Cozy Mystery Author Interview

Cozy Mystery Author Interview | K.M. Waller

It’s time to find out more about one of my fellow cozy mystery authors. Today, I’ve got the lovely K.M. Waller lined up for you. She’s the author of a number of mystery books including The Three Witches of Burberry, which is part of her Lost Souls Paraagency romantic paranormal series, and Mourning Express, which is part of the multi-author Funeral Fakers series.

I love her sense of humor – read her answer to the penguin question and you’ll see what I mean. So grab a beverage, settle down into a comfy spot and have a read below to see what K.M. has to say about writing, cookies, and penguins.

1 – What inspired you to write your books?

Books have always been my happy place, but it never crossed my mind growing up and into all of my twenties to write one. Then, while reading everything written by Janet Evanovich, I came across her book How I Write. That was the first time that I read about an author who’d started writing as a stay-at-home mom at the kitchen table. I’d just stopped working as a real estate paralegal to stay at home with my daughter, so it felt timely to be reading her journey. I started writing after that and over my ten year journey have found my way to writing what I enjoy reading the most – cozy mysteries.

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

I love the amateur sleuth who uses his or her ordinary skills to solve a crime. Kooky sidekicks who either help or accidentally hinder the investigation add so much fun to the story too.

3 – Do you have any writing rituals?

I am a morning person, so all the writing gets done in the first part of the day or not at all. I do have to be in the “zone” and I use brain.fm for focus music to help me get there. Oh, and don’t forget that trusty cup of coffee at my side!

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

Tough question! I can be disappointed in a plot and still continue to read if the characters are fun and entertaining. Character driven stories are my favorite but if an author can twist a mystery plot that gives me a surprise, then that author has a fan for life.

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

Readers are the best thing about being an author. Especially, when they fall in love with characters I’ve created and take the time to tell me. I love connecting with readers. What I dislike is how fast the publishing industry is changing. Most days it’s hard to keep up with trends in marketing, tropes, cover art, etc.

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?”

I’ve rarely met a cookie I didn’t like. I’m my daughter’s Girl Scout troop cookie mom, so I spend a great deal of February and March eating my favorite GS cookie – Samoas. For a few months our lives revolve around cookies.

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

The sombrero belonged to his owner who has been accused of murdering one of his restaurant employees. Death by salsa. The penguin needs me and my special skill of being an animal psychic to help find the killer and bring them to justice. His name is Eduardo and I tickle his tummy before joining him on the mystery-solving adventure.

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

I’m just as goofy as I look – to the horror of my children who are always embarrassed by me.

About K.M. Waller

K.M. Waller lives in Florida with her husband, two kids, two rescued porch kittens, and a popcorn-loving hermit crab. When she’s not reading, writing, or chasing her kids around the house, she’s binging television dramas and mysteries.

Connect with her at her Website | BookBub | Instagram | Facebook

Grab your copy of K.M.’s books – they’re also free in Kindle Unlimited:

The Three Witches of Burberry

Mourning Express

Editor’s Note: Thanks so much for the interview, K.M.! Is there anyone who doesn’t love Girl Scout cookies? My favorite are the Thin Mints. 🙂

Cozy Mystery Author Interview

Cozy Mystery Author Interview | Larissa Reinhart

I have another fun cozy mystery author interview for you today, this time with Larissa Reinhart. You’re going to love her answers to my questions, especially the one to the cookie question. You’ll definitely be craving a sweet treat after reading that one.

So settle in a comfy chair with the beverage of your choice, maybe even a cookie or two, and find out what Larissa has to say about writing, penguins, and cookies.

1 – What inspired you to write your books?

My first series, A Cherry Tucker Mystery, began when I was living in Japan. I’d been working on another manuscript, but this redneck artist from Georgia kept speaking to me as I drove my kids to school. Then her crazy family began speaking to me. I had to write her story down just to get her out of my head so I could concentrate on the other manuscript. And that became Portrait of a Dead Guy. She never did stop speaking, so my idea of quieting her didn’t work.

The Maizie Albright Star Detective series began because I had an agent who wanted something like Cherry Tucker “but different.” The movie industry had moved into our area. Pinewood Studios had bought land a few miles from my house (that’s where the Avenger movies are made) and The Walking Dead and other TV shows were being filmed a few miles in the other direction. That inspired me to create a new character and place her in Georgia, with a “fish out of water” theme — a celebrity who’s basically kicked out of Hollywood and returns home to start a new career as a private investigator, the role that made her famous. Six books in and movies are still being made here. Maizie Albright is learning how to become a detective and also how to live a normal life.

The Finley Goodhart Crime Capers is my newest series. I always loved con artist stories, so I thought it’d be fun to create a con artist amateur sleuth character and also put her in Georgia.

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

I love the puzzle. I was always an Agatha Christie fan. But it’s really about the characters to me. I’ll read a long series because of the characters. Particularly if they’re funny and quirky with a romantic interest.

3 – Do you have any writing rituals?

As a mom, I have to keep changing my writing rituals. There’s an office but now it also has a treadmill and weights in it. This winter I find myself sitting at the kitchen table and writing so I can keep a better ear on the washing machine (I kept forgetting about the laundry). Now I’m working and homeschooling due to the Corona Virus, so I’m still at the kitchen table. When I started writing and my girls were little, they used to go to bed and I could write. They don’t go to bed before me anymore. 😉

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

A bad plot can ruin a book, but if the characters aren’t interesting or likable or compelling, I don’t think you could get through the book and learn if the plot works or not. At least, that’s my opinion!

