Andrea and Heather Take 5 with Barbara Jean

Hi there, guys and dolls! Well, if you told someone you’d ‘See You in September,’ you’d better do it lickety split, because the month’s almost over. Wasn’t that a fast one? Yours truly cannot believe how fast the days fly.

I also can’t believe that after all these interviews (with plenty more to come), I haven’t set my girls down in the hot seat. They claim they’re too busy keeping an eye on me and  listening to all my prattling on about my Santa Lucians to Take 5 with me. Finally I pinned them down (all it really took was the promise of a cocktail or two, to be honest) and Andrea Taylor and Heather Shkuratoff settled down to have a great little confab with me. So get yourselves comfortable and enjoy learning a thing or two that you didn’t already know about my gal pals. Cover Hi Res

1. So tell me a little about your series and main characters.

Andrea: Our Poppy Cove Mysteries are cozy novels set in the fictional town of Santa Lucia, loosely based on Santa Barbara in the late 50′s, early 60′s and revolves around the glamorous comings and goings of the social set of the town, with a little murder and mayhem thrown in for good measure. The Poppy Cove Mystery Series currently consists of STRANGLED BY
SILK
, DEATH OF A Death_of_a_Beauty_Queen_1600x2400_(Ebook)BEAUTY QUEEN, and A NATE TO REMEMBER, with more to come.

Heather: The stories are very character driven. The main heroines Daphne Huntington-Smythe and Margot Williams run their dress shop/design atelier at the corner of Poppy Lane and Cove Street (that’s where the name Poppy Cove came from), and through their work with the town’s social set get involved in the lives, loves and scandals of the people they meet.A_Nate_To_Remember

2. Being that there are two of you, how do you write?  Do you compose separately, or talk it out as you go along together, share or divide up characters, scenes or research?

Heather: We always write together and we talk constantly. A lot. On our own time, we’ll often each come up with different thoughts and plot lines for the tales and then weigh them out and decide if and where it fits in the overall story line.

Andrea: We’re very visual, it’s like writing a play or movie script. We’ll get an overall feel for where the points are going in the story, then envision the way the scenes round out and flow into one another.

3. What exciting moment or moments that made you realize that you were really an “author?”

Andrea: I’ve been writing stories all my life, since I could hold a pen. It’s hard to pin down an exact moment, but possibly back in my teens when I could get involved in the writing process. Creating a finished story on paper from thoughts that came to me made me realize that I had a place in the writing world.

Heather: When we typed “The End” on our first draft of STRANGLED BY SILK. Whatever happened with it after that, I knew we had finished something that I would be proud to say I helped to create.

4.What do you do to spark up your creativity when you feel the well of inspiration is running dry?

Heather: Playing with you, Barbara Jean, helps. We channel you and your ‘joie de vivre’ to get us through the mundane and taxing aspects of life. I also like to watch movies and television series like Poirot, Morse, Lewis, Endeavour, Wallander- I could go on. They provoke my thought processes and get me scheming.

Andrea: I love watching all those, too. We listen to Frank Sinatra and the great jazz from the era. I love looking at the fashions, illustrations and photos of the time. Movies from the 50’s, like ‘The Best of Everything,’ ‘Funny Face,’ ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’ all transport me to such a dreamy place and inspire me.

5.  Who are some of your favorite authors and how do you feel they have influenced your desire to write?

Andrea: There’s so many that it’s hard to pin down. For mysteries, I like P.D. James, Ruth Rendell, Susan Wittig Albert, M.C. Beaton, Donna Andrews, Hannah Reed, and Cathy Ace to name a few. I love to read works by Virginia Woolf, Thomas Hardy, Tracy Chevalier, Beatriz Williams, Gail Anderson-Dargatz, and Margaret Atwood as well. They make me want to be the best writer I can be.

