Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Featured Author: Mollie Cox Bryan

Great Escapes Book Tours brings Mollie Cox Bryan here today to talk about her brand new novel, Death of an Irish Diva--the third book in the Cumberland Creek mystery series, published by Kensington.

About the book:

Vera's dance studio may have suffered when Emily waltzed into town, but the croppers know she's not a vengeful murderer. Lucky for her, co-scrapbooker Annie is a freelance reporter eager to vindicate her friend. What she discovers is a puzzling labyrinth of secrets that only add question marks to Emily's murder. Just when it seems they've run out of clues, an antique scrapbook turns up and points the croppers in the right direction - and brings them face to face with a killer more twisted than a Celtic knot...

Other books in the series:
  Scrapbook of Secrets (A Cumberland Creek Mystery)
Scrapped (Cumberland Creek #2)

Interview with Mollie Cox Bryan

Mollie, how long have you been writing, and how did you start?

I’ve been telling stories since before I could hold a pencil. I wrote my first novel when I was twelve. I wrote my first FINISHED novel when I was a senior in high school.

Do you have another job outside of writing?

I am also a freelance writer and editor. I juggle my novel writing around those assignments.

How do you get to know your characters?

My characters just sort of come to me. When I started writing this book, I settled on three main characters, but there were definitely more. Some of them are working their way in as guest characters later on in the series.

Which character did you most enjoy writing?

I enjoy Beatrice immensely because she tells it like it is. She’s at the age where she has earned it. The other thing I like about her is the way she bridges “old world” Appalachia and the new one.

Are you like any of your characters?

I think there’s a bit of me in each of the characters. With Annie, I was a stay-at-home mom and freelancer for years (and kind of still am) and I definitely am an outsider, like she is. With Vera, I think we are similar in the way of our compassion and our love of dance. With Beatrice...um...let’s just say sometime my honesty gets me into trouble,

With which of your characters would you most like to be stuck in a bookstore?

Beatrice. She’s my 80-something-year-old quantum physicist and loves poetry, mostly Walt Whitman. She’s recently taken a liking to mysteries and is a big MC Beaton fan. 

Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.

Without giving too much away, the scene I enjoyed the most is toward the end, and I call it the “showdown.” It takes place on the street in the middle of the night, and involves the whole neighborhood.

Who are your favorite authors?

This changes for me from time to time. But right now, my favorite mystery authors are Louise Penny and Elizabeth Peters, but I’m also a fan of MC Beaton, just like Beatrice. I also love Barbara Kingsolver, Toni Morrison, and Isabel Allende.

How long is your to-be-read pile?

Too long! This has always been the case for me. But the more I get to know other fiction writers, the more my pile grows. I want to read their books, of course, but also the books that they love. And I try not to read fiction, particularly mysteries when I’m in first draft writing mode. So it tends to pile up.

You get to decide who would read your audiobook. Who would you choose?

Dame Judi Dench. I love her voice, and I think it would be a real kick to hear someone with a British accent read my Southern story.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?

Right now I’m reading Leaving the Saints by Martha Beck, non-fiction, and it’s fascinating.

Do you have a routine for writing? 

I used to run every morning then sit down and write. I try to do that now, but with my freelancing schedule, it’s a bit more difficult. If I have a tight deadline, I have to get that first.

But I do try to exercise in the morning, whether it’s running or going to the gym for a Zumba class. I find it really helps get my creative juices flowing—that along with several cups of coffee! Then, ideally I’ll sit down and write a couple of hours. Sometimes, I wake up very early in the morning—around 4 a.m. and I sit down and write then before the day really starts.

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?

I write in my “home office,” which is a sun porch. Very nice during certain seasons. I have a couple of good space heaters for the winter, and I’m usually fairly comfortable.

Where’s home for you?

I grew up in Western Pennsylvania, but I live in Virginia, so it’s home now.

What are you working on now?

Right now, I am working on a few things. My next book A Crafty Christmas (Cumberland Creek #4) is in the final production stages, so I just sent back edits to my publisher for it. Also, I’ve started writing book #5 in the series.

About the author:

After years of working as an editor and writer for nonprofits and corporations in the DC area, Mollie gave it all up for the “glamorous” life of a stay-at-home mom and part-time freelance writer. When she moved to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, she heard stories about the famous Mrs. Rowe’s Restaurant and its owner, Mildred Rowe. Intrigued, she investigated and found most of the stories were true. Two cookbooks later, Mollie turned her writing skills to penning mysteries. One of her goals as a writer, as a person, is to explore many venues, genres, and to continue to learn and grow.

She grew up in Western Pennsylvania in a rural area (Raccoon Township) just outside of mill town Aliquippa, known for its football greats. She danced, did gymnastics, and wrote all the way through her youth. She started many novels—but finished her first one when she was a senior in high school. It was called Circles and featured a ballerina involved with a gang.

Today, she is the mom to two daughters who both dance and write. For Mollie, writing is like dancing, breathing, and love. She doesn’t go a day without it.

Connect with Mollie:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble