As spring warms into summer, it’s time to relax and spend time outside, around the pool or beach or on your family vacation. And that means for us readers, it’s time to stock up on books! Well, I’ve got one that is just perfect; it’s full of mysteries by twenty-one fantastic authors. Some you meet as we worked together for our Christmas anthology, but now we’re planning our Mid-Summer Anthology and it’s the perfect time for you to hear once again from the authors and pre-order your book.
I’m thrilled to join with the following authors to bring you our newest anthology Mysteries, Midsummer Fun and Murders.
R.B. Marshall, Carly Winter, Cate Lawley, Paula Darnell, Phillipa Nefri Clark, Ellen Jacobson, Wendy Meadows, Patti Larsen, Erin Scoggins, Hillary Avis, Daisy Linh, Rimmy London, Cathy Tully, Joann Keder, Benedict Brown, Michele Pariza Wacek, Gayle Leeson, Connie B. Dowell, Megan Mayfair, Catherine Coles and me.
From now until our release on June 21, 2022, I will be interviewing the authors, giving you sneak peeks about their mysteries in the anthology and plenty of other fun opportunities we have planned for the release.
But before the release, you are going to want to pre order your copy! Not only will you get it at the lowest price of 99 cents, but you will also get a fun addition that the authors put together for our readers; a recipe book of great summer salads.
We are also doing something extra special for our potential readers; we’ve put together an exciting package with over 30 prizes to win. Ereaders, gift cards, signed copies of books, ebooks, audio books, the list goes on. And you can check out the list AND sign up to win the Mysteries, Midsummer Sun & Murder anthology prize pack by clicking on the box below.
So there it is; pre order your book and join our fantastic giveaway. And then watch for the upcoming post to meet our authors.
Karen and I started working together on my very first book, 9 years ago, and it has been a joy to work with her from day one. I found Karen on Fiverr.com under the name of fuzzym and fell in love with her colorful, eye catching covers. It didn’t take long for the two of us to get a feeling of how we work and we soon had the first cover ready for the Citrus Beach Series. Karen listened to what I wanted to accomplish, gently steered me in the right direction when I was total wrong and before long we had more covers ready to show off my mysteries. Now, when I need a new cover, I simple give her a few guides and let her work her magic. And every time, I never have a moment of hesitation or worry if the cover is going to work.
Let’s find out a bit more about Karen and her work process...
What 3 questions do you ask a writer before you start their cover?
It’s different for each author because some come to me with a complete idea of what they want, and others come with a blank slate. I generally ask about the size first because that informs the shape of the images I am creating. I would also ask if they had a style they love. It’s smart to come to me with a few covers that caught your eye. That helps me get an idea of your aesthetic. The third thing I ask about is the genre. Mystery has a different look from Kidlit or ChickLit. I will match that style, so audiences recognize the genre from the cover.
I see you also write children’s books. How did you get started?
I like the whimsy of books for children. The themes are wholesome and fun. They lend themselves to more fantastical settings and the characters can be animals which I love. I write a little bit of everything, but children’s books are where you get to have fun.
What is your favorite genre to create covers for?
Cozy Mystery. The covers always tell a story. I like to add a zillion little details to the covers and they are a creative collaboration with the author. The colors tend to be brighter than a mystery novel and the art is slightly more sophisticated than the kidlit covers. They have a nice balance to them.
What trends do you see with covers, especially in the Cozy Mystery Genre?
There are a few trends. The covers either have a domestic scene like a bakery or a boutique with a clue to the murder on the cover, or an elegant landscape or your main character off to one side with a scene from the book playing out behind them. I’m not going to bore you with talk about fonts, but they tend to have the author’s name centered on the bottom. The Titles vary but as a rule tend to use a brush stroke style with a sans serif underneath it. White is popular for titles and a heavy drop shadow doesn’t hurt. Cats or pets on the cover almost as if the pet were the protagonist is hot right now.
What, in your opinion, are the essential elements of a good cover?
