My guest today…author Mollie Bryan!
Mollie Cox Bryan writes the Cumberland Creek Mysteries, published by Kensington. Death of an Irish Diva is the third in the series. The first book, Scrapbook of Secrets, was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel of 2012; the next one Scrapped was published in January 2013 and DEATH OF AN IRISH DIVA published in February. An e-novella SCRAPPY SUMMER will be out May 23. The next book A CRAFTY CHRISTMAS will be out in October 2014. She is also the author or the bestselling regional cookbook MRS. ROWE’S LITTLE BOOK OF SOUTHERN PIES. She lives in Waynesboro, Va. with her husband and two daughters!
R: Welcome, Mollie! Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing.
After years of working as an editor and writer for nonprofits and corporations in the DC area, I gave it all up for the “glamorous” life of a stay-at-home mom and part-time freelance writer. When I moved to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, I heard stories about the famous Mrs. Rowe’s Restaurant and its owner, Mildred Rowe. Intrigued, I investigated and found most of the stories were true. Two cookbooks later, I turned my writing skills to penning mysteries. One of my goals as a writer, as a person, is to explore many venues, genres, and to continue to learn and grow.
I grew up in Western Pennsylvania in a rural area (Raccoon Township) just outside of mill town Aliquippa, known for its football greats. I danced, did gymnastics, and wrote all the way through my youth. I started many novels—but finished my first one when I was a senior in high school. It was called “Circles” and featured a ballerina involved with a gang.
Today, I am the mom to two daughters who both dance and write. For me, writing is like dancing, breathing, and love. I don’t go a day without it.
R: Tell us about the latest in your Cumberland Creek series, Death of an Irish Diva! Where did the idea come from?
My daughters took Irish dance classes for many years and I thought it was a fascinating subculture, so that was this little glimmer of inspiration for the book.
R: Do you have an “how I got my agent” story you’d like to share?
My story is a little unusual. I started off writing cookbooks and my agent was a culinary agent, who I met at the Greenbrier Symposium for Professional Food Writers. In the mean time, she took on a partner who also represented fiction. I took advantage of that and sent my manuscript to her.
How did you feel when you got the call your first novel had sold? Ecstatic, first and scared to death, second!
R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing?
I can write just about anywhere, but I’ve gotten use to my little sun porch office and am finding that’s where I write most of the time. What aids the creative process? I sometimes listen to music, which helps. But I also run or do some other kind of exercise in the morning. I think it really gets the blood and ideas flowing!
R: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?
I’ve not eaten meat since I was about 15 years old.
R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done?
I can’t tell you! Hehehehe.
R: What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?
I hope they will be entertained and maybe have learned a bit about scrapbooking.
R: What are you working on at the moment / next?
I’m working on book #5 in the Cumberland Creek series.
R: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m definitely a pantser with plotter aspirations. I’m getting better with the dreaded synopsis, but it’s hard for me because usually I don’t know where the story will lead me. I’ve been working on that because I think as a genre fiction writer you can be much more efficient if you write good synopsis and can outline.
R: What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks? :)
I read. A LOT! I have two teenaged daughters that run me in different directions. I cook, bake, love to run, scrapbook, love Yoga. It just depends on my mood and how much time I have on any given day.
R: Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
Learn your craft. (It takes a LONG time for most of us. I am very much still learning.) Don’t rush to be published before you are absolutely ready.
R: What book is on your TBR shelf you can’t wait to get to?
Just one? I have a list! Right now, I’m reading Tiger Lily, which is a beautifully written young adult novel.
Just for Fun:
Night or Day? Day!
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully) Both!
Beach or Pool? Pool.
Steak or salad? Salad.
Favorite Drink? Hot, strong coffee.
Favorite Book? This is hard. But one of my favorite books is “Beloved” by Toni Morrison. It’s been awhile since I’ve read it—but I remember weeping because of the sheer elegance and beauty of the language in the book.
Favorite TV Series? Modern Family.
Favorite Movie? King of Hearts (The French one.)
Favorite Actor: Tom Hanks
Favorite Actress: Meryl Streep
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Pina colada.
Hawaii or Alaska? Hawaii.
Finish this sentence: If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be Benjamin Franklin. I am fascinated by the founding of this U.S.___________
If I had just one wish, it would be_that my kids continue to be healthy and happy their whole lives. _____________________________________
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be __nobody. ;-)
Thanks for a great interview, Mollie!
Folks you can find Mollie at:
Mollie will give away a copy of Death of an Irish Diva to one commenter.
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Winner will be chosen at random using random.org. Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Ends midnight, June 1. Good luck!