First off, a big thank you to Sara. She took time out of her vacation to answer our questions and send her infermation to me. But that’s how Sara is, giving back to the writing community. This is apparent when you listen to her podcast too. She hosts Mystery Books Podcast an the Wish I’d known then podcast with Jami Albright.
Sara is a native Texan, and her years as a military spouse gave her plenty of material to use in her books. Sara writes the Ellie Avery series, On the Run series, Murder on Location and High Society Lady Detective series. You can find her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, or BingeBooks. Be sure to visit her website to explore all her books.
Let’s find out more about Sara’s Historical Cozy Mysteries…
What made you decide to write a Historical Cozy?
I love escaping to a simpler time when there weren’t cell phones or 24-hour news cycles. And for the mystery aspect of writing historical cozies it makes my sleuth, Olive Belgrave, rely on her “little grey cells,” as Poirot would say, since forensic investigation was in its infancy.
Tell us what time frame your stories are in and what setting or world?
The High Society Lady Detective series is set in the early 1920s. The first book, Murder at Archly Manor, takes place in 1923 in London. During the series, Olive solves cases in grand London townhouses and at stately homes in the English countryside. In the future, she’ll do some international travel too!
Who is your protagonist? Tell us a bit about them and why they were chosen.
Olive Belgrave is a young woman with an aristocratic background, but her family doesn’t have much money (something many genteel families faced in the 1920s) but she’s determined to make her own way in the world. However, her lack of business skills such as shorthand and touch-typing means she has a hard time finding work. But then her aunt asks for Olive’s help in checking into the background of her daughter’s suitor. Olive’s intuition and determination mean that she doesn’t give up her pursuit of the truth, even when a murder occurs. Once she sorts the truth from the lies, Olive realizes she’s fallen into work she’s uniquely suited for. Her connections with the upper crust, who are often reluctant to consult a private detective, give her a client base of people who are eager to engage a discreet “lady sleuth” when problems arise.
What sets your mysteries apart from other cozies?
I love research and sprinkle interesting details about historical people and events throughout my books. Often a tiny detail becomes a plot point or even the basis for a book. Setting and sense of place are also important to me. I love to create a vivid setting that lets the reader experience the place as if they were there. And, last but certainly not least, I love a good puzzle and try to make every mystery twisty and surprising.
How much research do you do to create your story, and how much do you include in your books?
I read lots of books about the 1920s and include details that I think are interesting or that spark an idea for a plot or red herring. For instance, when I learned that people who had asthma during the time period were often “treated” with cigarettes containing herbs, including atropine, well, that had to go in a book!
Do you feel the crimes committed in historical cozy are very different from a contemporary cozy?
No, I don’t think the crimes are different, but the motives are. Things that wouldn’t cause any distress today could be a motive for murder one hundred years ago. For instance, having a child out of wedlock would have been a scandal in the early 1920s. Even divorce wasn’t so common then. Situations like these could be motives for murder, which would be a stretch in a contemporary cozy.
A big thank you to Sara and all the wonderful Historical Cozy Mystery authors who were so gracious to let me ask a few questions to share with you. This ends the series on Historical Cozy Mysteries. But hang onto your brooms! Our next series is about those Witchy Writers!