Today, I welcome Abby who writes under the pen names Abby L. Vandiver and Abby Collette. She is from Cleveland, Ohio.
Hi, Abby. Please tell us how long you’ve been published and what titles and/or series have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.
I’m a hybrid author and have penned more than twenty-five books and short stories. I first self-published a mystery-sci-fi-ish book in 2013 and I’ve been writing full time ever since. I have six series, five of which are in the cozy mystery genre—Mars Origin Series, Logan Dickerson Cozy Mystery, Normal Junction Mysteries, Tiny House Cozy Mysteries, the Romaine Wilder Mystery published by Henery Press, and starting in May, 2020, the Ice Cream Parlor Mystery published by Berkley (Penguin Random House).
That’s wonderful. You are quite prolific.
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.
My books are mostly cozy mystery, although I’d like to try my hand at writing different genres, so look out for that. My first three books were sort of a Dan Brown mystery but not fast paced or action packed, it was more character driven. I have a new series with Berkley, the first book is A Deadly Inside Scoop. It’s an #ownvoice cozy set in a real suburb of Cleveland. It’s the first series I’ve written a series set in my hometown since my first book, In the Beginning. A Deadly Inside Scoop was released on May 12, 2020.
I also write cozy mysteries but have dabbled in other genres myself. I’m hoping to publish a medical thriller soon. I love the idea of an ice cream parlor mystery series. Best of luck with the first book.
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 hope to continue writing books both as a self-published author and traditionally published. I also want to branch out and try my hand at writing in different genres. And I’d like to promote my books, especially the old ones. Sometimes, I think that I neglect them and I have a handful of short stories that have yet to be published. I’d love to work on that, but writing takes me in different, unexpected directions so I look forward to finding what surprises the future hold for me.
We have a lot in common in that I also have old book-length and story-length manuscripts that I’d like to revisit and publish one day. Some of them aren’t even on computer, so they will require a lot of work. I understand your feeling of needing to promote older titles. It isn’t easy to write new material and promote the old at the same time.
What type of reader are you hoping to attract? Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?
I hope everyone likes my books! I do write with everyone in mind, but for some, I know, cozies just aren’t their “cup of tea.” My readers are those that enjoy a light, humorous read. Ones that like to settle in, escape for a while and hang out with “friends” as I hope my characters will be to them.
I agree that characters are one of the most important features of a good book especially a cozy one.
What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?
I’d say to hang in there. It will come. And today, there are so many options. Self-publishing, and self-help publishers are great alternatives (or first choice) to traditional publishing. But whatever you choose, don’t stop writing. Finish that book and get it into the hands of readers.
Great advice. I’m still hoping to find an agent and publish with a large publisher, but I’m happy that I’ve been able to get my work out there through two Indie publishers.
What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?
I had a lot to learn when I first started. I didn’t have experience writing, never taken any writing classes and had been in writing groups. I had to learn my craft at the same time I had to learn how to market the book. Publishing was the easy part seeing that I did it myself.
I think it’s very important for authors and those who are hoping to publish to educate themselves through classes and writing groups. I’ve been taking courses through Sisters-in-Crime that I feel have been very helpful. I agree that it’s true that marketing is the tough part for most authors.
Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?
I belong to a writing group, #amwriting, at my local library. I started the group about two years ago. In addition, I have a writing partner. We share our work and offer feedback and help on our work. I couldn’t do what I’m doing without the support of others.
I agree completely. No writer is an island. As a librarian, I also find it nice that you belong to a writing library group. I started one at my library, as well. It’s been led by a writing teacher.
What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?
I love binge watching Netflix shows, good movies and traveling. I’ve been known to wake up and decide to take an out-of-town trip that day!
I also enjoy traveling. I miss it, but I also like being home with my cats who I worry about when I go away.
What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?
Coming up with ideas for the next book is a challenge. You always want to write something fresh and new, but that it hard to do. I can’t think of anything I don’t like about being an author.
I don’t have much trouble coming up with ideas, but it’s hard to find the time to execute them. Even being off from work, there are so many other things for me to do including virtual work for the library.
What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?
I love writing cozies because they are fun. I get to show my humorous side and set up clues for people to follow.
I like that, too. I hope to get back to my Cobble Cove mystery series soon.
Can you share a short excerpt from your latest title or upcoming release?
“Was there anyone else out tonight?” he asked. “Anyone that may have seen you or the gentleman you found?”
My mind and my eyes wandered back to Ms. Devereaux and her store. He got what he deserved . . . She had to know who he was, otherwise how would she know that he’d merited his fate?
The store was set directly in front of Bell Street.
Maybe she had seen something. But when I brought my eyes back to meet with the detective’s, I saw that scarf.
The multi-colored one.
It was wrapped around the neck of a young boy. Probably the young boy I’d spotted under the streetlight as he’d scrambled back up the hill coming up from the falls. A woman stood behind him, her hands on his shoulders.
“He may know something,” I said, and led him in the direction of the boy with my eyes.
Detective Beverly looked over his shoulder, following my gaze, then turned back to me. “Who?” he asked.
“That little boy,” I said. “I saw him down by the falls.”
“You saw him?”
“I think I did,” I said, and focused my gaze on him. “I saw his scarf.”
“Hold on.” He turned to the officer and asked him to go and get the boy.
I heard the detective say something to me, but my attention was on the boy and the woman. Through the sea of faces and movement, it seemed that briefly her eyes had locked with mine. It was as if she knew, somehow, that I had spoken about her—or the child—and she started to edge away.
