Hey, everyone, Suze here. This week I’m thrilled that mystery author Lucy Burdette is back to chat with us. I’m even more that she has a new book coming out in just a few days. Topped Chef, Book 3 in the wonderful Key West Food Critic series, releases on May 7. Here’s what Lucy has to say:
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a clinical psychologist and the author of eleven mysteries (eight of them written as Roberta Isleib.) I love to eat, talk, and write food, and I spend part of the year in Key West. Throw in a couple of cats, and all that combines very nicely in the Key West food critic mystery series.
Tell us about your latest book, Topped Chef.
Topped Chef is the third book in the Key West series–which I am having an absolute ball writing! In this installment, Key Zest food critic Hayley Snow is tapped as a judge on a reality TV cooking show. But when another judge turns up murdered, she must figure out who’s taking the contest too seriously before she becomes the next victim.
If you were casting a movie, who would play the characters in your Key West Food Critic series?
I am dreadful at casting movies and if this dream of one of my books becoming a film ever comes true, I will leave the details to the professionals. That said, I would love to cast Amy Adams as Hayley, and Meryl Streep as her mother! There is a drag queen character in this book too–for that I would suggest using the actual person, Randy Thompson. He’s a fabulous performer!
How do you market your books? Do you have any marketing advice for our readers?
Oh sigh, this is so hard because you can get sucked into the vortex of marketing and forget to write. I use Facebook (www.facebook.com/lucyburdette), Twitter in a half-hearted way (www.twitter.com/lucyburdette), Pinterest for generating book ideas and collecting food photos (www.pinterest.com/robertaisleib), and I blog with two wonderful groups of writers, Mystery Lovers Kitchen (www.mysteryloverskitchen.com) and Jungle Red Writers (www.jungleredwriters.com). When I’m approaching a book launch, I do as many guest posts as I can to spread the word. I try pitching magazines and radio shows. And since there is nothing better than talking with real readers in person, I schedule appearances at book stores, libraries, and conferences. And I also have a website: www.lucyburdette.com
Do you see what I mean about that vortex??
My advice is to pick a few of the many promotional options–the ones that suit your personality–and ignore the rest. And start early. And have fun at it! And try to give something to the readers–they won’t come back if your posts and updates are all about you and your newest release.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m a little of both. I have to turn in a synopsis to my editor at NAL as part of my contract. But it usually turns out that when I begin writing, the book takes all kinds of U-turns in unexpected directions–which can be exhilarating, but also scary. In the book I’m writing now (or should be), the plot is kicking my butt.
How long does it take you to turn out a draft of a book? Is it an easy–or agonizing–process?
For this series, I have about nine months in between books. The first draft is always agonizing. While rewrites to me are fun!
What made you want to write cozy mysteries? Who are some of your favorite authors?
I’ve always read mysteries and I don’t like gore and violence so this genre is a natural for me. My first culinary mystery idol was Diane Mott Davidson. You might be able to imagine how thrilled I was to land a blurb from her about AN APPETITE FOR MURDER: “What fun! Lucy Burdette writes evocatively about Key West and food–a winning combination. I can’t wait for the next entry in this charming series.” DMD Wow!
When you’re not writing, what’s your favorite way to spend your time?
I’m a huge reader, of women’s fiction as well as mysteries. I enjoy cooking, my pets, spending time with my family, and enough exercise to overcome the effects of all that good food.
How do you battle the Doubt Monster? We define the Doubt Monster as: the nagging feeling that your prose is terrible, your plot is silly, your characters are insipid, and no one in her right mind would read this drivel, let alone buy it.
My best advice on that came from my writing pal Hallie Ephron: Hold your nose and write. You can’t fix something that isn’t written! And I love my writer friends who understand how hard this work is–they are always available with a crying towel if needed…
What’s next for you? What are you working on now?
I’m in the middle of MURDER WITH GANACHE, the fourth Key West food critic mystery, which will be out in February 2014. The deadline is barreling down upon me! thanks so much for inviting me to visit! And best of luck with your writing Suze !
Thanks, Lucy! Lucy’s on her way to Malice Domestic today, but she’ll pop in from time to time and answer your questions.