October 30, 2016

Sandra Bretting - Cozy Mystery Author Spotlight and Interview

I am going to be hosting a number of cozy mystery authors on my blog for the next two months. If you have not had the pleasure of enjoying a cozy mystery I encourage you to do so. The cozy mystery industry as a whole is in danger of being lost as the publishers are ending a number of series. Please note that not all series I will be sharing are in danger. There are many that will be continuting on as normal. I just wanted to do my part to make everyone aware of this genre as a whole. 

Today I will be showcasing Sandra Bretting

About this author:
Sandra Bretting writes the Missy DuBois Mystery series for Kensington/Lyrical Underground. A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, she’s written for the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle, among others.

The Missy DuBois Mystery series follows milliner and bona fide Southern belle Missy DuBois, who becomes entangled in several unfashionable murders on the Great River Road in Louisiana. The first book, Murder at Morningside, debuted in May 2016. The second installment, Something Foul at Sweetwater, will be available December 2016. Readers can connect with her at www.sandrabretting.com.

Where to follow this author:

1. Who or what inspired you to start writing?
My parents were Dutch immigrants who valued education above all else. My mother kept her bookshelves filled with works by great American authors, because she wanted to understand her new country better. I spent many happy hours curled up with books by Jack London, Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck, and I think that’s when the writing bug bit me.

2. What do you do to help you get over writer's block?
I try to enjoy a different kind of creativity. That can mean anything from listening to classical music to viewing some beautiful paintings or watching a well-written movie. Indulging in something else that’s creative usually gets me over a writing slump.

3. Do you have scheduled writing time or a certain amount of words you write each day?
I write six mornings a week, between 8 a.m. and noon. That’s when my brain is at its best and the distractions are minimal. I get squeamish when people talk about word count, because to me that feels a little robotic. I write until my muse tells me to stop…and then I stop.

4. How did you choose this genre to write?
An editor read one of my early mainstream manuscripts and felt it’d work better as a mystery. After my first two traditional mysteries were published, I wanted to spend more time with a certain character, so I wrote her into a cozy series. It’s funny how someone can point you down the path and by the time you look up, you’re already halfway there.

5. Where do you get your ideas for your books?
The Missy DuBois Mystery series came from a visit I took to the Great River Road in Louisiana. I knew I had to base a series there. The atmosphere is so thick; mystery lurks around every corner. Other times, I might hear a snippet that will spark my imagination. It could be a name, or a phrase, or some detail that strikes me as interesting.

6. When you are not writing what do you like to do?
I enjoy traveling with my husband and my two daughters, whenever they’re available. I also do yoga, although I cheat during the meditation part and plot out my next scenes. (Shhh…please don’t tell my yoga instructor!)

7. What one piece of advice would you like to give to aspiring writers?
I’d remind them that writing careers aren’t built overnight. Most of those “overnight successes” you hear about? They toiled for years, so be committed for the long haul.

8. Who is your favorite author or book that you would like to recommend to your readers?
If anyone hasn’t read The Nightingale yet (is there anyone left?) I’d tell them to run right out and buy a copy, or download it to their eReader. I loved everything about the book…the characters, the tone, and the setting.

9. If you could meet any famous person dead or alive who would it be and why?
Probably Ernest Hemingway. His favorite work was The Old Man and the Sea, and I’d like to ask him how he managed to sustain such an interesting narrative with so little action. I think he’d be fascinating.

10. If you could visit anywhere in the world where would you like to visit?
Right now I’m looking into Portugal. My family loves Spain, but we’ve never traveled just west of there.

11. Five interesting facts about yourself
1) I wanted to be a concert pianist until I was 12 and saw much younger kids whiz past me with the Suzuki method.

2) I attended the University of Missouri School of Journalism two years before Brad Pitt. It’s true … timing is everything.

3) I can touch my tongue to my nose. (Which is probably more weird than fascinating.)

4) I served an internship on Capitol Hill at 19, and my friends and I would run around Congress afterhours. This was waaayyy before 9/11.

5) I have a wiener dog named Chrissy who thinks she’s human. (I don’t have the heart to tell her otherwise.)

What did I learn about this author:
Sandra's parents are Dutch immigrants and because of her mother she learned to love books. She would enjoy meeting Ernest Hemingway. Also Sandra worked on Capitol Hill as a young adult. What did you learn about her.

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