Heather: I read all the time too, and just as eclectic. I love the authors that Andrea has mentioned, but I’ll add in Carola Dunn, Elaine Viets, G.A. McKevett, Rhys Bowen, Melissa Bourbon for mysteries. I’ve been reading Madeleine L’Engle, Chris Bohjalian, Alice Hoffman, Susan Gregg Gilmore, Fanny Flagg and Mary Stewart inspire me to tell good stories about ordinary people who turn out to be fascinating as life plays with them.

Thank you, ladies for Taking 5 with me. And friends, be sure to check out the world my girls are creating for me. The three books in the series – STRANGLED BY SILK, DEATH OF A BEAUTY QUEEN and A NATE TO REMEMBER are waiting for you on Kindle with just a click away. You can also join them through my Facebook, Twitter, website as well as this blog as they continue to create more of my stories and welcome you all to Poppy Cove.

Toodles,

Barbara Jean

 

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Not Now, I Must Have My Beauty Sleep

Hi there, guys and dolls! Well I don’t know about you, but my girls (Andrea and Heather) have both been hitting the snooze button lately. They’ve been talking and realizing that they’ve been needing a little extra zzz’s and taking the opportunity to do so. They’re also finding out that as they do, it’s not all wasted time.ffa51f96294f8bdc72f30b795cd20bae

To be honest (as most of my dear, dear friends and readers know), they’re now on the upswing of a rather challenging time.  All is good, but with the sense of relief comes that bone tired exhaustion. As the girls talk about their dreamtimes, they realize they are working out plans and ideas, plots and new directions, bringing to my Santa Lucians a richer tapestry of tales and ideas, along with the ways they want to progress their lives.

I see more good times ahead, just as soon as my sleeping beauties can dream it all out into action.

Toodles,

Barbara Jean

 

 

 

 

Posted in Authors, Beauty, book series, Commitment, Communication, Conversation, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery Series, Creativity, Inspiration, Patience, Perspective, Uncategorized, Writers, Writing, Writing Ideas | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Wonder as I Wander

Hi there, guys and dolls! Isn’t September such a beautiful month? In most placesbfef1-barbarajeancoast27sbook, the days are still warm, but the nights have a little crisp snap to them, and the sunlight has a wonderful glow. Everything’s a little quieter, which gives me time to think.

I like to wander (as do my alter egos Andrea and Heather, big surprise te058f-barbarajeancoast27sbookjpghere). They talk and plan, work out plot lines that my fellow Santa Lucians tell them about. For the first Poppy Cove Mystery (STRANGLED BY SILK) my girls were sitting in the non-fiction section of their main Okanagan Regional Library and came up with Daphne, Margot and the demise of the town doyenne. The cat fight at Poppy Cove in DEATH OF A BEAUTY QUEEN and the opening art show scene in A NATE TO REMEMBER were both written A_Nate_To_Rememberat a couple local beaches.

Now the girls are writing their fourth (yes, it’s on its way), and are also looking at my whole world, looking at the way they share my people and places, what they have done well, could improve and where they want everything (including other stories and series) to go. This is where the wandering helps. They roam and talk, watch the world go by, and see what filters in. It brings new ideas and helps to clear out the cobwebs. Sometimes the busiest work looks like play, but it’s where the diamonds shine.

Toodles,

Barbara Jean

 

 

Posted in 50's Novels, Authors, book series, Characters, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery Series, creative writing, Creativity, ebooks, Fiction, Fictional Characters, First Novel, Inspiration, Mysteries, novels, Patience, Perspective, Readers, reading, Uncategorized, Writers, Writing, Writing Ideas | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

State of the Fair

Hi there, guys and dolls! As some of you more ardent fans may have noticed, I did not post yesterday, but I had a wonderful reason. Yours truly was at the fair! I had such a lovely time.midway2_lo-res

Now where my girls Andrea and Heather live, they have a wonderfully long-running traditional provincial rather than state exhibition. It’s called the IPE (Interior Provincial Exhibition) in the charming nearby town of Armstrong. The fair is one of the grand ones, with still all of the farming, baking and preserving competitions along with the usual assortment of carnival amusements and games, a rodeo and breathtaking skill contests. How fun, thrilling and romantic all at the same time!

