With a hint of spring lurking around the corner, what better time is it to
introduce a new cozy mystery series, the "Victoria Square Mysteries!"
author of this new charming series will not be a stranger to fans of the cozy
author of A CRAFTY
KILLING: A Victoria Square Mystery, honed
her characterization and plotting skills as a frequent writer for romance
magazines. Her manuscript, MURDER IN MORTON MILLS, a traditional
mystery, was a
finalist in the St. Martin's/Malice Domestic contest. Her first novel, MURDER
ON THE MIND, written under the name L.L. Bartlett, was
published in November
2005. DEAD IN RED
followed in June 2008, and CHEATED BY DEATH debuted in June
Lorraine also writes the Agatha-nominated, New York Times bestselling
Mysteries as Lorna
Lorraine graciously took some time to answer a few questions about her writing
and her views on the cozy mystery genre.
Sharon: At what age did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
Lorraine I'd say 19. I always had stories rattling around in my head,
didn't feel confident enough to start writing them down until I was a
Sharon: How did you get interested in writing "cozy" mysteries?
Lorraine I'd written a suspense and was having trouble selling the
I decided to try doing a cozy mystery. That took even LONGER to sell, but I
seem to have found my niche. Still, I haven't given up writing my Jeff Resnick
series, which I write under the name L.L. Bartlett. I hope
to have the 4th
book, BOUND BY SUGGESTION, available by April 1st. (No fooling!)
Sharon: What inspired the craft/art-mall theme of your series?
Lorraine I was a dealer in an antiques arcade for 12 years. I always
wondered what it would be like to run one. I had to change the venue for the
book, but essentially the problems are the same. (I always thought I could do
a good job, and now I get to do it through my character Katie Bonner.)
Sharon: What appealed to you about the genre of cozy mysteries as
hardcore mysteries or suspense stories?
Lorraine I'm basically a chicken at heart and being scared silly while
reading doesn't appeal to me. I also can take a certain amount of blood and
guts, but not gratuitous amounts of it or violence. I've had to put some books
down because they were just . . . sick. There's too much of that in real life
for me to read about it when I feel the need to escape.
Sharon: Your main character is a frustrated widow who must take over
deceased husband's interest in a floundering craft/art mall - where did you
gather your inspiration for this character?
Lorraine Most of my inspiration came from my years as a collectibles
Not that I ran into murderers, but like Katie I always thought it would be fun
to run a B&B. Unfortunately, I don't like to clean or cook, and I really don't
have the temperament for it. But the thought of it still appeals to me. I get
to do all kinds of things via my characters.
Sharon: With more and more series coming out in the cozy genre, do you
competition for readership becoming more fierce? What do you do to keep your
readers coming back for more?
Lorraine One thing I've learned since becoming a cozy author is that
readers are voracious readers. They love to read. I don't think cozy authors
need to compete, there's room for all of us. I like to think I have a loyal
audience because I deliver a satisfying story. (I hope I'm right.)
Sharon: The cover art on your books is just gorgeous - very eye-
does the artwork for each book, and are you consulted as to how it will look?
Lorraine Teresa Fasolino does the artwork for my Booktown Mysteries. I
her work. I was consulted on the cover for the upcoming SENTENCED TO DEATH.
That was the first time. Chris Beatrice does the artwork for the Victoria
Square Mysteries. I was no consulted on that cover. To me, the building she
painted looks nothing like Artisans Alley. It looks like it should be in New
England instead of Western NY where the story takes place. Originally the cat
on the cover was orange, and I did get them to change it to brown (as there's a
brown tabby in the book, not an orange one). I would prefer more input on my
covers, but I understand why publishers don't
solicit it from authors. They know what sells and I can only guess.
However, I had a lot of input on the new covers for the relaunch of my Jeff
Resnick books. (They're done by Pat Ryan Graphics. She's marvelous!) I'm
waiting to see what the cover will be for BOUND BY SUGGESTION. I
it in about a month.
Sharon: Who are some of your favorite authors? Who inspires you?
Lorraine I'm inspired by my friends Jennifer Stanley (who
also writes as
Ellery Adams) and Leann Sweeney. They're
terrific authors and wonderful
friends. (They're also two of my colleagues on the Cozy Chicks Blog,
post on Saturdays.)
I was originally inspired to write mystery by Barbara Michaels's
always had a paranormal thread in her romantic suspense novels and I said to
myself that if I wrote a mystery one day, that's what I'd tried to do. (My
Jeff Resnick character is a teensy bit psychic. There are no vampires,
werewolves, or zombies in my paranormal mysteries.)
Sharon: What do you have coming up in the future?
Lorraine First up is BOUND BY SUGGESTION in April. The 5th
is SENTENCED TO DEATH,
which comes out on June 7th, and the second Victoria
Square Mystery, THE WALLED FLOWER, will be out next February 7th.
I'll be writing the third Victoria Square book starting next month, and in
September start Booktown #7.
Sharon: What advice would you have for anyone wanting to break into
Lorraine Join the Sisters In Crime chapter The Guppies. The Guppies get
published. They have a lot to offer new writer,
including critique groups and Agent Quest sub groups. Here are just a few cozy
authors who've been (and some still are) Guppies: Denise Swanson, Deb Baker,
Hannah Reed, Susan McBride, Sheila Connolly, Krista Davis, Janet
Bolen, Laura Alden,
Hank Phillippi Ryan,
Sofie Kelly, Avery Aames, and me!
My thanks to Lorraine for taking the time to share her love of writing and the
cozy mystery genre. I hope that you will take a look at Lorraineâ€™s work â€“ I
guarantee that you will enjoy them! Until next month, Cozy Reading, Yaâ€™ll!
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