It’s my pleasure to welcome Sarah E. Burr to Ruff Drafts. Sarah is an author who lives in New York.
Hi, Sarah. How long have you been published? What titles and/or series have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.
I’ve been publishing for a little over five years now. I’ve independently published the Glenmyre Whim Mysteries and the Court of Mystery series. Level Best Books publishes my Trending Topic Mysteries (#FollowMe for Murder), and TouchPoint Press will release the Book Blogger Mystery series next year (Over My Dead Blog). What can I say? I love a good mystery!
Nice. Tell us a little bit about your books — if you write a series, any upcoming releases or your current work-in-progress. If you have an upcoming release, please specify the release date.
I’m celebrating the release of Book Two in the Glenmyre Whim Mysteries, Too Much to Candle, which came out on October 13th, 2022. Readers meet candlemaker Hazel Wickbury, who has a shocking secret. She can see when someone is going to die. This power, known as a “whim,” thrusts Hazel into the center of a missing person investigation when her candle shop assistant becomes the prime suspect. Add buried treasure and family secrets to the mix, and Hazel just might have too much on her plate to “candle.”
That sounds very interesting. Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?
The ultimate goal of my writing is to entertain. To bring happiness and joy through a medium that I love. A more personal goal is to capture as many of the stories spinning around my head as possible.
I aim to finish my Court of Mystery series with ten books (I’m writing Book Nine as we speak) and then launch a spin-off series featuring fan-favorite characters Captain George Solomon and Countess Serafina Braeknoch. I’ve been working on a detailed plan to expand the Realm of Virtues (the world where the series is set) for some time now, so I’m feeling very confident about its future.
I also hope to solidify one more cozy mystery series with a publisher; that process involves queries and proposals and lots of waiting.
I set word count and project goals to help myself stay on track. I put together a roadmap each month of what I need to accomplish, and that’s my to-do list for the next four weeks. I also do daily/weekly goal check-ins to ensure I’m moving in the right direction.
I know all about stories spinning in one’s head. I have an ongoing list of books to write and just have to find the time. I admire your goal-setting technique.
What type of reader are you hoping to attract? Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?
I love to entertain my readers. I want to create a happy escape for them where good always triumphs over evil. If a reader is looking for something dark and gritty, my books probably won’t deliver on that front. While I may write about murder, I focus more on close-knit friends banding together to do whatever it takes to bring down the bad guy. I make jokes, use silly puns, and my characters are quick with sarcastic quips. Readers who enjoy lighthearted mysteries with a paranormal twist can always read the Glenmyre Whim Mysteries for free on Kindle Unlimited.
It sounds like you have a good awareness of your audience.
What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?
Get involved in the writing community. Whether online through social media or a local writing group, building a network and community of writers is vital in this industry. The support you both give and receive will be invaluable.
Great advice. I completely agree.
What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?
Five years ago, as a millennial trying to break into the cozy mystery space, I had to overcome a lot of naysayers who told me social media was “just a fad” and that my tech-savvy heroines wouldn’t be relevant in a few years. Thankfully, I found an agent and, subsequently, a publisher who believed I was on the right track with Coco Cline and her story in #FollowMe for Murder.
You showed them.
Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?
I am a member of Sisters in Crime and am on the board of my local New York chapter.
I am also a member of that group and also the New York chapter, although I live on Long Island.
What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?
I love to read, but that might be a given. I’m also a big Broadway buff and am an avid video gamer. I also love board games and card games.
Those sound like fun hobbies.
What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?
I love many things about being an author, but the best is hearing from readers. It really, really makes my day when someone reaches out to let me know how funny they think social media influencer Coco Cline and her friends are or how candlemaker Hazel and her Aunt Poppy make such a fantastic team. I love discovering that I’ve brought joy to someone’s life; that’s why I create these lighthearted, fun stories, after all.
As for my challenges and what I like least, I’d have to say grammar and proofreading! I’m terrible with spelling and catching mistakes. I will spend an hour determining whether I’ve structured one sentence correctly. Sometimes, I spell something so horribly wrong that spellcheck says, “You’re on your own.”
I do a lot of reading out loud to help catch my mistakes; it’s incredible how hearing something rather than reading it can shine a light on typos and misused words.
It’s so true that reading your work aloud helps you spot errors. I do that, too.
What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?
Writing cozy mysteries is how I vicariously live out my childhood fantasies of being Nancy Drew. I love the idea of a civilian willing to put everything on the line to see justice done. Cozy mystery main characters are kind of like superheroes in that way. I also enjoy making warm, welcoming towns where I’d want to live. Every town I’ve created, I would live in, hands down.