Clean, legible fonts are the backbone of any cover. The cover picture elements should overlap to create depth. If everything has a space around it, the image appears flat. Composition for me normally follows the idea of the golden triangle. That’s a fancy way of saying I move things around until it feels right. It should also follow the rules of the genre it is in. Mystery novels do not look like romance covers for a reason and that reason is marketing.
Describe your working space
I live in a one-bedroom, so my living room is my office. I have two workspaces. There’s an HP-all-in-one on a corner desk when I am feeling professional but for the most part I sit on my sofa, put my laptop on a pillow with a picture of a cheetah on it and work while I listen to podcasts. Sitting crisscross applesauce is the key to good art.
On a typical day, how much time do you spend working on a cover?
When I begin work on a cover, it goes in stages. So, the first day it maybe an hour or two for some concept sketches. I will draw out three to four thumbnails for new clients. Once the client had a layout they like, I can spend 3-6 hours on a cover backdrop. I will check in periodically with the client to make sure we are on the same page. Each project is its own beast but covers can take anywhere from 3 hours to 18 hours depending on construction, complexity of the image, and changes. I would say on average about 6 hours.
I hope this gave you some insight about cover designs. I can’t wait to see what Karen (fuzzym) comes up next for me!
Yes, it’s me. I’m one of those authors who love to sneak in a bit of romance with my mystery. It must be from all those Harlequin Romances I read with my mom when I was a teenager. I can’t help myself. As you can tell from my vector, I’m a cat lover (if I could, I’d have a dog too!) I live in South Florida with my hubby and two cats, run a landscape business and eat chocolate.
After being struck by lightning, Mac is lucky to survive. But now she can hear voices in her head. Voices she doesn’t recognize. It’s a killer’s voice that intrudes into her thoughts. She can’t stop the killer’s actions, but when the police suspect her boyfriend, Peter, she is determined to prove his innocence. And stop another murder. Working with her new friend, Moira and Peter, Mac narrows down the suspects and sets a trap. But willshe be the one caught in it?
And now here are my answers to the questions…
Which is more important to your book, the mystery or the love story? Always the mystery. I love to lead the reader on a path to the clues and characters. If one of those paths detours into a bit of romance, well that’s just like finding a secret garden in the middle of your pathway.
What type of love story plays out in your book—friends to love, enemy to love, instant love, or something else? I have done both friends to love and enemy to love. I think I like the enemy to love because there is so much room for conflict and misunderstanding. Both of these can distract from the mystery enough for clues to be hidden and red herrings laid out.
Does the love element cause problems for your protagonist? In Whispered Voices, it causes Mac a lot of tension when she has to pretend to be Peter’s girlfriend. They’ve been friends forever and he has no idea how she feels. Mac would rather keep her best friend rather than risk losing him by letting him know her feelings.
What comes first, the plot or characters? Actually, for me it’s the cover. I love to find pre-made covers and then I come up with a story and main character.
This is the last of the Love-Kissed Cozy Mystery interviews. I hope you enjoyed them and have found some new books and authors to enjoy. The next three interviews are a bit of surprise, and I hope you will enjoy them. Until then-go cozy up with a good mystery!
Just because Valentine’s Day is over, doesn’t mean the romance is. We still have a few more Love-Kissed authors to learn about!
RB (Roz) Marshall writes the Highland Horse Whisperer cozy mystery Series. It is a delightful blend of high-tech and the horse communities (who knew there were stables in the heart of London!) with a heaping of mystery. And a hint of romance!
But when you visit her Website you’ll find so much more; Paranormal, romance, woman’s fiction-these are just the start. Roz lives in Scotland with her husband, cat and dog. She loves horses just as much as Izzy, her main character as well as skiing and music. And if that’s not enough, she is also a cover designer.
Horse trainer by day, I.T. consultant by night, Izzy Paterson is a classic nerd who’s better with animals than humans. But when a body is found at the feet of a prize stallion in the queen’s summer castle in the Scottish Highlands, Izzy—and her new friend Craig—are in the wrong place at the wrong time, becoming suspects in the murder…
Now let’s hear from Roz…
Which is more important to your book, the mystery or the love story? The mystery! It’s a cozy mystery, so… But I used to write romance, and I enjoy reading cozies where there’s a romantic sub-plot, so I suppose it’s no surprise I included one in my series.
