Hi Debbie. I'm excited about BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE and looking forward to talking to you about it, but before we talk about your new book, I'd like to know why you write. Is it a job for you? Do you love the process? Or is there something else that motivates you?
Do you have specific readers in mind when you write, such as friends or family? Or a specific group of people, such as women readers?
No, I can’t say that I have any particular group in mind. I assume my cozy mystery writing will appeal to women of a more mature age, but what I write is what I feel. Since I write different types of books, I’m sure they will appeal to different audiences.
When did you first start writing fiction and what got you started?
I’ve been asked this question before, and I always say that I’ve been writing since I learned how. Recently, I came across some old material from my college days back in the 80’s. I had written complete manuscripts in notebooks and typed some of them on an electronic typewriter. As I look through it, I realize that the material is amateurish because I’ve grown as a person and a writer since then, but I may put some of it on computer one day and edit it As far as how I actually got started writing, it was a creative and much enjoyable hobby since childhood. I was a great reader, and I was motivated by the authors I read. It was my dream to publish one day, and I am thrilled that I have achieved that goal.
Do you write novels only or do you also write other forms such as short fiction or poetry?
I write articles and short stories in addition to novels. I’ve been published in pet magazines in print and online and am a member of the Cat Writer’s Association. I also have several short stories in anthologies ranging from mystery to science fiction, fantasy, and horror.
Is it hard to find the time and the discipline for your writing?
To a degree. I’m an early riser, and I find it more productive for me to carve out an hour or so to write or edit in the morning before I have to get ready for my full-time job. However, I also like to exercise early and then there are emails and other social media and marketing stuff to deal with, so I sometimes have to move some things to after work. Generally, I am too tired to do much work at night. My husband is understanding of the time I need to write, but I try to find time to also spend with my family. My daughter is nearly a teen, so she is more independent now and that makes it a bit easier.
Do you outline your books first or do you let your plots come to you along the way?
I start with an idea for the plot and characters, but they grow and change as I write. I keep very minimum outlines, usually just brief character sketches. Most of it is in my mind and, as I explained, I let the writing flow without major editing until I’m done. It’s a somewhat subconscious method but very creative, and I often surprise myself with the results.
Do you revise much?
Absolutely. I could edit forever, but I do keep the basic characters and plot. I just clean up and tighten things, add research, fact check, etc.
Do your characters ever change your stories in ways you hadn't expected?
All the time. I ended up murdering the person I had chosen to be the killer in one book, but it worked out as a nice plot twist. I write character-driven plots, so my characters definitely lead my stories.
Are your characters drawn from people you know?
Yes and No. I feel a bit of me is in each character, and some have similarities to people I have known, but most of them are unique.
What are your favorite novels/authors and how have they influenced your writing?
I used to read a lot of cozy mysteries and other series especially those featuring cats. I loved Carole Nelson Douglas’ Midnight Louie books and Shirley Murphy Rouseeau’s Joe Grey mysteries. When I was in my teens and early twenties, I went through a gothic romance stage where I read Phyllis Whitney, Victoria Holt, and other authors who were popular at that time. Now I read a variety of different books by debut as well as popular authors. My favorite current authors are Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, and Mary Higgins Clark. I look for books that are suspenseful, include a nice romance and also a good twist, and basically those are the types of books I like to write.
If you could put a famous literary character in one of your novels, who would it be? And why?
Maybe Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. I loved that movie and book and read all the Oz books as a child. Dorothy is a real explorer. All characters in my book take journeys, whether they are physical or emotional ones and they usually find the answers within themselves, as Dorothy did. I don’t know if her appearing in an adult novel would work, but I like her spunk and determination which matches Alicia’s.
Your books are “cozy” mysteries. What drew you to that genre?
Not all my books are cozies. My self-published book is a paranormal romance, and I just finished writing a psychological thriller. However, I enjoy writing cozies because I like including pets, especially cats in my books. I also don’t feel comfortable writing extremely violent or explicit sex scenes.
Tell us a little about your newest book. First, what's the title.
My second Cobble Cove mystery is called BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE.
Tell us something about the plot, without spoilers, of course.
The book picks up two years after the first one but can be read as a standalone. It takes place in December, and I include some holiday scenes. I also include three crimes; burglary, kidnapping, and murder. It’s the reader’s job to solve them and enjoy some of the cozy scenes such as a library cat story time and a visit to a cat café. Some of the story takes place in New York City near the holidays, but most of it takes place in quaint Cobble Cove. The main characters from the first book, A STONE’S THROW, are included, but I have added some additional ones such as two college students, several younger children, and baby twins.
Who is your favorite character in BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE and why do you like him or her?
I like all my characters, but there are a few, besides Alicia and John, who I think really stand out. I find Pamela is intriguing because she’s not your typical wealthy woman. She’s very generous, and she has a wide variety of interests. I also especially like Mac. He’s wise but old-fashioned, and I love his sayings. Gilly is outspoken and a lot of fun. She’s a perfect friend for Alicia. Although Sneaky, the cat, and Fido, the dog, play minor roles in both Cobble Cove mysteries and are depicted as pets without human characteristics or voices, Sneaky has recently created his own blog that can be viewed at https://sneakylibrarycat.wordpress.com.
On the flip side, who is your least favorite character in BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE and why don't you like him or her?
That would definitely be the killer/kidnapper for obvious reasons, but I don’t want to give that person away.
Is BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE part of a series? If so, can we expect more to follow?
Yes, it’s the second book of my Cobble Cove mysteries, although each book can be read as a standalone. I am hoping to write at least two more of them, but it depends on how they are received and if I get caught up on other projects.
Thank you so much for visiting with us on my blog. BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE sounds like a wonderful book. Before you go, please tell us where it can be purchased?