a special furriend with mew too Rocco. One can never have too many furriends.


R:  Just for fun…

Catnip or scratching post?  : Since I do enjoy nip but don't go bonkers, I will say Scratching post.  Nothing feels quite so good as a good scratch.


Tabbies or Tuxedos? Well, I am a tabby but I confess I do have a soft spot for Tuxedos or cats with black on them.  My sister Sammi, to whom I owe everything, was a beautiful black house panther

Fish or Steak?  Hmm- maybe I should put this as something I would change.  My daddy insists that I eat only cat food so I have never tasted either in the people food arena.  However, the way my daddy makes a steak, I think I would choose that.  Mind mew, he makes good fishy smells too.

Shakespeare or Stephen King?: While we both love the classics and histories, I would probably choose Stephen King.  Nothing better than curling up together and reading something that grips mew.  It gives us an excuse to cuddle closer.  Giggle.


Thank you for a wonderful interview, Princess!

Folks, the Princess will be guest blogging occasionally for meow over the year!  PURRRRRRR

If you haven’t liked her page, you can do so here: https://www.facebook.com/Princessfuzzypants2012

Princess is right – one can never have too many furrends!




Sunday, January 18, 2015

ROCCO welcomes “Dream Club” author MARY KENNEDY to the blog!


 
Meow, this week I’m pleased to have “Dream Club” author Mary Kennedy as my guest!

Mary Kennedy is the national bestselling author of more than forty novels, including The Dream Club Mysteries and the Talk Radio Mysteries. She is a clinical psychologist in private practice and lives with her husband and eight neurotic cats on the East Coast. Both husband and cats have resisted her attempts to psychoanalyze them but she remains optimistic

 

R:  Hello, Mary! Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing.

       Thanks so much for having me as a guest!  I wrote my first YA a long, long time ago! I didn’t submit a manuscript, an editor from Scholastic contacted me and asked if I’d like to write a YA for them. Of course, I said yes.  I’d worked as a radio copywriter, a television news writer and had just taken a job as PR Director of a travel company.  I went on to write 33 more books for Scholastic. And then I wrote some YA for Penguin before moving to cozy mysteries. These books will be back as e-books very soon.

R: What writers in your genre would you say have made the greatest influence on your writing? Now that I’m writing cozy mysteries, I’d have to say Carolyn Hart, and all my fellow Cozy Chicks, Lorraine Bartlett, Kate Collins, Leann Sweeney, Ellery Adams, Maggie Sefton, Duffy Brown and Mary Jane Maffini.

R: Tell us about your Dream club mystery series. How did you get the idea for that? I’ve always been fascinated by dreams and since I’m a clinical psychologist I know that dreams can reveal a lot of information about a client’s most hidden thoughts, fears and desires. I thought it would be interesting to use a “Dream Club” as a setting and have the members try to solve crimes using clues from their dreams. (plus some old-fashioned detective work).

 R:  Who came up with the title, Nightmares can be murder?  And are you a dream interpretation enthusiast? I came up with it, but my editor came up with the title for Book  2, DREAM A LITTLE SCREAM that will be released in June.

 R: You’ve also written a “Talk Radio” mystery series. Can you tell us about that? The Talk Radio series is a fun series about Dr. Maggie Walsh, a New York psychologist who left Manhattan, moved to sunny Florida and became a radio talk show host.  (like Frasier from the TV show.) She solves a murder in every book (like Jessica Fletcher) and my agent pitched it as “Frasier Meets Murder She Wrote.” Book one, DEAD AIR, is up as an e-book and this is a great time to try the series!

R:  Do you have an “how I got my agent” story you’d like to share?  How did you feel when you got the call your first novel had sold? I guess my case was fairly unusual in that they called me. Once I had seven novels under my belt, I decided it was time to get an agent.

R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process? I’ve written under such crazy conditions--in hospitals, on planes, in waiting rooms.  At midnight or three in the morning.  When I don’t have my laptop with me, I used a legal pad. I really can write anytime, anyplace.  I could write with a crayon on a paper towel if I had to. I think it’s a necessity in this business. I’d written and sold 44 books and the deadlines roll around like tsunamis.

R: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you? That I want to study Mandarin and Russian.  I know both languages are incredibly challenging but I hope to take classes at the local university.

R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done? When I was studying at the University of Grenoble, in the French Alps, I found myself stranded on a mountaintop with a few friends. We’d finished skiing for the day and didn’t realize the last bus had been cancelled because of a blizzard.  I really thought we were going to freeze to death and then someone remembered there was an Abbey nearby and we hiked over there in knee-deep snow. The monks took us in, gave us dinner and arranged for transportation for us. It was an exciting experience and it turned out well.

 R: What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing? I hope they’ll be entertained by the characters and will enjoy solving the mystery.

R: What are you working on at the moment / next? I’m working hard on more releases in the Talk Radio Mysteries. It’s a fun series set in Florida, which is one of my favourite places on earth. And the second in the DREAM CLUB series, DREAM A LITTLE SCREAM, is coming out in June.

R: Are you a plotter or a pantser?  Definitely a plotter. We’re required to submit a detailed synopsis to Penguin before starting work on the books. Plus, it’s nice to have a road map. I never get “lost” in the manuscript, I know exactly where I am and what has to happen when I sit down at the computer every day.

R: Where can we find out more about you and your work? My website is www.marykennedy.net


 Twitter: @marykennedybook

I also blog every Saturday on the Cozy Chicks. www.cozychicksblog.com

R: Do you have any advice for beginning writers? Find the book that only you can write, the book you were meant to write. Take a long hard look at the marketplace and see what’s selling, then capitalize on your strengths and see where you fit in.

Just for Fun:

Night or Day?  I’m a night owl

Dog or Cat? (answer carefully)  I have to say cats because I have 8 rescued cats and my husband is allergic to dogs. (we love dogs, though.)

Beach or Pool?   The beach, always the beach. I keep a photo of the Ft. Lauderdale beachfront condo on my desk for inspiration. It gets me through the long dreary days in the northeast.

Steak or salad?  Salad (I’m a vegetarian.)

Favorite Drink?  Club soda with a twist of lemon or lime. I used to drink diet sodas and ditched them all.

Favorite Book?  Hemingway’s THE SUN ALSO RISES

Favorite TV Series?  House of Cards.

Favorite Movie?  Annie Hall

Favorite Actor: Kevin Spacey

Favorite Actress: Keri Russell in The Americans

Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Pina Colada

Hawaii or Alaska? Hawaii, definitely.

Finish this sentence:  If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be ___Oscar Wilde________________

If I had just one wish, it would be that everyone became a vegetarian and stopped wearing fur coats.________________________________________

If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be… I couldn’t trade places with anyone because then I’d lose my family and friends and cats!____

Thanks for a great interview, Mary! Folks, here’s where you can find out all about Mary:



Twitter @marykennedybook

www.cozychicks blog.com.

 


Mary will giveaway either choice of a 16 ounce “Crazy Cat Lady Mug” or a Native American dreamcather, to one lucky commenter! Just leave a comment stating which you’d like to win in our comments section along with your email address so we can contact you!  For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:


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