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

I think most writers love coming up with ideas for stories and characters. That’s exciting and fun. I have so many ideas for future stories that I don’t even know if I could write them all. Interacting with readers is also an awesome part of writing. When I began writing, I never realized how many new friends I’d make, particularly through social media.

The hardest part is forcing myself to sit and write when nothing seems to be working. My brain literally hurts. It’s frustrating. Every time I write, I get to a point where I wonder if I can really finish the book. It puts me in a horrible mood. I don’t it when the “writing world” bleeds into my “mom world” because I can’t get the problem out of my head.

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?”

In that case, I’m 100% normal. I love cookies! Recently, I’ve developed an addiction to the Girl Scout shortbread cookies, Trefoils. I also love Oreos, Nutter Butters, and anything made by Pepperidge Farm. For homemade cookies, you can’t beat a chocolate chip. This is such a hard question…

Actually maybe my favorite are some of the Christmas cookies I make. Either sour cream cookies or almond. Or the sugar with the frosting. Or my daughter makes these delicious orange and lemon cookies.

I don’t think I have a favorite cookie.

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

It’s Taco Tuesday, obviously. He’s made frozen margaritas.

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

I made the first Maizie Albright Star Detective book free to encourage everyone to #StayHomeAndRead. 15 MINUTES is available in most stores for free right now: https://books2read.com/b/m2Xqor

18 CALIBER, Maizie Albright Star Detective #6, launches April 14th. Maizie’s mixing with international stars, spies, and her mother’s dark past in her sixth case in The Wall Street Journal bestselling series.

You can learn more at my website www.larissareinhart.com, where you can also sign up for my VIP Readers’ Email group and get a free short story! Thank you!

Thanks so much for having me on, Ellen! This was fun. Should I send the penguin over to your house? With my daughters at home, we’re making cookies. 🙂

Editor’s Note: Thanks so much for the interview, Larissa! Loved the reference to Nutter Butters – took me right back to my childhood. 🙂 So great that you’re making cookies with your daughters at home. I suspect there is a lot of cookie baking and eating going on in many homes these days.

Cozy Mystery Author Interview

Cozy Mystery Author Interview | Carolyn Ridder Aspenson

With all the craziness going on in the world these days, I have a fun distraction for you—an interview with cozy mystery author, Carolyn Ridder Aspenson! Grab a beverage and a snack, find a comfy chair, and scroll on down to find out what Carolyn has to say about writing, penguins, and cookies.

Interview with Carolyn Ridder Aspenson

1 – What inspired you to write your books?

I’ve always wanted to write a book…a book! I never thought I’d write more than one. I played around with it for a long time, but I never finished anything, and I never really tried to learn anything about the process. Until my mom died. When I lost her, I wanted to find a way to keep her alive in something more than a memory. I wanted to share her with other people. My mom was a great woman, and everyone loved her. So, I wrote a book called Unfinished Business about a stay at home wife and mother of two whose mother dies and comes back as a ghost. When she does, she opens a portal for the main character, and she’s suddenly thrown into this new world where the dead and the living live as one. It’s not a cozy mystery, but I’ve found people enjoy it, and it’s done well. It reached the top 100 on Amazon, which was a pretty big deal, and was published through one of their imprints before I decided to self publish it and the rest of the series.

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

I like that they’re not gory, and that terrible things don’t usually happen on the page. Real life is filled with enough of that, and I have other books in that style, but a cozy is just good clean fun.

3 – Do you have any writing rituals?

I typically write in the morning. I’m a morning person, and that’s when I’m most productive. Other than that, I listen to instrumental music, but that’s about it!

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

Character for me is first, and plot is second. I don’t mean individual characters, but the relationships between the characters. Relationships drive people, they motivate them to make the decisions they make, and without them, even the best plot has holes.

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

I like that my typing speed is almost two hundred words per minute. Okay, that’s not what I like best. It’s true, which fascinates me, but it’s not the best thing. The best thing is that there are people out there that actually read what I write, and they enjoy it. Unfinished Business still gets me emails from people who say it’s helped them feel better about losing someone, made them laugh and cry, helped them heal. That’s amazing. The book was my way of healing, of working through my grief, but I never expected it to help others, and I’m so glad it did.

What I like least is, hands down, the marketing. It takes a lot of time, effort, and money. Books don’t sell like they used to. The digital platform has changed that entirely, and most authors don’t make enough to support themselves.

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?”

Gee, thanks. It’s Lent, and you’re asking me about cookies when I just gave up sugar! I am not partial to any particular cookie, except Thin Mints and homemade chocolate with white chocolate chips. And Oreos. See? Not partial.

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

He says, “As you wished, Rob Lowe is here for the weekend.” The penguin is my genie from a bottle, and Rob Lowe’s my wish. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

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

I have a newsletter I send out twice a month, sometimes more if I’ve got something to say. I don’t push my books, but I do talk about my life. I’d love for everyone to check it out. Sign up is at carolynridderaspenson.com

I have several different cozy series. The Lily Sprayberry Realtor Cozy Mystery Series, The Chantilly Adair Psychic Medium Cozy Mystery Series (but I think my publisher is changing the series title), The Pooch Party Cozy Mystery Series, and The Holiday Hills Witch Cozy Mystery Series. I’ve got books in each coming out this year, and I’m always looking for ARC readers!