What type of love story plays out in your book—friends to love, enemy to love, instant love, or something else? A Corpse at the Castle has a bit of a love triangle going on… My protagonist, Izzy, has to choose between a hot cop and a boy next door type.
The hot cop reminds her of Jon Snow from the Game of Thrones TV series–all dark and brooding with pheromones that set her brain spinning. The boy next door has lots in common with her–he likes horses, for example, and has similar childhood memories. Who should she choose?
Does the love element cause problems for your protagonist? Of course! The course of true love never runs smoothly, does it…?There are misunderstandings, jealousy and upsets which leave Izzy questioning her choices.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk? I find it hard not to set my stories in my homeland of Scotland.
It has landscapes to die for, quirky characters around every corner and plenty of interesting events and festivals to help inspire my plots.
My series TheHighland Horse Whisperer Mysteries series is set in the fictional village of Glengowrie in Perthshire, on the edge of the Scottish Highlands. It’s small enough that Izzy feels immediately at home, finding new friends to become her surrogate family, but also large enough that we meet lots of interesting and eccentric characters to add to the twists and turns of the plot!
What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book? The Queen (Queen Elizabeth II) doesn’t usually attend funerals.
When I thought about it, it made sense. I mean, how would you choose which to go to? If you honour one dignitary with your presence, then you’d have to honour everyone. Plus, the presence of a royal would tend to take the focus away from the deceased, which the Queen would not wish to do.
Instead, she just attends funerals of family members and close friends.
What comes first, the plot or characters? I can’t start a book unless I’ve an idea of how it will end. For my mysteries, I need to know whodunnit, who they dunnit to, why, and how. After that, I can start writing. So the main highlights of the plot come first.
From there, my characters discover the clues along with me. And I discover my characters as I write the first story in a series. With each chapter, they become more real to me, and they grow and develop as the series continues.
That’s why I can’t plot in too much detail—I find my characters start to have opinions about what should happen next, and they often take the story in directions I hadn’t imagined when I started writing!
Meet a real life mystery couple. These fellow Floridians together write the Father Tom Mysteries and the Mercy and Justice Mysteries. Proud parents of three and extremely proud grandparents of of six, they plan to continue writing together and travel the county-with grandkids in tow. You can find all their books on their Author Page. After all, nothing says romance like mystery and murder!
Father Tom Greer and his new wife, Helen, are called back to Myerton, Maryland, because of a sudden death of the deacon at Father Tom’s church. It doesn’t take long for the Helen, who is also the Chief of Police in Myerton, to determine that the good man was murdered. From that point on, the newlyweds spend the first weeks of their married life adjusting to a new home, a new car and a new case to solve.
Now, let’s find out more about this writing couple…
Which is more important to your book, the mystery or the love story?
In this book, the mystery is more important than the love story. Though they have just gotten married, more of the book is about them solving the crime than working on their relationship. This is not always true of our books. For instance, our previous book, The Father’s Family, center primarily on Tom and Helen’s wedding preparations, with the mystery taking a backseat. With our books, both elements are always present, but which element dominates really just depends on the story.
What type of love story plays out in your book—friends to love, enemy to love, instant love, or something else?
Our books are definitely about friends falling in love. Of course, there is an added element of unfulfilled longing at first, since Tom is a Catholic priest and under normal circumstances would not be allowed to marry. So, we spent a good portion of our first series, beginning with The Penitent Priest, working through the idea that their relationship would have to remain platonic to them dating and then ultimately marrying (in our world, the Pope decides to allow priests to marry, under certain circumstances, and with special permission; Tom and Helen are the first couple to be granted approval).
Does the love element cause problems for your protagonist?
The love element is not a problem for Tom in this book, since they are now married. However, he does struggle some, and will continue to in future books, with living out his vocation as a priest, caring for a large parish and still being a good husband for Helen. She struggles, too, sometimes, with the reality that, because of the nature of his calling, his duties as a priest must come before his desire to be with her.
