Today, I’m interviewing one of my favorite cozy mystery authors, Elizabeth Pantley from Washington state.
Welcome, Elizabeth. 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 writing parenting books for over twenty years with McGraw Hill, and am the author of twelve popular parenting books, available in twenty-seven languages, including the best-selling No-Cry Solution series. I began writing cozy mysteries when my youngest graduated from college and now have published ten mystery books in two different series: Destiny Falls Mystery and Magic, and the Magical Mystery Book Club.
Interesting. I haven’t read any of your parenting books, but I love both your cozy mystery series. Please tell us a little bit about them.
I have two magical cozy mystery series. The six-book collection for Destiny Falls, and the four available books for Magical Mystery Book Club. I’m now writing a novella for the book club series that will be part of an anthology – along with a dozen other prolific, well-known para-cozy authors! I’ll be sharing info about that soon in my newsletter.
That sounds great. 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?
I’ve found my rhythm writing these books, and four new ones per year is a schedule I can work with. I set out to write two books per year, so I’m chugging along at twice my goal! These books are so much fun they almost write themselves!
Wow! That’s wonderful. I know that feeling with my own two cozy series, the Cobble Cove and Buttercup Bend mysteries. It’s amazing how plots seem to come together, almost like magic, and how characters can lead stories forward.
What type of reader are you hoping to attract? Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?
I write for anyone who enjoys a lighthearted cozy mystery with main characters you’d love to be friends with. I would say my style is more along the lines of magical realism. The worlds in my books are ones you recognize and aren’t so different from yours – except that a vampire, shifter, or fairy lives in your town!
I love that. It makes your books so much fun.
What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?
I think Stephen King said it best. He said, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” I suggest you read every day from the genre you wish to write in. Pick highly rated books with enthusiastic reviews. Then write, even if it’s not fantastic from page one, it will get better with practice.
What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?
My path has been different from most because I wrote non-fiction for over twenty years. When I switched to fiction, I found it to be a whole new ballgame! I had to learn so much, it was a major pivot in my writing career. I did it one step at a time. But I’m getting the hang of it!
I think you’re doing terrific.
Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?
I am a member of Sisters in Crime – which provides an amazing amount of support and camaraderie. I’m also a member of several Facebook writing groups so daily doses of friendship and support.
I’m also a member of Sisters in Crime. It’s a great group.
What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?
I enjoy the wide outdoors. Hiking in nature is my favorite non-work activity. My four adult kids are hikers, climbers, and mountaineers – so I’m always getting an invitation to try something new!
What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?
What I love most is creating fun experience for my readers – taking them away to another world for a grand adventure. I love reading reviews!!! I’ve been lucky that the vast majority are very positive, and those bring me great joy. I have an entire Wall of Fame in my office with all my favorite reviews posted!
My toughest challenge is handling all the marketing and administration. It takes a lot of time away from writing, but it’s critical to getting my books out to the world, so it’s time that must be taken.
I think most writers feel the same way about the business side of writing. I really like your idea of a Wall of Fame. It sounds like a perfect way to keep inspired.
What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?
Oh, my gosh! Absolutely everything! Writing stories, reading reviews, meeting my readers! It’s the most fun I’ve ever had in my work life.
It’s such a good thing to love what you do.
Can you share a short excerpt from your latest title or upcoming release?
Of course! I would be happy to! Here’s a snippet from Bakeries and Buffoonery!
A rhythmic tapping on the wall started somewhere near the front door. It moved down the hall toward us, and then Frank, our dashing Siamese library cat, burst into the room with the swagger he was so good at. The tapping continued, his nails clicking on the hardwood floor in a pulsating beat. He started to shimmy his shoulders and hum a tune. As if that wasn’t odd enough, he began to rap.
“Book club day is here.
Adventure, do you dare?
Tell me where we’re goin’
But I don’t really care.
Dead bodies they are waitin’
For some investigatin’
Lead the waaay—”
He looked up and stopped mid-rap, his extended claw in the air. He saw me and Glo sitting at the counter. His entire demeanor drooped.
“Seriously?” he grumbled. “That spectacular entrance and only two of you are here to witness it? What a complete and total waste of talent.”
“You could always go outside and wait. Come back when more of the group has gathered,” I suggested, taking a relaxed sip of my tea.
“Nah. The freshness is lost.” He jumped up onto the counter. “How about you make up for it by brewing me a pot of coffee?”
