Ma-row! My guest today is author Gerry Schmitt who is probably better known to you as Laura Childs! Today I am interviewing her on her new series!
Gerry Schmitt is the author of Little Girl Gone, an Afton Tangler Thriller to be released July 5, 2016. Writing under her pen name Laura Childs, she is
the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty-six mysteries, including the Scrapbooking Mysteries, Tea Shop Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. Gerry is the former CEO of her own marketing firm, has won dozens of TV and radio awards, and produced two reality TV shows. She and her professor husband enjoy travel and their two Shar-Pei dogs.
Welcome, Gerry! As Laura Childs, you write three fabulous cozy series. What made you make the leap into thrillers?
Thanks for having me, ROCCO! It’s not such a huge leap. I’ve been writing what I call a “thrillzy” for years. This is my own brand of hybrid book that dances between a thriller and a cozy. Instead of sweet little ladies with cats, I incorporate smart, daring female entrepreneurs, double murders, international jewel thieves, arson, ponzi schemes, car crashes, smash and grab robberies, hangings, drownings, maniacal cult leaders, haunted houses, horse thieves, etc. If it’s crazy, evil, or exciting, I’ll stick it in one of my books.
Tell us what inspired this new series, the Afton Tangler Thrillers. Where did the idea for LITTLE GIRL GONE come from?
The first time I saw a “reborn” doll, a doll that had been stripped of factory paint and then reworked to look like a real infant, I thought to myself, “This is amazingly creepy.” I mean, this doll had hand-inserted hair and eyelashes, a perfect airbrushed paint job, and even a tiny motor to imitate a heartbeat. People who bought these dolls actually signed adoptions papers! From that sort of jumping off point it was easy to build a twisty, off-kilter plot.
Which do you prefer writing, thrillers or cozies?
I’m a commercial writer who’s written screenplays, TV commercials, reality shows, etc. So I pretty much love writing everything. Writing thrillers is a little more difficult, however, because they demand a longer format and slightly more intricate plot.
Are you a fan of thrillers? Who is your favorite thriller author?
I read every thriller I can get my hands on, but my favorite thriller author is John Sandford. He’s the master of casual dialogue and intricate, gritty plots.
With four series on your plate, you are one busy lady! How do you keep your characters/plots straight and how do you schedule your writing so the series don’t overlap?
It’s fairly easy to keep my characters and plots straight because I work from a very tight outline. I always sketch out characters and key plot ideas before I start writing, and then I forge ahead with a ninety-page outline. That outline gives me a very tight parameter that’s easy to work from. As far as my series overlapping, they do! I’m usually working on two books at once. I’m a binge writer, so the minute I run out of ideas or energy for one book, I switch over to the second book. For some reason I can always find my mojo again!
Big question for your cozy fans: Do you intend to keep on writing your other three series and if so, can you tell us any future plans for them?
Actually, much of the future’s already written. CREPE FACTOR, the next Scrapbooking Mystery comes out in October and I’m already writing GLITTER BOMB, which will be the next book with a Mardi Gras theme. EGG DROP DEAD, my next Cackleberry Club Mystery, will be out in December, and I’ve already started writing EGGS OVER UNEASY. PEKOE MOST POISON, the next Tea Shop Mystery, will be out in March 2017 and that’s already written and sent off to my publisher. Now I’m working on the plot for PLUM TEA CRAZY. And I’m also working on an Afton Tangler Thriller for July 2017 publication. No title yet, but it involves a helicopter crash, international smugglers, a home shopping network, and a deranged widow out for revenge!
Describe your workspace.
It’s a mess. Press kits, ARCs, and boxes of books everywhere. My husband says I need an office and a mailroom. I agree. (And I can’t forget my dogs, two Chinese Shar-Pei who sprawl everywhere.)
Do you have a favorite quote?
“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake” – Napoleon Bonaparte. (Harsh but very true when you’re in the middle of a business deal.)
What’s the best and worst part of being an author?
The best part is working for myself, which I do as an author and did for almost twenty years as CEO of my own marketing firm. The worst part (really the hardest part) is not having my former team around me anymore. (Although my designers have been brought in as freelancers.)
Gerry will be giving away a hardcover copy of Little Girl Gone
to one lucky winner.
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 Sunday, July 10!