This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will be awarding a $50 Etsy GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. Please enjoy this interview with Wendy Sand Eckel.
Please tell us about growing up. Siblings? Locale? Were you the shy kid or the tomboy? Married, single? Children?
During the summers I worked at my father’s Pontiac dealership in the wash rack prepping new cars and reconditioning used ones. My sneakers were always wet but I loved being active and outside. I earned the nickname ‘Crash’ after I dinged the shop truck and drove a brand new Special Edition Trans Am (think Burt Reynolds) into high water and flooded it.
I graduated with a Master’s in Social Work from Syracuse University and immediately moved to the DC suburbs. It was no surprise that I ended up in Maryland. While studying the states in fourth grade, I fell in love with Maryland’s flag and had a funny certainty it would be my home for a very long time. After working in runway shelters, psychiatric hospitals, and my own private practice, I decided to call it quits and become a writer. I have always been fascinated by a person’s story and why we humans do what we do.
Lastly, I love to toss together a good, healthy meal, and nurture those I love, including two incredible daughters and one beyond adorable grandson.
Who are your favorite authors and genres?
I love a book that has a likable protagonist who I want to root for, makes me feel a range of emotions, consists of a compelling plot with a satisfying ending, and lingers with me long after I’ve reached the end. I have found books that meet all of these requirements in every genre. Favorite authors include Steinbeck (#1), Kingsolver, Conroy, Lamb, Doerr, Moriarty, Tolstoy, Tolkien, de Maurier, Austen, Atwood, MacDonald, Strout, and the list goes on. My last really good read was The Underground Railroad. Whitehead’s writing is rich and evocative and well-deserving of the Pulitzer Prize.
When you’re not writing, what’s your favorite way to relax and recharge?
Writing is a sedentary and solitary occupation, so running a few miles every day that I am able, helps with stationary aspect of my craft. I address the solitary component through my social outlets. I love hosting dinner parties, an invigorating round of golf, book clubs, my writers’ group, hanging in a bar with my guy watching the Orioles, anything that enables vibrant conversation and lots of belly laughs.
Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop?
Are you a plotter or a panzer?
I think every writer must have some sort of plot in mind before sitting down to write. That being said, I am a panzer. I have the story in my head but I am perfectly willing to let the characters take over at any point in the book.
Do you research before you begin a new project, or as you go?
The setting of my mystery series is the Eastern Shore of Maryland. It’s a unique part of the world and provides me with a tremendous backdrop for my stories and a wide berth of interesting and quirky characters. Most of my research is on the culture and history of this place in order to keep the stories authentic. The rest of my research I do as it comes up in the story, things like gun types, stages of body decomposition, organic farming, and running a restaurant.
Tell us about your writing schedule. Do you set goals? Do you write daily?
When I’m immersed in a project I almost always write daily. It keeps my head in the story and my brain well exercised and fresh. I don’t set goals but I know I need a sizable block of time so that I can cirlce three times and settle in. When I am just starting a project, however, the procrastination is beyond ridiculous.
Tell us something about yourself that might surprise readers.
Harrison Ford kissed me on the lips.
What do you hope your writing brings to readers?
I try to write the kind of book I like to read. As I said before, I like a book that has a lovable protagonist, evokes a range of emotions in the reader, has a compelling plot with a satisfying ending, lingers with the reader after the book is closed, and my biggest hope is that one may be inclined to dog-ear a page or two because the writing touched them in some way.
What advice would you give to unpublished authors?
Allow yourself to write badly. Get the story down and then edit, edit, and edit some more. When you are certain it’s ready for prime time, go back and edit again. Accept critique and read your story aloud now and then. And keep the faith that you will, in the end, have written a really good book.
Tell us about your latest release.
Murder at Barclay Meadow, Minotaur Books, 2015
Death at the Day Lily Café, Minotaur Books, 2016
Enjoy an Excerpt from "The Naming of Cats" - Happy Homicides 5, The Purr-fect Crime
Editor’s Note: The quaint little town of Cardigan on Maryland’s Eastern Shore seemed like the perfect spot for Rosalie Hart to open the Day Lily Café. A flat stretch of land between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, the Eastern Shore is home to crusty watermen, dug-in farmers, and people who are fiercely proud to call it home. Rosalie has enough on her plate running the restaurant. But when her Maine Coon uncovers a mystery, the cat has been let out of the bag.