Thank you so much for having me!

About Carolyn Ridder Aspenson

Carolyn Ridder Aspenson writes sassy, southern cozy mysteries and featuring imperfect women with a flair for telling it like it is. Her stories focus on relationships whether they’re between friends, family members, couples, townspeople or strangers because ultimately, it’s relationships that make a story. Now an empty-nester, she lives in the Atlanta suburbs with her husband, two Pit Bull-Boxer mix dogs and two cantankerous cats, but you’ll often find her at a local coffee shop people watching (and listening), or as she likes to call it, plotting her next novel.

Find Carolyn on Facebook at Carolyn Ridder Aspenson Books Find Carolyn on BookBub at Carolyn Ridder Aspenson Visit Carolyn’s website and sign up for her newsletter at carolynridderaspenson.com

Connect with Carolyn on Facebook | Instagram | Website | Amazon | Bookbub

Editor’s Note: Thanks so much for the interview, Carolyn! And I’m so sorry for asking about cookies during Lent when you’ve given up sugar. I admire anyone who can give up sugar. I think I would last less than twenty-four hours if I tried it. LOL!

Cozy Mystery Author Interview

Cozy Mystery Author Interview | Jenna St James

I have another fun cozy mystery author interview for you today, this time with the lovely Jenna St. James. Grab a beverage, find a comfy chair, and have read below to see what Jenna has to say about writing, penguins, and cookies.

Interview with Jenna St. James

1 – What inspired you to write your books?

When I first started journaling and writing, there was a lot of chaos in my life, and I needed a way to express myself without getting thrown in jail (lol)…so I started therapy writing. From there, my first novel Picture Perfect Murder was written. I found it was easier to get my emotions down on paper than to verbally express them. Eventually I learned to curb the chaos and started writing cozies for the pure pleasure.

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

You get to use your brain to try and solve a puzzle…and you almost always have an awesome sidekick!

3 – Do you have any writing rituals?

I typically start my day at 2am, but I won’t let myself have coffee until around 5am.

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

Both! It’s like bread & butter or peanut butter & jelly. Although I will say sometimes I think I lean heavier on one more than the other depending on the book. I can usually pick up one of my books and tell you which one I went heavier on—plot or character.

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

What I like best about being an author is that I get to stay in the comfort of my home and tell people stories I hope they enjoy. My LEAST favorite part of being an author is marketing. As an Indie author, it’s like you have to have a doctorate in eight different fields. Marketing is not my forte, and I feel like sometimes I do myself a disservice. Because I’m constantly trying to read up on and implement ideas, I get behind on my writing.

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?”

LOL. I love cookies, cakes, pies, pretty much sprinkle sugar (fairy dust) on it, and I want to consume it! I love coconut, so cookies with coconut, chocolate, maybe pecans and a shot (or two) of bourbon or rum for flavor!! YUM!

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

His name is Pierre Penguin, and my favorite character, Tante Lulu from Louisiana, sent him to me. Pierre hands me a necklace of St. Jude. “Put it on. Tante Lulu says you’re the next hopeless cause she’s willing to help. Laissez le bon temps rouler!” Of course I readily agree! It’s not every day one of your favorite authors, Sandra Hill, decides to give you your own Cajun from her Cajun books series. LOL…I’m sure my James will understand.

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

I try not to take things too seriously. Like many people, my life has a tendency to be chaotic, and that stresses me out. So I try and tell myself to sit back and laugh through a lot of it. Also, I hope to be able to travel more so I can expand my writing settings within the next five years. Take my readers on different adventures in different parts of the world. And mostly, I’m thankful every day that I get to do this job.

Jenna St. James’ Books

Check out Jenna’s cozy mystery series—the Ryli Sinclair Mysteries, the Sullivan Sisters Mysteries, the Copper Cove Mysteries, and the Witch in Time Mysteries—and her Trinity Falls romantic comedy series.

About Jenna St. James

Jenna writes in the genres of cozy/paranormal cozy/ romantic comedy. Her humorous characters and stories revolve around over-the-top family members, creative murders, and there’s always a positive element of the military in her stories. Jenna currently lives in Missouri with her fiancé, step-daughter, Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever dog, Brownie, and her tuxedo-cat, Whiskey. She is a former court reporter turned educator turned full-time writer. She has a Master’s degree in Special Education, and an Education Specialist degree in Curriculum and Instruction. She also spent twelve years in full-time ministry.

When she’s not writing, Jenna likes to attend beer and wine tastings, go antiquing, visit craft festivals, and spend time with her family and friends. Check out her website at http://www.jennastjames.com/. Don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter so you can keep up with the latest releases! You can also friend request her on Facebook at jennastjamesauthor/ or catch her on Instagram at authorjennastjames.

Editor’s Note: Thanks so much for the interview, Jenna! I love that your penguin is named Pierre and hails from Louisiana!

Cozy Mystery Author Interview

Cozy Mystery Author Interview: Daphne McLean

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Today, I’m featuring an interview with Daphne McLean, the author of the Jennifer Temple cozy mystery series. After reading her Amazon bio, I can tell that she’s someone I would like to hang out with. After all, she lists French fries, chocolate, and snarky coffee mugs as some of her likes. Right up my alley!

