Growing up, I was an Air Force brat. My dad retired from the Air Force when I
was 3 years old, but I still had lots of time spent on Air Force bases
throughout Texas for most of my childhood.
So when I learned about Sara Rosettās cozy mystery series which featured an Air Force
wife who was an amateur sleuth, well, I was very intrigued.
An Air Force wife herself, Sara captures the unique lifestyle of a military
wife right down to the tiniest detail in her "Ellie Avery" mystery
series. Her latest book, Mint Juleps, Mayhem, and Murder, is full of excitement, intrigue
and Southern charm as were her previous four books. The character of Ellie is
also a professional organizer, and throughout the book, Sara includes dozens of
nifty tips throughout the book for busy moms.
Sara recently took time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions
about her writing!
Sharon: At what age did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
Sara: I canāt remember a time when I didnāt want to be a writer! Iāve
always loved books and reading. When I was a kid my favorite place was the
library. I read constantly and was always making up stories and trying to think
of how Iād describe a scene or a person, so being a writer has been a life-long
Sharon: How did you get interested in writing "cozy" mysteries?
Sara: Mysteries are my favorite type of book to read. Many years, ago I
found a book by Carolyn
Hart about a bookstore owner who got mixed up in a murder, the Death on
Demand series. I loved the story and set out to find all the books in the
series. I was hooked on cozy mysteries from then on and was thrilled to find
many great authors writing cozy mysteries. I figured if I was going to try and
write a mystery, I should write the kind of mystery I loved to read.
Sharon: What inspired the professional organizer theme of your series?
Sara: When I was putting together ideas for the first book in the
series, MOVING IS MURDER, I saw a
feature on a news magazine show about a professional organizer. I thought it
was interesting and wanted to incorporate it into the book. I knew I wanted
Ellie, my main character, to be a mom and an Air Force spouse (aspects I drew
from my own life) but I didnāt want her to be exactly like me and Iām not very
organized! I do have my moments when I sort and organize, but overall I donāt
have Ellieās gift of organizing. Also, having Ellie be an organizer is a great
way to give her a reason to snoop in closets and get involved in peopleās lives
in a very intimate way, which is a real bonus when Iām plotting the books.
Sharon: What appealed to you about the genre of cozy mysteries as
opposed to hardcore mysteries or suspense stories?
Sara: I enjoy reading cozies because I get a little window into another
world that I usually donāt know anything about. It might be archeology,
bookselling, or a hobby. I like these slice-of-life aspects that I get to read
about in cozies. I hope that as I write about a family with a military
lifestyle I can show readers a bit of what that type of life is like. The fact
that most cozies are part of a series is another reason I love cozies. I want
to go back and visit the characters and settings again and again!
Sharon: Your main character is an Air Force wife/mom - where did you
gather your inspiration for this character?
Sara: Iām an Air Force wife and mom, so I drew those details from my
life. I love writing about motherhood. There are so many funny and touching
things that happen to me as a mom and like being able to include small āmom
momentsā in the books. As for the military spouse part, Iāve been a military
spouse for years and weāve experienced both active duty and reserve. I didnāt
know anything about the military when I married my husband, so it was a new
world to me and Iāve always found some things funny, some things ridiculous,
and some things difficult. Like writing about motherhood, writing about being a
military spouse is very therapeutic! Chronicling what it feels like to send
your spouse on a deployment or welcome him home again, helps me deal with the
stresses and strains of military life. And, I get to write about the great
friendships you form with other military families.
Sharon: With more and more series coming out in the cozy genre, do you
see the competition for readership becoming more fierce? What do you do to keep
your readers coming back for more?
Sara: I try to be aware of trends in publishing, but I donāt try and
track other series and how they are doing verses my books. Cozy readers are
very loyal and are always looking for a good read, so I focus on writing the
best books I can. I hope that readers enjoy reading about Ellie & Co. so
much that they canāt wait for the next book in the series. I try to include
small arcs in the booksāone was Ellieās pregnancyāto keep readers coming back
for the next books, but I also want each book to stand alone, so I donāt have a
lot of complex storylines that carry from book to book. I want to give readers
a fun, entertaining ride that lets them escape into Ellieās world for awhile.
Sharon: The cover art on your books is just gorgeous - very eye-
catching! Who does the artwork for each book, and are you consulted as to how
it will look?
Sara: The publisher hires different artists for the covers. My editor
always wants to know what ideas I have for the cover. I usually include some
options when I turn in my manuscript. Sometimes those ideas show up on the
cover and sometimes they donāt, but I have to say that Iāve been thrilled with
all my covers. I think they capture the homey feel of the Ellie books and in
the last few books, which are set in the South, the covers have a Southern
flair that immediately clues in readers to the setting.
Sharon: Who are some of your favorite authors? Who inspires you?
Sara: I grew up reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon, then graduated to
Phyllis A. Whitney
and Elizabeth Peters.
My favorite childrenās book was THE SECRET GARDEN and I still re-read Mary Stewartās books.
Iāve already mentioned Carolyn Hartāshe was an inspiration to me when I attempted to
write a cozyāand sheās been so supportive.
Sharon: What do you have coming up in the future?
Sara: MINT JULEPS,
MAYHEM, AND MURDER will be out in paperback next March and then the sixth
book in the series, MIMOASAS, MALICE, AND MURDER will come out in
Sharon: What advice would you have for anyone wanting to break into
the "cozy mystery" genre?
Sara: Read, read, read! Know what is being published in the genre. Go
to writerās conferences. Look for local conferences in your area and enter your
writing in contests associated with the conferences for feedback, which is what
I did and it was a huge help. Also, educate yourself about the publishing
business and donāt give up!
Many thanks to Sara Rosett for stopping by the Cozy Corner and sharing her love
of writing and cozy mysteries with us! Be sure to check out her website at www.sararosett.com for
more information on her books.
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