Meow, this week my guest is author Sandra Bretting!
Sandra Bretting writes the Missy DuBois Mystery series for Kensington/Lyrical Underground. A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, she’s written for the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle, among others.
The Missy DuBois Mystery series follows milliner and bona fide Southern belle Missy DuBois, who becomes entangled in several unfashionable murders on the Great River Road in Louisiana. The first book, Murder at Morningside, debuted in May 2016. The second installment, Something Foul at Sweetwater, debuted in December 2016. Readers can connect with her at www.sandrabretting.com
R: Hello Sandra! Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing.
Thanks ROCCO! I was studying journalism at the University of Missouri School of Journalism when I took a creative writing course for fun. On hearing my first story in class, another student said, “Well, you’ve come here to be a novelist, right?” A lightbulb went off in my head that still shines today.
R: Tell us about your Missy DuBois series. Where did you get that idea?
My husband and I visited the Great River Road in Louisiana one weekend about five years ago. (It’s only a short drive from our home in Houston.) We stayed in a beautiful antebellum mansion that now serves as a hotel and wedding venue. I think I surprised the tour guide when I squealed, “What a great place for a murder mystery!”
R: Do you have an “how I got my agent” story you’d like to share? How did you feel when you got the call your first novel had sold?
Like Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire, I relied on the kindness of strangers to find my agent. I sent my manuscript to one agent who felt it wasn’t quite right for her. But…she knew the perfect agent for me and sent it along. Once I signed with my current agent, I nearly fell over backward when she sold the Missy DuBois Mystery series to Kensington.
R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?
Believe it or not, I always wear earplugs when I write. They seem to block out everything. Not only noise, but everything around me, so I can create a much different world.
R: If you had access to a time machine, which historical moment would you travel to and why?
I’d like to meet Abraham Lincoln in the lobby of Ford’s Theatre so I could warn him not to stay for the show.
R: If a movie were to be made of one of your books, which one would you want it to be and who would you pick for the lead roles?
I’d like to see Debra Messing play Missy DuBois in the series’ second book, Something Foul at Sweetwater. (It’s a personal favorite, although writers aren’t supposed to play favorites.) For Ambrose Jackson, I’d choose a tall, dark and dreamy actor like Orlando Bloom.
R: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?
I grew up in a Dutch household where my parents gossiped in their native tongue so I couldn’t understand them.
R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done?
The craziest thing I’ve done was move halfway across the country at the age of 18 to attend journalism school at the University of Missouri, sight unseen. I’d never visited the state, let alone the small town of Columbia.
R: What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?
I hope it gives them a reprieve from the everyday world. The real world can be tedious and predictable, but fiction allows us to escape that for a while.
R: You recently adopted a puppy (!!) What prompted that decision and do you have any cute stories you can share?
I blame the adoption on love at first sight. My daughter and I visited our local shelter to adopt an older, more mature dog. But then we saw Chance, and all bets were off. The first night we brought him home, twelve of my daughter’s friends (guys and gals) came over to see him. It was so cute to see these big, burly, 16-year-old football players handle the puppy as if he was made of glass.
R: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m a reformed pantser who now loves to plot. It happened after the third book in the Missy DuBois series (which will be out in May). Writing that book nearly killed me, and I think part of the problem was that I didn’t have a clear roadmap.
R: Where can we find out more about you and your work?
I have a website readers can access at www.sandrabretting.com. It gives information on new releases, upcoming events and my puppy, of course.
R: Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
Never give up. You don’t want to spend your life wondering “what if.”
Just for Fun:
Night or Day? Day .
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully) Puppy, but followed closely by kittens.
Beach or Pool? Beach.
Steak or salad? A good steak salad.
Favorite Drink? Lemonade.
Favorite Book? Only one? Memoirs of a Geisha.
Favorite TV Series? Currently “The Middle”
Favorite Movie? The Great Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio version)
Favorite Actor: Tom Hanks.
Favorite Actress: Sandra Bullock.
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Pina Colada.
Hawaii or Alaska? Hawaii. (See “beach” above.)
Finish this sentence: If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be __Jesus of Nazareth_________________
If I had just one wish, it would be: that my family always would be happy and healthy.
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be: Princess Kate Middleton, but only for one day.
Sandra will give away an eBook copy of Something Foul at Sweetwater, the second book in the Missy DuBois Mystery series to one lucky commenter!
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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* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
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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, March 3.