Grab a snarky coffee mug of your own, fill it up with your favorite beverage, and sit back and read what Daphne has to say about writing, penguins, and cookies.

1 – What inspired you to write your books?

I began by writing children’s picture books. I have two little ones at home, and I read to them often. I published the book on my own, and it ignited a passion for writing and publishing that I didn’t even know I had! The premise of my story, Red Picket Fences, was thought of during one of the many late night feedings that I had with my first son. The story just marinated in my mind for a few years. I finally was able to organize my thoughts and get the story out last summer, Which is 5 years after the story seedling was planted.

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

I’m really into true crime. However, those stories can be very heavy at times. Cozy mysteries provide me with what I like to call “murder lite” I get my fill of intrigue and crime without all of the heavy emotions. I also love that many of them are set in small tight-knit communities. I live in a lovely little community that I’m grateful for, and so I love seeing that played out in the stories I read as well.

3 – Do you have any writing rituals?

I do! I always need a candle burning and a drink of some sort. Right now, it’s iced tea. I also like to create a visual board to plot.

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

Character. You can have a plot that’s well paced, well thought out, and with no loopholes and that won’t matter if the readers cannot connect with the main character.  I’ve had people tell me they couldn’t continue with a book before because they found the MC very unlikeable. Sneak in a couple of quirky but lovable supporting cast members and they might even forgive a plot hole or two.

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

As a stay-at-home mom of two little ones, the little time I get to myself every now and then is very important to me. I value it, and use it wisely. I’ve had a few readers who are also mothers say that I’ve given them time to relax and escape or they used their precious time alone to read my book, it sends me over the moon.

I’ll be honest, what I like least about being a writer is marketing my book. However, it’s a necessary evil. If I could just write and write and hand things off to be polished, published and pushed into the hands of readers, I would be a happy woman.

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?” 

Hands down a plain soft chocolate chip cookie. I’m typing in a coffee shop near cookies, and now I must buy one.

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

He followed me all the way home from the party last night to give me my sombrero back.

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

I’m just a typical mom, who is turning her passion for writing into a career. Much like my MC, Jennifer Temple, I also keep chickens. Aside from that and our love of true crime, that’s where our similarities end. I love to cook, and would never stake out a rumored mobster!

Get Daphne’s Books

Daphne McLean Image 2Pick up a copy of Red Picket Fences – the first book in the Jennifer Temple cozy mystery series – on Amazon.

 

Connect with Daphne

Daphne McLean ImageYou can connect with Daphne at Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Website

 

 

 

Thanks so much for being on the blog, Daphne! I love the fact that you keep chickens – very cool. You also have excellent taste in cookies. I’ve never met a soft chocolate chip cookie that I didn’t like.

Cozy Mystery Author Interview

Cozy Mystery Author Interview: Connie B. Dowell

Today, I’m featuring an interview with cozy mystery author, Connie B. Dowell. She’s the author of the Emma and Dessie Mysteries and the Millie Monroe Mysteries. She’s also written a book on how to get the words down when you’re a parent without childcare, a topic she knows well as a mom of preschoolers. And if all that didn’t keep her busy enough, she also hosts Book Echos, a podcast for authors.

You’ll want to hear what Connie has to say about writing, penguins and cookies, so grab a beverage and a snack, find yourself a comfy chair, and have a read below.

Interview with Connie B. Dowell

1 – You’ve previously published YA mysteries. What inspired you to start writing cozies? What differences / similarities do you see between the two?

I started out publishing historical mysteries aimed at a YA audience, but they were very much inspired by the cozy and traditional mysteries I grew up reading. The lovely thing about YA is that you can publish in any genre, because YA is about the life stage of the characters, not the genre. However, about the time, an idea for a contemporary cozy mystery series started percolating, I did some surveys of my audience. It turns out they were big cozy fans and not as many were YA—and these are the folks who love my books! So I’m retooling a lot of my packaging and marketing of these books for a historical cozy audience, but like most cozies, all my books remain teen-friendly in content. It’s come with a nice bonus that I can age my characters a little more rapidly and explore what college life was like for some of the first women to attend the University of Georgia in the 1920s.

There’s some difference in expectations for the two markets. YA tends to expect more romance elements, and my historical book 1 was very light on that, perhaps why it appealed more to adult cozy readers. Also, there’s some plot challenges with writing YA versus adult mysteries. You have to come up with reasons to give your characters enough independence to find clues and talk to suspects and witnesses.

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

I adore the combination of setting and puzzle. That’s what keeps me coming back to cozies and looking for cozies set in new and interesting places and around interesting activities.

3 – Do you have any writing rituals?

I do most of my writing with two preschoolers underfoot, so I can’t be too picky about rituals. Gotta grab the words while I can. What I do as a habit, though, is micro outline my scenes before I start writing. Then, I dictate the actual words. It took a long time to feel comfortable dictating, but it has made writing while watching the kids in the backyard much easier.

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

Character. Plot will pull me into a story but character will keep me there, and keep me coming back for more in the series.

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

I love seeing people engage with my stories and have fun in the whacky worlds I’ve come up with just out of my head.

My least favorite part of being an author is a lot of the little administrative tasks I end up doing, but It’s all part of doing the job I love.

