MLC: Do you remember the first mystery you ever read? If so, what was it, and what pulled you into it?
AUTHOR: It was a Nancy Drew book The Mystery of Lilac Lane.
MLC: When did you first decide you wanted to write a mystery, and what led you to that decision?
AUTHOR: I’ve written nonfiction books and articles and I was working on a nonfiction book for a publisher. I finished the first chapter and suddenly thought, “I’d rather be writing a mystery.” So I did.
MLC: Do you write in any other genres? If so, which ones?
AUTHOR: I’ve published nonfiction books, School Children of the Great Depression and The Catholic School Principal.
MLC: Which comes first for you, the plot or the characters?
AUTHOR: The plot without a doubt.
MLC: When you are all wrapped up in the story, do you feel like you could solve the crime, or maybe even solve all the world’s mysteries?
AUTHOR: No, because I realize that the mystery is a creation which I can control. I can’t control real life. I do find, however, that my characters some time take over the plot!
MLC: Do you write every day, or what kind of a schedule do you have? Do you write fulltime, or do you have a “day job”?
AUTHOR: I teach at two universities and substitute teach a few days a week. I write any time that I have a two hour block.
MLC: Other than your writing, what do you enjoy doing? What is the most important thing to you in your day-to-day life?
AUTHOR: I love to read mysteries and historical books. I love to travel overseas. I’ve to Europe, India, Canada, Mexico and the Holy Land. I like to walk with my dog, Sport. We try to walk two miles every day but in Nebraska, that is sometimes hard to accomplish! I’m also looking forward to my first grandchild who will be born in June. I plan to spend a lot of time with that baby!
MLC: Who are your favorite mystery authors? Do you try to emulate them in your own writing?
AUTHOR: I love Agatha Christie, Hazel Holt, MC Beaton, Laura Levine, Jeanne Dams, and many others. I think part of my writing is a result of my admiration of them.
MLC: In your present book, is this part of a series, or is it a standalone book?
AUTHOR: Yes, it is the Emily Sinclair Mystery Series. Each book in the series takes place in Nebraska and has a month of the year in its title. There are ongoing characters in each book.
MLC: If you are doing a series, do you see an end to it sometime, or do you plan to go on for several years with it?
AUTHOR: I have written a book a year (Death in December came out in 2007; Justice in January came out in 2008; and Folly in February comes out in 2009. I plan to write a total of twelve books.
MLC: Do your characters ever drive you a bit crazy by going off in their own direction? If so, how do you rein them in, or do you just let them run off on their own?
AUTHOR: Yes, some of them are pretty bossy! Usually, I listen to them and take their advice.
MLC: Do you pattern your sleuths after yourself or someone you know? If so, do you let that person know they were your “pattern”?
AUTHOR: When my mom read my first book, she said, “That’s Pam all over!” about the main character. A few of the characters are somewhat based on people I’ve known but most are composites. I observe how people speak, what mannerisms they have, how they react in different situations and then I use what I need for the book. Some of my friends have asked me to base a character on them and I told them, “You don’t want me to do that because with twelve books to write, just about all of my friends are either going to be a murderer or be murdered!”
MLC: How long did it take you to get published? How many rejections did you have to suffer through first? Were you ever tempted to give up? What do you think made the difference when it was accepted?
AUTHOR: I am using print on demand with Booksurge so the selection process was relatively painless. I believe in the books so I have never been tempted to give up. There are many different demographics of readers in the world so just about every book will have some people who want to read it. I write the kind of book I like to read- a cozy mystery with humor, insights to human nature, some bits about dogs, and a careful plot with some red herrings.
MLC: Do you ever attend any conferences? If so, which ones?
AUTHOR: Yes, I was just at the Nebraska Book Festival and from that, I was asked to conduct some Writers’ Workshops.
MLC: Do you have to promote your own work, or does your publisher do that for you?
AUTHOR: Yes, I promote my own books through book signings, interviews, taking the books to bookstores to sell and conducting Writers’ Workshops each month.
MLC: If you have to do marketing, what methods have worked the best for you?
AUTHOR: In marketing, I think the book signings have been the most useful. I always have each person fill out a form with name, address and email address so that I have a mailing list. I use that list to notify readers about book signings, workshops, and new books which are out. I also have a blog at amazon.com.
MLC: Do you have any idea how your book is selling?
AUTHOR: One of the bookstore owners has told me the series is doing very well.
MLC: What has been the best review you have gotten, and why?
AUTHOR: Writers’ Digest said the following:
“Pam Broderick has written a delightful cozy mystery with an unusual heroine and lots of interesting characters. The background of the Catholic Church and school, the politics of both, and the social gatherings add much flavor to this story.
The characters are well developed and their dialogue sounds natural and moves the story along. The plot was well thought out and came to a most satisfying conclusion.
Death in December has all of the elements of a cozy: snappy and fresh writing, a heroine with a different job, a fresh setting, a cast of interesting characters, a true villain, an unexpected killer, a sprinkling of romance, clues and red herrings, and a solid mystery.”
MLC: Have you won any awards, either as an author or for your books? Please tell us about them.
AUTHOR: None yet but I have entered some book writing contests.
MLC: Is there any one certain thing that a reader has written to you that made you just want to jump up and shout “Yes!!!!”?
AUTHOR: One reader wrote a review in amazon.com and said that she couldn’t put it down. Others read the first book and immediately asked me when the second one was coming out. That made me feel great!
MLC: What is your next project, and when will it be out?
AUTHOR: Folly in February will be coming out in February or March of this year.
MLC: If you could write anything at all, ignoring what editors and publishers say they want, what would it be?
AUTHOR: I pretty much write what I like to read and hope that there will be a readership to follow the series. I don’t think I would be very good at writing a plot with a terrorist twist or a vampire theme even though I know those are popular themes now.
MLC: Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring mystery authors?
AUTHOR: Yes, sit down and map out a story board, stating what plot elements and characters you will be covering in each chapter--from the beginning to the end. Then sit at your computer and write, write, write. The first draft doesn’t have to be perfect. You can edit later but force yourself to write something.
MLC: Do you have any teasers for your readers and fans about the next book?
AUTHOR: : Well, people who have grown fond of one of the bossy characters, Brenda, may be interested to know that she is accused of murder in Folly in February.
MLC: If a genie suddenly appeared and said they would grant you just one wish for your books, what would you wish for?
AUTHOR: I would like to have a group of readers who look forward to reading each book in the series.
MMLC: Please give us your website url and your email address where people can contact you.
MLC: Thank you so much for giving us a little glimpse into your books and your life. We look forward to a lot more books from you.