Meow! My guest today is EJ Copperman, author of the national bestselling series, Haunted Guesthouse!
E.J. Copperman is a writer (I know; you’re shocked) based in New Jersey who writes the Haunted Guesthouse mystery series when not teaching about writing, writing another series with Jeff Cohen, or watching baseball on television. E.J. doesn’t care much for long walks on the beach but can always be persuaded to stroll the boardwalk for a Kohr’s frozen custard or salt water taffy.
R: Welcome EJ! Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing.
I never became interested in writing; writing became interested in me. (I’m not even sure I know what that means.) I’m a freelance writer and screenwriter who fell into mystery novels by accident and has been happily wallowing in them ever since.
R: Tell us about your Haunted Guesthouse series. What inspired that?My editor and I were discussing a “house flipper” mystery series about a woman who would buy a house, renovate it and then sell it, so there would be a different house in each book. Luckily, before the real estate market crashed and burned, the flipper became an innkeeper and suddenly there were ghosts in the house and… well, you can read the rest.
R: Your series is set at the Jersey Shore. Is this a place near and dear to you?I am a lifelong New Jerseyan, so going down the shore is something that’s pretty much in my DNA. I’m not a huge fan of the beach, but I love the towns that grew up around it. We’re still seeing recovery from Sandy, and the recent fire in Seaside is not going to help. (Please consider donating to http://restoretheshore.com.)
R: Tell us about the latest release, THE THRILL OF THE HAUNT.This is the fifth novel in the Haunted Guesthouse series (but don’t worry, you can pick it up and fill in the rest later). In this one, Alison Kerby, the owner of the guesthouse and ghost landlady, is investigating two cases: the death of the “official” Harbor Haven homeless man and a wife who wants Alison to find evidence her husband is having an affair—so she can use it for leverage. Alison would prefer to just run her guesthouse. But the two cases begin to have some intersections. That’s all I’ll say.
R: I understand you are collaborating with one of my favorite authors, Jeff Cohen, on a new mystery series. Can you tell us a bit about that?Well, we’re not sure what the billing’s going to be yet, but sometime next year Midnight Ink will publish the first of (at least) three novels about a borderline genius with Asperger’s Syndrome who sets up a storefront called Questions Answered and does just that. The first one begins with Samuel being asked by the head of a cryonics institute, “Who stole one of our heads?” Things go downhill from there.
R: Do you have a “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 really don’t have any penetrating insights there. When I sold my first novel, I didn’t have an agent. Which led to me signing a very foolish contract. Get an agent.
R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?I definitely need a computer. I’m not one of those Luddites who insist they write whole novels on yellow legal pads (personally, I think they’re lying anyway). What aids the creative process? Money and a deadline.
R: If you had access to a time machine, which historical moment would you travel to and why?I have no desire to live anytime but now. But if it were just for a visit, I’d head back to a time when my father was alive and drop in on him. I do miss that man.
R: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?There are some readers who express surprise that I am who I am, but that seems odd to me because I’ve always been me. That’s clear, right?
R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done?Besides agreeing to being interviewed by a cat?
R: What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?I just hope they have a good time. That’s the truth.
R: Are you a plotter or a pantser?I don’t outline; I don’t file card. I start with a premise, a middle moment (a midpoint, for you screenwriters out there) and a vague idea of an ending, and that’s about it. Writing when you know everything that’s going to happen in advance seems awfully tedious to me.
R: What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks? :)I am the dullest person on planet Earth. I like baseball (to watch). I play some guitar, when nobody’s around to hear how bad I am. That’s about it.
R: Where can we find out more about you and your work?www.ejcopperman.com
R: Do you have any advice for beginning writers?Get a real job. It’s a lot less frustrating and you can actually keep a roof over your head. Or marry well. That’s what I did.
Just for Fun:
Night or Day? .Depends. What are we talking about?
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully) Dog. Deal with it.
Beach or Pool? Actually, pool. I’m not a huge fan of sand or undertow.
Steak or salad? Steak. Does anyone besides vegetarians say “salad”?
Favorite Drink? Caffeine-free Diet Coke. A drink guaranteed not to have anything in it.
Favorite Book? No chance you’re getting me to answer that one.
Favorite TV Series? Now, or ever? The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and maybe The Man From U.N.C.L.E. or Star Trek.
Favorite Movie? Ask me my top 25, I could tell you. One? Never.
Favorite Actor: Gene Wilder or Harpo Marx.
Favorite Actress: Couldn’t say.
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Caffeine-free Diet Coke
Hawaii or Alaska? That’s a choice? Hawaii!
Finish this sentence: If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be __my spouse in 1981._________________
If I had just one wish, it would be__so private there’s no way I’d ever say it out loud._______________________________________
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be __Nope. I’ll stay me, thanks._____
Thanks for a great interview, EJ! Folks, EJs latest book THE THRILL OF THE HAUNT is in bookstores TODAY! Check it out!
Here’s all the places readers can find EJ (and pal Jeff!)
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