Meow! My guest today is Laura Childs,
New York Times bestselling author of
the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbook Mysteries,
and Cackleberry Club Mysteries.
A bit about her:
In her past life, Laura Childs was CEO of Mission Critical Marketing and handled marketing and advertising campaigns for several dozen multi-national medical, technology, and financial clients. She is married to a
professor of Chinese and Japanese Art History and lives on two wooded acres along with two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs and a plethora of deer, raccoons, and foxes. Laura and her husband travel to Asia, enjoy art collecting, and serve on the boards of several non-profit organizations.
R: Meow, Laura, and welcome to the blog! Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing.
LC: I’m incredibly lucky, I think writing’s a gift that I somehow inherited through my DNA. I picked up a crayon when I was six years old, wrote and illustrated George the Ghost, and have never stopped writing. I worked on student newspapers, wrote and produced hundreds of TV and radio commercials, completed 4 screenplays, and headed my own advertising firm for 20 years as CEO and Creative Director. When I sold my agency to my business partner, I started writing fiction and have managed to produce 30 books in 12 years.
R: Can you tell us a little about each of the three mystery series you write?
LC: The Tea Shop Mysteries, my first series, really took off from the get-go. They feature amateur sleuth Theodosia Browning who runs the Indigo Tea Shop in Charleston, SC, and also has a tea shop dog named Earl Grey. Because they gained a huge following right away, it gave me the impetus to
fully develop the characters and run with the whole tea shop theme.
My Scrapbook Mysteries are slightly edgier novels that take place in New Orleans. My main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is constantly getting into trouble with her BFF, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop.
The Cackleberry Club Mysteries, set in the Midwest, are a tale of three forty-plus women who have all lost their husbands and run a cozy café called the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty with murder and sleuthing on the side.
R: What writers in your genre would you say have had the greatest influence on your writing?
LC: Stephen King really knocks my socks off. His “what if” propositions are utterly amazing. What if vampires invaded a small New England town? What if a dome got dropped over a city? King seems to be able to put it all together – story premise, nail-biting pacing, intriguing characters, internal architecture that the reader doesn’t even realize is there, and drama. Very high drama!
R: Do you have an “How I got my agent” story you’d like to share?
LC: A very dear friend of mine who is an illustrator (he did Pebble Beach, the Marlboro Man, General Mills, and a bunch more) put me in touch with Mary Higgins Clark. Mary politely suggested I come to the Mystery Writers of America symposium in New York where she would introduce me to a few agents and editors. Then, like the fairy godmother that she is – and has been to several other authors – she put me in touch with her own agent!
R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?
LC: Really, it’s just logging serious time in front of my computer. You don’t need incense, feng shui, sweat lodges, or anything tricky. If you write a lot, you will produce a lot. And, God willing, some of it will be good enough to publish.
R: Tell us about your newest release!
LC: In Gilt Trip, scrapbook maven Carmela attends a fancy Get Out of Jail Free Party for New Orleans business tycoon Jerry Earl. But in the swirl of champagne, Zydeco music, and bad behavior, poor Jerry Earl is murdered and stuffed inside a clothes dryer. Since Carmela discovered the body, the grieving widows latches on to her and begs for help in solving the crime! Halfway between a cozy and a thriller (a thrillsy!) Gilt Trip offers mystery, romance, scrapbooking, and recipes for Big Easy Brownies, Cajun Chicken, and Crockpot Meatloaf!
Thank you, Laura!
Folks! Laura will be giving away two hardcover copies of GILT TRIP, inscribed and signed by her. To enter, leave your name and email address in our comments section (entries without email will be disqualified, sorry L
A winner will be chosen at random using random.org. To get extra entries, you can:
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Please be sure to list all you’ve done in your comment! Contest closes midnight, October 6! Meow!
Next week - author Waverly Curtis! and coming up in Oct/Nov: more interviews from the writers of the KNTR anthology, LOVE AND OTHER DISTRACTIONS!