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 Mrs. Pollifax, but I don't remember the title. Also remember reading the Rabbi series by Harry Kemelman. I think they felt grownup to a little kid.
MLC: When did you first decide you wanted to write a mystery, and what led you to that decision?
AUTHOR: About five years ago. There was a small item in the New York Times about a mummified baby found not far from where I live in CT. I did some research and had a telephone interview with one of the doctors who'd assisted in the autopsy. It was fun!
MLC: Do you write in any other genres? If so, which ones?
AUTHOR: No - my heart belongs to the mystery genre.
MLC: Which comes first for you, the plot or the characters?
AUTHOR: Now that I'm writing a series the main characters are always with me, so I'd have to say the plot. I enjoy getting Paula Holliday and her friends in and out of trouble.
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: Well, not all of the world's mysteries, but definitely the one I'm working on!
MLC: Do you write every day, or what kind of a schedule do you have? Do you write full-time, or do you have a “day job”?
AUTHOR: I write full-time, if you include promotion, marketing and networking.
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 enjoy reading, gardening, kayaking and traveling but I'm not getting to do much of any of those things. My husband.
MLC: Who are your favorite mystery authors? Do you try to emulate them in your own writing?
AUTHOR: These days I'm loving C.J. Box and Jane Haddam, two writers I discovered last year.
MLC: In your present book, is this part of a series, or is it a standalone book?
AUTHOR: Dead Head is part of a series, but, of course, they are all written to stand alone and don't need to be read in any order.
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'd like to do both.
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: Never - I love it when they give me ideas!
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: Paula Holliday and I have a few things in common; we're both gardeners and former media execs, but that's where the similarities end. She's much more adventurous than I am, thank goodness.
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: It took me about a year to get an agent and took her almost as long to sell the book. Once I found my agent I think I had 3-4 rejections, but I stayed confident that she would find a home for the series.
MLC: Do you ever attend any conferences? If so, which ones?
AUTHOR: I love conferences! This year I'll be attending Malice Domestic, Festival of Mystery, New England Crimebake, Bouchercon, Murder 203, and RT Convention. I've also been to Sleuthfest, Left Coast Crime and Love Is Murder. Each show has its own personality.
MLC: Do you have to promote your own work, or does your publisher do that for you?
AUTHOR: Much of what the publisher does is unseen by the writer - maintaining relationships with the major buyers, reviewers and journalists being the most important. I try to meet as many booksellers, librarians and readers as possible, in person and through various other means including but not limited to the Internet.
MLC: If you have to do marketing, what methods have worked the best for you?
AUTHOR: That's the 80 zillion dollar question! If we knew which of our efforts yielded the best results, we wouldn't bother with the others, but it's difficult to give attribution. I'm a big believer in pressing the flesh, meeting people in person.
MLC: Do you have any idea how your book is selling?
AUTHOR: Don't know yet...it's still very early but fingers crossed.
MLC: What has been the best review you have gotten, and why?
AUTHOR: Dead Head has gotten some terrific reviews from PW, RT Times, Crimespree and Aunt Agatha's newsletter, but I think my favorite so far has been the one from Library Journal which said I was "reinventing the cozy genre." I loved that.
MLC: Have you won any awards, either as an author or for your books? Please tell us about them.
AUTHOR: So far nominated for an Agatha and an Anthony. Haven't won yet, but very proud to have been nominated.
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: It was the very first e-mail..the writer started by saying "You probably get hundreds of letters like this, but I loved Pushing Up Daisies."
MLC: What is your next project, and when will it be out?
AUTHOR: It's called Slugfest, and it will be out next spring
MLC: If you could write anything at all, ignoring what editors and publishers say they want, what would it be?
AUTHOR: So far they've let me write what I want.
MLC: Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring mystery authors?
AUTHOR: Just do it. And rewrite as long as they'll let you.
MLC: Do you have any teasers for your readers and fans about the next book?
AUTHOR: Slugfest takes Paula Holliday to a fictional flower show in New York City where she meets some very interesting characters, including some gangsta gardeners, reclusive scientists and wealthy widows - all of whom get their hands dirty.
MLC: If a genie suddenly appeared and said they would grant you just one wish for your books, what would you wish for?
AUTHOR: This is embarassing...but okay..I'd like Drew Barrymore to read them and decide that she just had to film one of them!
MMLC: Please give us your Web site url and your e-mail 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.