As you probably already know, I am helping Stormi with her February "Cozy Up With A Mystery" event and Denise Swanson, author of "Devereaux's Dime Store Mystery" series, has stopped by to answer a few questions. She has also graciously offered to give away a new copy of the latest installment so read through for more details.
Tell me something about yourself not on your author bio.
I'm a rabid Walking Dead fan and love post apocalyptic books and movies.
What is it about the cozy genre that you love?
I love that there is always a satisfying ending. The bad guy is brought to justice. Most sleuths are everyday people who rally to do the right thing. And as a psychologist, I'm tickled by the quirky secondary characters. Not to mention the feeling of belonging of a small town setting.
When you decide to start a cozy series, what kind of preparations do you do? I know a lot of them have themes, etc. Do you plan out a whole series?
For my first book, Murder of a Small-Town honey, I created an extensive outline, but I realized that doing that took the fun away from writing so now I just let the characters tell me their stories. For my second series, Devereaux's Dime Store, I had a good idea of how the first book, Little Shop of Homocide, was going to play out, but again, after that, I just let Dev and the gang talk to me. I base a lot of my plots on my own personal experiences, although I haven't discovered a dead body - yet. I have no idea where either series will end up going. I take it one book at a time.
Tell us a little about your newest book, Between a Book and a Hard Place.
Five-and-dime store owner Devereaux "Dev" Sinclair moved to Shadow Bend for her family. But when her long-lost mother shows up in town, she realizes too much kin can be a killer.
Shadow Bend's library closed years ago becasuse of budgetary problems, so when a wealthy benefactor offers to reopen it, everyone, including Dev, is thrilled. But Dev's excitement wanes when she realizes the mysterious donor is actually her runaway mother Yvette's latest husband, Jett Benedict.
Dev suspects that Yvette and Jett's intentions aren't as noble as they appear, but before she can discover what they're really up to, Jett turns up dead - and all clues point to Yvette as the prime suspect.
Even though Dev has no loyalty to Yvette, she's in a bind. Setting the record straight could prove her mother is a killer. But doing nothing might get her mother booked for a crime she didn't commit...
Booker T, my beloved pup and sometime guest reviewer, would like to know if you have any pets?
I have a black cat named Boomerang. He was a stray who kept coming back, hence the name. He's been with me 16 years and is 19.
Any advice for someone who wants to write a cozy?
Find a profession for your sleuth that hasn't been used before or that you have a unique twist that you can use. Read Writing the Modern Mystery by Barbara Norville. And no matter how crappy it seems, while you're writing the first draft, finish it. Remember it isn't how good you are. It's how bad you want it.
Denise has graciously offered to give away a copy of her newest book "Between a Book and a Hard Place". The contest runs from today and closes on February 28th. It is open to US residents only.
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