Agony of the Leaves, #13 in the Tea Shop Mystery series
When tea shop owner Theodosia slips away from serving tea and scones at the Neptune Aquarium, she discovers the body of a man, tangled in a net, in the vast Ocean Wall exhibit. EMTs say the man drowned, but Theodosia spots defensive wounds. Though police aren’t keen on her theory, Theodosia chases down a raft of suspects that include a shady lawyer, extravagant lady restaurateur, and aquarium board member.
Postcards from the Dead, #10 in the Scrapbook Mystery series
As a Mardi Gras parade rolls through New Orleans, Kimber Breeze, KBEZ-TV's news anchor is strangled and hung from a hotel balcony. Carmela, who was next in line to be interviewed by Kimber, is horrified. But she soon discovers the nightmare isn't over, because someone is leaving spooky postcards for her -- signed by the very dead Kimber!
Stake & Eggs, #4 in the Cackleberry Club Mystery series
A grisly murder in a blinding snowstorm leaves the townspeople of Kindred badly shaken. And right in the middle of the Fire and Ice Festival, inquiring minds want to know -- will Suzanne and the ladies of the Cackleberry Club dare to pursue this creepy killer?
An Interview with Author Laura Childs
Socrates’ Book Review Blog and Socrates’ Cozy Café would like to welcome author Laura Childs to our cozy reading corner. Laura is the New York Times bestselling author of three different mystery series – Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbooking Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries.
Let the questions begin . . .
Who is the greatest influence in your writing career?
There are a couple of authors that I really admire. One is James A. Michener and the other is Stephen King. About 20 years ago, I got hold of a book Michener had put together called Writer’s Handbook. He included actual handwritten and typewritten pages complete with his corrections, thoughts, and scrawled notations. That’s when I got my first inkling that this novel writing business might be harder than it looked. Then, more recently, Stephen King did a book called On Writing. I picked up quite a few tips from that book, too.
As a child, did you read mysteries?
When I was a kid that’s all I did was read mysteries! Nancy Drew, Judy Bolton, the Hardy Boys, you name it. I was also the kid who told creepy ghost stories around the campfire at night and snuck into the cemetery on a dare. I started writing horror stories (The Vampire’s Revenge) and mysteries when I was around 10 and sold my first story at age 15.
Do you have any favorite authors or books to recommend?
My absolute favorite author is John Sandford. His Prey series featuring Lucas Davenport just can’t be beat. His plots are like riding on top of a freight train and his colloquial dialogue makes you chuckle and gasp, and breathes life – both comedic and sinister – into his characters.
How do you keep three different series going at once? Do you ever get confused?
I have no problems balancing 3 different series. I was CEO of my own marketing firm for 20 years and had to keep the creative campaigns and branding efforts straight for between 15 and 20 clients at any given time. Yes, I get confused – but never about writing!
I’m sure this is an unfair question, but I’ll ask anyway. From the books you’ve written, do you have a favorite? Do you have a favorite series or character?
My favorite book is always the one I’m working on at the time. For instance, right now, I’m writing Steeped in Evil and it has a really shocking opening (because I always drop a dead body in the first chapter!) And I have to admit, I’m very much in love with my Tea Shop Mysteries and I’m crazy about Theodosia and Drayton, the two main characters in that series.
Do you outline a book before you begin? Do you know who did it from the beginning or are you as surprised as the readers are?
Oh yes, I do a very tight outline. It starts with a large sheet of paper where I do a time line, determine characters, work up character interactions, and add a whole bunch of interesting situations. Then I transfer those jottings to my computer and take my outline up to about eighty pages. Once that feels right, I go back to chapter 1, start writing, and write all the way through.
What about each series? Is there a certain direction you plan to go with each one?
When I get to the middle of writing a book, I start to get a little tingle as to how the next book in that series might unfold. But that’s about it. No master plan, just hoping for the best. Kind of like real life!
How long does it take you to write a book?
I can write a book in about 5 months – 4 if I’m really pushed. But that’s writing for 8 hours a day, 4 or 5 days a week. It’s very hard to sustain that type of output! You go a little brain dead after a while.
How did you feel when your first book was published? What was your first published work?
When I attended my first Mystery Writers of America Symposium in 1999, I told myself that if I could get just one paperback book published, that would be the fulfillment of all my dreams. A year and half later, Death by Darjeeling was published and I was ecstatic. But I clearly needed to dream bigger, so I did. Now I’ve had 28 books published (9 on the New York Times bestseller list), with 3 more books on the way and another 9-book contract in the works. Hey, life is good.
What upcoming books can we look forward to seeing from you?
There are so many delicious way to kill a person, so there will be lots more books. Sweet Tea Revenge (Tea) pubs in March 2013, Gilt Trip (Scrapbook) pubs in October 2013, and Eggs in a Casket (Cackleberry) pubs in January of 2014.
Thank you so much, Laura, for visiting with us today. We look forward to reading more of your wonderful books!
BOOK GIVEAWAY!!!! (Open to All!)
Now, for a book giveaway. Would you like to win an autographed hardcover copy of Postcards from the Dead by Laura Childs for your own? Thanks to author Laura Childs, I have one copy to offer.
To enter fill out the form below and follow these simple rules:
1) The contest runs from midnight (est), February 5th to midnight (est) on February 12th.
2) Entrants must leave a valid email address to enter the giveaway.
3) Anyone can enter - international too!
4) For an extra entry - follow this blog either through GFC or subscribe through email. Yes, longtime followers count, just tell me how you follow.
5) For an extra entry - follow this blog on Twitter.
6) For an extra entry - befriend me on Goodreads.
7) For an extra 2 entries blog about this contest on your blog.
8) For an extra 2 entries, check out the post for this book at my Socrates' Cozy Cafe blog and comment on it.
9) For an extra 2 entries, tweet about this giveaway.
I will notify the winner once one is chosen by Rafflecopter. The winner will have 48 hours to claim their book or a new winner will be chosen.
Good luck everyone!
a Rafflecopter giveaway