Minnesota Mysteries and Writing as a Form of Healing with Jessica Lourey

Jessica Lourey is my first guest who is a writer and a full-time writing teacher.

54 Jessica loureyIn this episode of the podcast we talk about her Murder by Month mysteries, and also about her non-fiction book, Rewrite Your Life, an amazing book, which I am currently pouring through.

I use writing every day to keep myself sane. I journal each morning, which helps me to work though some of my garbage, and it also sometimes helps me to know what I’m thinking. I wrote a memoir about ten years I spent in a cult in the 1990s, and writing that book was incredibly healing. And, of course, I also write fiction, which makes me happy, keeps me sane, and hopefully brings a little more light into the world.

If you have any interest in writing at all, I encourage you to listen to my chat with Jessica. We have a lovely time discussing writing, reading, healing and more.

You can find out more about today’s guest, Jessica Lourey, and all her books on her website JessicaLourey.com. You can also find her on Twitter @JessLourey.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode

  • Click on any of the book covers to go to Jessica’s books on Amazon

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.
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Japanese Mysteries and Self-Discovery for Amateur Sleuths with S.J. Pajonas

This was the first cozy mystery series I’d ever heard of that’s set in Japan.

SJ PajonasI had to talk to Stephanie (SJ) Pajonas about her Daydreamer Detective, Mei Yamagawa. Mei has moved back home to the rural community where her mother lives, after failing at life in the big city. But, as so often with life, that’s probably for the best because Mei’s daydreaming ways make her an instinctive and insightful amateur sleuth.

Stephanie and I chat about what led to her fascination with Japan, learning Japanese, and practicing her language skills on her visits to that island nation.

You can find out more about today’s guest, S.J. Pajonas, and all her books on her website SPajonas.com. You can also find her on Twitter @SPajonas.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode

  • Click on any of the book covers to go to Stephanie’s books on Amazon
  • Stephanie also writes Science Fiction with a Japanese twist. You can learn more here.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.
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Cozy Mysteries with a Western Twist with Alexandra Amor

This is what happens when the podcast host becomes a podcast guest. 😉

52 Alexandra AmorToday I’m delighted to share an interview from Alan Petersen’s Meet the Thriller Author podcast. The subject of the interview is me! Your host, Alexandra Amor, becomes the guest for this week.

Alan and I talk about my cozy mystery novels set in frontier British Columbia. And we also touch on my children’s novels, as well as the first book I wrote a memoir about 10 years I spent in a meditation cult in Vancouver in the 1990s.

This interview was originally posted on Alan Petersen’s podcast, Meet the Thriller author. Many thanks to Alan for letting me share it here as well.

You can find out more about today’s guest, Alexandra Amor, and all her books on her website AlexandraAmor.com. You can also find her on Twitter @artconnectsus.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode

  • Click on any of the book covers to go to Alexandra’s books

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.
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Amateur Sleuths Running Family Businesses, and Villages Within Cities with Leslie Budewitz

Would you own and run a business with your family?

As Montana mystery author Leslie Budewitz points out in today’s lively interview, not everyone could embrace such a challenge. But her amateur sleuth, Erin Murphy, does just that in the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries.

Leslie also has a second series of cozy mysteries set in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, and we have a great chat about the ‘village within a city’ setting that the market provides for spice shop owner, Pepper Reece.

If you live in Montana or Seattle, you can meet Leslie this month. She’s doing a book tour supporting the release of her latest book, Treble at the Jam Fest. I’ve put a link below to the page on her website with all the details on where she’ll be speaking and signing books.

You can find out more about today’s guest, Leslie Budewitz, and all her books on her website LeslieBudewitz.com. You can also find her on Twitter @LeslieBudewitz.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode

  • Click on any of the book covers to go to Leslie’s books on Amazon

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.
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Dog Detectives and Short Mysteries with Sandra Baublitz

Author Sandra Baublitz and I have in common a profound love for dogs.

Sandra’s love is really specific in her Dog Detective series, with Paw the Saint Bernard as the detective protagonist, along with his human, Clarissa. In the interview, you’ll hear Sandra and I talk about her writing routine, some new ideas for another cozy mystery series, and Dean the Basset, whom I’m very grateful Sandra introduced me to. 😉

If you’re a fan of Lilian Jackson Braun’s ‘The Cat Who…’ series or Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown’s Mrs. Murphy mysteries, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy Sandra’s cozy mystery series.

You can find out more about today’s guest, Sandra Baublitz, and all her books on her website SandraBaublitz.com. You can also find her on Twitter @SandraInvesting.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode

  • Click on any of the book covers to go to Sandra’s books on Amazon

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.
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Millions of Readers Can’t Be Wrong with Rachel Abbott

If you like psychological thrillers in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, you’re going to love this interview with best-selling author Rachel Abbott.

