Sunday, May 19, 2013

Featured Authors: Jim & Joyce Lavene

Cozy Mystery Book Tours brings the best-selling author team Jim and Joyce Lavene here today to talk about their newest novel, A Thyme to Die, a Peggy Lee Garden mystery. And don't miss the $25 gift card or PayPal cash giveaway at the end of the post!

About the book:

Peggy Lee and her gardening friends have managed to persuade the International Flower Show to move to Charlotte from Atlanta this year. Excited and enthusiastic, Peggy agrees to step into the role as director of the event, but on opening day, a good friend of hers is found dead in the middle of the show.

Dr. Aris Abutto, an orchid grower from South Africa, has been shot and buried in a makeshift grave covered with pink thyme. Peggy is especially devastated since he came at her personal invitation. The presence of the pink thyme, a plant once used for ancient burial rites, tells her it’s possible one of the show’s growers may be involved in his death.

She plans to work with the Charlotte Police on this one, in her position of contract forensic botanist, and is surprised to learn of the Charlotte FBI’s interest in the case—which means her husband, Steve is involved too.

Peggy is focused on finding her friend’s killer and running the flower show with hundreds of sometimes disgruntled vendors. Her questions will find a devious plot with her friend and his young daughter, unwittingly, at the heart of it.

Asking the wrong questions can be dangerous, however, as Peggy knows so well. If she isn’t careful, finding her friend’s killer might also lead to a flower-covered grave for her.

Interview with Jim & Joyce Lavene:

I'm in awe. You all have written umpteen million books. How did the plot for this one come about?

We have written five other Peggy Lee Garden Mysteries and a novella. This time, we created a perfect place for Peggy who loves to garden – a flower show. She has the chance to shine, and to spotlight her garden shop, but the show is overshadowed by the loss of Peggy’s friend who is found dead on opening day.

How do you get to know your characters?

In the case of Peggy Lee, she has been a friend since 2003 when we wrote her first book, Pretty Poison. We are both Master Gardeners and enjoyed creating Peggy with her love of plants. We always create master lists of character traits, both physical and mental, when we write a character. Peggy’s specialty is poisonous plants. She is also a forensic botanist with the Charlotte Police Department.

When you start a new book, do you know what the entire cast will be?

No, we never know the entire cast, only the main characters. We enjoy finding who else is in the book as we go along. You never know who will pop up.

I’m constantly on the lookout for new names. How do you name your characters?

We add names to our database all the time from obits, real estate signs, and names we hear in our travels. Sometimes, we look names up in baby naming books but that’s a rare case.

I'm an obit watcher too! Glad to hear I'm not the only one. Do you have a routine for writing?

We write rough draft in the morning and revise work, promote and whatever else is necessary in the afternoon.

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?

We have a small office where we write each day. Usually we start working by nine, mocha lattes in hand.

Where’s home for you?

We’ve lived so many places that we don’t know anymore. If it is where the heart is, then it is here in North Carolina.

Name one thing you couldn’t live without.

My phone!

You won the lottery. What’s the first thing you would buy?

A pop-up tent camper.

You can be any fictional character for one day. Who would you be?

Sherlock Holmes.

Where would your dream office be?

In a large sunroom!

What’s one of your favorite quotes?

“Not to write, for many of us, is to die.” ~ Ray Bradbury

Love it. I'm adding it to my quotes page! What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

We like to drive around back roads and take photos of old houses and anything else interesting we can find.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Where we are right now. All of our family lives close by. Why would we want to live anywhere else?

If you could take a trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?

We would definitely go to Vancouver, BC. We have friends there.

What are you working on now?

We are working on the sixth book in our Renaissance Faire Mystery series, Murderous Matrimony.

I'm looking forward to hearing more about it!

About the authors:

Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, best-selling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 60 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family. Visit them at

Connect with Jim & Joyce:
Website | Blog | Facebook | Goodreads |Twitter | Amazon |  
Shameless plug! I was a guest on Jim & Joyce's blog last August. Check out that interview here.

Book Trailer


Enter here to win a $25 gift card or PayPal cash.