September 28, 2016

Leann Sweeney - 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 Leann Sweeney

About this author:
Leann Sweeney was born and raised in Niagara Falls and educated at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Lemoyne College in Syracuse, NY. She also has a degree from the University of Houston in behavioral science and worked for many years in psychiatry and as a school nurse; she now writes full time.

She began crafting fiction in 1980, fulfilling her lifelong dream. After perfecting her skills with classes and a small fortune in writing books, she joined MWA and Sisters in Crime. Now she’s the creator of two NAL/Obsidian mystery series: The Yellow Rose Mysteries and the Cats in Trouble Mysteries. The Cat, The Quilt and The Corpse, first in the Cats in Trouble Mysteries was the #1 bestseller on the Independent Mystery Bookseller’s List when it debuted and made several top twenty lists for 2009 at bookstores across the country. Since then, The Cat, The Lady and The Liar and The Cat, The Wife and The Weapon climbed all the way to the NY Times bestseller list for mass market paperbacks.

Leann is married with two fabulous grown children, a wonderful son-in-law and a beautiful daughter-in-law–not to mention three amazing granddaughters: Maddison Grace (Maddie), Morgan Elizabeth and Meika Elise. She lived in Texas from 1974 to 2012 and now lives in South Carolina with husband Mike, her two cats Wexford and Marlowe, and Rosie–the smart, retrieving, golf-ball chasing, busy-busy-busy mini-labradoodle. **From the author's website

Where to follow this author:

When did your love of writing begin? 
I wrote my first short story in the 4th grade but did not begin to pursue writing seriously until I turned 40.

What made you chose this genre? 
I love crime novels. I have since I picked up my first Nancy Drew, then Perry Mason, then Agatha Christie. But I have read all genres. Mysteries are just my favorite.

Do you have a scheduled writing time, place and/or routine? 
I write in the mornings. My energy levels are best then. I have fibromyalgia and it really has limited the amount of time I can spend writing—which is a pretty tiring thing, I found!

What do you do to get over writer's block?
 I am not a big believer in "writer's block." For me, if I am stuck, it means I have made a wrong turn in the story and written myself into a corner. So I go back and reread and I can usually find that place pretty quickly. I rewrite and go on from that spot.

What was it like to get y our first publishing contract? 
It was a very exciting moment and a few months later, not long after the horrific events of 9-11, Time Warner, who had offered me the contract, decided to shut down much of its publishing schedule. My contract was cancelled and my editor was let go. Then, she joined NAL three years later and gave me a call at work. (I was a nurse.) She offered me a three book deal because she remembered the book and still wanted to see it published. She is still my editor to this day fifteen years later.

How has the publishing/writing world changed since you first started writing?
Right now with all the mergers, it is an uncertain time. But I think there is always a place for good books and series that readers want to follow.

You write about strong female characters. Are they modeled after anyone? 
Not really. All characters, of course, come from a mix of life experience, but I have never consciously modeled a character after someone I know.

When you are not writing what do you like to do? 
When I once had a working arm (I broke my shoulder in June) I loved to quilt and cross stitch. I am also a TV addict. But most of all I love to read. I read every day.

Do you have any advice for beginning authors? 
Half of luck is just showing up. If you want to be published, you have to submit—and that means having more than one thing to submit. If you write for yourself, you have to show up at your computer with that blank page and get the words down. Writing is rewriting, no matter why you write.

Do you have a favorite author or book you would like to recommend to your readers? 
One of my favorite authors is Elizabeth George. Her first book, A Great Deliverance, just blew me away. But I have many "favorites." I took a five day writing workshop with her and learned so much. She is a wonderful teacher and has since written a book on writing, which I would recommend.

Please tell us five random things about yourself. 
I'm short, 
I'm sensitive, 
I love animals, 
I'm clumsy 
I once lived in England.

What I learned about this author:
She did not pursue writing seriously until later in life. Also she suffers from fibromyalgia. One of her pasttimes before she broke her arm was quilting. A favorite author of her's is Elizabeth George. What did you learn about her?

Stay tuned for the next author. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Angela! I didn't start writing until 1990. You offered great questions and my two kitties now are Wexford and Lynley. Marlowe was born with a severe illness and crossed the bridge two years ago. He was only a baby and it broke my heart.