Without a doubt our most interesting writing quirk is our daily visit to Sonic. After James gets off work, or sometime in the afternoon on weekends, we get in the car and drive across town to get soft drinks or tea. It takes us about an hour round trip and we use most of that time to talk about what I’ve been working on that day, thoughts he’s had about what we should keep or change and plotting the next few scenes. We just talk, often in the personas of our characters. We don’t make any notes or outlines.
As far as emotionally draining scenes go, I (Susan) keep a file open call “emotional dumps” so that when I am working on a book and am having a really intense emotional moment in my own life, I can just go to this file and “dump” how I’m feeling in the persona of one of the characters. Most of these scenes end up in the book we’re writing at that time, but others just sit in the file and turn up in future books. Some even inspire new plot lines.
What comes first, the plot or characters?
For us, the characters come first. All our stories are character driven, with the subplots being a very important part of the tale that we have to tell. Several of our main characters have had “starring roles” in our whodunits, either as victims or suspects. We’ll often introduce a character in an earlier book, fully intending them to be involved in the whodunit in a later book. We hope that our characters are well-rounded.
Jennifer is an American, living in Amsterdam with a background in journalism and art history. She loves strolling the museums, biking and sitting with a cup of coffee as she plans her next trip. She writes both stand alone novels and the Travel Can be Murder cozy mystery series. You can find all her books on her website and follow her on her Facebook page.
Paris—the city of love, lights … and murder? Join tour guide Lana Hansen as she escorts five couples on an unforgettable Valentine-themed vacation to France! Unfortunately it will be the last trip for one passenger…
And now lets get to the interview…
Which is more important to your book, the mystery or the love story? For most of the Travel Can Be Murder cozy mysteries, the mystery comes first. But in Death by Baguette, the murder and mystery are strongly intertwined.
The story follows a couples-only trip to Paris, led by the star of the series – tour guide Lana Hansen. Each of the couples’ relationship are in a different place – some are deeply in love, others are coasting along, and at least one is falling apart. The romantic tours the group participate in help some couples reconnect and drives others further apart.
After one of the husbands is murdered during a romantic picnic under the Eiffel Tower, it turns out that several of the tour group members had reason to want the victim dead – including Lana Hansen!
When one of the wives is taken into custody while they are visiting Museum Rodin, Lana is certain the police have arrested the wrong person and decides to sleuth out the real killer, before anyone else in her group is murdered.
What type of love story plays out in your book—friends to love, enemy to love, instant love, or something else? In this book, strengthening romantic bonds and rekindling fading love are the best descriptions. At the beginning of the story, it is apparent that several of the couples are having difficulties in their marriage and are using this trip to revive their love for each other. For some, a week in Paris is just what they needed! For others, it is a reason to murder.
Does the love element cause problems for your protagonist? Yes, it does – in fact, it almost gets Lana arrested for murder! She had been dating the murder victim, not knowing that he was married or that his wife had booked them onto her tour to Paris. She only finds out after they all arrive in the City of Love and meet up at their hotel. That is quite a spectacular scene!
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk? I write the first draft of my books by hand, and always use a specific college-ruled A5 notebook made by a Dutch company to do so. When the company declared bankruptcy a few years ago, I spent a week biking around Amsterdam buying up all the notebooks I could find, which was about twenty. I have gone through my supply since then, but luckily the company has made a restart and I can buy them again!
When you’re writing an emotionally draining (or sexy, or sad, etc.) scene, how do you get in the mood? To get into the mood to write a really romantic scene, I like to have dinner at a fancy restaurant and spy on the neighboring couples. How creepy is that! After being with my husband for twenty+ years, our relationship is long past the blush of new romance stage (though I still love him dearly. Truth be told, he helps me scout couples while we dine.). You can always tell who the new couples are. Watching them out of the corner of my eye during the meal usually gives me enough inspiration to write.
For sad chapters, I usually don’t need much more preparation than thinking about all the dear relatives I have lost over the years (I come from a large family, there are a lot of us left!). I keep rewriting it and cranking up the sad factor until I can’t stop crying when I reread it. Then I know it’s done. My husband now knows that me bawling at the keyboard is sometimes a good thing!
