Connie Archer, author of Clue in the Stew, is answering our questions today.
With each book in this series, I’ve always asked myself: “What could possibly happen next in the village?” And because this is a cozy series, it wouldn’t feel right to have one of the recurring characters be the victim or the murderer, that just wouldn’t work. So each plot has rested on someone new coming into town.
In the first book, A Spoonful of Murder, the victim is a tourist who’s attacked and dies in a blizzard. In A Broth of Betrayal, a local man returns home and his presence re-opens an old case. In A Roux of Revenge, a clan of travelers visits the village, and one of them has a deep tie with one of the locals. The idea for Ladle to the Grave came from a true crime story about a missing child and was probably the most intense of all the books.
This time, in A Clue in the Stew, I decided to have a little fun. Why couldn’t a famous mystery writer come to town? And of course, she (the mystery writer) would have a connection with one of the villagers, not to mention a secret agenda. It just felt right to plan a straight ahead traditional mystery without a lot of angst.
|How does Champ the Monster fit into the mystery? You have to read Clue in the Stew to find out.|
What is the best thing that has happened to you as a result of your novels?
This has been an amazing journey. I think the most wonderful thing of all is making friends in the mystery community. Mystery writers are the most generous, welcoming people anyone could ever wish to meet. Getting to know bloggers and readers and fans, even at a distance via email, has been wonderful too. I’ve always been an avid mystery and thriller reader and I’m delighted that I’ve met so many creative, like-minded people.
What was the last mystery novel you read, other than your own, that you LOVED? Why did you love it?
I just finished River of Glass by Jaden Terrell. I had been curious about her books for a long time and then finally got to read this third book in her series. I want to go back now and read the first two. She has wonderful titles like Racing the Devil and A Cup Full of Midnight. Don’t you just love that title? Her characters are wonderfully drawn and the plot related to human trafficking, a subject I’m very interested in. It was a terrific book and I have to read it again. I like to do that, read a book once for enjoyment and then a second time to study the machinery behind the story. Actually, River of Glass would probably be categorized as a thriller rather than a mystery, but in many books the lines blur.
If you could meet any author alive or dead, who would it be and why?
Two long dead writers come to mind – Anton Chekhov and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Both men from another century who wrote what I consider truly feminist books. Chekhov’s Anna Karenina and Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Written of course in the style of their era, but both books have so much to say about the position and treatment of women in two very different times and different societies. I’d like to ask them why they wrote these books and how they gained their insights. I’d like to hear what they’d have to say about women not being able to vote until 1920 and not having equal credit rights until 1975. I wonder if they’d be shocked.
|Connie's books are set in Snowflake, VT|
How long did it take you to get your first draft done of this book? How much time do you spend in revisions?
My schedule with this series was rather tight. I didn’t mind though because I think I probably work best under pressure. It certainly limits procrastination time. I had eight months to deliver each book. And part of that was either writing synopses or preparing outlines, depending on which editor wanted one or the other. That usually took a couple of weeks.
But I found I really like to work from an outline. It feels so much safer and saves a tremendous amount of time, no need to backtrack or move plot points around, because you can already see where things need to happen. Bear in mind, during those eight months, I’d go through final revisions of the prior book, get those done, and line up whatever posts I would need for upcoming blog tours. It was a juggling act, but generally I was able to finish each book with two months to spare. That was always my goal. That gave me a month to get critiques from my writing group, and another month to go over anything that was needed and read through it several more times, and do my best to catch any errors or time warps or typos before I actually turned the book in to my editor.
Connie Archer is on blog tour with Great Escapes. We are the last stop, but here are the other stops in case you missed them: