Vickie writes the Liv and Di in Dixie Mysteries, and Cynthia writes the Lila MacLean Academic Mysteries. We couldn’t be more thrilled that these two awesome cozy authors are joining the nest, and for their inaugural post, we asked them some questions so you can get to know them a little better.
ELLEN: Have you ever had a fangirl moment with a favorite mystery author?
Cynthia: At Bouchercon, there was a certain famous someone standing there, and I felt compelled to inform her that her first series was absolutely amazing, that her other series were just as amazing, that all of her books were in fact amazing, and that she herself was completely…wait for it…amazing. I finally clapped my hand over my mouth to prevent myself from saying “amazing” again. The author and I looked at each other for a long moment. I apologized profusely. But she said (bless her): “Don’t apologize! Now I get to go home and think about how amazing I am!”
Vickie: I had several at my first Malice Domestic last year. I acted like a goofball at my literary agency’s client reception when I met Laura Bradford — one of my fave cozy authors. I gushed like a schoolgirl, and then asked our mutual agent to take my photo with Laura! I’m smooth. Laura’s a doll, by the way.
MARLA: What writing rules do you think are made to be broken?
Vickie: In general, I believe any writing rule can be broken if it works for the story. I guess the rule I routinely break is that, not only don’t I outline, I never write the book in order. I write the big scenes first, and whichever scenes are clear in my head. When I reach critical mass I put the scenes in order and start filling in scene gaps and plot holes. Finally I go back and add descriptions and transitions and clean up the kludgy bits. It’s a disorganized and inefficient way to write, but then my process pretty much sums up my life!
Cynthia: “Don’t use fragments.” And judging from the number of times a teacher has circled my joyful fragments in red ink on papers, I’ve been breaking that rule for a long time. Also, I think there should be more exclamation points allowed! They are glorious and uplifting!
KELLYE: How do you procrastinate when you should be writing?
Cynthia: I wish I had something creative to say here—learning another language or throwing clay pots—but it’s always plain old social media. (It’s part of the job too, I tell myself…)
Vickie: Can I get back to you? Actually, lately I procrastinate by doing endless research that I know I’m not going to use in the book I’m working on. When I get really desperate I’ll even resort to housework — but that’s rare.
LISA: Tell us three things about yourself that our readers might be surprised to know.
Vickie: In a near brush with fame, I once auditioned with some family members to be contestants on Family Feud. In a near brush with the famous, I actually bought a used car from Justin Timberlake’s grandparents. Justin had ridden in the car with his girlfriend at the time, Brittany Spears — or at least, that’s what I told people. As proof I was a book nerd early on, in elementary school I checked out Harriet the Spy and Mystery on the Nine-Mile Marsh so many times that the school librarian told me I couldn’t check out either book again. I was forced to get classmates to check them out for me.
Cynthia: I’m shy. (No one ever believes me, but it’s true.) I played Marian the Librarian in The Music Man (in fifth grade, not Broadway or anything, but I still had to learn all those lines). My college roommate and I were extras in the movie Kansas (onscreen time = 1.5 seconds).
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