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?”

Snickerdoodle, hands down. Best flavor: cinnamon. Best name. What could be cozier than a cookie called snickerdoodle?

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

Actually, penguin with a sombrero is one of my husband’s habitual doodles! So I’d assume he’d speak with Steve’s voice and say “Steve found a magic pencil.” Just like the episode of Spongebob. There’d probably be an animated tic-tac-toe and some sketchy cats coming in next.

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

I have a podcast for authors called Book Echoes where I feature author interviews and tips on all aspects of the writing life. New episodes on Wednesdays.

Years ago, I used to be a bookmobile driver in rural five-county area. It was a fun job for a grad student, and after hearing folks tell me multiple times that it sounded like the perfect inspiration for a cozy mystery series, I finally started work on the Millie Monroe Mysteries, launching in late February. It’s been great fun reliving my youth but with a murdery twist.

About Connie

Connie B. Dowell writes contemporary and historical cozy mysteries as well as nonfiction for writers. When not writing or wrangling preschoolers, she plays violin badly and bakes weird concoctions. She and her family live in Central Virginia where both adults drink far more coffee than is probably wise.

Find out more about Connie at her Website | Podcast | Facebook | Twitter

Editor’s Note: Thanks so much for the interview, Connie! How fascinating that you used to drive a bookmobile! I love snidkerdoodle cookies too, especially the ones my sister makes.

Cozy Mystery Author Interview

Cozy Mystery Author Interview: Summer Prescott

Today, I’m featuring an interview with cozy mystery author, Summer Prescott. She’s the author of several cozy mystery series including Cupcakes in Paradise Series, the Incredibly Sweet Series, and the Frosted Love Cozy Mysteries. The cupcakes and other sweet treats on the covers of Summer’s books always make my mouth water.

In addition to writing her own cozies, Summer also runs an indie publishing company. Grab a beverage and a snack and find out what Summer has to say about writing, penguins and cookies!

1 – What inspired you to write your books?

I’ve always loved writing and mystery is one of my favorite genres to read. I also love food, animals and hobbies, so when I discovered that Cozy Mysteries involved all of the above, I was super excited!

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

I love the relationships between characters, whether they’re family, good friends, coworkers, etc… There’s a sweetness and simplicity to Cozies which makes them a welcome escape from reality.

3 – Do you have any writing rituals?

Yes, I always have to have a cup of coffee at my side, and I usually wear fuzzy slippers, no matter what the time of year.

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

Both. Strong characters are essential, but the storyline has to be equally strong.

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

I love creating make believe worlds which transport readers into kinder spaces, even if it involves murder, lol. What I like least…hmm…that’s a tough one. I suppose what I like least about being an author is the business side of things that are involved in the production and publication of books. I’d much rather spend my time writing than doing marketing.

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?” 

Hahahahaha! No worries, I LOVE cookies! All of them! If I had to pick a favorite, I’d have to say either shortbread, or sugar cookies.

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

Come away with me and tell me stories and I will feed you tacos and margaritas.

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

I own Summer Prescott Books, an Indie publishing company, and have been fortunate to work with some very talented authors. The company functions as a launching point for gifted new Cozy Mystery authors, many of whom stay onboard for years. Patti Benning, Gretchen Allen, Allyssa Mirry, and Carolyn Q. Hunter are the current core writers at SPBP right now, but we’ve also had the pleasure of working with many other talented folks in short-term and boxed set arrangements.

Our commitment to quality and fostering good author relationships has helped to make us a healthy and happy company.

About Summer & Her Books

Summer Prescott is a USA Today and Wall Street Journal Best-Selling Author, who has penned nearly one hundred Cozy Mysteries, and one rather successful Thriller, The Quiet Type, which debuted in the top 50 of its genre. As owner of Summer Prescott Books Publishing, Summer is responsible for a combined catalog of over two hundred Cozy Mysteries and Thrillers. Mentoring and helping new Cozy writers launch their careers has long been a passion of Summer’s, and she has played a key role in the incredible success of Cozy writers such as Patti Benning and Carolyn Q. Hunter.

Summer is a doting mother to four grown children, and lives in Champaign, Illinois with her Standard Poodle, Elvis.

Connect with Summer on her Website | Summer Prescott Books Facebook Page | Twitter

Editor’s Note: Thanks so much for your interview today! I loved your answer to the penguin question. Tacos and margaritas sound like a great exchange for stories 🙂

Cozy Mystery Author Interview

Cozy Mystery Author Interview: Sarah Jane Weldon

10 Reasons(1)

Today I’m featuring an interview with cozy mystery author, Sarah Jane Weldon. Sarah is known within the cozy mystery author community as the founder of #nationalcozymysteryday which celebrates all things cozy mystery and takes place on Agatha Christie’s birthday, September 15th. She also coordinates a number of shared author promotions on BookFunnel, organizing collections of free books based around various cozy mystery themes. If you’re looking for a way to build your newsletter and network with other cozy mystery authors, Sarah’s BookFunnel promos are a great way to go about it.

Grab a beverage and a snack and sit back, and see what Sarah has to say about cozy mysteries, cookies, and penguins.

1 – What inspired you to write your books?

