Although I consider myself a romantic suspense author and fan, I also used to be an avid reader of cozy mysteries especially those featuring cats. For those of you who also share that interest, I will be featuring Cozy Chats with cozy mystery authors on this blog. If you are an author who writes a cozy series and would like to participate in a future Cozy Chat, please contact me.
My second Cozy Chat author is Carolyn Haines who I spoke with about her cozy Christmas e-short story “Jingle Bones” from her Sarah Booth Delaney mystery series.
Hi, Carolyn. Thanks for joining us on Cozy Chat. Have a seat and help yourself to some tea while we talk.
Can you tell us a little bit about the Sarah Booth Delaney Series? What gave you the idea for it?
I had finished a two-book contract with Dutton, and I was sitting at my computer watching my horses graze, thinking about ideas for a book. I heard these two women bickering. One was really bossy. I sat down and started typing their conversation, because I knew I’d been gifted with a story to tell. As it turned out, one character was Sarah Booth Delaney, who’d returned to Zinnia, Mississippi, after a failed career on Broadway. The other was Jitty, a 150-year-old ghost from the Civil War era. Jitty functions as Sarah Booth’s conscience.
In an effort to save Dahlia House, Sarah Booth’s home, she takes a case investigating a wealthy man who everyone believes killed is mother when he was a young boy. And so THEM BONES was the first in what turned out to be a mystery series.
What about Jingle Bones, can you tell us a bit about that? I understand it’s a short mystery only available digitally?
Oh yes. Two very bad young boys, Lord Darcy and Heathcliff. Are accused of stealing the baby Jesus from a church manger scene. The goal is to keep them out of the Christmas pageant because they are so disruptive. But the boys extract their own brand of revenge and Sarah Booth and Tinkie are in the middle of it. It’s on sale now, and people can purchase it from Amazon.
Very interesting. Do you have any advice to other authors about writing cozies or writing in general?
Write what you love. This is too much work to write about characters you don’t love. After nearly two decades writing about Sarah Booth and the Zinnia gang, they are close friends. I enjoy spending time with them, and it’s a good thing because they’re a big part of my daily life. Read good writers, study the craft, and revise, revise, revise.
I agree completely. I grew so fond of my characters in “A Stone’s Throw“ that I’ve started a sequel. I’m not sure if it will turn into a series, but I think it has at least one or two more possibilities.
What are you currently working on?
I’m editing ROCK-A-BYE BONES, which will be the 16th Sarah Booth mystery. It will be released in May, 2016, by St. Martin’s Press. And I’m finishing the first book in a new series, a paranormal/historical/mystery, which I’m very excited about.
That sounds wonderful. Maybe we can schedule another chat to discuss that.
Do you write any other genres than cozies?
Yes, I write darker crime stories (under Carolyn Haines) and I also write horror as R.B.Chesterton.
I didn’t know that. I know you also used to write under Carolyn Burnes for your “Fear Familiar” series, one of my favorites because I love cat mysteries. I understand you may be reprinting some of those. Can you share a few details about that? Also, can you tell me how you got started in writing?
I am working to bring the first Familiar book back into print and digital. I’ll probably re-publish under Carolyn Haines.
I grew up in a family of journalists, and I’ve written for publication since I was very young. I’ve always been a big reader, and I loved Southern writers. I was greatly influenced by Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, and Doris Betts. I wrote short stories and in a strange turn of events, obtained a literary agent who told me to write a novel. I thought it was nuts, but I had a story I really wanted to tell, so I gave it a try.
Most of the authors I speak with have also been writing since they were young including myself. All of us also love to read.
What are your hobbies besides writing?
I rescue animals, and I run a small sanctuary on a farm where I live. I have horses, cats, and dogs. And I work hard to raise awareness for the need to spay and neuter companion pets. Last year Good Fortune Farm Refuge sold cookbooks based on the Bones characters and we raised money to spay/neuter over 100 animals. There are so many unwanted animals who needlessly suffer and die. It doesn’t have to be this way. And I also teach fiction writing at a university. I like to stay busy.
How awesome. I have great respect for animal rescuers. It’s a tough but very rewarding job.
Is there anything else you’d like readers of this blog to know about you and/or your books?
I am a terribly practical joker. I love to torment my friends. But I’m also a good friend.
My website is www.carolynhaines.com
Great info. I will check out your website. Thank you so much for joining us on Cozy Chat today, and good luck with all your writing projects and animal rescue work.