Sunday, March 27, 2016



The village of Snowflake, Vermont is buzzing with excitement. Hilary Stone, the famous author of Murder Comes Calling, is planning a visit. Even the discovery of the body of an unidentified woman strangled in the woods hasn’t dampened the spirits of Snowflake’s avid mystery fans – that is, until the villagers learn the murder mimics the popular novel. Could the killer be a deranged fan hoping for attention? Or is a copycat killer on the loose? 


What's your favorite thing about the writing process?

I think it’s those wonderful moments when the words and images are flowing and you feel as if you’re actually inside your own story, clearly visualizing everything as it comes to life. It’s like an out of body experience!

What do you wish you’d done differently when you first started the publishing process?
I can’t say I have any regrets about anything I’ve done. I do wish I had known more about marketing and book tours and blogging at the time. That was a whole new experience quite different from the challenges of writing. So I had a huge learning curve in front of me.  I was very lucky that the first book was so well received and even though there was no time to kind of pre-advertise the first book, readers seemed to really like it and I was thrilled to be able to connect with so many fans of the series from the beginning. 

What do you think is hardest aspect of writing a book?
I’m laughing.  I think the hardest part of the whole process is sitting down to begin a new book. The moment you must start to craft a plot from maybe nothing but an idea and you don’t know if it will work. It feels like there’s a mountain looming in front of you that you must climb and come out at the end with a (hopefully entertaining) cohesive 80,000 word story. 

How often do you read?
I read all the time. With coffee in the morning, in bed at night, on lunch breaks, waiting at the doctor’s office. I’m always carrying a book around, and they’re always pretty much crime novels.

What do you think makes a good story?
I think the first, most essential aspect of a good story is creating characters that the reader can connect with and identify with at an emotional level. Those are the stories that always stay with me. And in crime novels, whether cozy or hard-boiled, I believe some edge-of-your-seat moments are important. They maintain tension and keep a reader turning pages to find out what’s going to happen next.

What books do you currently have published?

There are five books in the Soup Lover’s Mystery series: A Spoonful of Murder, A Broth of Betrayal, A Roux of Revenge, Ladle to the Grave, and now A Clue in the Stew.  In my other series, the Zodiac Mysteries, the first book will be out on June 8th. It’s called The Madness of Mercury.  So all in all, I will have six books published.

Do you have any secret talents?
I’ve found that some of my other interests have had to take a back seat, given my writing schedule. When I’m in the mood, I like to sew, and I love to browse thrift shops looking for interesting fabrics. I love old furniture too and several years ago discovered that I was pretty good at restoring pieces, stripping them down to the bare wood and refinishing them. I haven’t had time to do any of those projects lately, but I’ve done them quite a lot and it’s a very satisfying feeling to see a beat up old piece of furniture come back to life.

Is writing your dream job?

Hmmm.  Yes, I think it is.  I wish I could spend eight hours a day doing nothing but. I have tons of ideas for different kinds of stories and there doesn’t seem to be enough time to work on them. The first priority is always whatever deadline is in front of me. That has to come first. 

If you could only watch one television station for a year, what would it be?
Any station that offers international mysteries. I could watch that all the time. For the last few years, one of my local stations has done just that. I’ve been able to watch so many wonderful crime productions – Swedish, Danish, Italian, British – Inspector Montalbano, the Donna Leon series (a German production), Van Veeteren, Beck, Wallander, George Gently, Vera. I could go on and on. Every single one has been wonderful! 

What’s one THING you never leave the house without?
I do always remember my keys. I hate to go out with my hair a mess and no makeup, because if I do, I know I’ll run into someone I haven’t seen for ten years!

What do you love about where you live?

I live in California, and I love the winters! We’ve had a drought for many years, but if it’s going to rain, it rains in the winter and everything turns fresh and green.

What’s your least favorite chore?
Food shopping. I’d rather wash windows or dig ditches. I like to cook, but food shopping is my least favorite chore. I always go with a list, grab a cart and race through the supermarket. My neighborhood market (no names mentioned here) has a new marketing plan. If you’re looking for an item, it won’t be where it logically should be. For example, I wanted to buy a package of barley last week – to make soup of course! It wasn’t in the aisle with the pasta and the rice and the quinoa. It should have been, but it wasn’t. It was three aisles away, placed with more quinoa and rice noodles. Go figure! The market likes to offer coupons if you take a survey, and believe me, I always complain about this. Their marketing execs, I’m sure, are convinced their customers will buy more if they’re confused and forced to wander the store. It’s the new cruelty.

What is the wallpaper on your computer’s desktop

Right now, my screensaver is a photo I took of the Golden Gate straits on the western end of San Francisco. I’ve been busy taking lots of San Francisco photos because my new series – the Zodiac Mysteries – is set there and I knew I would be needing them. I love this particular picture. It’s taken from the top of Sutro Heights between two twisted trees, across the entrance to the bay and shows fog on the hills on the Marin County side of the ocean. I always sigh when I look at this picture. It’s so relaxing and I can almost feel the sea breezes. 

What are you working on now?

Right now, I’m getting the second book in the Zodiac series – Dark Sun – ready to send to my publisher. It’s finished, but I like to give myself plenty of time to go over it again and again, so it’s in the best shape possible before an editor reads it.


Connie Archer is the author of the national bestselling Soup Lover’s Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime. A Clue in the Stew, the fifth in the series will be released on April 5, 2016. You can find her excerpts and recipes in The Cozy Cookbook and The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. Writing as Connie di Marco, she’s also the author of the upcoming Zodiac Mystery series from Midnight Ink featuring San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti.  The Madness of Mercury, first in the series, will be released on June 8, 2016.  She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters in Crime. 

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