Do you write listening to music? If so, what music inspired or accompanied this current book? I have to have music on at a low volume when I write, preferably songs with an upbeat tempo. The rhythm usually helps motivate me to keep going. According to my Spotify list, I’ve been listening to a lot of Billie Eilish, Cardi B, Jack Johnson, Lizzo, Major Lazer, Groove Armada, Afrojack, and David Guetta.
But I begin most morning writing sessions with Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5”. “Pour myself a cup of ambition” has got to be one of the best song lines ever written. After working in a corporate cubicle for many years, this song is a wonderful reminder of the freedom writing provides me!!
Share something your readers wouldn’t know about you. I am an art historian who lives in the Netherlands and I love to make objects and windows out of stained glass.
A dead chef, a ruined gala, and the ghosts didn’t see a thing! Natalie’s newfound magical abilities might be the only thing that can save her dream job at Oxford from turning into a nightmare. But only if she figures out who murdered St Margaret’s famed chef in time to save the autumn gala.
Now, lets find out what Lynn has to say about her Love-Kissed Cozy!
Which is more important to your book, the mystery or the love story? The mystery always sits front and center in my stories. I start by asking myself who’s dead, who might have done it, and how will my sleuth solve the mystery. Once I’ve got the mystery in place, I turn to a secondary focus on character development. Romance is central to helping my sleuth change and grow. The love interest can bring out the best and the worst in my sleuth, and can act as a foil when she gets carried away. I also like to leverage the romance to provide some light-hearted comic relief.
What type of love story plays out in your book—friends to love, enemy to love, instant love, or something else? I wanted a romance which would slowly build over the series. In Murder at St Margaret (book 1 in the series), I played up the enemies to friends trope. Natalie (my sleuth) and Edward (her love interest) couldn’t be more different if they tried. They get off on the wrong foot and every subsequent interaction only seems to make it worse. And yet, they can’t stop turning to each other – there is a clear flame of interest, even if they haven’t realized it. The first four books in my series span a year in time, which gave me plenty of room to let the relationship grow at a pace which feels very natural. Watching the pair go from adversaries to grudging respect to admiration and finally love makes for a lovely arc over the course of the series.
Does the love element cause problems for your protagonist? Absolutely! My sleuth Natalie discovers she has a magical connection to Oxford – one which is kept a secret for obvious reasons. With ghosts and supernatural creatures forming a key part of her sleuthing team, she is stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to explaining how she uncovers some of her clues. The love aspect adds another level of complexity. She wants Edward, her love interest, to respect and admire her… and telling him that a ghost told her isn’t going to help! Edward encounters problems as well. He knows Natalie is hiding something from him, but what is it? He has to battle his own inner doubts. The pair have to take that leap of faith in deciding whether to proceed with a relationship or not, before the truth can be shared. That they do is testament to the power of love.
What comes first, the plot or characters? Character first, always! I start with my main character and a setting, and then build the rest of the world around them. In this case, I started with Natalie, mulling over her identity, history, and interests until I had a clear picture of her in my mind. The setting was key – why was she coming to Oxford, what made this particular job so special to her, and what would being in Oxford allow her to do/think/feel. When I could see a natural progression for her character, I began plotting the books.
Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb? Although my book is set in the modern day, it has turned out to be equally popular with fans of historical mysteries. This is no accident! For each book in the series, I researched the real history of the college where the book is set, and loosely based my magical Eternals on people from the college archives. This blend of historical facts and magical fiction fits perfectly within my setting of Oxford University. Oxford is a magical place, where historic halls sit side-by-side with modern shops and restaurants. When you walk through the streets and alleyways, it feels entirely possible that you could meet a ghost or a cheeky wyvern around the next corner. When I set out to write my books, I made sure I wove strands of past and present into the stories, so readers could feel what it is really like to live in Oxford.
Share something your readers wouldn’t know about you. Although I’ve lived in Oxford, England for nearly a decade, and in Europe for almost 14 years, I am American. Oddly enough, I grew up in Oxford, Mississippi, and somehow ended up living in Oxford, England. I have been the fish out of water many times in my life. Those experiences proved to be very useful when writing cozy mysteries. While I’ve never stumbled across a dead body, I do know what it is like to walk into a strange place where everything seems topsy turvy.
