Interview with Karen MacInerney, Author of Scone Cold Dead
09 Jul 2019
What can you tell us about your new release, Scone Cold Death?
I had a great time getting back to Maine in this installment of the Gray Whale Inn mysteries. In Scone Cold Dead, inkeeper Natalie Barnes is living her dream life, creating scrumptious scone recipes and relishing cool summer days on quaint Cranberry Island, Maine… until she stumbles across a dead body tucked under the blueberry bushes.
Could the killer be one of her artsy out-of-town guests?
Or will the murderer turn out to be uncomfortably close to home?
There’s also a cancer scare involving a beloved character along with a few love triangles in this book… it was a lot of fun to write! The book comes with some recipes at the end… including three for scones. Of course.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
I always wanted to be a writer, and have always been a compulsive reader, but it took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to write. I cut my teeth (and spent all my allowance) on Nancy Drew books, followed by Agatha Christie books, so I’ve always loved mysteries. The tipping point for writing traditional mysteries is when I was halfway through one and realized, “I could do that.” I launched out on writing my first book, Murder on the Rocks (the first book in the Gray Whale Inn series), started a critique group, and my career began. Murder on the Rocks ended up being a finalist for the Agatha award for Best First Novel, one of the books hit #1 on the Kindle Bestsellers list, and the series has gone on to gain fans worldwide; it’s even been translated into Japanese and French. It’s been quite a ride!
What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?
That is hard to say. I love all kinds of books, from cozy mysteries to weird nonfiction reads, so it’s hard to narrow it down! Some of the cozy writers I am currently enjoying reading include Ellery Adams, Molly Fitz, CeeCee James, and Susan Wittig Albert.
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
I’ve been lucky and have been able to quiz many of my favorite authors in person (they were all very kind). But my questions are ALWAYS about the writing process. Do you outline? Do you think of storylines over multiple books? Where do you write? For how long? And my favorite… what’s your daily word count? 😀 Right now, I’m working on a paranormal mystery, so I’d probably ask questions about world building and magic, which are a fun new challenge for me.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
I love it when I get into that “flow” mode, where the real world disappears around me and I am totally engaged with my characters and the world they live in. It’s one my favorite things in life, honestly.
What is a typical day like for you?
I get up, take Child #2 to school, come home, feed and walk the dogs, and then grab a second cup of coffee and start getting into some of the administrative part of writing (I kind of creep up on the writing, almost like I’m afraid I’m going to scare it away). Sometimes I stay at home, but more often I go to my local coffee house, Trianon, where I’ve formed a community of folks I enjoy catching up with (and some of them are writers who join me for sprints). When I’m ready, I set the timer for 15 or 20 or 25 minutes and start writing, then do as many of them as I need to to get where I need to be. I try to get at least a thousand words done before I quit; if my daily quota is higher, then I’ll tuck in a second session later on that day, sometimes as late as eleven at night. The rest of the day I’m taking care of the other parts of my life; housekeeping, feeding myself, exercising, spending time with friends, handling non-writing writerly tasks, and occasionally napping. And making recipes for very caloric things. *sigh*
What scene in Scone Cold Death was your favorite to write?
I loved writing the scene where Natalie figures out who the murderer is. I really enjoy fast-paced, high-tension, high-stakes scenes, and this one was a LOT of fun to write. (I won’t spoil it, though!)
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
Two things: One, it’s not how often you fall of the horse, but how often you climb back on… and two, which I’ve come to believe more and more with time, is that it’s more important to focus on the small, habitual actions you do every day than obsessing over the goals you want to achieve. If you are moving in the right direction every (or almost every) day, even if it’s only tiny steps, things will fall into place. You just have to be patient and tweak your approach if you need to.
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