Meow, today I welcome cozy author BB Heywood!
Tell us about your background:
Rob has always loved to write. He is managing editor of a magazine and has also written young adult science fiction/fantasy books. Beth has also always loved to write. She also bakes and has created the recipes for the books.
We decided to write a cozy mystery after reading the Agatha Raisin series by M.C. Beaton. We put together Cape Willington from the small New England towns we have lived in and visited. Candy Holliday is a blueberry farmer in Down East , Maine. She runs the farm with her father ‘Doc’ Henry Holliday. Cape Willington is filled with quirky residents and of course way too many murders. Candy has become the town sleuth and is usually solving mysteries with her sidekick and best friend, Maggie Wolfsburger.
Tell us about the Candy Holliday series. How do you get to know your characters?
In Town in a Cinnamon Toast, Maggie Tremont is days away from being wed to the town baker Georg Wolfsburger. The best man doesn’t show up for the rehearsal dinner, and Candy goes off to find him. She finds him, but he is dead, struck over the head with a champagne bottle. The bottle happens to be the same brand that was ordered by Georg himself for the dinner. That means everyone is suspect , and Candy has to solve the mystery so her best friend Maggie can live happily ever after.
The characters come to us in different ways. Some characters are based loosely on real people we’ve known, or a collection of people, or various character traits we’ve seen in people we know. Other characters come completely out of the blue and define themselves. Candy Holliday is like that, as are Maggie Tremont and Henry ‘Doc’ Holliday. They essentially write themselves, sine they’re fully formed as characters in our minds, and they help dictate the journeys they take through each book.
We usually start with a general theme, time of year, fictional event in town, and title, and work from there. We’re required by our publisher to provide an outline, which is usually three to five pages and hits the highlights of the story, although one outline we did was very detailed and ran 30 pages. WE have the opening section of each book fairly firmly in mind when we begin writing , and from there work into the middle and third sections of the book. All our books basically have three acts, and if you pay attention when reading, you can actually tell when, for instance, the first act ends and the second act begins. Each act usually occupies about 8—120 pages.
What do you consider more important, plot or character?
One can’t work without the other. Character drives plot, but plot reveals character. Our goal is to start each book strong, and then by the end of the first act, we’ll “thicken” the plot with a twist of some sort. If there’s a second death in a book ( some books have one death, some have two). It usually takes place toward the end of Act Two, and is designed to keep readers reading until the end. We love big, splashy endings in our books, with lots of action and drama.
What is the biggest challenge you face as writers? What keeps you motivated?
Time is the biggest problem. We estimate that it takes us about 600-800 hours to write a 300- page book. If we’re working full time, finding time to write is tricky. During the writing process, it can take several months to write the first half of each book, with some chapters taking several weeks to write, but we speed up in the second half, when often we can write one or two chapters in a day or two.
What is a typical workday for you?
It depends on our schedules. We usually write at night and on weekends, but if we’re fortunate to have some time off, then we write all day. There are numerous life-based distractions, but you just have to push on through them and keep writing. It’s a discipline that all successful writers have.
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Write a book every year going on eight years?!
What would your readers be surprised to find out about you?
That B.B. Haywood is two people and we are both Pisces.
What question do you wish interviewers would ask? And what’s the answer?
Is there going to be a book number 8 in the series? The answer is Yes! The title is Town in a Maple Madness.
Where can readers find out more about you?
You can learn more about our books at hollidaysblueberryacres.com. We also have a facebook page at facebook.com/hollidaysblueberryacres, and an instagram at instagram.com/capewillington. The links for all of those are on the website as well. We also have our email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just for Fun
Day or Night? Beth: Day- Rob: Night
Cat or Dog:Dog, sorry ROCCO!
Pool or Beach:Beach, it’s nice to walk on.
Steak or Salad? Salad
Coffee or Tea?Tea and hot chocolate
Favorite Book: Agatha Raisin series by M.C. Beaton
Favorite TV Show: X-Files , and currently Doc Martin
Favorite Movie: Too many to love. The Lord of the Rings is a family favorite.
Favorite Actor:Tom Hanks, Ralph Fiennes
Favorite Actress: Helena Bonham Carter
Hawaii or Alaska? Hawaii—it’s warmer than Maine
If I could meet anyone past or present it would be…Winslow Homer. To watch him paint and see the best view of the sea from his studio on Prout’s Neck.
If I had one wish it would be for…More time with family
If I could trade places with anyone it would be…Someone with a blueberry farm. It would be fun to experience that life for a while.
Penguin has donated a copy of TOWN IN A CINNAMON TOAST to be won by one lucky commenter! To enter, leave a comment below with your email address. Winner will be chosen by random.org. Contest closes midnight, March 20!