Mindy Wall Interview with Lauren Carr:
I appreciate your taking the time to visit with us today.
1. What inspired this particular novel/book?
I was at a different stage of my life when I wrote my first two books, A Small Case of Murder and A Reunion to Die For. Those books are more serious and heavier. They actually have a completely different tone. Former JAG lawyer, Joshua Thornton is a widower with five children. He feels clueless as a father.
The Mac Faraday mysteries are lighter and there is more humor. Mac is a homicide detective whose wife leaves him and takes everything. On the day his divorce becomes final, he inherits $270 million dollars and an estate on Deep Creek Lake.
Different strokes for different folks. I had some readers wanting me to return to Joshua Thornton. So, after some thought, I decided to include Joshua in my next Deep Creek Lake mystery.
Since Joshua and Mac don’t know each other, I had to come up with two murder mysteries that, on the surface, don’t appear to be connected, and then have there be a connection to bring them together. Coming up with this puzzle was a lot of fun.
Shades of Murder actually introduces two characters that I will use in my next book, Dead on Ice, which will come out this fall: Joshua Thornton and Cameron Gates.
2. What character was your favorite to write for in this story? Why?
For all of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, readers have loved Gnarly, Mac’s German Shepherd. Gnarly was dishonorably discharged from the United States Army. Let’s just say, he has issues. He is incredibly intelligent and has a mind of his own. He’s also a hopeless kleptomaniac.
However, for Shades of Murder, my favorite character is Cameron Gates. She’s a Pennsylvania State homicide detective and my first female detective. I put a lot of thought into her character and she went through several transformations before she came to life for me.
There are so many women detectives in books and on television now. Years ago, when female detectives first emerged in mysteries, writers set out to break the stereotype by making their female detective tough. Almost every female detective you see on television is able to single-handedly take down male opponents. Now, the tough woman detective has become the stereotype.
I wanted to get away from that. Cameron is unique and quirky. She’s only as tough as she needs to be to make it believable for her to hold a position of a homicide detective. She’s not super woman. She was turned down for a promotion because her superiors think she’s crazy. Co-workers betray her for purely political reasons; but, instead of whining and crying about it, she shrugs it off and even expects it. She refuses to forget the victims who she works for. But she also has a vulnerable side that Joshua sees in her that makes them a good team.
3. Which was your favorite scene to write?
It is not romantic scenes, I’ll tell you that. Nothing against romance books, but writing a love scene is hard.
My favorite scenes are comedy. I crack myself up when I’m writing a humorous scene, especially dialogue. It is fun to play with words or meanings. There is more to writing a humorous dialogue than just writing an exchange that is batted back and forth. I love to find just the right word to create the right timing and image.
4. What was the hardest thing about writing this story?
Since I was going back to Joshua Thornton, my first protagonist in the Joshua Thornton Mysteries, I had to really think about him and where he would be in his life now. It’s been five years since I had written A Reunion to Die For. Not only am I in a different place, so is Joshua. His children are leaving the nest. He’s got more independence and is ready for some romance in his life. He’s not the same protagonist that he was when I wrote A Small Case of Murder. He’s ready to lighten up now, which I’ve done myself.
5. What Are Your Writing Quirks & Must-Haves To Write?
My dogs, Ziggy (Australian Shepherd) and Beagle Bailey follow me and my laptop everywhere. My muses are always at my feet while I’m writing. They are my muses.
6. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I migrate. Depending on what is happening, you can find me anywhere in the house writing. In the morning, when I’m drinking my coffee, I’ll be in the bedroom with my laptop. Later on, I’ll move into my writing studio. If it’s a cold day, I’ll be in front of the fireplace. And my muses will follow me everywhere during the migration.
7. Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Now that I have become a publishing manager and publisher with my company Acorn Book Services, I spend my day helping other authors and love it.
My day will start out about seven o’clock with answering e-mails and social media. After a couple of hours and two pots of coffee, I have to turn off the e-mail, which is very distracting, and work on my authors’ books. This can be anything from editing to layout design to proofing. Some days it is marketing with writing press releases or sending out queries to reviewers. At about four o’clock, it is time to get dinner started for my family. By eight o’clock, it is time to start working on my books. I will write until about eleven o’clock. I also reserve the weekend for my books.
Between all of that, we squeeze in taking dogs out, bringing them in, doing laundry, cleaning up the kitchen, taking out the garbage, and nagging my son to do his chores.
8. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A mystery writer! Dreams do come true.
9. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I believe writers are born. They are always writing. My earliest memories are rewriting the Bobbsey Twins after reading it. Instead of looking for a lost bracelet, they were hunting down a kidnapper.
10. Where do you find your Inspirations?
Everywhere. Someone can be late for an appointment and I’ll be thinking, “Supposed she was kidnapped and murdered by the garbage man, who ended up being a long lost uncle and she’s the only living heir …” Or maybe I’ll overhear someone talking in the booth behind me while waiting for my husband to meet for lunch. They may be gossiping about a co-worker, but in my writer’s mind, I’ll twist and turn it around until I come up with a dead body found in the lunchroom at Petco.
11. What do you like to read? Who is your favorite author?
Murder mysteries are at the top of the list. My favorite author right now is Tess Gerritsen.
12. Please let readers know where they can connect with you and purchase your books...
My website: http://mysterylady.net/
My blog: http://literarywealth.wordpress.com/
My Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/900970.Lauren_Carr
Other: Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lauren.carr.984991
Is your book in Print, ebook or both?
All of the above! Print: $14.99/ebook: $2.99
13. Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Giveaway: A copy of Shades of Murder (print (US only) or e-book, winner’s choice.
Contest: For this book tour, I am holding a contest for readers to name the female porn star found in the freezer.
(This is going to be such fun!)
Name the Dead Porn Star in Dead on Ice:
(This is going to be such fun!)
Name the Dead Porn Star in Dead on Ice:
Dead on Ice is the first installment of my new series: Lovers In Crime. Taking place in the Chester, WV/Pittsburgh area, Lovers in Crime revolves around the budding romance of Small Town WV Prosecutor Joshua Thornton and Pennsylvania State Police Homicide Detective Cameron Gates.
In Dead on Ice, Cameron Gates is tasked with solving the murder of a missing porn star. The case has a personal connection to Joshua because the star’s mummified body is found in an abandoned freezer in his cousin’s basement. It doesn’t take long for their investigation to reveal that the risqué Hollywood legend’s roots were buried in their small rural town, something that she had kept off her show business bio. She should have kept it off her road map, too. Because when this starlet came running home from the mob in 1985, it proved to be a fatal homecoming.
The Winner must come up with both the Stage Name and the porn starlet’s Real Name. Send an e-mail to me (firstname.lastname@example.org). Put: Dead on Ice Porn Star in the Subject Line of the e-mail. You must supply your contact information in the e-mail. The contest will run from June 1-July 30. I will select the winning names and winner. The Winner will receive a gift basket with print copies of all the Deep Creek Lake Mysteries (autographed), Lovers in Crime Coffee Mug, and an autographed copy of Dead on Ice when it is released in the Fall.
Thank you so much for chatting with us today.