Interview with Cozy Mystery Author Julie Anne Lindsey @JulieALindsey

I welcome Julie Anne Lindsey to my blog today. Julie is a multi-genre author who writes the stories that keep her up at night. She’s a self-proclaimed nerd with a penchant for words and proclivity for fun. Julie lives in rural Ohio with her husband and three small children. Today, she hopes to make someone smile. One day she plans to change the world.

Do you outline your books or wing it? Describe your process.

I started as a pantser. I sat down and let the story unfold. That was nice. It ended when I found myself caught between deadlines. That was when I learned to love a solid outline, especially for my mysteries. My current process is to spend about 3-4 days writing a 10-12 page outline, chapter by chapter. Then I write 1 chapter a day, edit it thoroughly and email it to my crit partner. She reads and returns with notes which I tend to the next day before I begin the next chapter. If necessary, using this method, I can write 80K words in 28 days. These are full time 8-10 hour days and sometimes longer when the words don’t flow as smoothly as I want them to, but it’s a strong proven process that works for me.

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What genre(s) do you write in? Why?

I know it’s considered amateur or at the very least, not good, to write across genres, but I can’t help it. I wasn’t born knowing what I wanted to write or even that I wanted to write. The writing bug hit me at age 35 with three small kids under my feet, so I’ve always written the stories that keep me up at night. The ones that echo and reverberate in my mind, popping up at all hours to be heard. Whatever the genre, I write that story because I have to know how it ends. So far I’ve written suspense for teens, mystery for teens, sweet romance and cozy mystery. I’m a poor conformist.

What’s the strangest thing you have ever done in the name of research?

I’ve asked my kids to tie me up, stuff socks in my mouth, duct tape me and leave me places around our property. I like to see how easy it is to get free. What other senses kick in when I lose one or two. I try to experience the sensations of being restrained. I do this so I can identify with the characters. I need to know what her skin feels like. What she hears. What does a basement, garage, car trunk smell like, etc. I do all sorts of things in the name of research. Plus, I kinda like it. I know my kids do.

What inspired your latest release?

My cozy series was inspired by a few things. One was a trip to Chincoteague, Virginia I made several years before it occurred to me I could write anything longer than a grocery list. My best friend from childhood inspired my heroine, the FBI human resources recruiter turned amateur sleuth and counselor. Finally, a Katy Perry song, The One That Got Away. That song haunted me all summer when it came out and I desperately wanted to see what would happen if a high school love came back. What if he didn’t get away forever? I had no idea it would be funny.

Please tell us your experiences with social media. What are your favorite and least favorite parts of it?

I really like social media because it connects the writing community and we are a strong community. I would never have made it without the online friends I’ve made. Thanks to social media sites like Twitter, I’ve made friends for life. I may never meet them in person, but it doesn’t diminish our friendship. This is a cruel and impossible industry, but knowing I’m not alone and my friends will be there to support and encourage me when I fall makes it possible for me to go on. I often wonder what it was like for our predecessors to write in a world where they were alone in their writing. Who did they turn to? I’m thankful every day for other writers.

How much of you is in the books you write? In what ways?

I put all of me in my books. Every manuscript I’ve completed has been a labor of love. I think writing is like that. Writers sacrifice their time, sleep and sanity to tell the story of their hearts in a way that readers can truly experience it with them. To capture a moment or a feeling with words is one of the most difficult things a person can do and to convey that across the diversity of readers is impossible, but we try. We share the things we sometimes can’t say through the lens and buffer of fiction. I work though my fears and desires in my writing. I lament and I confess and I just really share who I am with the world. I think this is why rejections hurts authors so deeply. We’ve done everything within our power and ability to show the reader our heart and intent and when we fail to do that and the reviews are rough, it hurts. It’s rejection and it’s painful. Opening up isn’t easy for anyone and writers open ourselves to the world at large. We aren’t a smart bunch, are we?

What is your latest book, in the works or just published?

My latest book released today from Carina Press. Murder Comes Ashore is the second book in my fun cozy series set on the tiny island of Chincoteague, Virginia.

What else have you written already?

I’ve had the opportunity to write for Turquoise Morning Press since 2011. Since then, I’ve written short stories for two sweet romance anthologies, three novella length sweet romances: Bloom, Love Blossoms & Harvest of the Heart and two sweet romance novels: Written on Her Heart & A Beautiful Pointe for the Honey Creek Books line. I also have a contemporary young adult mystery, Reinventing Chloe in Turquoise Morning Press’ Barefoot Books line. In September 2013, my young adult suspense, Deceived, released from Merit Press, and in October 2013 my debut cozy mystery, Murder by the Seaside, released from Carina Press (a digital imprint of Harlequin). Book two in the series, Murder Comes Ashore releases today and book three arrives in September.

Have you had other careers before becoming a writer?

Before becoming an author, I was a liaison for my local social services. I’ve also worked in psychiatric social work. Those jobs were more emotionally exhausting than I could manage, so I traded off for full time mommy and homeschooler until the writing bug hit me. These days I’m writing full time and making family fun the icing on my day.

Do you have or belong to a writing organization? Which one?

Yes! I belong to Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and my local writers’ guild.

For more about Julie Anne Lindsey, visit her at her website, follow her on Twitter @JulieALindsey or find her on Facebook.

Murder Comes Ashore

Patience Price is just settling into her new life as resident counselor on Chincoteague Island when things take a sudden turn for the worse. A collection of body parts have washed up on shore and suddenly nothing feels safe on the quaint island. Patience instinctively turns to current crush and FBI special agent Sebastian for help, but former flame Adrian is also on the case, hoping that solving the grisly crime will land him a win in the upcoming mayoral election. When the body count rises and Patience’s parents are brought in as suspects, Patience is spurred to begin her own investigation. It’s not long before she starts receiving terrifying threats from the killer, and though she’s determined to clear her family’s name, it seems the closer Patience gets to finding answers, the closer she comes to being the killer’s next victim.

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The Murder Comes Ashore blog Tour Continues all month with stops across the web. Follow along and leave comments for a chance to win books and prizes. Blog tour details are here: blog.juliealindsey.com!

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Stacy Juba writes mysteries, chick lit and contemporary fiction that is crisp, fresh, and satisfying. She is also an affordable freelance editor known for doing extensive editing on hard copies of her clients' manuscripts. Subscribe to her newsletter and/or follow her blog for freebies, resources and to discover new books.

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