I’m sorry to find out that some of these local community events have lost some of their more homespun qualities. Some of them have dropped the domestic and agricultural aspects of the jam-packed parties. Now that’s just sad and oh so wrong. Those were the reasons why these gatherings started in the first place and no matter how advanced and modern we would like to be, let’s not go backwards and lose touch with all of our earthly roots and beginnings. 12039366_723434457789597_1281772681066054172_n

You see, people of all ages put their hearts and hands into growing the best tomatoes, raising the perfect calf, baking the tastiest tart and sewing the perfectly pleated hem, eager to show the world the talents they have been given and how they have cultivated them. Just as yours truly feels about sharing my Santa Lucia in my Poppy Cove Mysteries, just as my dear writer friends feel the same about the worlds they bring to you, dear readers.

Toodles,

Barbara Jean

 

Posted in 1950's, Creativity, Inspiration, Nostalgia, Perspective, Pop Culture, State Fairs, Uncategorized, Vintage | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Marilyn Takes 5 with Barbara Jean

Hi there, guys and dolls! Sigh, the end of summer is nigh. Hasn’t it been such a lovely one? Yours truly has had such a golden time; it was just so peachy with my time so beachy.

However, the month coming to a close is not all bad. It means I get to share one of my favorite features, a fellow author confab. This month, I had the delight to share a long, tall, cool drink (or two) with the lovely Marilyn Levinson. She’s written some of the most entertaining mysteries around, as well as some terrific young adult fiction, her latest being a terror-suspense goodie titled THE DEVIL’S PAWN, perfect for the last long nights for the back to school set or anyone who loves a great nail-biter.

1. So tell me a little about your series and main characters.

I love the sleuths in my series and wish I had more hours in the day so I could write more mysteries for them to solve.

Lydia Krause, my protagonist in the Twin Lakes Mystery series, is an attractive, dynamic 58-year-old widow who sells her home and business and moves to Twin Lakes, an over-55 community. Here Lydia finds murder, mayhem, new friends and a budding romance, yet is always on hand to help her grown daughters resolve their life issues (A MURDERER AMONG US and MURDER IN THE AIR).

In the Golden Age of Mystery Book Club Mysteries, English professor Lexie Driscoll leads 515t+48ViVLdiscussions about books by Golden Age of Mystery authors such as Agatha Christie and Josephine Tey as she solves murders and deals with her somewhat complicated love life
(MURDER A LA CHRISTIE and MURDER THE TEY WAY).

In my latest series, The Haunted Library, 29-year-old Carrie Singleton relinquishes her Goth appearance for more traditional garb when she accepts the position of Head of Programs and Events in the Clover Ridge Library. In DEATH OVERDUE, which is now in the editing process,  a retired homicide detective dies while discussing a cold case he claims to have finally solved. Carrie takes on the task of finding the person that murdered him and the victim fifteen years earlier.

2. What is your writing process like? Do you thrive on routine or work spontaneously as the whim takes you?

I always work from a rough outline, and think in terms of scenes. Before I sit down to write each day, I have a good idea of how I want to advance the plot and what clues or red herrings I need to include. That said, I’m always open to new settings and unplanned, interesting exchanges between my characters. Being a procrastinator, I do my best writing in the late afternoon/early evening. Then the words flow.

3. What exciting moment or moments have made you realize that you were really an “author”?

My first book, a young YA novel titled AND DON’T BRING JEREMY, was published in 1986. I was excited to read a wonderful review of JEREMY in Publishers Weekly. I was thrilled that a paperback book club bought the rights to the book, even before the hard cover version came out.

4. What do you do to spark up your creativity when you feel the well of inspiration is running dry?

I do one of the following:

Go back a chapter or two to see if I can recapture the momentum. It may have stopped because I’ve veered off in the wrong direction.

I email my plotting group. We’re a group of mystery writers who help each other with murder methods, plot twists, titles, and many issues that have nothing to do with writing. We’re there to support one another.

Sometimes I’ll go for a walk and the problem will resolve itself. I think it’s good to have a variety of alternatives available.

