The Chicks are thrilled to welcome bestselling author Abby Vandiver today! She has written a variety of series, including the Logan Dickerson Cozy Mysteries, Normal Junction Cozy Mysteries, Tiny House Mysteries, Romaine Wilder Mysteries, and the Ice Cream Parlor Mysteries. Her latest book, A Deadly Inside Scoop, is available now under the name Abby Collette.
For the Good of the Story!
Cozy mysteries are fun. No two ways about it. Humorous. Relaxing. Engaging. A whodunit that allows the reader to vicariously solve a murder. Cozies are a tried and true recipe for happy hours of reading—even though each story contains murder!
There’s a formula to cozy mysteries, and if you’re a writer or reader of them, you can probably recite it top of your head to anyone that asks. Amateur sleuth. Small town. Little if any violence, but a murder is of course, necessary. Even the book cover for a cozy is easy to spot (usually an illustration as opposed to a photo). And cozies are a booming business, ever since Miss Christie popularized them nearly a hundred years ago. They are a go to choice by readers who are looking for a light read. So, with mysteries, the second most popular genre, it’s a sure fire bet that readers are going to encounter similar themes in practically any book they pick up. Yep. It’s true. Finding one book where the mystery is unique is nearly impossible.
So there are a few things I try to do to keep the mystery fun and fresh for my readers.
First, I do a lot of research. And the facts I find out about my setting, plot and for the demise of character most times make it into my book. There’s always a little fact mixed in with my fiction. Understanding what I write and being knowledgeable enough to write correctly about the city they’re in or the manner of death for poor victim, is important not only to me, but to my readers. It makes my stories more believable and that much more real.
But can you just imagine what my computer’s browser history must look like? I’ve queried things like:
What are quick acting poisons? How long does it take for antifreeze to kill a person? How long does it take for a person to die from a stab wound? How to get away with murder?
I have truly worried what would happen if for some reason a branch of law enforcement had to search my computer. What would they think? How long would it take for them to “invite” me down to the station for a conversation?
How much trouble would I be in?
I often go to the library and write. I don’t think they can trace my searches back to me from there, can they?
But it’s necessary for the enjoyment of my readers . . .
But all my searching to get my whodunit right would be for naught if I didn’t piece together a solid puzzle for them to solve. That’s the second thing I like to do to make for a good story: keep my readers guessing. But setting up clues for the readers to follow along with my amateur sleuth isn’t an easy thing to do. And certainly not something I just can’t put into a search engine to figure out. (Although to make sure the clues are viable, I do still rely on my Google searches.)
I have to craft logical clues, distracting red herrings, and false leads, but the clues have to be fair—you can’t have the murderer popping in at the last minute out of nowhere. The steps along the way have to be reasonable and cogent. Sometimes I have to approach it like I often do to solve a difficult math problem—I work backwards from the answer and figure out how it was done. The cozy mystery has to make sense because the thrill of it is contingent on the roll out of the mystery.
In my new cozy mystery, A Deadly Inside Scoop, I did a lot of hard research and gathering of clues to try to keep the story novel and rousing for my readers. You see, the book is about ice cream, so, yep you guessed it, I had to eat a lot of it to make sure I got it right. It was a necessary sacrifice.
But I think I got it right . . .
I’ve been told that when you read my new book, you’ll want to have some ice cream close by!
Abby will give away an audiobook or a signed copy of a paperback, winners choice, of A Deadly Inside Scoop. The winner will be picked randomly from commenters to the post. Good luck!
WALL STREET JOURNAL, USA TODAY, and internationally best selling author, Abby L. Vandiver, also writing as Abby Collette, has always enjoyed writing, combining that with her gift for telling stories and love of mystery, she became an author.
Abby’s an hybrid author. Her debut novel, In the Beginning and its sequels, Irrefutable Proof and Incarnate are fact mixed with fiction, mystery/sci-fi novels not written as action packed or fast paced, but as “what-if” alternative history stories. After those books were published, Abby switched to writing cozy mysteries. Finding much success, she has three series so far, Logan Dickerson Cozy Mystery, Normal Junction Cozy Mystery and Tiny House Mysteries, all self-published. In 2017, she contracted with Henery Press for a 3-book deal to pen the series Romaine Wilder Mysteries. Her new #ownvoice cozy mystery series, An Ice Cream Parlor Mystery by Berkley Penguin will debut in May 2020. The first book in the series is A Deadly Inside Scoop. Abby is represented by Rachel M. Brooks at Bookends Literary Agency.
Although she writes mostly mystery, Abby has co-written a historical/women’s fiction novel with author and friend, Kathryn Dionne under the pen name Kathryn Longino, and a Kindle World, historical/sci-fi fiction book, Countdown to Atlantis. That book was inspired by the A.G. Riddle’s book, The Atlantis Gene.
Abby, a former lawyer and college professor, has a bachelor’s degree in Economics, a master’s in Public Administration, and a Juris Doctor. A lifetime resident of Cleveland, Ohio, Abby spends all of her time writing and enjoying her wonderful grandchildren.
Abby’s got many more books to come, so stay tuned!