Why do you write cozy mysteries?
I’ve fallen in love with murder. Most of my other works are YA paranormal, with some kind of witchy or magical or supernatural bent to them. I’ve dabbled in science fiction, post apocalyptic, even horror. But there’s a special kind of awesome in creating crime that gives me a thrill.
Everything about cozies appeals, from the amateur sleuth to the investigative ingenuity to the bloodless crimes. My voice tends toward the snarky sarcastic and humorous internal dialogue that seems to fit the genre really well.
Please tell us about your book. What ideas or images inspired this novel?
Bed and Breakfast and Murder introduces Fiona Fleming, daughter of an ex-county sheriff and a school principal, who spent ten years running away from her old life in the small town of Reading, Vermont. When she realizes her boyfriend has been cheating on her and that her existence in the big city isn’t giving her the kind of fulfillment she’s looking for, she accepts the inheritance of her recently deceased grandmother’s bed and breakfast, Petunia’s. Saddled with a flatulent pug of the same name, two elderly staff members who wish she stayed in New York and a rapidly fading fantasy that owning a B&B could possibly be glamorous and romantic, Fee finds herself in the midst of a murder investigation when a body appears in her garden’s koi pond.
I love the small town feeling of this series. I grew up in such a place, where everyone knows everyone and your business is not your own. The vivid beauty of the mountains, a picturesque town nestled in the valley below, a colonial three story with a lovely carriage house and English country garden in the back all called to me as the perfect setting for Fee’s adventures.
And, as the owner of two adorable pug babies, the addition of Petunia as Fee’s sidekick was a natural choice.
Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
I’m in my mid-forties, but I feel like I’m still twenty most of the time. So, for the cozy series I tend to write to women around my age, aiming for anyone with a wicked sense of humor who love to push boundaries and try new things, to become as fully absorbed in what they are reading as their own lives. Readers who love animals and adventure and the kind of sweet romance and bloodless murder that makes writing cozies so much fun. And readers who like to talk about what they read, who interact and communicate with me and others.
But, you know what? My ideal is the person who gives my work a chance, regardless of the outcome. That’s my kind of reader.
Please describe your writing routine.
I’m fairly prolific and tend to write and publish at least one book a month, sometimes two, though depending on life demands I’ve been known to take time off here and there for other projects outside my literary life.
If I’m working on a new book or series, I tend to spend all day at it. For the Fiona Fleming series, for example, I sat down and outlined the entire run—from murderers to victims to suspects to murder weapons—over the course of a few days. I like to see the entire project from start to finish before I write book one so I don’t drop threads or get lost. That’s how I discovered the original twelve books were actually thirteen.
When I’m writing, I tend to tackle large chunks at a time. So, between 6-15k per day (anywhere from four to ten chapters). I don’t like to be distracted and tend to finish a book before moving on to the next one. So, when the first draft is complete, I take two days to edit then send it off to beta readers to make sure I hit the mark or my editor before starting the next book.
What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
I love this question and struggle with it, too. There’s so much advice and yet, my journey is my journey and it’s impossible for you to replicate what I’ve done. Nor should you! So, here’s what I typically say when I’m asked:
– Be professional. Always, in all forums, at all times. Yes, we have bad days, we have frustrations and times when it seems like nothing is going right, that reviewers are being cruel or someone on social media is saying things that hurt or feel like bullying. I get it, I really get it. But the face you put out to the public, to your readers, is the persona their going to attach to. Their lives are tough, too. They deserve the best from you. So find a place to privately vent the things you need to vent and keep your public sphere professional.
– Be your own boss. Whether you take the traditional publishing route, go all indie or somewhere in between, always take responsibility for your career. You choose where you go from here, what books you write, how you brand yourself and what deals you accept. No one else can do that for you.
– Have fun! Why else are we doing this? If it’s not fun anymore, there’s a reason for it. Find that reason, wipe it clean, and find the joy again. Because you might as well be in a cubicle working 9-5 if you’re not in love with what you’re doing.
More about Bed and Breakfast and Murder:
Fiona Fleming hasn’t lived in Reading, Vermont in over a decade, her escape from small-town living leading her to New York City and a life of adventure. An adventure that has left her with no career, an ex who cheated on her and zero plans for the future. And then, in the shocker of a lifetime, Fee’s grandmother wills her a bed and breakfast. Awesome! It’s the fresh start she’s been dying for. Or is it?
Petunia’s might seem like a refuge from her cheating ex and so-called life in the big city, but being accused of murder within two weeks of arriving back in her hometown? That’s anything but charming. Can she uncover the truth before the handsome new sheriff puts her behind bars instead of asking her to dinner?
Grab your copy here!
How to connect with Patti:
Email address: email@example.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/PattiLarsen @PattiLarsen