When did you first realize you wanted to become a Writer/author?
I’ve always loved to write, but at first I went about it more practically. At the University of Missouri, I studied journalism. After graduation, I worked as an advertising copywriter for Minute Maid Lemonade, Office Max, and Mrs. Paul’s fish sticks.
But I always loved to read. And I think when you’re a big reader, it makes you want to try writing a novel. At least, that’s what happened to me. I started my first novel in 2000, wrote three that didn’t sell, and then sold to Dorchester Publishing in 2008.
Where do you get your ideas for your book?
From life, really. That may sound funny coming from a Southern cozy mystery writer. Although come to think of it, I have contemplated murder a few times in traffic or when dealing with my extended family. But, really, ideas come from living life. The funny little moments make the best book moments.
What kind of things do you enjoy when not writing?
As always, I’m a huge reader. I’ll read several books per week. I also like cooking, traveling, taking my kids to fun places, walking the dog, and going to Cardinal baseball games.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
Right now, I’m at 15 novels, and 12 short stories/short story collections. My favorite is always the one I’m working on right now! But if I had to pick, I’d say the first book in the Southern Ghost Hunter mysteries holds a special place in my heart. It’s called Southern Spirits and it’s actually free right now on all the major ebook vendors.
Do you have any suggestions to help others who have a passion for writing?
Yes. Do it! It’s a wonderful way to completely immerse yourself in another world. It can also be a great way to make a living.
What do you think makes a great story?
I think it all comes down to character. You have to care about the people in the story before you care about what happens to them.
Which Writer/Authors inspire you?
Elizabeth Peters made me want to write mysteries. I just love her Amelia Peabody series. In fact, every once in awhile, I’ll read the entire series from first book to last, and it’s always even more amazing than I remembered. I also really like Charlaine Harris, Rhys Bowen, and Anne Rice.
What are you working on at the moment?(optional)
I’m writing the sixth book in the Southern Ghost Hunter mysteries, called (for now) Murder on the Sugarland Express. It’s an homage to the Agatha Christie-style murder mysteries I grew up reading and it’s so much fun to write. I came up with the idea after having a ball with Deader Homes and Gardens, which is the fourth book in the series, and an homage to the Southern gothic mysteries I grew up reading. Readers can enjoy it for the story, but fans of the genre will find all of the little hidden Easter eggs.
What genre are your books?
I write small town Southern cozies with a twist. They’re very warm, character-driven stories with a touch of spooky and lots of suspense.
What drew you to the genre you write?
Mysteries are so much fun to read, and to write. And I’ve always loved ghost stories. So why not combine them?
Which Actor/Actress would you like to see portraying the lead character from your most recent book?(any book you like)
Hmm…I’d say Reese Witherspoon. She’s cute, spunky, and not afraid to get the job done.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I’m happy to say writing is my full-time job.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Making what’s in my head match what’s on the page.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded Writer’s block?
That’s tough. There’s nothing you can do, except turn off the internet, turn off the distractions, sit down at the computer, and write through it. It’s not glamorous or easy, but it works!
Do you read much, and if so who are your favorite Authors or genres?
I read a ton. My favorite genres are cozy mystery, sci fi romance, historical romance, and biographies. Some non-fiction as well, like the book: Stiff, which is what happens to bodies after people donate them to science. I go for quirky, interesting books. I think you need to read a lot in order to be prolific when you want to write a lot. Reading frees up the words, if that makes sense.
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
I’m not sure how long Southern Spirits will be free in ebook, but if it’s still free when this interview goes live, your readers should check it out.
Here’s one link that lists all the vendors:
How can Readers discovery more about you and your work?(please provide proper links)
Here are some links to get you started:
Newsletter, where I give away books: http://eepurl.com/cdIn41
Link to a free book (Southern Ghost Hunter mysteries book 1):
Link to a second free book (Accidental Demon Slayer series, book 1):
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview 😊