“Your cat is up to something,” Tyler said as he walked into my kitchen. I set a steaming cup of coffee next to him and watched as he scrubbed his hands under the faucet.
“I think Sweeney Todd is happy to be outside.” I lifted my coffee mug and blew over the surface to cool it. “This is the first day it hasn’t rained in over a week.”
He dried his hands and turned to face me. “Thanks for the joe.”
Tyler Wells leased the farmland of my new home, Barclay Meadow. It wasn’t really my choice to move here. Three years ago, when my dear Aunt Charlotte bequeathed me this two-hundred-year-old house and the vast land surrounding it, I was happily immersed in my married life in Chevy Chase. But all that changed when my husband of over twenty years pronounced his love for a much younger and blonder version of me.
The sun streamed through the windows, warming the honey wood floors. Tyler and I had fallen into the habit of sharing a cup of coffee every morning before we started our days. I checked the clock. I would be leaving soon to go to the restaurant I recently opened, the Day Lily Café, currently serving breakfast and lunch five days a week in the sleepy little town of Cardigan.
Tyler brushed his sandy blond hair off his forehead. “Sweeney is digging pretty close to the vegetable gardens. You might want to stop him.”
“I’m on it.” I set my coffee down and headed outside.
My shoes squeaked on the grass as I rounded the house. A dense mist rose from the Cardigan River at the end of the sloping lawn. It was a beautiful spring morning on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
I spotted Sweeney by an old Sycamore tree. Its trunk was gnarled and twisted looking like something out of Sleepy Hollow. He was digging furiously at the ground with his front paws.
My adopted Maine Coon cat was originally named Sweetie Pie. But on the first day I brought him home, he slaughtered four goldfinches in under an hour. That’s when Tyler suggested the name change. At the precise moment I started to disagree, Sweeney dropped a fifth lifeless bird on my peep-toe pump.
I knelt down next to him. He had dug so deep almost all nineteen pounds of him were immersed in the hole.
“Hey, what are you . . .” He swiped one paw with a particularly vigorous motion and a clump of dirt launched onto my black skirt. “Sweeney, for goodness sake.” He stopped digging and let out a long, guttural mmrrrow. He pushed back out of the hole and eyed me intently. My stomach tightened with dread. “What have you found, baby?”
He looked down at the hole and back up at me. I leaned forward and peered in. Three lifeless fingers outstretched in the soil, most of the flesh long since decomposed.
How can readers learn more about you?
About the Authors: THE BOOK IS ON SALE FOR $0.99 DURING THE TOUR
Happy Homicides 5: The Purr-fect Crime authors include Joanna Campbell Slan, Linda Gordon Hengerer, David Bishop, LouLou Harrington, Neil Plakcy, Teresa Trent, Terry Ambrose, Amy Vansant, Randy Rawls, Christina Freeburn, Wendy Sand Eckel, and Karen Cantwell. For more information, go to www.HappyHomicides.com or visit us at http://www.facebook.com/happyhomicides. To read a free sample, get your copy of Happy Homicides 2: Crimes of the Heart here.
Joanna Campbell Slan RT Reviews has called Joanna Campbell Slan “one of mystery’s rising stars,” and it’s easy to see why. She’s the award-winning and national bestselling author of three mystery series. Her first series, the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery series, was an Agatha Award Finalist, and features ace scrapbooker Kiki Lowenstein. Previous to writing fiction, Joanna penned seven scrapbooking technique books and wrote for Creating Keepsakes, Memory Makers, and PaperKuts. She has taught scrapbooking online, on cruises, and in Europe, as well as here in the US.
Linda Gordon Hengerer Linda was a football widow during her first marriage, and she wrote American Football Basics (original title Football Basics) because she thought more women would enjoy football if they understood it. She is also interested in food and wine, and has written an easy guide to food and wine pairings.
New Jersey native turned Florida resident, Linda moved to Vero Beach in 1996. She writes the Beach Tea Shop Mysteries, a cozy mystery series set in an area suspiciously like Vero Beach.
LouLou Harrington Writer, traveler, and nature enthusiast Loulou Harrington is the author of the Myrtle Grove Garden Club mystery series. Originally a native of northwest Arkansas, Loulou now resides in the Tulsa area and spends frequent weekends wandering among the lakes and foothills of northeastern Oklahoma, the setting of her cozy series and an area she hopes her readers will enjoy as much as she does.
