Happy Tuesday Folks,
Well, I have a treat for you...
Mystery author, Laura Childs, agreed to do an email interview with me and so I have the pleasure of introducing her to you.
I've mentioned her novels on my blog before, and I recently (oh a few weeks ago, I guess) finished reading number 11 in her Tea Shop Mystery series, The Teaberry Strangler. Her mysteries are fun and "cozy", so you can sip your tea and go sleuthing at the same time.
Laura Childs is the New York Times Bestselling Author of the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbooking Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries.
So, folks, here's the interview I did via email with Laura Childs:
Me: What made you go from marketing into writing novels – specifically mystery novels?
Laura: I was CEO/Creative Director of my marketing firm for more than 15 years, so the time was ripe for a change. Since I’d already written professionally and had a love for all things mysterioso, I figured I should give mystery writing a shot. Luckily, it all worked out!
Me: What made you choose the various locales you did for each of your three series?
Laura: The Tea Shop Mysteries are set in the historic district of Charleston for a number of reasons - it’s highly atmospheric, filled with history and mystery, and is home to the Charleston Tea Plantation. The plantation is something like two hundreds years old, so a perfect tie-in!
The Scrapbooking Mysteries are slightly edgier books that take place in New Orleans. My main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is always getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. New Orleans is perfect because you’ve got your above-ground cemeteries, wanna-be vampires, and the madness that is Mardi Gras!
The Cackleberry Club Mysteries are set in Kindred, which is a fictional town in the Midwest. I kept if purposefully vague so everyone could see a little bit of their home town in the setting and characters. In this series, three forty-plus women who have all lost their husbands run a cozy little café called the Cackleberry Club.
Me: Where do you come up with the recipes you include at the back of your books?
Laura: They tend to be my mom’s recipes, a few from my aunt, and sometimes a friendly tea shop owner shares a recipe with me. I think the recipes add authenticity. When you read about Golden Monkey Yunnan Tea, Angel Biscuits, or Chicken Bog, you're just naturally curious about these things and want to know more. Plus, readers tell me there’s something very satisfying about reading the story, then making the chowder or scones. There’s a kind of “interactivity” at work.
Me: Are all your characters pure inspiration or are they based on real people?
Laura: All authors borrow dribs and drabs of persona from various people we know. Of all my characters, Drayton (Tea Shop Mysteries) is a slightly more posh version of a very fussy art director I once worked with.
Me: If you could actually meet any of your characters in person, which ones would you want to meet and why?
Laura: I’d love to travel to England with Theodosia and Drayton and do a tea tour through the Cotswolds. And who wouldn’t want to celebrate Mardi Gras with Carmela and Ava! Those ladies are wild!
Me: What do you like best about writing mysteries?
Laura: I’m a bit of a control freak, so I love being able to control my characters and their situations. Of course, sometimes they go a little off track (all story lines are fluid!) so that gets bizarrely interesting.
Me: Your 11th Tea Shop Mystery was just released. Are you planning to write more books about Theodosia and the gang?
Laura: Absolutely. I’m almost finished with SCONES & BONES and then I’m under contract for 3 more books. Quite honestly, I don’t think I’ve even scratched the surface on the permutations of tea and crazy murders those characters can get pulled into.
Me: What piece of advice for writing has been most helpful to you?
Laura: Grab people by the throat from the get-go. Jump directly into the murder and, for heaven’s sake, don’t clutter up your first chapter with too much back story.
Me: Do you have any “writing words of wisdom?”
Laura: My writing philosophy is a lot like Nike. Just do it. Sit down, sip a little Diet Coke, develop a story outline, then just keep chipping away at the writing. You don’t need personal assistants, incense, feng shui, or anything remotely tricky!
Find out more about Laura Childs
Thank you so much, Laura, for doing this! I appreciate it :-)
Have A Tea-Terrific Tuesday, Everyone!