It’s a new month and we’re starting it with an all new interview! OBS reviewer Daniele had a great time chatting with Laura Childs author of Steeped In Evil, in which they talk about her carrier before being a writer, favorite books and genres, upcoming projects and more. Enjoy!
Laura Childs: Actually, I was always a full time writer. I wrote and produced hundreds (maybe thousands) of TV and radio campaigns. In my spare time as CEO and Creative Director of Mission Critical Marketing, I also wrote four screenplays. So it wasn’t such a big jump to novel writing at all.
Daniele: If you did not write cozy mysteries, what genre would you write?
Laura Childs: Thrillers – and I’m working on one right now. It’s called FINDERS CREEPERS and it’s the first book in the Afton Tangler Thriller Series. It’s a modern day Gothic thriller about a single mom and liaison for a police department who gets involved in a high-profile kidnapping.
Daniele: Has any author particularly influenced your own writing?
Laura Childs: I always wanted to write like Stephen King and still try to. I think he lays it out there so beautifully – imaginative plot, gritty dialogue, heart-stopping endings.
Daniele: What authors do you enjoy reading?
Laura Childs: I enjoy John Sandford for his amazing plots and finely tuned internal architecture, Mary Higgins Clark because she helped give me my start and she still writes great suspense, and Lee Childs because (like so many women) I’m a little bit in love with his character Jack Reacher.
Daniele: What books are you reading now?
Laura Childs: I just started reading John Sandford’s Buried Prey.
Daniele: Who is your all-time favorite character (from any of your books)?
Laura Childs: Oh, I’d have to say Theodosia. She’s charming but feisty, smart but not smart-alecky. I’m getting a little tired of female protagonists who are overly chatty and chipper.
Daniele: Where did Theodosia’s name come from?
Laura Childs: From the real Theodosia, of course. She was the niece of Aaron Burr and married to the governor of South Carolina. Unfortunately, poor Theodosia was sailing to Boston one day and her ship disappeared. To this day, no one knows if it foundered and went down in a storm or was captured by pirates!
Daniele: Do you base any of your characters on real people, or the plots on real life experiences?
Laura Childs: Nope. But I will indulge in a few ripped-from-the-headlines concepts.
Daniele: How long does it take to write a book from concept to final draft?
Laura Childs: If I really push it (and I usually do) I can write a fairly decent book in about four months. Of course, the first chapter and eighty-page outline take at least a month to write.
Daniele: Do you start with an outline or dive right in?
Laura Childs: Always an outline – that’s my basic blueprint. When you have an outline nailed down you can indulge in a little mischief. A manuscript is a living, breathing, fluid thing so has an ability to change. An idea pops into your head, you stick it in there. And once I finish a book I let it sit for a few weeks, and then go back and punch it up like crazy. Seriously, there hasn’t been a single thing written that couldn’t be punched up.
Daniele: Do you have any superstitions or specific routines when it comes to writing?
Laura Childs: I have my lucky keyboard. It’s a huge, ugly, dirty Macally keyboard that I’ve used since 1997. I was so worried that it would conk out on me that I went on eBay and found another one just like it for eight dollars. Now I have a backup!
Daniele: What projects do you have in the works?
Laura Childs: Lots of books. I’m just finishing up on MING TEA MURDER (Tea Shop), and am outlining PARCHMENT AND OLD LACE (Scrapbook) and EGGS DROP DEAD (Cackleberry Club). And, as I already mentioned, I’m working on FINDERS CREEPERS. I’m also still noodling around the Hummingbird Inn Mystery Series.
Daniele: If you stopped writing today, what would you do instead?
Laura Childs: I’d either do fund-raising for nonprofit animal welfare groups or become a real estate developer. I’ve dabbled in both and they are seriously fun to do!
Daniele: And, just for fun, what is your favorite tea and tea time nibble?
Laura Childs: Favorite tea would be Japanese green tea. For a tea time nibble, I’m working on a new recipe for Turtle Scones. Chocolate, butterscotch, and pecans. What’s not to like!
And thank you for doing this interview with me – what a lot of fun!
Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author of the Tea Shop Mystery, Scrapbooking Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries.
- For more information about the author and her books visit her at her Official Website here.
- Read our review for Steeped In Evil here at OBS.
Open Book Society thanks author Laura Childs for an amazing interview!