Meow! My guest is bestselling author Jessie Crockett!
A nearly life-long resident of the Granite State, Jessie Crockett naturally adores black flies, 98% humidity, killing frosts in August and snow banks taller than the average grandmother. When not working on her next murderous adventure she enthusiastically combs the beach, designs bento lunches and throws parties. She delights in mentoring young writers at local schools. Jessie lives with her dark and mysterious husband and exuberant children in a village so small most other New Hampshire residents have never heard of it. Her debut mystery, Live Free or Die, was the 2011 winner of the Daphne DuMaurier Award for Mainstream Mystery.
R: Welcome, Jessie! Tell us a little about your background
J: Hello, ROCCO! I live in a tiny village in New Hampshire with my husband and children. I am an avid knitter and enthusiastic beachcomber.
R: Tell us a bit about your latest book!
J: MAPLE MAYHEM is the second book in the Sugar Grove Mystery series. It features sugar maker Dani Greene who lives on her family’s tree farm along with a passel of relatives. Despite being a fourth-generation syrup maker, Dani isn’t stuck in the past. She’s starting a new agricultural cooperative that reduces costs for every syrup producer who joins. Everyone considers it a sweet deal except the die-hard curmudgeon Frank Lemieux—and when a saboteur starts targeting supporters, everyone suspects Frank.
But it turns out they’re barking up the wrong tree when Dani finds Frank murdered in his own sugarhouse. As the sabotage continues, she realizes that Frank was framed. With the help of her family, and a handsome official from the Fish and Game Department, Dani must catch the killer before another syrup maker kicks the bucket.
R: How do you “get to know” your characters before and while you’re writing the books?
J: That part of the process feels sort of magical. Usually it starts with the character’s name. Once I have that, I usually have a real sense of the character. They generally walk onto the page full-blown once I start to write.
R: How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?
J: I decide on as many scenes as I can before I being the first draft. Usually that amounts to about 1/3 of the total I will need. By the time I complete writing those scenes the next third have suggested themselves and I repeat the process until the book is finished.
R:Which do you consider more important, plot or character?
J: I think they are impossible to pry apart. I start with characters but the plot and how they experience it reveals their personalities.
R: What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer and what inspires you and keeps you motivated?
J: Keeping my chin up when facing the many rejections writers inevitably encounter while trying to get published was often discouraging. The desire to share stories as well as the phenomenal support of my family kept me motivated.
R:Do you have an “How I got my agent” story you want to share?
J: I was lucky enough to connect with my agent through my membership in the New England chapter of Sisters in Crime. The chapter president, Sheila Connolly sent out an email to the group mentioning that an agent wanted to work with members of our chapter on cozy mysteries. The rest is history.
R: What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?
J: The next thing for me is the July 1 release of my second Sugar Grove mystery, MAPLE MAYHEM. Right now the third book in the series is in the revision process.
R: What is a typical workday for you and how many hours a day (or week) do you devote to writing?
J: I am lucky to be able to write full-time. I work on writing, revising and the business end of things like blog posts etc… from around 8-2:30 every day with a break for lunch.
R: What advice do you have to offer to an aspiring author?
J: Write the stories that are truly yours to tell. If you write about your specific passions and interests you will have a lot more wherewithal to ride out the difficulties on the road to publication.
R: Now, Just for Fun:
Night or Day? I like to burn my candle at both ends.
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully) Since I have a lot of allergies I am a big fan of pet birds and goldfish.
Beach or Pool? Beach
Steak or salad? Steak with a salad.
Favorite Drink? Coffee in the morning and seltzer in the afternoon.
Favorite Book? I can’t pick just one. What I can say is that anything by E.F. Benson, P.G. Wodehouse, Fannie Flagg, Martha Grimes, Lloyd Alexander and Roald Dahl are on my re-read lists.
Favorite TV Series? Pushing Daisies, Justified and Sherlock.
Favorite Movie? I have two: Room with a View and Pulp Fiction.
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Martinis, made with gin.
Hawaii or Alaska? For just a visit, I’d say Hawaii. Any longer and I’d have to say Alaska because I am an avid knitter.
Finish this sentence: If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be ___No one. I love my life and being myself.____
Thanks for a great interview, Jessie!
Folks, here are all the places you can find her:
Jessie will give away a copy of DRIZZLED WITH DEATH to one lucky 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. Good luck!