Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of three cozy series with a fourth in the works. In her previous life she was CEO/Creative Director of her own marketing firm and authored several screenplays. She is married to a professor of Chinese art history, loves to travel, rides horses, enjoys fund raising for various non-profits, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs. Her three series are: The Tea Shop Mysteries – set in the historic district of Charleston and featuring Theodosia Browning, owner of the Indigo Tea Shop. The Scrapbooking Mysteries – a slightly edgier series that take place in New Orleans. The main character, Carmela, owns Memory Mine scrapbooking shop in the French Quarter and is forever getting into trouble with her friend, Ava, who owns the Juju Voodoo shop. The Cackleberry Club Mysteries – set in Kindred, a fictional town in the Midwest. In a rehabbed Spur station, Suzanne, Toni, and Petra, three semi-desperate, forty-plus women have launched the Cackleberry Club. Eggs are the morning specialty here and this cozy cafe even offers a book nook and yarn shop. I reviewed POSTCARDS FROM THE DEAD back in January and AGONY OF THE LEAVES from the tea shop Mysteries back in February so I am thrilled that Laura is here today promoting her latest scrapbooking mystery GILT TRIP. Laura is giving away two autographed hardcover copies of GILT TRIP (US only) and you can enter to win by leaving a comment (with your email address) below and for more chances to win go HERE. Welcome, Laura.
My husband says he sleeps with one eye open given all my odd internet searches. Where did you come up with the idea of a trocar for a weapon? (I found a trocar under the category ‘home embalming’ on ebay which is a little worrisome.)
Believe it or not, I was a Mortuary Science student for a short time. Then I came to my senses and transferred to the English Department. But I did learn a few embalming tricks – like using a trocar.
You’re a prolific writer with multiple series. How long does it take you to write a first draft of a book like GILT TRIP and then with all that follows that, how long before the reader gets to see it?
I can usually write a book in 4 to 5 months. I start with a timeline on a large sheet of paper, fill in key characters, plot points, and clues, then transfer the whole thing to my computer. Then I write about an 80 page outline that will include a fairly tight first chapter and a sketchy final chapter. Then I go back to chapter one and write the book straight through, punching it up and fixing it as I go along. So no drafts, really, just writing the book in its entirety. Once my book is finished – usually a year before it’s published – I hit the Send key on my computer and start working on my next book.
To do what you do, you must be an incredibly organized person. Would I be correct in assuming you must be a plotter not a pantster?
I definitely work out a fairly tight plot – you just have to know where you’re going. The other thing is, in my previous life I was CEO of a marketing firm, so I was used to handling anywhere from 15 to 20 clients and their national campaigns at any one time. So to balance 3 books is relatively easy.
How many books are you ahead and what is the next book we can expect to see from you?
Eggs in a Casket, my new Cackleberry Club Mystery, pubs in January 2014. Steeped in Evil, my next Tea Shop Mystery, pubs in March of 2014. I am just finishing up Scorched Eggs (Cackleberry Club) and Gossamer Ghost (Scrapbook).
Is any one of the series more fun to write than the others and do you have favorites amongst the characters? (Drayton in the Tea Shop mysteries is mine.)
Well, he’s mine, too. But I’m pretty crazy about all my characters. Some readers think Delaine in the Tea Shop Mysteries is too abrasive, but she makes a great foil. And I love Ava in the Scrapbook Mysteries, she’s such a little tease. The only characters that give me problems are my protagonist’s boyfriends. I want my ladies to have a full life as they unravel mysteries, but I hate to have guys intrude too much!
What do you like to do to balance the demands writing places on you?
Balance? Oh, I wish. I write 5 days a week, do marketing/promotions 1 day a week and take 1 day off. That’s the day I grocery shop, do laundry, etc. And I’m thinking of writing a 4th series? I must be crazy!
Now three things that have nothing to do with writing or your book:
- What is your favorite food? Sushi
- What is your favorite TV show? Walking Dead and NFL Football
- What is your favorite music? Rolling Stones, 70’s classic rock, opera, and classical music
Thank you so much for being here today Laura, and good luck with the tour and your new book. And readers, don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win this great book.
(A Scrapbooking Mystery #11)
Berkley (Prime Crime), October 2013
320 pages Hardcover
Louisiana businessman Jerry Earl Leland served only a fraction of his five-year sentence for white-collar crime, thanks to some political connections and a few greased palms. But he won’t have long to enjoy his freedom…
After Jerry Earl’s early release, his wife, Margo—a much-married Garden District doyenne—throws an extravagant Get Out of Jail Free Party, complete with a Zydeco band, champagne ice luge, and waiters in ties and tails. The guest list includes many prominent New Orleans socialites, as well as scrapbook shop owner Carmela Bertrand and her best friend, Ava Gruiex. But sometime during the swirl of partying and drinking, Jerry Earl is brutally murdered—then stuffed inside a clothes dryer.
Carmela has earned a reputation around town for solving murders, and when the grieving widow turns to her for help, she can’t say no. But Jerry Earl took a lot of people to the cleaners with his underhanded business tactics, so Carmela’s going to be hard-pressed to identify which of his enemies was steamed enough to kill him. As she sorts through Jerry Earl’s dirty laundry, she needs to collar the killer before another victim is set to tumble dry…
Scrapbooking Tips and Recipes Included!
You can read a sneak peak of Chapter One HERE
I read so many books, most so called cozies. But some of them are written just for the humor and some are really more thrillers. It is so nice to sit down with a book that you know before you open it is going to be a traditional cozy with characters you already know. It was wonderful to be back in New Orleans with Carmela and Ava. The book starts with a party, complete with a champagne luge. The party ends with the guest of honor dead, banging around in a clothes dryer – found by Carmela of course. Jerry Earl Leland has no shortage of enemies. When his widow asks Carmela to find out who the murderer is she investigates in the French Quarter, The Garden District and all the way down Highway 23 to the End Of The World. Read it, you’ll find out! There are plenty of suspects, a few red herrings and a tightly written mystery that will have you guessing right until the end. Another winner in a series I never tire of reading. Oh, and there are scrapbooking tips and recipes at the end! ♥♥♥♥♥