By Laurel-Rain Snow, with P. J. Nunn
–-Welcome, P. J. What can you tell us about your latest book?
Angel Killer is the first book in a planned series of Shari Markham Mysteries. Shari is a forensic psychologist and criminologist who takes the plunge and gets certified as a Texas peace officer and joins the Crimes against Persons team of the Dallas Police Department. She’s still a little green, but learning more every day. In this book, the team faces a crime nobody wants – a killer that targets children. As the case heats up and Shari gets a little too close, the killer’s focus turns to her granddaughter and the chase becomes very personal.
–-Oh, that is just the kind of story that draws me in. Can you share a little bit about what you’re working on now or what’s coming next?
I’m finishing up The Protector, which is the sequel to Angel Killer, due out from Dark Oak Mysteries in June 2014. Then I move quickly to finish No Such Thing as Ghosts, which is the sequel to Private Spies, a Jesse Morgan Mystery.
–-With several books coming out, I’m sure you are very busy. What is a typical writing day like for you?
I’m not sure there’s such a thing as “typical” around here. I work from home running BreakThrough Promotions, promoting other author’s books, which can be a 24/7, on-call job. That’s usually where I start my day, trying to catch morning show producers and other industry early birds by phone. I stay busy with the phone and then client work, mailing ARCs, following up previous contacts, etc. I have a disabled son who lives at home and he joins me in my office sometimes. I have an 18 year old son who’s getting ready for college and he’s in and out, along with my husband who’s retired but sometimes works with me. Once the day starts to wind down, we get supper then I turn to my own writing and promotion. Some days it works better than others, but I’m never bored.
—With such a schedule, it must be like a juggling act. So when you’re writing, who’s in control, you or the characters?
It can be either, but it usually goes a lot better when it’s them.
–Most writers enjoy reading, so who are your favorite authors, the ones you read when you should be doing something else? Why do they appeal to you?
Oh there are several. Always Robert Crais. Sometimes Janet Evanovich. A whole variety of others depending on the mood. As you might guess, I don’t have a lot of spare time for reading, but I do love to read and need to read to keep my own work fresh and to keep up with what’s being published so I can best represent my clients. I’ve recently joined a group on Goodreads and we read selected books each month. I don’t feel bound to finish something that just doesn’t appeal to me, but I’ve enjoyed meeting some new authors along the way.
—Promotion is a big—and usually the most hated—part of being a writer. Can you share a little bit about how you promote?
Funny you should ask! As a book publicist for the last 15 years, you’d think I could do it in my sleep, but wow what a wake up call! I have no doubt I’ll be a better publicist for it, but it’s a challenge. I find it’s a lot easier to be on the scheduling end of things than the performing end. I do my best to put the reluctance aside and have embarked on a blog tour, am planning some select store appearances, have multiple review copies out and even have some radio spots coming up. It’s a good way for me to fine tune what works best for my clients.
—How long have you been writing?
Most of my life actually, but professionally since the mid-80s when I started freelance writing non-fiction articles about health and mental health issues.
—Who or what has been the biggest influence in your writing career and why?
My non-fiction career came of necessity when my oldest son became ill and I had to quit working and stay home with him. My fiction career started around the same time and was largely influenced by friends I met online. We were just talking about that today – those of us who are still around on one e-list or another who used to frequent the Hardboiled Message Board on AOL. I was privileged to meet so many wonderful authors there, including Bob Crais, Dennis Lehane, Les Roberts, SJ Rozan, Laura Lippmann and so many more I can’t name them all. Their availability to answer questions and willingness to be encouraging was priceless. I doubt I’d have ever finished my first manuscript if I hadn’t been able to spend so much time there.
–-What do you consider the single most satisfying aspect of being a writer?
Interesting question. It’s hard to pick just one, but probably the single most satisfying aspect of being a writer is knowing that my work and my words, arranged just so, can bring understanding or enlightenment, or just enjoyment to someone who reads them. That’s still amazing to me.
–-Tell us a little bit about where you live.
I live in a little historic town called Waxahachie just a little south of Dallas, Texas. It’s big enough to have the basic conveniences, close enough to Dallas to get to whatever you want, and yet still small enough to have things like a Gingerbread Trail of historic homes decorated for the holidays or the Scarborough Fair where you can step back in time and eat sausage on a stick and watch jousting.
—Mark Twain said, “Southerners speak music…” Do you have a favorite southern saying you can share with our readers?
There are so many.
Even a broken clock is right twice a day.
Even a blind pig finds an acorn every now and then.
My ‘Get up and go’ has got up and went.
—Oh, those are very familiar sayings to me. And Mark Twain was one of my favorite authors when I was young. Who were your favorite authors as a child? Have they influenced your writing career in any way?
My favorite books were Cherry Ames and Trixie Beldon. At the time I had no clue who the authors were, I just loved the books. I can’t say those particular authors influenced my writing at all, but I believe my love for the craft started right there in the Bookmobile I found them in.
I loved those books, too. Thanks so much for stopping by to share your thoughts, your creative process, and what’s up next for you.