fiber and brimstone

Five Questions for Laura Childs

She doesn’t know this, but New York Times bestselling author Laura Childs holds a special place in my writer’s heart. Her book, Bound for Murder, was the first scrapbooking mystery I ever read. It was fascinating to read a mystery using my favorite hobby as an integral part of its plot. Years later, here I am about to publish my own scrapbooking-themed mystery, although it is not like Laura’s series at all.

Laura’s scrapbooking series offers one female sleuth, a sidekick, and several other quirky characters that come in and out of her fast-paced cozy (or thrillzy), including a “romantic interest.” Her main character Carmella is a designer who owns a scrapbooking and craft store in New Orleans. Score points for setting. Laura does not call her books cozy. She uses the term “thrillzy” to describe them. Interesting term aptly describing her latest book, a page turner.

Along with her scrapbooking-themed books, she also writes the Teashop Mysteries and the Cackleberry Mysteries. I can’t imagine juggling three mystery series. She must be one organized writing machine.

One of my favorite things about her books is the titles. They are absolutely some of the best titles in terms of hooking into the scrapbooking theme: Bound for Murder, Motif for Murder, Frill Kill, Death Swatch, Tragic Magic, Fiber and Brimstone, and Skeleton Letters. I’ve often wondered how she came up with them.

And so it was the first question I asked her for my five questions.

Q: How did you come up with the titles of your books ?

A: I noodle around ideas for a “what if?” Basically off-beat circumstance, plot device, or murder that I can spring on readers right in the very first chapter. Then I work on coming up with a title that ties in thematically. And if I don’t have a title, I can’t start writing — I’m very phobic that way !

Q: What drew you to creating Carmella ?

A: I wanted to create an independent, free-spirited, and highly creative entrepreneur. At the time I pitched the scrapbooking mysteries to Penguin, scrapbooking was just beginning to get popular so to make Carmella a designer/ scrapbook shop owner seemed perfect.

Q:  What do you think is the secret of your success as a mystery author?

A: I never, ever, forget that I am completely beholden to, or at the mercy of, my readers. I write for my readers, not for my publisher, editor, agent, or anyone else.

Q: What do you think readers like best about your books?

A: I think readers enjoy the fast pace. When I started writing cozies the whole genre seemed a bit plodding. So I kicked the pace way up, added lots more danger to my books, and worked to create a hybrid between a cozy and a thriller, a thrillzy ! Oh, and I make the books interactive. If you read about character enjoying a slice of New Orleans black bottom pie, you can go to the back of my book and find the recipe! Makes sense, huh?

Q: If you could be a pie, what kind would it be and why?

A: Definitely an apple pie. Very wholesome and midwestern. And my mother, who is no longer with us, made the very best apple pies. She would literally hand-select apples from the ordhard and make the entire pie from scratch. The dear lady cooked pot roast until it was a charred lump, but she had the golden touch when it came to pie.

Sounds like my kinda lady, Laura! Thank you kindly for stopping by my blog.

Please check out Laura’s website and books.

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