Beginning her career as a romance novelist, she published nine contemporary romances with Harlequin, writing as Ada Steward, before succumbing to the lure of her first love: the mystery novel.
First discovering Nancy Drew as a child and continuing with Miss Marple and Travis McGee as an adult, Loulou learned to appreciate the puzzle and suspense of the mystery combined with the familiar characters and settings of the recurring series. So while she still believes that into each life a little romance should fall, she has come to the opinion that it should trip over at least one dead body along the way.
Neil Plakcy Neil Plakcy is the author of the Mahu Investigations, mysteries which take place in Hawaii. They are: Mahu, Mahu Surfer, Mahu Fire, Mahu Vice, Mahu Blood, Mahu Men, Zero Break, Natural Predators and Children of Noah.
His M/M romance novels are GayLife.com, Mi Amor, Love on Site, Love on the Web, Love on Stage, Love on the Pitch, and the Have Body, Will Guard series: Three Wrong Turns in the Desert, Dancing with the Tide, Teach Me Tonight, Olives for the Stranger, The Noblest Vengeance and Finding Freddie Venus.
He has also written the golden retriever mysteries In Dog We Trust, The Kingdom of Dog, Dog Helps Those, Dog Bless You, Whom Dog Hath Joined and Dog Have Mercy.
He is co-editor of Paws & Reflect: A Special Bond Between Man and Dog (Alyson Books, 2006) and editor of many gay erotica anthologies. A journalist, book reviewer and college professor, he is also a frequent contributor to gay anthologies.
Teresa Trent Teresa Trent writes cozy mysteries that take place in small towns in Texas. She was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee but with her father in the military, didn't stay for long. She's lived all over, but likes to call three states her favorite homes. Colorado, Illinois and of course, Texas. Being a fan of the Andy Griffith Show and Murder She Wrote she loves creating quirky small towns and colorful characters. She decided to feature a character with Down syndrome in the Pecan Bayou series because after giving birth to her own son with DS, she discovered there were very few people like him in the world of cozy mysteries. If you're wondering which book to start with in the Pecan Bayou Series, start with #1 A Dash of Murder. Many of Teresa's mysteries occur before or during a holiday and A Dash of Murder is her Halloween book.
Terry Ambrose Terry Ambrose started out skip tracing and collecting money from deadbeats and quickly learned that liars come from all walks of life. He never actually stole a car, but sometimes hired big guys with tow trucks and a penchant for working in the dark when “negotiations” failed.
A resident of Southern California, he loves spending time in Hawaii, especially on the Garden Island of Kauai, where he invents lies for others to read. His years of chasing deadbeats taught him many valuable life lessons including—always keep your car in the garage.
Amy Vansant Amy specializes in fun, comedic reads about accident prone, easily distracted women with questionable taste in men. So, autobiographies, mostly.
Amy is the former East Coast Editor of SURFER Magazine but the urge to drive up and down the coast interviewing surfers has long since left her. Currently, she is a nerd and Labradoodle mommy who works at home with her goofy husband.
She loves interacting with fans when the dog isn't laying on top of her, so stop by her blog or Twitter and say hi!
Randy Rawls I'm Randy Rawls, author of mysteries and thrillers. I grew up in northeastern North Carolina, then did a career in the Army. I've been an avid reader all my life and have tried to incorporate what I learned from the best into my writing. While I live in South Florida, my heart resides in Texas. I'd love to hear from you.
Christina Freeburn Reading has been a part of Christina's life since she can remember and soon developed into a love of writing.
Read about her writing process, her hobbies, and the heroines she believes are a self-rescue princess at her blog The Self-Rescue Princess.
Wendy Sand Eckel
Karen Cantwell Karen's novel, Take the Monkeys and Run was a semi-finalist in the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest (under the original title of Monkeys in My Trees)and has gone on to be a Kindle bestseller on Amazon. She has written three more books in the Barbara Marr Murder Mystery Series: Citizen Insane, Silenced by the Yams, and Saturday Night Cleaver.
When she's not writing, Karen loves gardening and spending time with her family. She is currently working on the release of Keep Me Ghosted, the first book in the new Sophie Rhodes Ghostly Romance Series, as well as beginning the draft of Kiss Me, Tate, part of the upcoming Barbara Marr spin-off, Love in Rustic Woods Series.
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