As you’ll hear me mention in the beginning of the interview, Rachel is one of the UK’s very best selling authors. And for good reason. She writes taught, twisty, psychological mystery-thrillers that keep her readers guessing until the very last page. If you’re looking for some books that will keep you up at night, turning the pages, you’ve come to the right place. 😉

Rachel is an incredibly busy – and generous! – author. She speaks at many live events each year, and also at prisons, which you’ll hear her mention. I am so grateful that she took the time to speak to me for this episode of It’s a Mystery Podcast.

No personal introduction on the audio from me today. It was a long weekend in Canada and I’m late getting the show out as it is. Enjoy!!

You can find out more about today’s guest, Rachel Abbott, and all her books on her website Rachel-Abbott.com. You can also find her on Twitter @RachelAbbott.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode

  • Click on any of the book covers to go to Rachel’s books on Amazon

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts. And listen on Stitcher.

Sadly, technology was not our friend during this podcast, so there is no corresponding YouTube video.
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Modern Technology and Old Fashioned Murder with Gilian Baker

What happens when you cross an entrepreneur with a literature professor and a frustrated blogger? Murder, of course!

My guest on today’s podcast, Gilian Baker, has been a writing teacher for years. When she started working on a story during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) a few years ago, the muses took hold and they haven’t let go yet.

Gilian and I chat about the very modern subject of her first cozy mystery novel, and the classic elements it also contains (a small town location and hemlock, naturally!). Gilian has two more books coming out this year and I will be sure to post and Tweet about them when they are released.

In the introduction I mention that my guest from episode 21, Vered Ehsani, has an amazing deal on right now for the box set of her Society for Paranormals mysteries, which she describes as ‘Lara Croft meets Jane Austen in colonial Kenya’. Three novels for $0.99. Click here to learn more and grab this box set. This price won’t last long.

Also (it’s an embarrassment of mystery novel riches this week), my guest from episode 8, Robin Storey, has just released her latest book called A Time for Penance. It is also on special for $0.99 until May 22. Click here to check that one out too!

This podcast episode is sponsored by the free mystery novella, Charlie Horse.

1890. Frontier British Columbia. When one of her students is accused of a crime, will new schoolteacher Julia Thom be able to prove his innocence?

For a limited time you can click here, or on the cover image at right to get your free copy.

You can find out more about today’s guest, Gilian Baker, and all her books on her website GilianBaker.com. You can also find her on Twitter @gilianbaker.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.
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Mysteries, Magic, and Filmmaking with John Gaspard

Magic is something I know almost nothing about. Luckily, my guest today, John Gaspard, who is a filmmaker as well as a writer, is here to talk about his magician-sleuth Eli Marks.

After John and I spoke I began reading the first book in the Eli Marks series and I love it. Eli is witty and smart, and in a heap of trouble in the first book, The Ambitious Card. Eli strikes me as a deeply thoughtful guy, someone who tries to see what’s going on behind the obvious, which is perhaps a perfect metaphor for what detectives and amateur sleuths – and magicians! – do. I suspect Eli is a bit like his creator, John, who was fun to chat with and clearly loves his writing hobby (he explains that he doesn’t like to think of it as a job).

If you like cozy mysteries with well-drawn characters and a sense of humour, I think you’ll like John’s Eli Marks series.

In the intro I mention that Skype was acting up on the day I interviewed John, so I hope the slightly bumpy audio isn’t too annoying for you listeners. I may have to beg John to come back on the show in January 2018 when his next book is released, so we can have a chat without having to deal with Skype’s idiosyncrasies.

You can find out more about today’s guest, John Gaspard, and all his books on his website Fast Cheap Movie Thoughts. You can also find him on Twitter @johngaspard and on Facebook.

This podcast episode is sponsored by the free mystery novella, Charlie Horse.

1890. Frontier British Columbia. When one of her students is accused of a crime, will new schoolteacher Julia Thom be able to prove his innocence?

For a limited time you can click here, or on the cover image at right to get your free copy.

Links and resources mentioned in this episode

  • Click on any of the book covers to go to John’s books on Amazon
  • John mentions his magician mentor Suzanne’s appearance on Penn and Teller’s show, Fool Us. Click here to see that. [8 mins]

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.
Keep reading →

Finding the Character that Wants Her Story Told with Judy K. Walker

Author Judy K. Walker tells us how she found her main character Sydney Brennan, and coined the term ‘Thrillergy’, in this interview.

I love that Judy talks about using her experience working for a lawyer on death penalty cases as part of the foundation for her PI’s background.

Stories come from many different places and Judy lets us in on parts of her process for writing her books. Since we recorded the interview, she has published the first book in the ‘Thrillergy’ she mentions – it is called Prodigal is separate from the Sydney Brennan Mysteries.

This podcast episode is sponsored by the free mystery novella, Charlie Horse.

1890. Frontier British Columbia. When one of her students is accused of a crime, will new schoolteacher Julia Thom be able to prove his innocence?

