Why do you write cozy mysteries?
One of the things I especially love about writing cozy mysteries is the amount of time I get to spend with my characters. I love writing (and reading) a series as opposed to a standalone book because of how invested you become in the characters. There’s time to develop each character’s backstory and time to get to know them. I also love creating the town surrounding the characters. Sitting down to write or read a cozy is kind of like coming home to visit with friends. Plus, the mystery itself is a ton of fun to plot.
Please tell us about your book. What ideas or images inspired this novel?
Long Island is filled with old, supposedly haunted mansions. Every time I pass one, I wonder what it would be like to spend a weekend there. It seemed like the perfect setting for a séance.
Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
I think my ideal reader would be someone who enjoys getting to know my characters and has fun trying to solve the mystery along with my main character.
Please describe your writing routine.
I keep a stack of spiral notebooks on my nightstand, one on my desk, and one in the living room. I even keep a small notebook in my car and one in my purse in case I have an idea while I’m out. Every time I have an idea for a story, I pull out a notebook and start plotting it out. I list the characters, giving a lot of thought to their names, sometimes even researching names that have some meaning that relates to the story. Then I give each of them a back story and work them into each other. Then I research ways to kill people. And then I plot the story. Once I finish all of that, I just sit down and start writing. I try to write a minimum of a thousand words a day, but I don’t always make it.
What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
Sit down and write your story. Don’t worry about getting everything perfect on the first draft. It’s more important to just get the story down, and take care of the rest on your first round of self-edits.
More about Occult and Battery:
Cass Donovan uses her skills as a former psychiatrist to get away with pretending to be psychic, but she’s not about to let anyone get away with murder…
The outlook is not so good for Cass’s psychic shop, Mystical Musings. With winter winds discouraging tourists from riding the ferry from Long Island to Bay Island, Cass hopes to draw in more customers by hosting a murder mystery weekend, complete with a séance, in a supposedly haunted mansion.
But Cass begins to lose her spirit when her ex-husband shows up, along with his fiancée—Cass’s ex-best friend. Then, after one of the guests is found dead, a blizzard blows in, trapping everyone inside with a murderer. Now Cass must divine who did the deed before her reputation and her livelihood fade away.
How to connect with Lena:
Public email address: email@example.com