The book I’m just starting, Marriage Can Be Murder, will involve dating and re-marriage issues for Boomers, the marriages of adult children (and the in-laws!), and will include a destination wedding on Nantucket. There are 7 books projected for the series so far. Book 4 is tentatively titled Memories Can Be Murder, and will deal with the dreaded high school reunion. Carol has lots of subjects to explore. I hope I can keep up with her!
How do you keep track of your sales?
I keep a log of which stores have which books, how many copies of each, and how many books have sold in that store. And, of course, what their payment policy is. Some indie stores don’t pay authors as quickly as they used to, which is understandable in this economy. But it can be tough on the authors! E-book sales are much easier to track. I’m on all the major e-book sites, and the books sell like crazy there, especially on Kindle. Because I have author accounts with all these sites, I can log on once a week (for example, Kindle posts new sales figures every Sunday for the previous week) and see what I’ve sold.
How has belonging to Sisters in Crime and The Cape Cod Writers Center helped your writing career?
Both organizations are tremendous resources for writers -- both newer ones like me and established ones. Writers are tremendously generous with sharing information and resources. With the publishing industry in such a state of flux these days, we all help each other as much as we can.
Most of us don’t stumble over bodies in our daily lives. Your victims, a retirement coach, and the buyer of Carol’s home, appear naturally as dead bodies and part of the unfolding stories. Do you find yourself looking for crime in daily and seemingly innocent activities?
Unfortunately, I don’t have to look too hard to find crimes being committed. All I have to do is read the daily paper or watch to the news. Most of the stories there are far more serious than I’d ever write about. And I must confess that I’m a terrible eavesdropper. Standing in line to check out at the supermarket, for example, I overhear the most amazing conversations. And so many people talk on their cell phones these days without knowing – or caring – that complete strangers, like me, can overhear the most intimate details of their lives. It doesn’t take much to start my imagination going. Any one of these things can be a springboard for a story idea, or a character.
Your protagonist has wit, compassion, and experience on her side. Are you planning to reveal and use mature aspects of Carol’s character in future books? (There has to be some reward for surviving youth).
I hope Carol grows as a person in every book I write. In Book One, she was kind of silly and superficial. Whiny, even. Although she did say things that lots of wives have thought about! In Book Two, she became more serious, more concerned about social issues. But no matter what Carol has to deal with, she’ll never lose her sense of humor.
Your protagonist has a husband and loyal group of friends. How much do you think these characters reveal about your character and move the plot forward?
Carol couldn’t exist without her support system. I don’t think any of us can. And because they know her so well, all the dialogue is carefully designed to tell readers more about Carol and their individual relationships with her. And keep the story going. And keep readers wanting to know more.
I look forward to reading your next book in the series. In the series, Murder She Wrote, fans suspended belief and didn’t obsess about the main character being apparently surrounded by murderers wherever she went. Are you concerned that your protagonist will look like typhoid Mary?
That’s a very interesting question, and one I’ve thought about for a while. After all, how many dead bodies can a single person trip over? There’s a very successful mystery series that’s been going for a long time, involving a caterer who seems to find bodies whenever she’s doing a party. I don’t think I’d hire her to cater something for me! I’m going to concentrate hard on making each murder, and Carol’s eventual involvement in it, believable. I don’t think it’ll be easy, though. That’s why I only have one murder per book. That’s enough for her to deal with.
The publishing industry is changing rapidly and writers are being urged to become entrepreneurs. You’ve started your own publishing business. Do you plan to publish other writers and how would you approach the problem of quality control?
As of now, we’re not accepting submissions from other writers. However, with the e-book phenomenon exploding, it’s relatively easy to publish a book electronically these days. The trick is to write the very best book you can, and have it professionally edited, before it’s put on Kindle, Nook, or any of the other platforms. In the end, it’s all about the writing.
I enjoyed both Retirement Can Be Murder and Moving Can Be Murder. Best wishes for your success with these novels and future books in the series. Thank you for being our guest blogger on WritersWhoKill.
Thank you, Pauline!