I was on the set of an Agatha Christie production for the BBC at the time and had recently come across NaNoWriMo and written my very first story in secret, thinking that no one would ever find it, let alone read it. It’s not going to make me rich anytime time soon, but it continues to sell a few copies each day without me doing anything with it.

It was around that time that I realised that the books I loved were called ‘cozies’ and so I started to do some investigating of my own, and thought I would try my hand at writing a story. That was ‘Dead on Doughnuts’ and I put it out under my own name, not thinking it would ever be read. Much to be horror, people started to download it and it was suddenly in the top 100 Amazon bestseller charts, at which point I realised that I needed to save up for some proper cover design and editing, so I unpublished it fast, saved up some funds by working as a cleaner in McDonald’s in between my other jobs, moved into a guesthouse room so that I could reduce my overheads and decided to become a full-time cozy mystery author. I’ve not regretted it one bit and I love being able to share my love of cozies with other readers and writers. I think I finally found my people! And my perfect job.  


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

I love that there is never a moment to get bored or stale. I’m always learning how to improve my craft, and I have stories set in more real-life worlds, as well as fantasy worlds. One minute my amateur sleuth is a teen working in a coffee shop, the next the sleuth is a sheep or unicorn. I draw inspiration from my travels and places I visit with my work. 


3 – Do you have any writing rituals?

One of the best things for me is that writing fits perfectly around my work as a professional school and cruise ship speaker and on film productions. My life is pretty chaotic, especially as I play different characters on set. I travel a lot and it’s difficult to get structure, especially living in a guesthouse or staying in different places each night. I have moments of being really busy, followed by moments of dead time when it’s quiet on set and I’m just sat around in between takes. That makes it really difficult to have rituals as I have to go with the flow. Some days we start filming at 4aam, other times it might be that we film all night. When I’m away I use that time to ‘refill the creative well’ as it were, to watch people, to see new places, and to be more social, and then once I’m home again, I tend to go back to being introverted and that’s when I like to get back to my writing. It’s a good balance in some ways. Eventually, I would love to have a forever home, with a dedicated space for doing my writing, and to start having rituals.  


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


That’s a tough call to make. As a reader myself I think I’m more drawn to the characters as I’m prone to stop reading if I don’t gel with a character. I’ve got a really terrible short term memory though, and I often fall asleep when I read, and then have to re-read that page again the following night. So I probably don’t follow and get caught up in solving the murder or dissecting the plot as much as some readers do.  The same if I’m watching a film or series on the television as I’ll always forgive a poor plot if I feel a connection to the characters.  


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

It’s funny. I was on set a few days ago and we did multiple takes of the same scene to the point where my mind had switched off and I was plotting my next murder mystery based on the characters and context around me. It was then that I realised just how much I was itching to get back to my writing, and how much the world had changed even in my lifetime.  When I was a kid, saying that you wanted to become an author would have got you ridiculed. It was on a par with saying that you wanted to become an astronaut and visit the moon!

But the invention of the internet, Amazon, and self-publishing means that I now have the honour of giving talks in schools and hearing that ten and eleven-year-olds have now published books of their own and are earning a living from them. It’s completely mind-blowing!

That’s what I love the most about being an author. Being able to make a change to the lives of others -whether that’s writing a story that cheers up a reader whose had a rubbish day at work, or encouraging teens to get into self-publishing, or using the royalties from page reads and book sales to send teens on environmental and STEM expeditions around the world. Not to mention how amazing it is when you get to meet the writer of a book on set, and see how it has been adapted for TV or film. That single idea in the writer’s head has the potential to impact on so many lives, in very different ways. Just think of all the lighting guys, costume designers, and actors who have employment because that one person felt compelled to share their story.

The thing I like the least is that there are simply not enough writing hours in the day, and I want to be so much more skilled than I am! I’m a newbie so I’ve a huge amount to learn still.     


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?”

Well, as a Brit I’m going to cheat a little and talk about biscuits rather than cookies, because I’m rather partial to a ginger nut.  I’m an ice swimmer, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in London, and a member of the Explorer’s Club in New York. Through my previous career as a medic, I got to visit a lot of different places as a researcher and went on a number of expeditions to extreme locations like the Arctic, Amazon, and desert.

The gingernut is the perfect biscuit for expeditions because it’s really solid, doesn’t melt or go off, and is perfect for dunking into a cup of tea without falling apart and leaving a soggy mess at the bottom of the cup. The sugar is great for energy, and ginger is perfect for travel sickness and dodgy tummies. One of the best things about ice swimming is that I have to keep my body at a minimum of 25% fat, so I eat a lot of things that are usually considered bad for you. I eat a lot of calories each day. My next big swim is 1km in a swimming costume in Antarctica so I’ll be very thankful for all the biscuits and cakes I’ve invested in!! 

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

I used to share a house with a lot of vets and we often had weird and wonderful creatures around the house, including penguins! Though never in a sombrero. I love animals and was quite involved with the local dog shelter and the zoo whilst living in Tbilisi in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia so all animals are welcome at my home. It’s the place where the stories of Noah’s Ark come from and there was a really bad flood and landslide one year, which meant that all the animals were just wondering around the city, including the lions, rhino, and bears. I was always taking in animals from the street especially when the weather was nasty. So, I reckon a penguin in a sombrero would probably ask me for a nice cold bath and a pina colada.  