5. Who are some of your favorite authors and how do you feel they have influenced your desire to write?

I started to write in elementary school and still have my notebook of short stories from second or third grade. Of course my favorites in those days were the Judy Bolton, Trixie Belden, Cherry Ames, and Nancy Drew series. These days I read many, many mysteries, thrillers, and mainstream novels. Some of my favorite mystery writers are Charles Todd, Charlaine Harris, Marion Che41GaC8S-1wLsley/M. C. Beaton, Sara Paretsky, and Ann Cheeves. I could go on and on. They’re all wonderful storytellers, each with his or her own style and voice. They inspire me to write the best mysteries I can.

Thanks for taking the time to enjoy a lovely chat with me Marilyn and sharing with my fellow readers all about your tales of mystery and suspense for all ages. And friends, get to know Marylin and her work a little better for yourselves. Check out her website, Amazon author page, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Pinterest links while you’re toddling around on the net. And be sure to give her latest, THE DEVIL’S PAWN a read.

Toodles,

Barbara Jean

 

Posted in Authors, book series, books, Commitment, Communication, Conversation, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery Series, creative writing, Creativity, Fiction, Fictional Characters, Inspiration, Interviews, kindle, murder mystery, Mysteries, new release, Newly Published, Readers, reading, suspense, Uncategorized, Writers, Writing, Writing Ideas, Young Adult | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

I Wonder About Them

Hi there, guys and dolls! Hope your summer has been going along swimmingly. Yours truly has been having such a fantabulous one, I’m always up to something.

Which makes me think about my Santa Lucians in my Poppy Cove Mysteries and what they do. Everyone’s got a story to tell; a past, present or future that shapes and defines them and here’s a few that have been amusing recently.

Daphne Huntington-Smythe – Our darling fair-haired girl. She seems to have had it all so A_Nate_To_Remembereasy in her young and carefree life. Now it’s starting to get to her after she realizes that almost everyone else has had some kind of dangerous fun. Tired of her pristine life, she’s thinking about what kind of decent trouble a girl like her could get into. She finds some in A NATE TO REMEMBER and I know there will be more to come in future tales.

Barbara Lewis -Poor Babs. She’s Nancy Lewis’ eldest daughter and such a sullen and sulky girl. She trails behind her mother, feeling misplaced and out of step compared to her mother and younger twin sisters (more on them later). Babs nags at me, pulls at my heart strings and gives me a little mischievous thrill when I think what she wants to get up to. Wait for it, it’s coming.

Loretta Simpson – Now why would a high flying gossip columnist hang up her heels in sleepy Santa Lucia? She keeps giving me hints of what her life was like in McCarthy era Hollywood. What was her past like? Hmm…

Irene Swanson – Another Los Angeles transplant. She got kicked out of the city for being a bad girl. Wonder what exactly she did? We sure do, and slowly but surely she’s telling me and then we’ll be sure to tell you, dear readers.

Betty Young – Such a sweet little thing, blissfully married to her sandwich eating Oldsmobile salesman Dwight. Always rushing home to get dinner on the table and being the perfect housewife. I’m thinking that girl’s bright enough to have further ambitions, and she’s starting to agree. I mean, just how many ways can a girl make a sandwich anyhow?

Betsy and Anita Lewis – Nancy’s twin daughters and also Barbara’s younger sisters. The identical girls have their own world and now that they have graduated from their private high school have way too much time on their hands and are sidling around Santa Lucia like a pair of Siamese cats. Don’t you just know they’re bound to be up to something.

Then there’s always Margot Williams, who we have unearthed her past in A NATE TO REMEMBER. She’s bound to have more to come in her life, as well as the rest of the swanky social set in my toddlin’ little town. Stay tuned, more misadventures and mayhem to come!

Toodles,

Barbara Jean

Posted in 1950's California, 50's Novels, Alter Ego, Authors, book series, books, California, Characters, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery Series, creative writing, Creativity, ebooks, Fiction, Fictional Characters, Historical, Hollywood, murder mystery, Mysteries, Nostalgia, novels, Readers, reading, Social Mores, Socializing, Uncategorized, Vintage, Writers, Writing, Writing Ideas | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Whatcha Watching?