Fiona writes Historical Fantasy and the Mystery Suspense series, Foxy Mysteries. She lives in Australia with her husband, not far from her adult sons. Fiona is a people watcher and loves to read into the body language she sees from those around her. You can follow her on Facebook, Amazon and her website.
A high-class escort turns amateur detective to catch her friend’s killer… Liz wants in on the investigation, but Detective Jack Cunningham doesn’t need a novice messing up his case. Liz ignores his warnings and digs too deep, uncovering corruption and political turmoil far more powerful and dangerous than her friend’s killer.
Let’s find out more about Fiona Tarr…
Which is more important to your book, the mystery or the love story? That’s a really hard question to answer. I think having a well-crafted, not too predictable mystery/crime to solve is very important or I wouldn’t be writing mystery fiction, but all good stories need a little romance slowly burning under the surface to make them feel relatable.
What type of love story plays out in your book—friends to love, enemy to love, instant love, or something else? This book, and the entire series is a slow burn from enemies to friends, and eventually friends to lovers. The main character and her love interest are on the same side of the investigation but it takes a little while for them to work together and it isn’t always harmonious.
Does the love element cause problems for your protagonist? Absolutely. Liz is a high-class escort, who has made her way in the world the hard way. She’s learnt to close her emotions off to love and the fact that Detective Jack Cunningham makes her even consider that she might have a chance at love, is both exciting and frustrating at the same time.
When you’re writing an emotionally draining (or sexy, or sad, etc.) scene, how do you get in the mood? The mood for a sexy scene comes as I start writing. If I can’t invoke that emotion in myself as I write, I’ll never get my readers to feel it. Scenes usually play in my mind like a movie as I write. I’m a very visual person, so my imagination is ignited as the scene unfolds in my head.
What comes first, the plot or characters? Characters always drive my stories. I outline a basic plot but always let my characters drive the action and drama. It feels more authentic to me that way.
Share something your readers wouldn’t know about you. When I’m not writing, I’m usually kitesurfing. Kitesurfing is where you fly a large, inflatable kite in the air, to generate power to help you glide along the water on a board. I ride a variety of boards when doing this, but my favorite is a surf board.
Katherine is a Texas girl who has two adorable girls and adoring husband. (Perfect for a romance flavored cozy, right?) She writes cozy mysteries, romantic fantasy adventure and children’s books. You can find all her books on Amazon or her website. And don’t forget to follow her on Facebook.
Charity Basham and her crafting cohorts have decided to give back to the community. The heart-shaped pillows created during craft night at Sassy Supplies Crafts & More are on their way to patients in thebreast cancer ward of Becksville’s hospital for a Valentine’s surprise. But when the heartfelt mission turns into a hostage situation and at least one murder, will Charity panic under pressure? Will she and Margo be able to find their missing friend Lola and nurse Zuri? With power out, cells not working, and one stowaway cat underfoot, Charity has her work cut out for her. Full of intrigue, more of Margo’s odd relatives, and a dash of romance, Hearts & Hostages is a mystery to get all wrapped up in!
Now let’s ask some questions…
Which is more important to your book, the mystery or the love story? The mystery is the main plot line, but I personally enjoy the fragments of a love story that play throughout the series far more.
What type of love story plays out in your book—friends to love, enemy to love, instant love, or something else? Enemy to love… this book has the real beginning of the relationship portion of character arc that has been slow simmering for a few books.
Does the love element cause problems for your protagonist? Somewhat as the main character can no longer hide when she is butting into investigations from the dishy detective love interest.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk? I would say that my most interesting writing quirk is how much I HATE to know the ending of a book…even those I’m writing! It has been a real struggle to move from a complete pantser (writing from the seat of my pants by scratch) to creating a general, short outline including the bad guy / villain / or relationship progression before I begin writing. I have been working on this portion of discipline in order to write more efficiently. Don’t worry though, I still give myself leave to be surprised or change my mind if it feels needed.
