It’s a pleasure to have the wonderful Judi Lynn visit my blog. When we met (long ago), she was writing mystery, then urban fantasy, then was offered a contract with Kensington to write a series of romances, which she doubted she could do. Hah! For them, and us, she wrote a marvelous series about Mill Pond, peopled by characters so real you wanted them as your forever friends, characters so alive that they made you laugh and cry, allowed you worry about their problems and rejoice in their triumphs. And oye, the food! (Ms. Lynn’s a kitchen goddess after all.)
The Mill Pond series was followed by a request to write cozy mysteries, just what Judi loves. To look at her, one would never think that someone so jolly and generous could think up so many unique ways to murder people. But then, you’ve never seen the bathroom wall she painted with splotches of red paint. And in this new cozy mystery series, she gives us Ansel. (Insert sigh here.) I love Prosper from her urban fantasy works, but her quiet Norseman, oh my… You only have a few days left to wait to meet him and to find out how the corpse ended up in the attic. It’s on presale now!
You can find The Body in the Attic here: http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/37036
Thank you, M. L. Rover, for inviting me to your blog. I’m a huge fan of yours, when you write as Julia Donner or as M. L. Rigdon, so it’s an honor being here today. Thanks for letting me talk about the first mystery I wrote for Lyrical Underground, THE BODY IN THE ATTIC.
- Why mysteries?
I fell in love with mysteries when I discovered Agatha Christie in my high school years. In between reading Jane Austen and English Lit assignments in college, I got hooked on Hercule Poirot and Jane Marple. I liked Sherlock Holmes, but not as much as Nancy Pickard’s Jenny Cain and Carolyn Hart’s Death on Demand series. Those led me to Martha Grimes, Elizabeth George, and many, many others. In cozy mysteries, the gore is minimal, the characters are part of a tight knit community, and the killers always get their just rewards—one way or another. Unlike real life, evil doesn’t go unpunished. And it’s fun to match wits with the detective. Can you catch the writer’s clues and distinguish them from the red herrings? It’s like solving a jigsaw puzzle. Lots of fun.
- Why have your heroine be a fixer-upper?
When my husband and I got married, we bought a bungalow that had great bones, but everything in it was too small or dated. We were young and had no idea how much work it would take to update everything. When I turned on the faucet in the kitchen and John turned on a faucet in the bathroom to brush his teeth, the water got confused and stopped moving completely. We had to replace lead pipes with copper ones. When we invited my family over for supper and put the leaf in our table, we couldn’t open the refrigerator door until we all stood up and moved the table sideways to make room. Eventually, we ended up adding on to the kitchen, adding a dormer for a second bedroom upstairs, and finishing the basement into a playroom for the kids. Little did we know when we bought the house. But to this day, we love the place. We still have a fondness for old houses and go on house walks in old neighborhoods. Not that we’d ever do this again. If we HAD to move for some reason, we’d buy something newer that was move-in ready. But I wanted Jazzi and her cousin to restore old houses to make them beautiful again. It hurts me to see a lovely old house that’s neglected.
- What do you like to read besides mysteries?
I don’t like to read the same author or even the same kinds of books back to back. Eventually, I need a change of pace. So I might read two cozies and then read an urban fantasy. I wrote urban fantasies for a while as Judith Post and discovered Ilona Andrews and Patricia Briggs, among others. Then I might pick up a Regency romance—like you write as Julia Donner—and then a romantic suspense or something bracing like Mark Lawrence’s Jorg series. I like to mix up the genres I read now and then.
- Why are family and cooking so important in your books?
My family is small, but close. And I love to cook and entertain. I get bored cooking the same things over and over, so I subscribe to different cooking magazines and buy way too many cookbooks. My sisters don’t like to cook, so it’s fun to invite them and my cousin over for supper. They don’t like it if I get too fancy. They like roasts and Italian sausage sandwiches. When it gets chilly outside, two of their favorites are chili or beef and noodles. My friends have more sophisticated palates, and I can experiment more. I can make bouillabaisse or chowders, Thai noodle salads, and Chicken Seville. It’s fun, and it keeps me out of trouble.
- Is there a romantic interest in your books?
Be still my heart. Ansel Herstad is a contractor who works with Jazzi and her cousin, Jerod. Jazzi calls him a Norseman. He grew up on his family’s dairy farm in Wisconsin. He’s six-five with blond hair and blue eyes and lots and lots of muscles. But he doesn’t realize what a hunk he is. I wanted to people Jazzi’s world with lots of GOOD men. My husband worked at a tiny hamburger drive-in all through high school, and to this day, he’s still friends with the guys he worked with. When one of those men marries a woman, she becomes part of their group. And after knowing them for years, these guys are the best. My daughter’s single, and she swears it’s no walk in the park to meet a good guy these days, but they’re out there (probably already taken). And I wanted them to part of Jazzi’s world.
Judi Lynn’s blog: https://writingmusings.com/
Thank you Judi Lynn/Judith Post for the interview! And here’s a link to some of her urban fantasy and myth genres: