Sunday, February 22, 2015

Ladle to the Grave: Connie Archer


Connie Archer is here to answer questions and tell us about her latest Soup Lover's Mystery, Ladle to the Grave. And if you comment below with your contact information you could win a print copy of the book (US residents only).

Where did you get the idea for this book? How did you know that was the book you wanted to write?

The idea for Ladle to the Grave, or perhaps I should say the jumping off spot for this plot, came from a news story.  It concerned a cold case about a missing child.  Now, I always get a terrible feeling in my bones when I read a story like this, but in this instance, there was a happy ending.  The strange twist was that the child did not want to be happily reunited with his mother.  These are the kinds of things I like to look for – stories in which the end result is far from what would be expected.  Now, I couldn’t actually use this story as it took place, it just wouldn’t fit in the village of Snowflake, Vermont, but it was the inspiration that kick-started the novel.  

Many readers expect cozies to be safe – for the murders to happen offstage, for all the ends to be neatly tied up or even to be humorous if not downright funny.  I guess the Soup Lover’s Mystery series is a somewhat darker village mystery – they are traditional mysteries, red herrings and all, with endearing and quirky characters, but the crimes and the motives are anything but lighthearted.  I do want readers to enjoy some vicarious thrills, to put my protagonist in terribly dangerous situations and then to finally, neatly tie up all the ends of the story.  



What is the best thing that has happened to you as a result of your novels? 

So many wonderful things have come my way from this series – seeing my books in bookstores – so thrilling!  Receiving emails from readers to tell me how much they enjoyed visiting my imaginary village.  Those are priceless.  But just as important are the friends I have made in the mystery community, in person and online.  I think mystery writers (and readers and bloggers) are the most generous, friendly and helpful group in the world and I’m very proud to be a part of the mystery writing community.  



Do you ever have doubts when you are in the middle of the writing process? How do you get past them?

Oh, doubts are constant, for all writers I think.  We’re all working without a blueprint and we have no idea how it will all turn out, much less what our editors will say.  It’s a lot like baking a cake, adding all the ingredients to the bowl, greasing the pan, yet not knowing if the oven will work and make a pile of sludge turn into a delicious cake.  
I like to outline, or maybe I should say storyboard.  Visualizing the plot in pictures or segments helps me a lot in terms of structure.  If the structure is solid the pacing won’t lag.  

I’ve read interviews of famous, well-respected writers, far more prolific than I, who say they’re convinced when they sit down to write the next book that they’ll never be able to do it one more time.  So I don’t think doubts ever go away.  Maybe you’re only in trouble when you stop doubting.  





How long did it take you to get your first draft done of this book?


Because this is a series, my contract with my publisher allowed me approximately eight months to complete each book.  I spent a good part of the first month working on an outline and trying to foresee snags and pick up on all the little details as much as possible.  In the long run, that saves a lot time, I think.  With each book I was able to complete a first draft (all the blank spots filled in, etc.) about six weeks before each deadline.  That gave me several weeks to go over each book again and again, try to catch any mistakes or typos or spots that didn’t quite work well enough and fix them.  Then, crossing my fingers, I hit the button and sent the manuscript on its merry way, hoping my editor will like it and approve.  



What did you do to research the book?

Ladle to the Grave didn’t really require much research.  A character appears who is “sort of” a private investigator.  Consequently, I did have to look into what is actually required to obtain this license in New York state (just across the border from Vermont) or private investigator licenses in general, to make sure I wasn’t making any mistakes about how I described this character’s career and work.  

In the second book of the series, A Broth of Betrayal, released in 2013, I did quite a bit of research.  An ancient body is discovered and I needed to be specific about exactly how that body would look.  It was quite different than what I had imagined.  

New England and other parts of the U.S. are dotted with ancient megalithic structures, predating by centuries the arrival of colonists from England and Europe.  I decided this would be a great element to add to the third book, A Roux of Revenge, so I invented the “Stones” just outside of Snowflake where lots of frightening events occur.  

You can read Connie's interview about her last book, A Roux of Revenge here


Here are the rest of the stops on the tour:

February 16 – Books Are Life – Vita Libri – Review
February 17 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews  – Review, Interview
February 18 – A Chick Who Reads – Review
February 19 – I Wish I Lived in a Library – Review
February 20 – Babs Book Bistro – Review
February 21- Lisa Ks Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post
February 22 – Mystery Playground – Interview
February 23 – fuonlyknew – Review
February 24 – A Blue Million Books – Guest Post
February 25 – The Gal in the Blue Mask – Review, Interview
February 26 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard – Review, Guest Post
February 27 – readalot – Review
February 28 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review, Guest Post
March 1 – Brooke Blogs – Review


You can find Mystery Playground on Twitter @MysteryPlaygrnd and on Facebook

There is also a Rafflecopter for a $50 Amazon Gift Card. Rafflecopter Code: a Rafflecopter giveaway

24 comments:

  1. I'm looking forward to reading "Ladle to the Grave". patucker54 (at aol dot com)

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    1. Hi Patricia ~ Nice to hear from you at today's stop. Thanks for visiting! I hope you get to read Ladle to the Grave soon!

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  2. Aaah, morning coffee and another teaser about Ladle to the Grave! Hi, Connie. Thanks to today's post I've found another blog to follow, and I love the pictures here.

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    1. I love the pictures here too! Mystery Playground is a great blog site!

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  3. Am looking forward to reading this. Thank you for the chance! angelhwk68@yahoo.com

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    1. Good luck in the giveaway today! I hope you get to read Ladle to the Grave soon!

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  4. I've been waiting for this to come out. I enjoyed the earlier books in the series.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

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    1. Hi Sandy ~ thanks for visiting today! And best of luck!

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  5. This sounds like a great book! I love the title and cover. Thank you for the background information and the contest!
    woodrumbetty@gmail.com

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    1. Hi Betty ~ Glad you could stop by and enter. Good luck in the giveaway today!

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  6. Great series. I look forward to reading this one. Bobbipad at gmail dot com

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    1. Hi Barbara ~ Thank you! And good luck in the giveaway!

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  7. Love Connie Archer and this series and look forward to her next book.
    rjprazak6@gmail.com

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    1. Oh, thank you, Becky! I hope you enjoy Ladle to the Grave too! Best of luck!

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  8. Thanks so much for hosting me today, Deborah! And thanks to everyone who stopped by.

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    1. Thank you Connie! The book sounds fabulous.

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  9. This book sounds great.
    Moonbay7399@gmail.com

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    1. Hi Candace ~ Nice to you here! Good luck!

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  10. Great interview, Connie, loved hearing all the background information. Especially liked your phrase "darker village mystery." And love the pictures you included. The hanging cup is marvelous! Continued success.

    Madeline

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    1. Hi Madeline ~ Thanks so much for stopping by. Great to hear from you, and much success to you too!

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  11. Looks like a great read.. thank you for the chance!

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  12. This sounds fantastic. thanks for the chance!

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  13. Our winner is Betty! Look for an e-mail soon.

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    1. I look forward to reading it! Thank you so much!

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