Death and Cupcakes is a combination of cozy mystery, with a touch of romance, humour and yep, baking.
How did you come up with the title?
Death and Cupcakes just came to me when I was writing Jane Westcott’s background.
Is there a message in your novels that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, don’t wait for happiness to come to you. No one is going to give it to you, so take charge of your life, and find it. And, don’t let your past haunt you.
How much of the book is realistic?
There really is a Musgrave Landing on Salt Spring Island. However, the place only has a handful of homes and a boat dock, but no ferry. The geography is correct, and we do have many small towns and villages serviced by ferries which also have a cafe located close to the wharf.
Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
No, my characters are made up, although I will use a name from a friend or family member. In this novel, the female RCMP officer in Death and Cupcakes is a composite of several officers I’ve met in Duncan, at Coffee with a Cop and my great aunt, who passed away a short while ago. Auntie Lea rode a Honda Gold Wing, could handle a snow machine. She ran the farm, raised a family, and had a big heart. I always told her I wanted to grow up to be just like her.
Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?
I have a Facebook Author and website, and am active on social media.
Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
Certainly, Death and Cupcakes is book one of the Musgrave Landing Mysteries. Book two is my work in progress, Fun with Funerals.
Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
Arlie Birch is my favorite character in this novel. He is over sixty-five and says and does exactly as he pleases, so he adds humor to the book. He also has a heart of gold.
Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?
I write another series, VIC Shapeshifters, Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance set on Vancouver Island. These books also have a mystery element as well as magic and romance. Hell Cat is book two of this series and was just released in December too, just after Death and Cupcakes. It starts out in Edmonton and ends up on Vancouver Island.
Trusting the Wolf, book three is set to release in summer of 2019.
Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?
I am a planner/pantser. Once I have the outline completed and broken down into the chapters, I am off and running. Sometimes a better idea will come along and I will go back to the beginning of the novel to incorporate it.
What is your best marketing tip?
Youtube book trailers. I made one for each new book which was released in December.
Not only were these fun to create, but now I have a succinct method of sharing the gist of the stories on different platforms.
Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?
Social media can be both. I don’t blog more than once or twice a month. I don’t seem to find the time. Snippets from the books, release dates, and fun stuff are found mostly on my Facebook Author page.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
The puzzle solving. Characters and plot, making all the pieces fit together.
What age did you start writing stories/poems?
I wrote my first fan fiction short stories when I was eleven. Star Trek was a favourite.
Has your genre changed or stayed the same?
I keep adding new ones. I started writing romance, then paranormal and urban fantasy. Later, romantic suspense and now cozy mysteries.
What genre are you currently reading?
Tanya Huff, A Peace Divided
Do you read for pleasure or research or both?
Both, I love learning new things, especially history or the origin of a subject. If it’s wrapped in a good story, all the better.
Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?
My biggest supporters are my husband and children and their spouses. My daughter, her husband, and my son have provided background detail in a number of books with regard to their expertise. My daughter-in-law actually painted the cover for Hell Cat. My sister is the creator of the cozy art in the book trailers. The rest of my family is always supportive too.
As for mentors, I have many wonderful people in my writing and author groups who are generous with their time and advice. I’ve also learned a lot from some great editors.
Where is your favorite writing space?
In winter, I have a wicker rocking chair and ottoman in the dining room facing a big window which overlooks the mountains. In summer, my backyard patio is my favourite.
Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?
Yes, VIRA on Vancouver Island, we have over sixty members and meet monthly. Each September we put on a full day workshop with an invited facilitator. We’ve had Shannon Mayer, Susan Wiggs, this year, Eileen Cook. I am also a member of several groups on Facebook. I also help out at the Cowichan Valley Writers, for new writers, by sharing my experience and teach a workshop or two.
If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?
Linwood Barclay, I love his sense of humor. I’ve used GoodReads Ask the Author, to ask him questions and permission to use his name in Death and Cupcakes. He agreed and was very supportive.
If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?
Right where I am.
Do you see writing as a career?
I’ve been full time at it since 2015, written six books in that time. Four are published, two more coming this year.
Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?
Nope, even my coffee gets cold when I’m writing. Now when I’m editing, that is a whole other thing. Cookies, I am a sucker for homemade cookies.
What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline?
Dinner out at one of our favorite restaurants, like The Shipyard, Friday night, because there is live music and dancing after dinner.