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

Every Friday I share lots of free cozy mystery books on my website blog as part of Free Book Friday, so if you ever need a new book or want to try out some new authors, that’s a great place to start. I don’t think that we as readers appreciate the kindness of our cozy mystery authors enough, and I certainly have a lot more respect and gratitude towards authors now I know just what is involved in the production of a book and how many hours it takes.

Likewise, I don’t know if authors realise how much impact they have in making the world a better, more positive place through the stories they share.  The cozy mystery genre is filled with so many awesome people, it’s a real honour to be a part of it and to see it become more mainstream. My dream is to be able to walk into a book shop one day and to see a dedicated cozy mystery section, just like you would with romance and sci-fi books.

Sarah’s Cozy Mysteries

Sarah has a number of fun cozy mysteries that you’ll want to check out including Baa’d to the Bone, the Coffee Shop Mysteries, as well as the soon to be released Twelve Deadly Days of Christmas series. You can find out more about her books HERE.

About Sarah

Sarah Jane Weldon is a British cozy mystery author. On an average day, you’ll find her working on the set of a new film or television series, ice swimming in a remote location, or sat in her favourite fire-side chair plotting a character’s demise. 

Sarah isn’t a fan of her middle name ‘Jane’ (she prefers to be called Sarah) but readers were getting her mixed up with another person who wrote hot and steamy books, so she decided to add ‘Jane’ to help readers find her books.

Outside of her writing, Sarah is a lover of cats, and even her Italian Greyhound is more cat-like than your average dog.

Sarah is passionate about children’s literacy and regularly works with schools through Skype in the Classroom and School Speakers. She is a STEM Ambassador, and actively supports young people through the UK registered environmental and STEM education charity ‘Oceans Project’ which she founded with a small group of IDP children whilst working for the Ministry of Education and Science in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. In 2014, Microsoft Education named Sarah as a ‘woman changing the world through technology’ for International Women’s Day for her work with schools worldwide. 

A large percentage of Sarah’s book royalties directly supports Oceans Project’s work with disadvantaged young people, sending them on Earthwatch expeditions worldwide where they get to work one on one with sharks, coral reefs, and in the rainforest carrying out citizen science projects with leading experts in the field. (UK readers can support Oceans Project by shopping on Amazon Smile).

Sarah’s love for the water was recently filmed for a Channel 4 documentary series looking at her DNA and family history. Check it out on YouTube.

If you love cozy mystery books, you can join Sarah’s Free Book Friday newsletter which contains plenty of free cozies to keep you out of mischief for the weekend. Sign up on her website.

Sarah is the founder of #nationalcozymysteryday which takes place on Agatha Christie’s birthday on the 15th September, and is a celebration of all things cozy mystery. 

Connect with Sarah on her Website & Blog | Free Book Friday Newsletter | Amazon | BookBub | Facebook Cozy Mystery Explorer | Facebook Author Page | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | YouTube | Goodreads

Editor’s Note: Thanks so much for the interview, Sarah! I absolutely love gingernuts. They’re something I became addicted to while living in Scotland and New Zealand. Sadly, they aren’t as easy to find now that I’m back in the States.

Aspring Cozy Mystery Author Interview, Cozy Mystery Author Interview

Cozy Mystery Author Interview: Kelly Ethan

This is part of my series of interviews with aspiring cozy mystery authors. I thought it would be interesting to hear from folks who are in the throes of writing their first cozy mystery 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.

I’m delighted to be featuring Kelly Ethan today. Her first cozy mystery, The Pernicious Pixie and the Choked Word, is available for FREE when you sign up for her newsletter HERE. If you want to know more about her journey as a cozy mystery writer, grab yourself a snack and a beverage, sit back and find out what she has to say about writing, cookies, and penguins.

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

I’m married so turning to murder mystery was natural. In all seriousness, my family moved to Tasmania in Australia and the change of scenery sparked off some ideas and soul searching. Next thing I know I have a paranormal murder mystery idea and my Point Muse cozy mystery series was born.


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

The twists and turns of the whodunit plot. The close relationships of the people in the story and the small town setting appeal to me. I live in a very small town and seeing that reflected in a cozy mystery feels warm and welcoming.


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

I started writing paranormal romance years ago and was published with traditional style digital imprints in the United Kingdom and the Unites States. My Point muse cozy series will be my first foray into self-publishing.


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

I’m excited about reviews LOL. It’s a strange idea, but I want to know how much people love or hate my books 😉 I’m nervous about making a mistake in the process. With a traditional publishing model everything is done for you. But with self-publishing it stops with me.


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?

My current story I’m working on is The Cruel Crow and the Deadly Hex. It’s set in Point muse, Maine and is book four in the Point Muse series. This story deals with secrets my heroine’s grandmother is hiding and her super secret spy past from World War Two is coming back to stalk her. Chaos and Mayhem ensue and hexes abound. My heroine is strong, stubborn and addicted to hot chocolate and sweet pastries… I’m not sure where that came from.

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?”

Isn’t not liking cookies a crime? I’m a shortbread lover although a gooey chocolate chip cookie (or biscuit for those of us down under) comes a close second. I bake and those biscuits never stay in the biscuit barrel for long. We have a biscuit fairy in the house that consumes them by the bucket load. Not me I swear…


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

Someone’s murdered the unicorn and I’m next. He’s from the Penguin Mafioso and he’s delivering me a warning to back off.