Yes, that’s the fun part of cozies and, of course, the quirky characters who become like friends as you follow them from book to book in a series.
Can you share a short excerpt from your latest release?
Too Much to Candle:
Curses. I seethed inwardly as I gnawed on my lower lip to conceal my physical and mental anguish. I despised my ability in moments like this. I didn’t want to know when one of my closest friends was going to die. Iggy, thank goodness, had more than seventy years on his lifeclock, meaning he would live a long, full life, well into his late nineties, but still…knowing when someone was fated to die was an incredible burden.
I took a deep breath, keenly aware that Poppy’s eyes were locked on my hunched form. No doubt, my bestie knew what had happened. I was sure she’d go into super-protective aunt mode the moment we were alone. But for now, I had to keep it together, to pretend that I didn’t know when the two men before me were destined to meet their end.
Inhaling another cleansing breath, I straightened my shoulders and turned to Mayhan. I couldn’t help but feel somewhat relieved that we wouldn’t have this unpleasant fellow in our lives for much longer. Because, while Iggy’s lifeclock had shown decades, Mayhan Montgomery had only twenty-two days left to live.
Good excerpt. Thanks for sharing it.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you or your books?
I’m very active on social media and love hearing from readers, so please feel free to reach out through your favorite online platform. I also host a live-stream YouTube series with fellow cozy mystery author J.C. Kenney. Our show is called The Bookish Hour, and we interview authors across all genres about their books, characters, and writing. Our second season kicks off on October 13th with a special release celebration for Too Much to Candle.
That sounds great. I know J.C. I appeared on a panel with him once. I should check out your YouTube series. Maybe you can interview me next time.
Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc.
Too Much to Candle: https://amzn.to/3NlJkyU
Glenmyre Whim Mystery series: https://bit.ly/glenmyrewhimmysteries
Thank you for the great interview, and best wishes on your new release. I’m sharing your blog tour and giveaway below.
Too Much to Candle (Glenmyre Whim Mysteries)
by Sarah E. Burr
About Too Much to Candle
Too Much to Candle (Glenmyre Whim Mysteries)
2nd in Series
Setting: A fictional town in upstate New York called Crucible
Independently Published (October 13, 2022)
Number of Pages: 249
Digital ASIN : B0B1QT8XL8
Candlemaker Hazel Wick bury sets out again to bring the truth to light.
Iggy Alewell, Hazel Wickbury’s friend and candle shop assistant, is eager to purchase his own home with the advance from his first big book deal. Iggy is on the hunt for something with character, so what could be better than the old Cragmire house that’s rumored to have buried treasure somewhere on its property? Hazel is thrilled her friend has found success, but things in Crucible take a nasty turn when another potential buyer for the Cragmire house goes missing. He was last seen taking a boat out on Lake Glenmyre, and when the rental is found empty, it’s clear to police that foul play is involved.
What’s worse is that Iggy becomes the prime suspect in the man’s disappearance, and Detective Holden Whitfield’s thorny, new partner is certain Iggy is guilty. To clear Iggy from suspicion and dispel the darkness penetrating their beloved town, Hazel and her Aunt Poppy team up again to find a killer before their friend gets burned.
Return to Crucible in Too Much to Candle, Book Two in the award-winning Glenmyre Whim Mysteries.
About Sarah E. Burr
Sarah E. Burr lives near New York City. Hailing from the small town of Appleton, Maine, she has been dreaming of being Nancy Drew since she was a little girl. After not finding any mysteries in corporate America, Sarah began writing some of her own. She is the author of the Trending Topic Mysteries and the Court of Mystery series. Sarah is also the author of the award-winning Glenmyre Whim Mysteries. You Can’t Candle the Truth was a 2022 NGIBA Best Mystery Finalist and a 2022 Silver Falchion Best Supernatural Mystery Finalist.
Sarah is a member of Sisters in Crime, currently serving as the social media guru for the NY-TriState Chapter. She is also the creative mind behind BookstaBundles, a content creation service for authors. Sarah is the co-host of The Bookish Hour, a livestreamed YouTube series featuring author interviews and book discussions. She writes as a member of the Writers Who Kill blogging team. When she’s not spinning up stories, Sarah is singing Broadway show tunes, video gaming, and enjoying walks with her dog, Eevee.
Sarah’s Blog: https://bit.ly/noteworthyauthorblog
The Glenmyre Whim Mysteries: https://bit.ly/glenmyrewhimmysteries
Amazon Author Page: https://bit.ly/authorsaraheburr
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Purchase Link – Amazon
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