A Wednesday Reading Plus How It All Began

My very mini library tour ends on Wednesday with a stop at the Sloatsburg (NY) Public Library. I’ll be reading a passage from Murder, by George and will answer questions from the audience. I paid a call to Sloatsburg last year for All Things Murder and enjoyed the evening very much. I look forward to this return visit!

The readers I met at the South Windsor and New City libraries posed interesting, informed questions about the Veronica Walsh mystery series, the publishing process, and, well, me. Recognizing material for future blog posts when I see it, I made a list of the questions. Today I’ll answer the first I was asked by both groups:

How did you become a cozy writer?

Though I enjoyed writing stories when I was a kid and took a Fiction Writing class in college to satisfy a Fine Arts requirement, I didn’t dream of being a writer when I “grew up.”

In the early 1990’s, I was stuck in a boring, routine job when an idea for a story (about two friends who fall in love – not very original, and the result wasn’t terrific) came to me one day. Then another idea came, and another, and I kept writing. I couldn’t not write. Writing became a source of fulfillment and happiness and, over time, I developed a strong desire for an audience.

Fast forward to the late 2000’s and a story I wrote about the theft of a letter written by George Washington. In one rejection letter I received, an agent stated that the book was a cozy mystery. I liked the phrase, but I didn’t think of my murder-free story as a mystery. After Googling “cozy mystery” (or did I Yahoo it?), I paid a trip to my library, took a tour of the mystery section, and checked out Carrot Cake Murder, from Joanne Fluke’s bestselling Hannah Swensen series.

I ate it up, so to write.

I started catching up on Fluke’s series, while also discovering the work of Mary Daheim, Karen MacInerney, Ralph McInerny, and M.C. Beaton. Recalling the Bobbsey Twins books I read as a child, I realized I loved all things cozy. I enjoyed the mysteries, the characters, and the series aspect of the genre (though it was the work of non-mystery author Jan Karon that first sparked my desire to create a series).

Once I had found my writing niche, I focused on creating the characters, setting, and mystery that would become All Things Murder.

I’ll tell you more about that later – stay tuned!

 

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