What comes first, the plot or characters? What comes first… For me the characters always come first. I don’t know if that is good or bad necessarily, it is just the way I’m wired as a writer and even to some degree as a reader. Obviously, if the plot makes zero sense or contradicts itself, I find a problem with that. But overall, what keeps me turning pages (or typing words) is the love of finding out what is going on with the characters personally.
Do you write listening to music? If so, what music inspired or accompanied this current book? Many authors I know use playlists while they are writing. In fact, some create special playlists that coincides with the mood of their stories. This sounds kind of worth trying maybe in the future, but honestly, I write in complete silence. I write during my daughter’s naptime in the mornings and maybe it is the hard-earned quiet is too good to give up, or maybe it is just that I’ve never had a problem with quiet but I enjoy writing without any music or podcasts or other noise. Now, I will say a good rainstorm is always a welcome background sound when writing as the exception.
I was intrigued by Laura’s book description and thought you might be too. It sounds fun and different than your average cozy, or any mystery for that matter. And that’s what caught my attention. It’s a bit darker than you might be used to, but I’ve got on my reading list and I think you’ll want to add it to yours too. Lucifer and Mary Jane: All the Devil’s Horses is a paranormal cozy romance.
Laura, a Canadian, has lived an adventurous life in Northern Alberta and Northern Ontario. She now lives on Vancouver Island with her two cats and rescue dog. She writes cozy mysteries and horse stories with lovable villains and heroines. Read more about Laura on her Amazon Author page or follow her on Facebook. Be sure to stop by her website for more.
Who killed Mary Jane, a half-angel with an attitude? Was it someone from Heaven or from Hell? It was a great way to start a war! And who had the gall to steal the devil’s horses? It’s up to Mary Jane to find out. Her afterlife in Hell depends upon it and so does her heart!
Now lets read Laura’s answers to our questions…
Which is more important to your book, the mystery or the love story? Mystery & characters first, then love story as the ‘B’ story. All my cozies are like that. Sometimes, the love story is slow and develops over the whole series, but in Lucifer and Mary Jane: All the Devil’s Horses, it is part of the story.
What type of love story plays out in your book—friends to love, enemy to love, instant love, or something else? The type of love story that plays out in Lucifer and Mary Jane: All the Devil’s Horses is both: instant love and enemy to love. Mary Jane has so many dimensions to her character that it had to be both.
Does the love element cause problems for your protagonist? The love problem definitely causes problems for Mary Jane. She has a job to do and it means surrendering the man she loves to the devil to face an eternity of torture and punishment. Will she take on her Uncle Lucifer to save him or will she sacrifice herself to the ultimate fate?
When you’re writing an emotionally draining (or sexy, or sad, etc.) scene, how do you get in the mood? When I write emotionally draining scenes, I start with a cup of tea and write the scene first thing in the morning before I even have breakfast. As soon as the first draft is done, I make myself a BLT sandwich or bacon and eggs, then go for a walk on the beach with my dog. Bacon and the sea cure everything. I don’t edit that scene until the next day after I have time to digest what I wrote – to either accept it ‘as is’ or soften it down.
What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book? The most surprising thing I discovered about writing this book is how much the secondary characters, Death and Doc Holiday, came to life. Originally they were very minor characters, but the more I wrote about them, the more fascinating they became so I enlarged their parts.
What comes first, the plot or characters? Normally the plot comes first and then the characters for me, but in this book it was reversed. I had the two main characters, Lucifer and Mary Jane, and began with their family relationship in the opening scene where Mary Jane gets told by Saint Peter that she can’t pass through the Pearly Gates after she is murdered so she summons her Uncle Lucifer and begs him to help her. The result is the One Hour War between Heaven and Hell. Mary Jane becomes a reluctant celebrity in Hell. The romance angle wasn’t originally there, but as Mary Jane’s life and character unfolded, her desperation to find someone to love became more and more pronounced. The plot deepened in the end so the book isn’t just about who killed Mary Jane (cozy mystery) and bringing bandits to justice, it is about Mary Jane’s journey of self-discovery (romance).