Today’s cozy mystery is “Sew Deadly: A Southern Sewing Circle Mystery” by Elizabeth Lynn Casey. Elizabeth Lynn Casey is the pen name of romance and mystery author Laura Bradford, and she was kind enough to do a Question & Answer with me for this blog.
Tell me a little about yourself:
I've wanted to be a writer since I was ten-years-old. I seized the opportunity to write every chance I could during my childhood--scout newsletters, high school yearbook, creative writing classes, college newspaper... Essentially everything and anything I could think of until life presented me with the opportunity to pursue my first love--fiction.
I've taken the scenic route to this point, writing first for a small press (with book club rights for those books being purchased by Harlequin's Worldwide Mystery) before landing my current gig with Berkley Prime Crime. I've had my hurdles along the way--including a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis that threw me for a bit of a loop--but they've only served to make the realization of my childhood dream all the more special!
After spending the last 17 years in St. Louis, I've recently moved to the New York area with my two school-aged daughters.
What appeals to you about the cozy mystery genre?
I love the puzzle aspect. The quest of figuring out who did it and why. For me, the death itself is secondary to the thrill of figuring out the whodunit.
You also have another mystery series, as well as romance novels. Is it hard to move from one genre to another?
My recent transition into the romance genre was a surprise. I had an idea for what I assumed would be a mystery. But when I sat down to write it, no one would die. Instead, that voice in my head that propels me to write demanded I write it as a romance. I fought that voice for a very long time simply because I knew little to nothing about that genre.
I figured it out though. And I sold my first attempt right out of the gate. “Kayla's Daddy” will release with Harlequin American Romance in January under the name, Laura Bradford. That book will be followed sometime later in the year with a second (as yet untitled) book also purchased by the same line.
As for the transition from mystery to romance and back again...I actually enjoy it more than I thought I would. I think it's keeping my writing fresh...putting me through my paces...helping me grow various aspects of my craft.
Your book, “Sew Deadly,” involves the Sweet Briar Ladies Society Sewing Circle - do you yourself sew?
I don't sew. I'm most like the character of Leona in that respect. I've always admired those who can sew but have never learned how to do it myself. But, like Leona, I will learn. I've added it to my list of goals and once I've added one, I don't stop until I achieve it.
Your heroine, Tori Sinclair, is a librarian - any childhood dreams of being a librarian?
I never dreamed of being a librarian. The pull to be a writer started so young. But I attribute some of that pull to my love of books--a love fostered by many librarians and "story times" while growing up.
What are you working on now?
I'm currently working on the third book in the Southern Sewing Circle Mystery Series (book # 2--DEATH THREADS--will be out March 2nd). I also have the first draft of a suspence novel that is nagging at me for more time and attention.
Who are some of your favorite mystery writers?
I grew up reading Mary Higgins Clark (A CRY IN THE NIGHT, being my all-time favorite). Today I enjoy work by a number of mystery writers--Harlan Coben and Denise Swanson being some of my favorites).,
Thank you so much, Laura, for letting the readers get to know a little more about you and your work!
For more information on Laura’s upcoming work either as Elizabeth Lynn Casey or Laura Bradford, check out her websites at http://www.elizabethlynncasey.com/ or at http://www.laurabradford.com/
Review of “Sew Deadly: A Southern Sewing Circle Mystery”
By Elizabeth Lynn Casey
Berkley Prime Crime
Victoria “Tori” Sinclair is thrilled to begin her new job as head librarian of Sweet Briar, South Carolina’s library. Not only is it a new challenge for her, its also chance to start her life over again after a devastating end to a romance.
As a newcomer to town, as well as being a “Northerner,” Tori is having a difficult time settling into her new home and making friends. An avid sewer, she is thrilled to be invited to join the local sewing circle, but is dismayed to discover the former librarian, the woman whose job Tori has just assumed, is also a member of the group.
But the discomfort of trying to make new friends will soon be a minor inconvenience compared to what is about to turn Tori’s life upside down. After finding the town’s sweetheart dead behind the library, Tori is the number one suspect in the murder.
Determined to find the true culprit, Tori finds understanding and help from a 3rd grade teacher, a bossy grandmother, a few of her sewing friends and a darling little girl named Lulu. Will she be able to stitch together enough clues to clear her name?
“Sew Deadly” was a pure delight from start to finish. Casey captures the true essence of “Southern-ness” from the sweet tea right down to the “bless your hearts.” This is such a comfortable novel that readers will feel right at home on Tori’s front porch, if she can ever find a bulb for the light. And the gorgeous artwork on the cover is taken right from the description of Tori’s living room – just perfect.
I look forward to the next installment of this dandy series.