For a limited time you can click here, or on the cover image at right to get your free copy.

You can find out more about today’s guest, Judy, and all her books on her website JudyKWalker.com. You can also find her on Twitter @JudyKWalker.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.
Keep reading →

Down the Rabbit Hole of Research with Tracy Tonkinson

Today I have a guest post by mystery author Tracy Tonkinson. Tracy was a guest on It’s a Mystery Podcast in 2016 (you can hear our chat about Chicago history and the inspiration for her novels here) and I’m thrilled to have her back to talk about the research she does for her mystery novels. In today’s article, she explores the fascinating origins of cesarean section births. How does that subject intersect with mystery novels set in 1880s Chicago, you ask? Read on to find out. Take it away Tracy!

madmanI wrote my first Diamond & Doran mystery, Madman, because I found a half-forgotten detail of history so compelling it begged for its own story.

Researching Madman was so intoxicating I almost forgot that I was supposed to be writing a book. And therein lies the problem for the historical novelist. If you love history as I do, then rummaging around in old books, online directories and ancient filing cabinets is as close to heaven as it gets. But it can also lead to the hell of the eternal rabbit hole.

I cannot tell you how many times I have started researching for the name of a real person to use in a Diamond & Doran mystery only to uncover so many other fascinating facts that I find myself diverted into outlining books 1 through 10 of a series yet to be written, which all sounds fantastic until I realise I am now weeks behind on the book I should be writing.

Madman came to me because of a real bombing incident that happened in Haymarket Square, Chicago in May 1886. The true perpetrator was never caught, though 9 men were hanged for involvement in the riot that followed. That anonymous perpetrator was my inspiration for Diamond & Doran’s hunt through the mean streets of Chicago to track down the culprit. Along the way, they became a real team and a series was born.

PoisonBook 2 in the series, Poison came about because I researched a serial killer only caught in Chicago in 1893, even though it was clear he had been stalking victims for years. The details were so horrific I wondered how he could have escaped detection for so long, so I devised a plot in my book that enabled my villain to come and go at will, enticing his victims to go with him willingly, if unwittingly, to their deaths.

Book 3, Vendetta has just hit Amazon and the research for this book took me to a different place. This time I wanted to explore something that would have a dramatic effect on Doran and his whole family, including his partner Diamond.

We all love a good medical drama. In the 19th century, medicine was at an exciting intersection between what may seem to us barbaric and even comedic treatments for a variety of ailments, and real progress in medical procedures. In Vendetta I got the chance to explore some of this progress.

The delivery of babies had for centuries been practised for women by women. By the 1880s there were qualified obstetricians with special skills and understanding of the dangers and complications that come with childbirth. But within the medical profession these specialists in childbirth were often considered to be little more than ‘baby catchers’ and held in low regard by many of the doctors in general practise. ‘Baby catching’ was, after all, women’s work and what self respecting male doctor would involve himself in something so menial?

vendetta-tracy-tAt a time when a child and its mother’s mortality rate was staggering by today’s standards the answer, I discovered through my research, was that a surprising number of young doctors were drawn to the complex business of helping women bring to full term, and then deliver, healthy children. One of these men was Dr. William Jaggard. Jaggard was a real obstetrician practising in Chicago during the 1880’s. He was an expert in the practise of Caesarian operations, a procedure so dangerous that the likelihood was, even if the child was saved, the mother would die from shock caused by blood loss, or through infection introduced during the procedure.

While the success rate for Caesarian section today is virtually 100%, for which I for one am thankful as the mother of a child delivered by C section, even the skills of someone as dedicated as Dr. William Jaggard were sometimes not enough to save mother or child. But researching Jaggard’s difficulties, both in surgical terms and in terms of getting the respect his skills deserved as an expert in childbirth, was a fascinating rabbit hole to fall into and proved that the work he did is still by and large the method used in modern C section today, albeit in more sanitary conditions and with far better understanding of the risks involved in anesthetics and blood loss for mother and child.

My next Diamond & Doran mystery will no doubt lead me into researching areas that I never imagined would be useful to my story idea, but sometimes you fall upon something while you research that is so juicy you just have to find a way to include it in your story. And that’s the real excitement of research.

Until next time, here I go, back down the rabbit hole!

To download Tracy’s book, Madman, for free you can sign up at: http://www.diamondanddoranmysteries.com/
Poison is available at: http://authl.it/6hj
Vendetta is available at: http://authl.it/6hs
Like the Diamond & Doran Facebook page at: Facebook.com/DandDMysteries/

TracyTTracy Tonkinson was born and raised in England and now lives in Ontario, Canada. She is a fiction writer and avid reader of historical mystery fiction, thrillers and adventure novels. Her aim as a writer is to make her readers laugh a little, cry a little and feel breathless with excitement as they race to the end of each adventure she involves them in.