Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I was born and raised in a small town in Indiana. After numerous jobs including schoolteacher, church organist, insurance agent, funeral parlor associate, and stay-at-home mom, I finally realized I wanted to be a writer when I grow up. I’ve written 3 books in THE LIZZIE HART MYSTERIES SERIES (#3, BAD MEDICINE is coming out in July 2015) and 2 books in the JAVA JIVE MYSTERIES SERIES (#1, DEATH BEFORE DECAF is being published by Random House in November 2015). I’m a wife, mom, musician, amateur baker, and dog lover!
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is called BAD MEDICINE. I left my main characters, Lizzie and Blake, in some serious emotional limbo at the end of the second book in the series, so I felt compelled to deal with the fallout. As for the inspiration for the murder part of the story, I’ve always been intrigued by how drugs, even prescription ones, can wreak such havoc on our bodies.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Not really, aside from preferring it to be quiet when I write. It’s awfully difficult to try to write a romantic scene when I all I can hear is SpongeBob’s grating laugh coming from the TV in the next room.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I love the fun mysteries written by Janet Evanovich and Meg Cabot. Kristan Higgins and Sophie Kinsella seem to share my sense of humor. For more gritty mystery and forensics, I’m a big fan of Patricia Cornwell and Jefferson Bass. And of course, my voracious reading of THE TRIXIE BELDEN SERIES when I was a kid is where my deep love for mysteries began.
What are you working on now?
I’m putting the finishing touches on BAD MEDICINE and working with my editor on tweaking the second book in the JAVA JIVE series.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
My publicist, Sarka-Jonae Miller, is pretty awesome. She’s got a ton of ideas that really work. Also, I’ve built a huge network of great online author friends who are always willing to support me through blogging, Tweeting, and Facebooking about my books.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
While you shouldn’t agonize over negative reviews, they can actually be helpful. Criticism isn’t fun to hear, but it keeps us in line, and it keeps us honest. If everyone loved every word you ever wrote and you never got criticized, would you keep giving 110% to your writing? Probably not. All of us have read books by acclaimed authors whose writing has gone downhill. Don’t be that guy. Gather constructive criticism from people you trust, and from people who have experience in writing.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
The best advice I’ve received is to develop a thick skin and never give up! You pour your heart and soul (and untold hours of your time) into writing a novel, and it becomes your baby. Then, you put it out there for people to read or for the publishing industry to consider, and they tell you that your beloved “baby” isn’t quite what they want. You have to brush it off and keep trying, because you’ll never make it if you quit. I heard a lot of NO before I got the one YES that counted from Random House.
What are you reading now?
I have the opportunity to beta-read Zanna Mackenzie’s latest addition to her AMBER REED CCIA MYSTERIES, a novella called ON TRIAL. I love the series–it’s a lot of fun like my Lizzie Hart series!
What’s next for you as a writer?
I have a more forensic-based novel I’m working on, which is a serious departure from the funny cozies I normally write. I’ve just completed a forensics class at a local college so I can be specific and knowledgeable when I write about forensic investigations.
What is your favorite book of all time?
Strangely enough, it’s not a mystery, which is the bulk of what I read these days. It’s WHERE THE HEART IS by Billie Letts. I love how all of her characters are so deep and seem to absolutely hop off the page.