“What exactly are we making up for?” asked Glo, her brows lifted in question.
“Your lack of enthusiasm. Your inability to appreciate the art. Your failure to acknowledge the artist.”
“I won’t admit to any of that, but I can make you a pot of coffee,” I said.
“Thank you, Paige.” He took a deep breath, sat down, and settled in to begin grooming his tail.
“I’m happy to see that you’re so excited for book club day.” I took out a small bowl and a container of my favorite creamer, the one I knew he loved, too. I held up the bottle toward him. “You know this stuff isn’t good for you, right?”
“And yet it’s good for you?” His whiskers twitched. He walked across the counter, leaned over to look at the bottle and squinted at the label. “Corn syrup, mal-toe-dextrin, mono-digly-cerides, carra-gee-nan—”
“Yes, yes. I’m aware of the ingredients, but I don’t care to be reminded of them. I like the front label better: Caramel Cinnamon Cream.”
“But I don’t see caramel, cinnamon, or cream on this label, Miss Paige-o-paper. You told me you shouldn’t eat things you can’t pronounce.”
“And you could learn to keep those kinds of thoughts to yourself, because frankly I don’t give a—”
Glo snickered, then covered it with a cough.
“Do you want this delicious caramel cinnamon creamer in your coffee or not?” I asked the cat.
“Did I ever say I didn’t? Load me up, girl!”
What a great excerpt. Thanks for sharing. I just love Frank, the talking cat you created. He reminds me of my library cat, Sneaky who is also Siamese but only talks currently to the other pets in my book but has his own blog where he actually interviewed Frank. Their interview can be found here: https://wp.me/p7XcB0-1dZ
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you or your books?
Every book in the Magical Mystery Book Club series can be read as a standalone, but it’s more fun to read them in order, so you can learn how the book club was created and meet the characters as they appear in the stories.
Excellent. That’s the same way with my two series. I try to include enough back story, so people aren’t lost, but it’s always better to read them in order if possible.
Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc.
Amazon US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BB5R43N1
Goodreads: Magical Mystery Book Club:
Goodreads: Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic
Newsletter Sign-up: https://www.nocrysolution.com/mailing-list/
International Amazon Links:
Thanks so much for the interview, Elizabeth. I’m sharing your blog tour for Bakeries and Buffoonery.
Bakeries and Buffoonery: Magical Mystery Book Club
by Elizabeth Pantley
About Bakeries and Buffoonery
Bakeries and Buffoonery: Magical Mystery Book Club
Paranormal Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Small Midwestern Town
Independently Published (February 15, 2023)
Print length : 310 pages
Digital ASIN : B0BLLCTKCM
It’s a magical book club! When this group chooses a book, magic happens. The mystery comes to life, and they find themselves part of the story. To exit the book and get back home, they need to solve the mystery and reach The End.
This time, the club chooses a book called The Great Cake Rivalry, because, well … cake! They read the back cover and it’s unanimous. So off they go into another grand adventure into a town aptly named Frosting.
Frosting is a rural town in an idyllic setting. The people live quiet lives most of the year. But in the spring, things change. The Annual Cake Competition becomes the focus of every man, woman, and child. They take this competition seriously. The cakes are spectacular. The festival is fabulous. For a week there are contests featuring all kinds of cakes. The people of the community become official tasters and vote for the winning cakes in each category.
The grand finale is a display of finely decorated cakes, made by the town’s bakeries. The winner of the best design receives a prize package that would make any baker dizzy.
Sadly, this event has been tainted. Once a year, each one different, but all somehow related to this event, a person is murdered. The main investigator is stumped, but that could be because he’s an inept buffoon.
Can the book club help the people of this community figure out who is causing this disturbing pattern of deaths, and stop another murder from happening? Can they figure out why some of the citizens dress so oddly, and why they always wear those unique backpacks? All while they fill themselves to the brim with cake, of course.
About Elizabeth Pantley
Elizabeth Pantley is the internationally bestselling author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution and twelve other books for parents, published in over twenty languages.
She simultaneously writes the well-loved Destiny Falls Mystery & Magic book series and the new Magical Mystery Book Club series.
Elizabeth lives in the Pacific Northwest, the gorgeous inspiration for the setting in many of her books. Visit her and sign up for her newsletter at www.nocrysolution.com
Newsletter Sign-up: https://www.nocrysolution.com/mailing-list/
Purchase Link – Amazon
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