Cozy Mystery Author Interview

Cozy Mystery Author Interview: Loretta & Sarah Johns

10 Reasons

Today, I’m featuring an interview with the sister writing team of Loretta and Sarah Johns, authors of the Starlight Cozy Mystery series. I’m fascinated by writing teams, whether they be friends, spouses, or siblings. It must be neat to someone to bounce your ideas off of and share the writing journey with. And I can tell that this particular writing team has a lot of fun working together.

Grab a beverage and a snack, sit back, and read what Loretta and Sarah have to say about cozy mysteries, penguins, and cookies.

1 – What’s your favorite thing about cozy mysteries?

BOTH: The characters are usually witty and engaging and it reminds us of the good old days watching Father Dowling, Murder She Wrote, Magnum PI, Diagnosis Murder, and Quincy.

2 – What inspired you to write a cozy mystery series together?

LORETTA: it all started with a series we are working on, following two sisters on a road trip.

SARAH: There’s a large time difference between where we currently live, so we both had too much wine and we ended up talking about MagnumPI, helicopters, and looking at property on Zillow in Hawaii.

LORETTA: Yup, then I said, yeah, we should totally write a mystery, only with an alien and it should be funny. Then we started laughing and came up with a few plots. We also became quite serious and ended up planning a semi-retirement move to Hawaii. We were raised apart and met again as adults,  then life got in the way and we ended up separated by an entire ocean for 20 years. So we’re together over the web now and working towards being together again in RL, writing books and sitting on the beach.

3 – Tell us what it’s like to work as a writing team – how do you collaborate and create your stories?

SARAH: We get on Facebook Messenger and plot while drinking while drinking coffee, tea, or wine, or in Loretta’s case, a tropical themed cocktail. Loretta then starts typing it all up, dialogue and all, then pops it into GoogleDocs. I then go on in and add or subtract stuff and clean up any mistakes I find.

4 – What’s more important – character or plot?

LORETTA: The characters spawn the plots for us. It’s not an either or. It’s here’s this person and look at the trouble they get in…

5 – What do you like best about being an author? What do you like the least?


SARAH: I get to play with my sister as we craft these books. It’s very healing energy as we get to play pretend with each other and invite people into our joint world.We didn’t get to do that as children so it’s even more special now.

LORETTA: And the money goes towards reuniting us once more and continuing the grand adventure.


BOTH: Edits and Amazon hanging while publishing the releases and as of late the issues with pre-order errors on their part.

6 – What’s your favorite cookie? If you don’t like cookies, what’s wrong with you? Oops, sorry, scratch that. My follow-up question was meant to be far more polite – “Why don’t you like cookies?”

BOTH: Chocolate chip and traditional Oreos

7 – A penguin walks through your front door wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why did he come visit you?

LORETTA:  “Hi, I’ve come down for the shave ice from the stand.” We tell him he’s in the wrong reality and get back into The Dade Sisters Book 3.

SARAH: He needs to be careful. Pele’s son makes great shave ice but she’s not too happy when you use the reality jumping portals, especially if you took a rock to do it.

8 – What else would you like us to know about the two of you?

LORETTA: We both love adventure and have lived in different countries and states. I grew up an Army Brat and then served myself, then married a Brit, while Sarah finished her Master’s degree in Canada (she now works helping veterans access benefits at her day job). We also love animals and own dogs and cats.

SARAH: Yep, our two favorite titles (other than author) Mom, including Furbaby Mom,and Nana.

LORETTA: I’m Obaa-chan, not Nana. But yes. ::laughs:: I also treasure being Tia.

SARAH: And we both love sarcastic humor. Our husbands are always amazed at how much we look and act alike despite not growing up together. We even chose the same hair style and glasses right before we found each other again.

LORETTA: Yup. Watch out, Hawaii, we’re coming. Soon, my precious. ::wanders off to look at Zillow’s Big Island listings again::

Get Loretta & Sarah’s Books

Pick up your own copy of the first Starlight Cozy Mystery – A Saucerful of Death – on Amazon.

About Loretta & Sarah

Hi! I’m Loretta, a housewife with her head usually in the clouds, dreaming of romance and far away places. One day, I thought, why not write them down? So here we are. I hope you enjoy hot men, gutsy women, and happily ever afters because that’s what you’ll get from me.

Aloha! I’m Sarah, Loretta’s younger and equally as zany sister. I spend far too much time on Messenger cooking up these crazy stories with my sister, coffee in hand. Drink Kona!

Connect with Loretta & Sarah

Follow Loretta on Amazon, both of the sisters on Facebook and Twitter, and sign-up for their newsletter to find out about new releases, sales, and other stuff like that.

Thanks so much for being on the blog, ladies! I’m glad to see that you have excellent taste in cookies. You can’t go wrong with Oreos and chocolate chip. It would be a blast to catch up with the two of you one day sipping Kona coffee on a beach in Hawaii.


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Cozy Mystery Author Interview: Madeline A. Nicholas

Cozy Mystery Author Interview with Madeline A. Nicholas

This is the part of series of interviews with writers who are new to cozy mysteries. Some of them are established authors who have published in other genres. Others are in the throes of writing their very first book and planning its publication. It takes me right back to the start of my own writer’s journey before I hit the scary “publish” button with my first cozy.

Today I have an interview with Madeline A. Nicholas who is getting ready to publish Basic Witch: An Arabella Holloway Mystery, the first book in her Serenity Springs series. It will be released on September 30th and is available for pre-order. Get your copy HERE.