The officer must have radioed his intent because before he got to her, another officer came up behind her. He leaned in and spoke to her. I saw her acknowledge the officer as he headed over.
“Bronwyn.” Snap! Snap! Fingers were in front of my face making the noise. “Bronwyn!”
“Yes,” I said, diverting my thoughts and refocusing my eyes on the detective.
“You got lost there for a minute,” he said. “You alright?”
“Yeah. I am,” I said. “Just cold and tired.”
“Do you need another blanket?” He tugged on the one I still had wrapped around me.
“Mm-mm.” I shook my head. “This one is fine.”
“Detective Beverly.” It was the officer speaking. He had escorted the woman and boy over. She didn’t seem too happy about it. “Here’s the woman you wanted to speak with.”
Her red lipstick was faded and dull. The mascara laid thick on her eyelashes had begun to run due to the dampness in the air. The curls in her blond hair—dyed, as evidenced by her dark brown roots—had flopped. She held her head up, her grip on the boy tight.
“What do you want?” she said. Her voice was gravelly, like she’d been smoking ten packs of cigarettes a day for the past forty years. She didn’t look that old, though. “I have to get my son home. Out of the cold.”
“Ms. Crewse here”—the detective pointed to me—“said she saw you down by the falls.”
“Not her,” I corrected. “Her son.” I flapped an arm in his direction.
“He wasn’t there,” she said, not even taking the time to consider my claim.
The detective looked at me.
“I saw that scarf around someone’s neck. A child’s neck,” I said. “That’s how I found the body. Chasing after it. Him. Then I saw the scarf again lying on the ground when I came back up to get help.”
“She must’ve seen another scarf,” the woman said dryly.
“Exactly like that one?” I asked, sarcasm threaded through my words.
She shrugged. “It wasn’t my son’s. He wasn’t anywhere near the falls tonight. Or anytime today.”
“Then why are you over here?” I asked, and before she gave an answer, I suggested one for her. “You come looking for that scarf?”
She blew out a snort. “No. I came to see what was going on, just like everyone else.” She looked at the detective.
“Where were you coming from?” I asked. “Did you go to the movies tonight?” I remembered the voices I’d heard earlier. I had heard a woman calling out something . . .
The woman raised an eyebrow. “Is she working for you?” She directed her question to the detective.
“No.” He chortled at the woman’s words, his green eyes lighting up. “But do you have any more questions, Bronwyn?”
I wasn’t amused. “It was his scarf,” I said. “And it was him.”
“Is this why you asked me to come over here?” she said, slowly taking her eyes from mine and looking at the detective. “So she could accuse me—or my son—of something? I don’t know what this is about, but I can’t help you. And neither can he.”
Great excerpt. Thanks for sharing it.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you or your books?
I think my books are fun and funny, and I love sharing them with readers. I also think they may be a little different and many are filled with fun facts!
Very nice. I’m sharing your blog tour and giveaway for An Inside Scoop below. Thank you so much for the wonderful interview, and best wishes on your new release.
A Deadly Inside Scoop (An Ice Cream Parlor Mystery)
by Abby Collette
About A Deadly Inside Scoop
A Deadly Inside Scoop (An Ice Cream Parlor Mystery)
1st in Series
Publisher: Berkley (May 12, 2020)
Paperback: 384 pages
Digital ASIN: B07WJF48NC
This book kicks off a charming cozy mystery series set in an ice cream shop—with a fabulous cast of quirky characters.
Recent MBA grad Bronwyn Crewse has just taken over her family’s ice cream shop in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and she’s going back to basics. Win is renovating Crewse Creamery to restore its former glory, and filling the menu with delicious, homemade ice cream flavors—many from her grandmother’s original recipes. But unexpected construction delays mean she misses the summer season, and the shop has a literal cold opening: the day she opens her doors an early first snow descends on the village and keeps the customers away.
To make matters worse, that evening, Win finds a body in the snow, and it turns out the dead man was a grifter with an old feud with the Crewse family. Soon, Win’s father is implicated in his death. It’s not easy to juggle a new-to-her business while solving a crime, but Win is determined to do it. With the help of her quirky best friends and her tight-knit family, she’ll catch the ice cold killer before she has a meltdown…
About Abby Collette
Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author Abby Collette loves a good mystery. Born and raised in Cleveland, it’s even a mystery to her why she has yet to move to a warmer place. Author of the two Southern cozy mystery series Logan Dickerson Mysteries featuring a second-generation archaeologist and a nonagenarian who is always digging up trouble, and the Romaine Wilder Mysteries, set in East Texas, it pairs a medical examiner and her feisty auntie who owns a funeral home and is always ready to solve a whodunnit. Abby spends her time writing, facilitating writing workshops at local libraries and spending time with her grandchildren, each of which are her favorite.
May 12 – Book Club Librarian – REVIEW
May 12 – The Layaway Dragon – REVIEW
May 12 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
May 12 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
May 13 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW
May 13 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
May 13 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 14 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW
May 14 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
May 14 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
May 14 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW*
May 14 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
May 15 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
May 15 – Diane Reviews Books– REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
May 15 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
May 16 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
May 16 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE
May 16 – Here’s How It Happens – SPOTLIGHT
May 17 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
May 17 – Baroness’ Book Trove – SPOTLIGHT
May 17 – Brooke Showalter – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE
May 17 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW*
May 18 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST
May 18 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
May 18 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
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