Hi there, guys and dolls! How is your summer going? Don’t you just love it? I certainly do. And do you know what rounds out a fabulous day out in the sun, surf and sand? A fun movie from my time. Now, there are so many wonderful films out there and I’ve discussed a few previously, but here’s some more that I recently had the chance to see again. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could see these on a big drive-in screen cuddled up to the one you love under the stars?

drive in.jpg

seven_year_itch

 

The Seven Year Itch – Poor guy, left alone in the city. What’s he to do with a temptation floating around like that?

picnic-movie-poster-1956-1010194247Picnic – What do you get when you mix a small town beauty, a lonely school teacher and a low life drifter? Why, trouble at an innocent little picnic.Summertime 0

Summertime – Katharine Hepburn stars as a woman in the autumn of her life enjoying a Venice summer romance. Stunning, both visually and emotionally, thanks to the direction of David Lean. (PS – the trailer has French subtitles, it was the best version yours truly could find and I think it adds a little charm SUDDENLY, LAST SUMMER - American Poster 5to it too, n’est-ce pas?)

Suddenly, Last Summer – High drama, intrigue and steaminess. Doesn’t it make you want to know exactly what happened last sub30b238b8f011a1779036d0d527de2bfmmer? I sure did.

A Summer Place – A scandalous shocker of my day! Don’t let the bucolic and dreamy Percy Faith theme fool you. This one’s a real pot boiler.

Well there you have it, friends. I could just go on and on, but I’ll leave more for another time. Until then, happy viewing and I’ll get on with happy writing!

Toodles,

Barbara Jean

Posted in 50's Movies, Classic Movies, Creativity, entertainment, Nostalgia, Pop Culture, Uncategorized, Vintage | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Whatcha Listening To?

Hi there guys and dolls! Happy August to you all, hope you are enjoying your summer wherever you are (my girls Heather and Andrea live in the land of peaches and beaches, so you know they are). As for me well, you all know I’ll have a good time no matter what I get up to.

Music plays a big part in the backdrop of our lives. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, as my girls write their Poppy Cove Mysteries they usually have some of the finest jazz and/or old blue eyes of the 50’s era rounding out in the background. Rock n’ roll, balladeers and soul singers were also very big in my time, and such fun they were.

Here’s some links to songs featured on Youtube that were popular in August 1957, which incidentally is when my first Poppy Cove Mystery (STRANGLED BY SILK, if you are just tuning in). Do keep in mind these are older clips, so the quality is what it is. Maybe we should just be grateful we can still see them, but that’s a whole other topic for another day, isn’t it ;hqdefault-)?

1. Pat Boone  – Love Letters in the Sand (for you avid fans out there, you’ll know this was mentioned in the book). Isn’t Mr. Boone dreamy?hqdefault

2. Elvis Presley – (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear in Technicolor! Doesn’t Elvis just make you go weak in the knees?

hqdefault3. Billy Williams – (I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and) Write Myself a Letter. Now the video clip for this was from 1959, and isn’t it such a delight to see a young Dick Clark hosting the Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show? And I just love Mr. Williams’ delightful smile and expressive demeanor.hqdefault

4. The Everly Brothers – Bye Bye Love. Still such a popular song. I’ll bet you can hear this playing somewhere, on some station or channel to this day. Their harmonies still send me, sigh!

hqdefault5. The Coasters – Searchin’. Love the strolling entrance, and toss in the Steve Allen intro to make the fun complete. If you don’t find your head boppin’ along before the end of this tune, you’d better check your pulse!

