Lauren Carr is here today to chat about mysteries, self publishing, and so much more (including a contest). She is doing a virtual book tour for her newest novel is Shades of Murder. If you'd like to learn more about the author and her writing, you can visit her other tour stops to learn more.
Welcome, Lauren. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I fell in love with mysteries when my mother read Perry Mason to me at bedtime. The first installment in the Joshua Thornton mysteries, A Small Case of Murder was a finalist for the Independent Publisher Book Award. A Reunion to Die For was released in hardback in June 2007. Both of these books are in re-release.
I am also the author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. The first two books in my series, It’s Murder, My Son and Old Loves Die Hard have been getting rave reviews from readers and reviewers. My fifth mystery, Shades of Murder has been receiving rave reviews since its release.
My sixth book, Dead on Ice, will be released in Fall 2012. Dead on Ice will introduce a new series entitled Lovers in Crime, in which Joshua Thornton will join forces with homicide detective Cameron Gates.
I am the owner of Acorn Book Services. Between writing and publishing my own books, I am also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This spring, two books written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services.
I have also become quite popular as a speaker at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. I enjoy passing on what I have learned in all my years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.
I live with my husband, son, and two dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.
Visit my websites and blog at:
Blog: Literary Wealth: http://literarywealth.wordpress.com/
And feel free to connect with me:
Gnarly’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/GnarlyofMacFaradayMysteries
Please tell us about your current release.
In Shades of Murder, Mac Faraday is once again the heir to an unbelievable fortune. This time the benefactor is a stolen art collector. But this isn’t just any stolen work-of-art—it’s a masterpiece with a murder attached to it.
Ilysa Ramsay was in the midst of taking the art world by storm. Hours after unveiling her latest masterpiece—she is found dead in her Deep Creek Lake studio—and her painting is nowhere to be found. Almost a decade later, the long lost Ilysa Ramsay masterpiece has found its way into Mac Faraday’s hands and he can’t resist the urge to delve into the case.
In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, former JAG lawyer Joshua Thornton agrees to do a favor for the last person he would ever expect to do a favor—a convicted serial killer. The Favor: Solve the one murder wrongly attributed to him.
In Shades of Murder, I have tackled the task of penning two mysteries with two detectives in two different settings and bringing them together to find one killer. What can I say? I love mysteries and mystery writing. Two cases are twice the fun.
In my fifth mystery, I have brought back my first literary detective while introducing a new one. In Shades of Murder, Joshua Thornton teams up with Cameron Gates, a spunky detective who has reason to believe the young woman listed as the victim of a serial killer was murdered by a copycat. Together, Joshua and Cameron set out to light a flame under the cold case only to find that someone behind the scenes wants the case to remain cold, and is willing to kill to keep it that way.
With that, Joshua Thornton, Cameron Gates, and Mac Faraday all land together in Deep Creek Lake. Little do these detectives know that the paths of their respective cases are on a collision course as they follow the clues to bring them together in a showdown with killer who’s got a talent for murder!
What inspired you to write this book?
I had been asked by fans of the Joshua Thornton Mysteries to bring back Joshua. So I decided to include him into this Mac Faraday mystery. Since Joshua and Mac don’t know each other, I had to come up with two murder mysteries that, on the surface, don’t appear to be connected, and then bring them together. Coming up with this puzzle was not only a challenge, but a lot of fun.
Mac is a homicide detective whose wife leaves him and takes everything. On the day his divorce becomes final, he inherits $270 million dollars and an estate on Deep Creek Lake.
In Shades of Murder, he inherits a stolen painting that had disappeared the night its artist was murdered. So he starts investigating that case on Deep Creek Lake. Meanwhile, Joshua is working on a cold case of a Jane Doe murdered in Pittsburgh. They come together in the middle of the book.
Shades of Murder actually introduces two characters that I will use in my next book, Dead on Ice, which will come out this fall: Joshua Thornton and Cameron Gates.
Mac was still reading the first letter. “It’s a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo. This guy, Archibald Poole, died. He had left this to Robin Spencer. In the event of her death preceding his, it was to be passed on to her next of kin. Since that’s me, I get it.”
Archie stopped snipping. “Archibald Poole?”
Gnarly stopped sniffing.
“Did you know him?” He was breaking through the seal of the white envelope addressed to Robin.
“Creepy old man. One of those eccentric rich guys. He didn’t make it all on the up and up. I think Robin remained friends with him because he was good material for her books. He lived in a big mansion up on top of a mountain in southern West Virginia.”
Mac was only half paying attention. “He left Robin a painting.”
With one end unsealed, Archie peered inside the box to see that the contents were wrapped in brown paper and padding.