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

I love chaos and mayhem and that shows in my writing. My stories are small town magic, mystery and mayhem with a large dose of humour through out. I’m a huge Whovian and Avengers fan and I hide my chocolate in the vegetable drawer in the fridge so my kids won’t eat it. They’d never think to look there .

About Kelly

Kelly Ethan’s world is small town magic, mystery and mayhem, with plenty of snarky laughs along the way.  

With an overactive imagination and a love of all things that go bump in the night, it was natural to write cozy paranormal mysteries, but she also writes paranormal romance. No matter the genre, she loves sarcastic heroines who save the day and solve the puzzle.

With a busy and chaotic household, writing is her outlet for madness. She lives in Australia and when not writing, can be found plotting her next fictional murder or chasing after the family’s ferocious hellhound.

You can connect with Kelly on her Website | Facebook | Twitter

Thanks for the interview, Kelly! We seem to have a biscuit/cookie fairy in our house too. That’s the only explanation I can think of for why they disappear so quickly.

Aspring Cozy Mystery Author Interview, Cozy Mystery Author Interview

Aspiring Cozy Mystery Author: Lisa Leoni

Poisoned by the Pier Graphics(4)

This is part of my series of interviews with aspiring cozy mystery authors. I thought it would be interesting to hear from folks who are in the throes of writing their first cozy mystery 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.

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

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

Writing cozies is a pretty recent development for me. I’ve been writing romance since I stumbled upon my first romance novel, just out of college. Outside of loving romance, I binge all sorts of true crime and crime drama media. I remember being a kid and sneaking reads of serial killer encyclopedias in bookstores (but trying not to crack the spine!). So if I love romance and murder, wouldn’t I want to write romantic suspense? Logic would think so, but the ideas never came, and I focused on contemporary romance.

I can’t recall how I stumbled upon what a cozy was (I wish I did), but I IMMEDIATELY knew it’s what I wanted to write. Humor, murder, getting to research all sorts of different topics, and some romance. It’s the perfect combination of my interests!

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

They’re happy little murder stories. When I say that to people who don’t read them, I get some weird looks, believe me. But I’m sure fans of cozies understand what I mean. I’m drawn to cozies for many of the same reasons I love reading/writing romance. They’re fun, have great characters, show women kicking butt and being brilliant, and have happy endings.

There’s a cozy movie series that gets the closest I’ve encountered to having all of my favorite things in a cozy: the Mystery 101 series on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Aside from those two being two of my favorite Hallmark actors, that series involves academia (I work in higher education), criminal psychology, writing fiction, and some romance, with the crime solving.

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

After trying to finish a complete first draft of a novel for more than 10 years (a lot of false starts and a lot of ideas), I visited Scotland for the first time in 2015 and found my muse. I started writing Scotland-set contemporary romance and got into Pitch Wars in 2017 as a mentee. I then signed with an agent and we’re working toward selling my debut. I’m thrilled to be represented by an agent and working toward selling my debut. I’m actively writing cozy mysteries and contemporary romance and plan to publish in both genres.

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

I want to know which characters the readers love and be able to share the worlds in my head with other people. These days, I’m really leaning into the common advice that an author should write the book they want to read. That’s exactly what I’m doing and I can’t wait to meet the kind of people who love these same ideas and characters as I do.

In terms of cozies, the thing I’m most nervous about is the murderer and motivation being easily figured out early in the story. As a reader, I get disappointed when I figure everything out early so I feel a lot of pressure around that as an author. Even when I figure out who the murderer is, I love to be surprised by their motivation as that’s revealed over the course of a book.

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?

I’m working on the first in a series that’s set in a small town in western Oregon. My sleuth is fun, lovingly snarky and has a love-hate relationship with her home town. She’s found herself back in her home town for the summer and it’s the longest she’s been there for more than a weekend since she left for college many years ago. It’s fun to watch her experience the town (and it’s quirky citizens) as an adult with more life experience. I’ve also woven in some nods to Scotland, which have me super excited.

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?”

I loooove cookies! Not as much as cake, but I like cookies more than ice cream, if I had to rank them. Mmmm cookies. Now I need to go bake some, BRB! Okay, I’m back with a plate of hot butterscotch oatmeal cookies. I love to microwave them so the chips are gooey. I also love frosted sugar cookies at Christmas (specifically using the recipe from my mom’s old Betty Crocker cookbook).

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

“I lost my passport coming back from Mexico. Can I use your computer to order a replacement?”

No one can escape government bureaucracy, not even penguins. He visited me because he saw my cats on Instagram and wanted to meet them.

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

When I’m not writing, watching Hallmark movies or listening to true crime podcasts, I coach authors on social media and have my own podcast called Social Media Deconstructed. I’m also in early stages of launching a true crime podcast.

About Lisa

Lisa Leoni is a cozy mystery and contemporary romance writer who spends much of her time daydreaming about her next trip to Scotland and ways to murder people in her books. By day, she works in higher education and spends her evenings being herded by two ginger cats. She’s currently serving as president of her local Romance Writers of America chapter and was selected as a 2017 Pitch Wars mentee.

You can connect with Lisa on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Podcast | Cat Instagram

Thank you so much for participating, Lisa! I love your cat’s Instagram account – so cute 🙂 And Betty Crocker is such a great cookbook. My go-to apple crisp recipe comes from there.