So grab yourself a beverage and a snack, settle in, and find out more about what she has to say about writing, penguins, and cookies.

1 – What inspired / motivated you to write cozy mysteries?

It was kind of a natural progression, I suppose. I fell in love with the cozy genre nearly 2 decades ago with Lilian Jackson Braun’s The Cat Who series and my reading list has been filled with cozy mysteries since.

So when I decided to start a new project a cozy mystery just felt right. And it has since taken on a life of it’s own. One idea for a book became a series, with crossover series in the future. It’s a really exciting process for me, I’m having a lot of fun.

2 – What’s your favorite thing about cozy mysteries?

The characters. Hands down.

They usually have interesting jobs or hobbies and being immersed into their lives is very captivating. The way they all seem to stumble into bad luck (or murders) going about their daily routine is just very…. I want to say relatable, but even though I tend to have a natural attraction for mishaps and misadventures, I have never stumbled upon a body. *Knock on wood*

3 – What stage are you at in your writing and publishing journey?

I have been writing for a very long time, it started when I was a small child, and I have written everything from short stories to poetry. My professional writing career, however, is relatively new. I have had some poetry and a few short stories published in my youth.

This will be my first book that I have written to be published. I am in the final stages at this time, I’ve finally hammered down the release date and the pre-order went live this week. (My inner self is jumping up and down)

Now it’s just a matter of making sure that everything is exactly the way that I want it, and lining up all of these moving parts. There’s a lot more involved than I could ever imagine. But I am learning as I go and loving the journey.

4 – What are you most excited about in terms of publishing your first cozy? What are you nervous about?

What am I excited about? Being Published.

I think that’s the most exciting thing. Seeing the finished product. Being a published author has been a dream of mine since I was a child. One of those dreams that you tell yourself is out of reach. I’m happy to have proven myself wrong on that one.

Nervous? I’d have to say everything. (laughs) There’s always fears of rejection or inadequacy in the arts. Will they like it? Is it good enough?

And of course, I keep running into setbacks. I’ve had some personal things to affect my deadlines and my release date has been pushed back. Twice. It has definitely been a bit discouraging. So at times, I’m worrying “Will I ever get finished? Is this going to happen?”

I’ve thrown in the towel probably a hundred times since this journey began. You just have to keep picking it back up and carrying on.

5 – Tell us about the cozy mystery you’re currently working on. What’s your sleuth like? Where is it set? Do you have a hook?

Arabella, or Bella, is more of a reluctant sleuth. Her investigation begins more out of necessity than curiosity. She’s happy to let the professionals work the case, but she feels like they have dropped the ball.

She’s a young woman, mid 20s, who doesn’t know that she is a witch, or even that magic exists at the beginning of the book. So she has a hard time wrapping her head around it at first. She has always felt like something was missing or that she was different, essentially she finds herself as well as the killer.

The book is set in the fictional town of Serenity Springs. Which I modeled after the towns I grew up in/around. A rural town, slightly larger than a postage stamp, that’s kind of off off the beaten path. It looks like your normal sleepy little town, but some of the residents are not what you would expect.

6 – What’s your favorite cookie? If you don’t like cookies, what’s wrong with you? Oops, sorry, scratch that. My follow-up question was meant to be far more polite – “Why don’t you like cookies?”

There are people who don’t like cookies??!? Sounds like a horror movie.

Favorite? That’s a tough one, I would have to go with the classic chocolate chip, but then there’s peanut butter, those chocolate sandwich cookies, ooh thin mints, … I’m sorry what was the question again?

Monster cookies. Final answer. The huge things that you put everything from oatmeal and peanut butter to chocolate chips and M&Ms in. I’ve never had one, but they sound awesome. I think I might be baking later.

7 – A penguin walks through your front door wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why did he come visit you?

“This isn’t Los Angeles, I knew I should have taken a left at Albuquerque.” Apparently he was on his way home from vacation and got lost.

He’s probably looking for something to eat, that’s what most of my visitors stop by for.

Yes, I know this response shows my age.

8 – What else would you like people to know about you?

This reminds me of those job interview questions I always fail at because I never know what to say.

I’m your basic small town girl. I hate crowds and traffic.

I love animals. I rescue them when I can and try to find them forever homes. Sometimes that’s not possible, so I adopt them myself. Or is it they adopt me?

This is why I currently have 4 cats and feed half a dozen stray or wild animals. Cats, dogs, the occasional possum.

I once had a ‘pet’ raccoon. He would knock on the door and come in and help himself to something to eat. He eventually got comfortable enough to walk up and take food right out of my hand.

Basic Witch: An Arabella Holloway Mystery

Meet Serenity Springs, tucked away from most of the world in the mountains of Appalachia. Quiet, peaceful and nothing short of magic, it appears to be the quintessential small town. But is everything as it appears?

After a desperate late-night call from her mother, Arabella Holloway finds herself alone in the quaint yet quirky little town, surrounded by family who are total strangers. Determined to uncover the mysterious circumstances of her mother’s death, Bella finds more questions than answers. Now she must race to uncover long buried secrets before she becomes caught in another spell of murder… her own.

Grab your copy of Basic Witch on Amazon!

About the Author

Madeline A. Nicholas writes cozy mysteries as well as paranormal fantasy novels. When she is not casting spells with her books, she spends her time doing such muggle things as reading, pretending she can grow things in her garden, or being bossed around by her pets.

You can connect with Madeline on Facebook and Instagram.

Thank you so much for being on the blog today, Madeline. I love the fact that you’re an animal lover and feed stray and wild animals. Looking forward to checking your new series out!