Joann lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. A lover of small towns, and nature, her cozy mysteries are the reflection of this. Her series, Pepperville Stories, Piney Falls Mysteries, Emory Bing Mysteries and the Charming Mysteries are written in the 1900s, and one series even has a dual timeline! You can find out more about her books from Joann’s website, purchase her books on Amazon and follow her on Facebook.
What made you decide to write a Historical Cozy?
I’ve always had an interest in history. What fascinates me the most is the unknown: What was an ordinary day like in 1900? Did they have the same sense of humor? Did teenagers have attitudes? So often, what’s recorded in history is more about putting their best foot forward, or giving very perfunctory information. I decided to write a story from the viewpoint of a woman, new to this country, who is actually smarter than her husband.
Tell us what time frame your stories are in and what setting or world?
My story is a dual timeline. The first timeline occurs between 1900 and 1922. The second one is present day. They both take place in the same region, the Pacific Northwest, or specifically, the western Oregon coast.
Who is your protagonist? Tell us a bit about them and why they were chosen.
In the early time frame, Fiona Scheddy is a farm girl who is swept off her feet by an American man. She has grandiose ideas about the country she’ll be entering and instead, finds herself alone in New York City. She is fearless and curious about this new life. That’s both what drives her and what damages her.
The modern day protagonist, Lanie Anders, embodies the modern business woman. She is successful in her career and driven, but also very lonely. She has purposely never had a serious relationship because she worries it will get in the way of her career. The two women are both alike in that they are driven and damaged by their ambition.
What sets your mysteries apart from other cozies?
My stories are a product of a life lived in small towns. I spent most of my life in the middle of the country (USA) where we had to drive two hours to the closest Starbucks. People are odd, but there’s no avoiding them because you don’t have options. Your dentist who talks about his collection of goat’s feet is the same guy who coaches your kid’s soccer team. Even if you changed dentists (to the other one in town) it’s likely you would find yourself in the same situation. Those are the stories are fertile ground for my mysteries.
How much research do you do to create your story, and how much do you include in your books?
For Welcome to Piney Falls, I did about six months of research. I was planning to do more, but that’s when everything shut down. I wasn’t even able to access library materials online, so that’s where I left it. For the third book in that series that takes place in 1940, I did about five months of research. I would love to spend more time, but I need to keep the books coming!
Do you feel the crimes committed in historical cozy are very different from a contemporary cozy?
It really depends on the author. A lot of murders (in real life as well as fictional) take place because emotions take the place of rational thought. That’s something that hasn’t changed through time. That being said, cyber crime has really taken off in cozies. I think the motives at issue are still the same, though.
I love the idea of a dual timeline, and can’t wait to start reading Joann’s books. Be sure to add them to your list as well.