Monday, December 9, 2013

NYT author Lorraine Bartlett in our Hotseat! (aka Lorna Barrett)

My Guest today is NYT Bestselling author Lorraine Bartlett!
The immensely popular Booktown Mystery series is what put Lorraine Bartlett’s pen name Lorna Barrett on the New York Times Bestseller list, but it’s her talent -- whether writing as Lorna, or L.L. Bartlett, or Lorraine Bartlett -- that keeps her there. This multi-published, Agatha-nominated author pens the exciting Jeff Resnick Mysteries as well as the acclaimed Victoria Square Mystery series, and now the Tales of Telenia fantasy saga, and has many short stories and novellas to her name(s).
R:  Hello, Lorraine! Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing.
I always had what I called “my stories” floating around in my head, but it wasn’t until my late teens when I learned about Star Trek fanzines and stories written by ordinary people that I gave writing a real try.  My first stories were dreadful, but I enjoyed working on them so much I kept writing.  Eventually I moved on to writing my own characters, which is much more fulfilling.
R: Tell us about your Victoria Square mystery series. What inspired that?
I had a booth in an antiques arcade for twelve years, and that’s where I originally set the series, but since my publisher hadn’t had much luck with a series that revolved around antiques, they asked me to change the setting to an arts and crafts arcade.  The series is currently on hiatus, but I hope to have a short story available after the new year.
R:  Under Lorna Barett and LL Bartlett you write two other series. Can you tell us about those, and which out of all you write is your favorite?
I write the Jeff Resnick Mysteries (the first of which, Murder on the Mind, is free on all e book formats).  Jeff is a former insurance investigator who was viciously mugged and became just a teensy bit psychic, and although he gets insight into the crimes he solves, it’s his experience that drives his investigations.
I also write the Tales of Telenia adventure-fantasy series.  It’s not pure fantasy, the same way Star Trek isn’t pure science fiction.  It features Astronaut Amanda Shelton, and her struggle to survive on a strange planet with equally strange (to her) people.  I had a lot of fun writing the first two books, but so far haven’t had much luck enticing my readers to give it a try.
Of all my characters, Jeff Resnick and his brother Richard Alpert are my favorites—probably because they were the first of my original characters.  I’ve got two other Jeff projects in the works, and hope to have another novel out next fall.
R: Tell us about your latest release!
Dark Waters is the 6th book in the Jeff Resnick Mystery series. 
A near-death experience colors Jeff Resnick's life, but his investigation into the death of a racketeer puts him in jeopardy as he searches for missing assets.
For more information, check out my website: 
R: Would you ever consider collaborating with another author on a series?
No.  I’ve collaborated in the past and it wasn’t a happy experience for me (and probably not my writing partner, either).
R:  Do you have an “how I got my agent” story you’d like to share? 
I’m currently on my 5th agent.  It was a lot of hard work to get an agent, but the first two were useless (no real contacts—anyone can hang out a shingle and say they’re an agent).  My third agent was good, but retired soon after she sold the first Jeff Resnick mystery to a small press.  It hit pay dirt with agents four and five from the Bookends Literary Agency.  My first agent there left to pursue another career, and her partner inherited me.  She’s terrific and I’m very happy with her.
How did you feel when you got the call your first novel had sold?
I never got a call.  All my communications about sales have been vai emails or letters (the latter in the old days when I sold short stories).  But the first time I hit the New York Times bestsellers list, my editor called (and every time since) and I still find that to be a thrill.
R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?
Music.  I find it difficult to work without background music (usually new age, but sometimes movie soundtracks).  
R: If you had access to a time machine, which historical moment would you travel to and why?
The dedication of the first space shuttle; Enterprise. It showed the power that a TV show and its fan wielded. Sadly, Enterprise never flew a mission, but it offered hope for the future.
R: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?
I worked production in a machine shop for 18 months back in the days before Sexual Harassment laws.  It wasn’t much fun.
R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done? 
Writers live vicariously through their characters. Therefore, we seldom do anything wild and crazy.  (I know I sure don’t.  I think “safety first.”)
R: What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?
I may not be a great writer, but I like to think of myself as a good storyteller, and I hope I entertain my readers with every book or short story I write.
R: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Panster.  If I knew where the story was going, I’d probably get bored and never finish it.
R: What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks? :)
I love to go junking.  I used to have a booth in an antiques arcade, but gave it up when I started writing full time.  I never lost the thrill of the hunt, though.
R: Where can we find out more about you and your work?
My websites:  I have three:
R: Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
Join a writers group.  For mystery, join the Sisters In Crime Guppies Chapter.  ( )
Just for Fun:  Junking.
Night or Day?  Day.
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully):  I love both, but only have cats.  I’ve been trying to talk Mr. L into a terrier (either a Scotty or Westie.  So far, I haven’t convinced him.)
Beach or Pool?   Pool
Steak or salad?  Salad
Favorite Drink?  Gin Martini
Favorite Book?  Too many to choose.
Favorite TV Series?  Star Trek (TOS, TNG & Voyager)
Favorite Movie?  Too many to choose.
Favorite Actor:  No preference
Favorite Actress:  No preference
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada?  Neither; classic martini
Hawaii or Alaska?  Neither.  (Too far to travel to, since I don’t fly.)
Finish this sentence:  If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be Linda McCartney.
If I had just one wish, it would be to cure cancer.
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be someone who can eat a lot and never get fat.
List all the places readers canfind you:
FACEBOOK Author Pages
PINTEREST  (L.L. Bartlett page)
Lorraine will give away an ARCof “Not the Killing Type” Booktown mystery #7 to one lucky commenter!  Leave your comment and email addy below. For extra entries you can:
Friend Lorraine or the Human on Facebook or Twitter
Follow moi on Twitter at #RoccoBlogger
Tweet, FB or post about this contest (3 extra entries!)  Winner will be chosen by Contest closes midnight, Dec. 15!
Good luck, meow!


  1. Lorraine,
    Great post! I absolutely love your Victoria Square mystery series! Please hurry up and get another one out.

    1. It's probably going to be a while. The series has been put on hiatus. : (

  2. I continue to be amazed that a martini is now assumed to mean a vodka martini. No proper martini is missing it's gin!
    FB-both Rocco and Lorraine

    1. Yes. Mr. Bond would be horrified.

  3. I love the Booktown Mystery series. Thank you for this awesome opportunity to win! :)

  4. I didn't know that the Victoria Square Mysteries are on hiatus-sorry to hear that. But I'm pleased that Jeff and the Booktown Mysteries are going strong!

    1. I have a collection of Jeff short stories coming out on Christmas day. (They are not mysteries.) Check out the home page on my website:

  5. Glad you convinced me to try the Jeff R. series. Will give the fantasy a try one of these days. Have certainly enjoyed your other two series.

    1. So glad to hear that, Barbara. I love Amanda Shelton. She's a lot of fun to write. (I love the trouble she and her best friend, Dohmas, get into.)

  6. I've been following this series for quite a while and really enjoy it. Now I'm just starting the Resnick series.

  7. I am reading so many series these days, it's sometimes hard to keep them all seperate, especially when you add in all the triologies out there too. But, I enjoy reading and I love my cat who is all curled up and sleeping next to the computer.

  8. I really enjoyed Dark Waters. It had me tied in knots in one scene, especially. Now I'm waiting to read about what happens next.

  9. Henry (my cat) loves you and all your books in all your noms de plume. B-) and ^_^

  10. Great interview Toni. I haven't read any Jeff Resnick novels by Lorraine but you have convinced me. I will check it out.
    I follow your blog
    I am a friend on facebook
    I mentioned the contest on Facebook.

    Kristine R