And so concludes our musical interlude. Have fun, cool cats🙂

Toodles,

Barbara Jean

 

Posted in 1950's, 50's music, 50's television, Alter Ego, Authors, book series, books, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery Series, ebooks, entertainment, Fiction, kindle, Pop Culture, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

George Takes 5 with Barbara Jean

51ighlb0UeLHi there, guys and dolls! Happy almost midsummer. Hope you are all having a lovely time, whatever you are getting up to. I sure am, and part of my fun in the sun is enjoying a tall, cool drink in the shade with my dear writer friend, George Jackson. This dear and creative soul is very prolific, with over twenty-five books to his name, ranging from fantasy to mystery. Today we are chatting about his Falls series of books, terrific cozy mysteries he has penned about his favorite small town and the people who make it tick. I’m pleased to announce his latest in the terrific series (number 24) is THE FALLS: THICKER THAN WATER and available now.

1.  So tell me a little about your series and main characters.

First of all, thank you Barbara Jean, for inviting me to your blog. I have a great deal of respect for you and your dedication to the craft. I appreciate the opportunity and feel honored to be here.

Now, as far as The Falls small town mystery series goes, the story and the characters come mostly from the place I grew up. I was born and grew up in Fair Haven, Vermont. A small town just a few minutes away from the “city” of Rutland. And The Falls wasn’t the first series I ever wrote. The first series I created was Dragon World, a six book fantasy series loaded with valiant dragons and courageous dragon riders, magnificent warriors, determined white wizards, powerful, savage barbarians, amazing Amazons, and a truly badass Dark Lord.

Truth is, I’ve always written. Usually at night after work (I was in education for 40 years, 29 of them being principal of several schools ranging from elementary school to high school) when I was so tired the words would swim before my eyes at times. When I was young, I wrote short stories…horror and thrillers mostly. Then came the dragon stories, which I started off on an old IBM Selectric. I have written off and on ever since.
Once I retired from the school system in 2009 and moved to Florida, I got down to writing seriously. I revised DRAGON WORLD and put in a lot of time trying to get a literary agent. That frustrating process lasted a couple of years, and dozens of rejected inquiries from agents using Jeff Herman’s Guide to the publishing world to track down suitable people and agencies. However, it seemed that agents wanted either published authors or “the next guaranteed great best seller”. Since I had neither to offer, and even opening dialogues with agents seemed almost impossible at that point in time, I finally decided to go the route of self-publishing.

After the fantasies, I was ready for something different. I decided to write a mystery and set it in the place I knew best, rural Vermont. That decided, the first book in The Falls series, THE FALLS: IN THE DEAD OF WINTER, poured out of me. The characters came from people I had seen, dealt with and interacted with in life. I will also admit to putting a little of me in several of the characters seen most often in the series. The locations were easy. Change the names to protect the innocent and visualize the places I knew as a child. Twenty-four stories later, here I am.

Discussing main characters is a bit dicey. You see, the series is truly about a whole town. Everyone in town has a part in the stories, and they all contribute to the plot and subplots as it goes along. True, the sheriff, Cash Green and his loyal deputies, Ericka Yamato and Horace Scofield, are the centerpieces, but so are the two doctors in town, Doc Stone and Meg Monroe. Grandpa and Grandma Burman, The Falls version of the town’s social hierarchy and their family members are all intricately involved in every story. I have large box stuffed full of index cards, each one listing a character, a person that is involved in one or more of the now twenty-four stories. (Working on twenty-five!) But to me, they’re all family. That’s what small towns were like back then.

2.  What is your writing process like? Do you thrive on routine or work spontaneously as the whim takes you?

Chuckles. My wife would tell you that I am a “very patterned person”. I’m a stubborn but caring old Scotsman, and I write a chapter every morning and edit every afternoon. At the present I’m working on the next Falls story in the morning and I’m editing the seventeenth novel in the series, THE FALLS: COLDBLOODED, getting it ready to be published on CreateSpace as a paperback. The first sixteen stories in the series are already paperbacks and available at Barnes & Noble, CreateSpace and Amazon.com. I am, as I’ve said, a stubborn, determined old Scotsman. That said, I decided early on not to spend money on anything I didn’t have to, just write stories for people to enjoy. I am, above all else, a simple storyteller. So, I had to learn how to do my own covers and although I have been an artist in oils in a past life, it has been a humbling and learning experience.

