Join me in welcoming….Laura Childs!
Laura Childs is the author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbooking Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. Her books have been named to the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists and been featured selections of the Mystery Guild’s Mystery Book Club. Her newest Scrapbooking Mystery, Parchment and Old Lace, was just released.
Visit Laura at www.laurachilds.com
R: Welcome Laura, we’re so happy to have you here. Tell us a little about your background – how did you become interested in writing?
LC:Thank you Rocco, it’s nice to be here. Well, I started writing when I was a kid – school newspapers, poetry, short stories. After college I worked as a writer/producer for several ad agencies, doing mainly TV and radio. That springboarded me into launching my own marketing firm, which I ran for 20 years. Along the way, I also banged out 3 screenplays and a so-so novel. When I decided to do a major lifestyle switcheroo, I sold my agency and (lucky, lucky) also sold my first series. That was the Tea Shop Mystery series which catapulted me into a whole new career.
R:What inspired your Tea Shop Mystery series?
LC:Really, a love of tea and a crazy idea that I could build a mystery series around a snoopy lady who owned a classy but cozy tea shop.
R:What’s your favorite tea?
LC:Gotta love those Japanese green teas.
R:Tell us about your other series, the Scrapbooking Mysteries and the Cackleberry Club Mysteries. What inspired each of them?
LC:My Scrapbooking Mysteries take place in New Orleans and, like the city itself, are slightly edgier. Carmela, my main character, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is constantly getting into hot water with her friend, Ava, who owns a voodoo shop.
The Cackleberry Club Mysteries are a tale of three forty-plus Midwestern ladies 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: Tell us a bit about your latest release, PARCHMENT AND OLD LACE.
LC: In this cozy-thriller, scrapbook maven Carmela Bertrand tries to track down the killer of a young bride-to-be who’s been brutally murdered in a New Orleans cemetery. There’s a whole batch of colorful, dysfunctional suspects, and some snippets of antique lace and parchment that become critical clues. The story comes to a head at a raucous casino party and ends with a frantic chase through an abandoned theme park. (Trust me, there’s not a dull moment.) Oh yeah, and I include scrapbook tips and recipes for Pecan Pie Muffins, Sweet Potato Casserole, and Big Easy Butter Chicken.
R: How do you “get to know” your character before and while you’re writing the books?
LC:Well, I don’t think about characters all that much. I work so quickly and frantically that I never get around to creating character sketches. Instead, I just start writing and the characters begin to come alive. They’re inside my head, yammering to be let out so they can jump onto the page. It’s a kick.
R: How do you construct plots? Do you outline or do you write by the seat of your pants?
LC: Most definitely an outline. Plus I always need to sketch out my kickoff and finale scenes. And it doesn’t hurt to throw in lots of action scenes either. I pretty much subscribe to the thriller writer’s rule of thumb: Three disasters and a big ending!
R: What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer and what inspires you and keeps you motivated?
LC:The biggest challenge is writing 3 or 4 books per year. I have to stay extremely focused and write 5 to 6 days a week, almost all day long. My main inspiration is fear – fear I’ll miss a deadline, fear it won’t be good enough.
R:Do you have an “How I got my agent” story you want to share?
LC:I have an illustrator friend who put me in touch with mystery great Mary Higgins Clark. Mary became a sort of fairy godmother to me and gifted me with her hotshot agent.
R:What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?
LC: Right now I’m working on CREPE FACTOR, the next Scrapbook Mystery, EGG DROP DEAD, the next Cackleberry Club Mystery, and BLOWDOWN, the next book in my new Afton Tangler Thriller Series. After that the future gets kind of cloudy.
R: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
LC: Sign a 12-book contract.
R: What’s one thing your readers would be surprised to find out about you?
LC: Maybe that I’m an adrenaline junky. I adore fast cars, jumping horses, and challenging myself on black diamond ski runs.
Just for Fun:
Night or Day?
Night. I could be part vampire.
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully)
I adore both cats and dogs. But right now I just have 2 Chinsese Shar-Pei.
Beach or Pool?
Beach in Mexico, very hot sun, very cold Cerveza with lime.
Steak or Salad?
Rare steak. And, yeah, I want those fries.
Red wine. Very good red wine.
Gone With The Wind. (I’m a romantic at heart) (Rocco: Ah, the Human’s favorite book too!)
Favorite TV Series
The Walking Dead. (But I like gritty TV)
If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be – My great, great grandfather who was an officer in Napoleon’s army.
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be – stylist Rachel Zoe. (For all those free Chanel jackets!)
Thank you Laura, for a wonderful interview! Don’t miss the latest Scrapbooking Mystery, PARCHMENT AND OLD LACE, out today!
Good news, folks! Laura will give away an autographed copy of PARCHMENT AND OLD LACE to two lucky commenters!
To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your name and email address (entries without email will be disqualified). For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:
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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! Contest ends midnight, October 11!