Sitting on the top step leading down into the dining room, Mac read the letter out loud:
If you are reading this, then I’m dead and you are now observing my gift to you. So, what do you leave to the girl who has everything? When that girl is Robin Spencer, it’s a mystery.
You will find that I have left you an Ilysa Ramsay painting. That alone makes it worth a fortune. But, ah, my dear Robin, this is not just any Ilysa Ramsay painting. It is her lost painting.
You will recall that Ilysa Ramsay was brutally murdered on your own Deep Creek Lake in the early hours of Labor Day in 2004. At the same time, her last painting was stolen from her studio where her dead body was discovered. She had unveiled what she had declared to be her masterpiece to her family and friends the same evening that she was murdered.
Grasping the frame wrapped in packaging, Archie tugged at the painting to pull it out of the box while Mac continued reading:
Everyone in the art world has been searching for Ilysa Ramsay’s last work of art. With only a handful of people having seen it; and no photographs taken of it before its theft; its value is priceless.
As my good luck would have it, a month after her murder, my guy called me. He had been contacted by a fence representing someone claiming to have the painting and wanting to unload it. Being familiar with Ilysa Ramsay’s work, I was able to authenticate it. Also, I had seen reports from witnesses who had described it as a self-portrait of Ilysa.
As I write this letter, Ilysa’s murder has yet to be solved. Nor do I know who had stolen the painting. It was sold to me by a third party.
And so, my dear lovely Robin, I leave this task to you. Here is the painting that the art world has been searching for, for years, and a mystery of who stole it, along with who killed its lovely artist. Enjoy, as I know you will!
My Love, Archibald Poole
Her yellow suit droopy, Archie slapped her hat down on the dining room table, and ripped through the padding to reveal the painting of a red-haired woman lying across a lounge with a red and green clover pattern. She was dressed in an emerald gown with a ruby red choker stretched across her throat. Ruby red jewels spilled down her throat toward the bodice.
Gnarly sat on the floor at Mac’s feet to gaze at the painting.
They studied the image together.
“Just what I always wanted,” Mac said. “A stolen priceless painting with a dead body attached to it.”
What exciting story are you working on next?
Dead on Ice is coming this fall. Dead on Ice introduces a new series featuring Joshua Thornton and Cameron Gates. In Dead on Ice, Pennsylvania State homicide detective Cameron Gates is tasked with solving the murder of a porn star whose mummified remains are found in an abandoned freezer in Joshua’s cousin’s basement.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
That’s a difficult question to answer. I think I started thinking of myself as a writer when I saw my income tax return and found that my husband had listed my employment as “Writer”.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
It was. But now that I have become a publishing manager and publisher, I spend my day helping other authors. Not that I’m complaining. I love working with authors.
My day will start out about seven o’clock with answering e-mails and social media. After a couple of hours and two pots of coffee, I have to turn off the e-mail, which is very distracting, and work on my clients’ books. This can be anything from editing to layout design to proofing. Some days it is marketing with writing press releases or sending out queries to reviewers. At about four o’clock, it is time to get dinner started for my family. By eight o’clock, it is time to start working on my books. I will write until about eleven o’clock.
Between all of that, we squeeze in taking dogs out, bringing them in, doing laundry, cleaning up the kitchen, taking out the garbage, and nagging my son to do his chores.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I’m always one book ahead. Right now, while I’m editing Dead on Ice, I am thinking about my next Mac Faraday mystery. I haven’t written a word. I’ll think about the murder and story-line and developing the characters while doing mindless tasks like cleaning up the kitchen and folding clothes. My husband has said that when suddenly a bunch of things get fixed about the house (I’m the fix-it lady in the house), he knows I’m working on a murder in my mind.
About the time that Dead on Ice is released in the fall, I’ll be ready to sit down to write my next mystery. It will take a couple of months of writing, three months of editing, and then six weeks before it will be released in the spring.
Quirks. My dogs, Ziggy (Australian Shepherd) and Beagle Bailey are my muses. They follow me and my laptop everywhere. I write everywhere--a writer’s studio, the master suite, the living room in front of the fire. My muses are always at my feet while I’m writing.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A mystery writer. See. Dreams do come true.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Contest! Contest! Contest!
From June 1-July 31, I am holding a contest to Name the Porn Star! The winner will win autographed copies of all three Mac Faraday Mysteries, and a copy of Dead on Ice, which will be released Fall 2012. (E-pub or print, winner’s choice. Print versions are only available for winners in the US)
The contest is to provide both a stage name (naughty is okay, but it must be clean) and the real name of the murder victim in Dead on Ice. E-mail your suggestions to me (firstname.lastname@example.org). Put Name the Porn Star in the subject line. Please include contact information, including mailing address and phone number.