3. What exciting moment or moments have made you realize that you were really an “author”?

I will admit that the first time I saw one of my stories on Kindle, actually sitting there on the Amazon screen staring back at me, that moment was special. The same thing when I received my first paperback in the mail. After the years of trying to get an agent to work with me to get published, it was uplifting and truly affirming. Of course, seeing the first check from Amazon was a pretty nice feeling as well! I have to admit to grinning like a loon when I got the first checks made out to me in pounds and euros as well! Pretty neat! It still is special when an old friend, a relative, or a complete stranger lets me know they like my little stories. That will never get old. It touches my heart, makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something special.

4. What do you do to spark up your creativity when you feel the well of inspiration is running dry?

I’ve been lucky. I just sit down and write. I’ve never gone through a dry spell, and haven’t had “The Block” so far in any of my writing. (Okay, so my fingers are crossed as I write that sentence.) I love writing. When I go a few days without writing, like when the grandkids are with us, or on vacation, I get the itch to find a computer and get started. ‘Sides, when I sit down, the characters in my head just tell what to write. Easy enough.

5. Who are some of your favorite authors and how do you feel they have influenced your desire to write?

I love stories…all kinds…all genres. I love Stephen King. He was my first, my all time favorite. Although I didn’t always love his subjects, I loved the way he wrote. My early short stories were modeled after his writing style. Then there’s Grisham, Patterson, Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta series, JK Rowling, Agatha Christie, Rick Riordan and lots more. Lately, I have been keenly immersed in many of the authors that write for the youth market. Books such as Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series, Michael Scott (Nicholas Flamel), McAffrey, Lacey, Mull (Fable Haven) and Sage (Septimus Heap). I enjoy many of the cozy mystery series as well. Cozy mysteries have a special place in my heart. I believe that they are a breed “above” the thrillers and horror tales in many ways and I find the writers of cozy mysteries to be sweet, caring and goodhearted people. Which brings me to a subtle point about my own series. I’m technically a derivative of the traditional cozy mystery, which I like to call a Small town mystery. My stories include amateur sleuths, but working in conjunction with Cash Green and his crew. At times there are murders “on stage” but not with gratuitous graphic violence. Unlike the real world, however, there is no crude swearing or cussin’ in my stories as my grandmother would have called it. Heaven knows there’s enough of that out there in the daily news without me adding to it. (Although as principal of six schools, I heard some really mindboggling run-on curses in my day!)

George, this has been just great. Not only are you talented, but a great guy too. And fellow readers, get to know George a little better — visit his blog and follow him on Twitter. Don’t forget to pick up your own copy of his latest – THE FALLS: THICKER THAN WATER on Kindle.

Toodles,

Barbara Jean

Posted in Authors, books, Characters, Communication, Conversation, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery Series, creative writing, Creativity, ebooks, Fiction, Inspiration, Interviews, kindle, murder mystery, Mysteries, new release, Newly Published, novels, Readers, Reading, Uncategorized, Writers, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Now Where was I?

Cover Hi ResHi there, guys and dolls! Well, I’m happy to report that both of my girls are feeling pretty darn fine these days and have had a celebratory break after the most interesting year they have had. They never really stopped planning, playing or participating in my Poppy Cove world, but they certainly had to take it easy and had to take care of pesky but necessary situations.e058f-barbarajeancoast27sbookjpg

Now they are catching up with me, giving me the attention I so crave and have been almost patiently waiting for. I encouraged them to reread all three books (for those of you just joining me, those would be STRANGLED BY SILK, DEATH OF A BEAUTY QUEEN and A NATE TO REMEMBER) to A_Nate_To_Rememberrefresh their minds and get back into the Santa Lucia swing of things. And I’ve been putting a bug in their ears about book four, telling them how it all plays out.

Plus, I’ve been reminding them of all the things they’ve talked about doing to bring more of my social set to you, dear friends and readers. Good and mysterious days are on their way.

Toodles,

Barbara Jean

 

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