Why do you write cozy mysteries?
I write what I love to read. I’ve always written, but I was forced to do a lot of very dry writing as a lawyer. Lawyers are notoriously bad writers and as an English major, I was stuck editing everyone else’s work as well as my own. After fifteen years in the legal trenches, I was burnt out on the writing process, but once I exited the profession I found my desire to write for pleasure coming back.
Please tell us about your book. What ideas or images inspired this novel?
I’d been following my husband around on a tour of the Speyside whisky distilleries in Scotland and at what felt like distillery number four hundred and thirty seven, I found myself thinking that the giant wooden vat we were peering into would make a great place to discover a dead body. Other mystery people will understand that this isn’t really as disturbed a thought as it seems, nor is it a subconscious desire to be rid of my whisky loving husband. From there I started writing the Whisky Business series. The series focuses on a journalist named Abi Logan who finds herself thrust into the male dominated world of single malt whisky when she inherits a distillery in rural Scotland. When one of her employees is found dead in a vat of the distillery’s finest, she must use her skills as an investigative journalist to identify the killer before he strikes again. But distilling truth from lies is tricky especially when everyone seems to have something to hide. The story looks at preconceived gender stereotypes and at the crisis of self that so many of us face at the mid point of our lives. What am I doing with my life? How did I get here? Where am I going?
Do you have an ideal reader in mind when you write? If so, please describe that reader.
My ideal reader is someone in need of an escape from the stress and pressure of their daily life. Someone who likes to travel in their mind and experience new things from the comfort of their armchair at the end of a long day. I also hope my readers enjoy a bit of mental exercise trying to identify the killer.
Please describe your writing routine.
I try to write every day although it’s harder at the beginning. There is nothing like a deadline to get the juices flowing. Practically speaking, I do my research first then I spend quite a bit of time outlining the story and trying to block out scenes on index cards. After that I’ll move through a first draft and start editing for flow and continuity. From there it’s a matter of polishing the prose and tightening the language.
What advice do you give new writers just starting out?
Revise, revise, revise. It’s very important to be willing to take constructive criticism and look at your own work objectively. It can be very hard to remove a favorite character or scene, but if it’s slowing down the pace of the plot it may have to go. Pacing is everything in commercial fiction these days. If you want to sell you have to adapt. One of my tricks early on was to cut sections and keep them in a separate document. That way they’ve been transferred not killed. I often find homes for them in later stories.
More about Single-Malt Murder:
Abigail Logan never expected to inherit a whisky distillery in the Scottish Highlands. But in the first novel of an engaging new series blending fine spirits with chilling mystery, Abi finds that there are secrets lurking in the misty glens that some will go to any lengths to protect… even murder.
When Abi inherits her uncle’s quaint and storied single malt distillery, she finds herself immersed in a competitive high-stakes business that elicits deep passions and prejudices. An award-winning photojournalist, Abi has no trouble capturing the perfect shot — but making the perfect shot is another matter. When she starts to receive disturbing, anonymous threats, it’s clear that someone wants her out of the picture. But Abi’s never been one to back down from a fight.
Arriving on the scene with her whisky-loving best friend, Patrick, and an oversized wheaten terrier named Liam, Abi seems to put everyone in the bucolic village on edge — especially her dour but disturbingly attractive head distiller. Acts of sabotage and increasingly personal threats against Abi make it clear that she is not welcome. When one of Abi’s new employees is found floating facedown in a vat of whisky, Abi is determined to use her skills as an investigative journalist to identify the cold-blooded killer and dispense a dram of justice before he strikes again. But distilling truth from lies is tricky, especially when everyone seems to have something to hide.
Grab your Amazon copy Here!
How to connect with Melinda:
Email address: Melinda@melindamullet.com