Wednesday, July 22, 2015

An Interview with Lorraine Bartlett/LL Bartlett/Lorna Barrett

By Pamela James

MM2: Lorraine, please give us some backstory on when and how you became an author?

LB:  I started writing when I was a teenager. I heard about Star Trek fanzines, read them, and thought, “I can do that, too!” Of course my first efforts were dreadful, but I persevered. I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d become a New York Times bestselling author.

MM2: For you what comes first the character, plot or setting?

Definitely character.  I’ll start thinking about a character, and then the setting, and finally figure out a plot to go with him or her.

MM2: How many books have you written?

22 novels, but a load of novellas and short stories, too.  In all I think I have something like 39 titles (under three different names).

MM2: Tell us about your latest book in all of your series?

LB:  In the Booktown Mysteries, it would be A Fatal Chapter.  The Stoneham Historical Society plans to give nighttime tours of the Stoneham Rural Cemetery, but someone wants to prevent that--taking extreme measures by committing murder and vicious attacks. Can Tricia figure out who is behind the mayhem before someone else becomes the cemetery's newest resident?

For my Jeff Resnick mystery series, it would be Eyewitness (a novella):  It’s been two years since the mugging that nearly killed him, and Jeff Resnick is finally putting his life back together. But his sense of peace is shattered when the detective investigating his wife’s murder calls to update him on the cold case. Can Jeff's if his sixth sense can help him find the man who killed Shelley Resnick?

In the Lotus Bay Mysteries, it’s With Baited Breath:  Tori Cannon and her grandfather return from her grandma’s funeral to find a body jammed in one of their derelict motel units. The victim had no enemies except for maybe the rich woman who wants to level his eyesore of a home, a resentful daughter, and friends who were anything but. Tori’s BFF, Kathy, arrives to help spruce up the place and they are soon mixed up in the deadly consequences that murder entails. Can they save the business and find a murderer or will they, too, sleep with the fishes?

For the Victoria Square series (which has been on hiatus—but will be coming back out in 2017) it’s One Hot Murder:  At the height of the heat wave, a tragic fire strikes Victoria Square. Wood U, a small store selling wooden gifts and small furniture, is destroyed. But the fire may just be a smoke screen—for murder. A body is found among the charred wreckage, and the victim didn’t die from smoke inhalation. He was shot. Now—despite making Detective Ray Davenport hot under the collar—Katie Bonner is determined to smoke out a coldhearted killer…

For my Tales of Telenia adventure-fantasy series, it’s Journey (I’m currently plotting the 3rd book in the series):  Life takes an unexpected turn when Prince Paxdon bans Amanda Shelton from Telenia’s Summer Palace, but that’s just the first step in an incredible journey that has her leading the province’s oppressed women into a life of self-sufficiency. The threat of war remains, and others are watching her every move as Amanda leaves the safety and security of the rural north and ventures to the capital city where she faces peril and life altering decisions.  Will her future be a life of luxury or despair?

MM2: Take us through a typical writing day?

LB:  I start the day by checking email and Facebook.  Then I like to make a couple of graphics.  I do them for myself and my friends. I’ve recently done a series of them for Leann Sweeney’s upcoming Cats in Trouble Mysteries (The Cat, The Sneak and the Secret), and Mary Kennedy’s Dream Club Mysteries (Dream a Little Scream).  I’ve made them for Storytellers Unlimited, The Cozy Chicks, Tonya Thomas, and other friends.

MM2: Where is your favorite place to write? If it is your office may we take a peek at a picture?

LB:  I have a screened-in porch that overlooks my pool and garden.  I prefer to write there, but since I live in Western New York can obviously do that in warmer months. Otherwise, I sit on the couch in  my living room with my laptop on the coffee table (and a keyboard on my lap). It still overlooks the pool, but it’s not nearly as pretty a view when there’s 2-3 feet of snow on the ground.

MM2: What has being an author taught you about living?

LB:  Be prepared for failure, and learn to live with it.

MM2:  What has living taught you about being an author?

LB:  Everything is story fodder.

MM2: Here are some fun questions. What is your favorite meal?

LB:  Thanksgiving dinner.  I look forward to it all year.

MM2:  What is your favorite movie?

LB:  That’s a tough one. There are so many I enjoy watching over and over and over again.  Off the top of my head?  Star Trek: The Search for Spock.  The two JJ Abrams Star Trek movies. Galaxy Quest; Love Actually; Groundhog Day; Jaws; Little Miss Sunshine ….

MM2:  What television series do you like to watch or watch reruns?

LB:  I probably rewatch my Star Trek Voyager DVDs more than anything else. But I also rewatch Gilmore Girls, Midsomer Mysteries, etc.

MM2: What is your favorite dessert?

LB:  Crème brulee (or coconut cake).

MM2:  Place to vacation?

LB:  England.  I haven’t been in 14 years (simply because I don’t fly anymore and the trans-Atlantic ships don’t go there on my schedule). 

MM2:  Tell us about where you live and why you like living there?

I love Western NY in the warmer months.  During winter—not so much. It’s a pretty place to live, especially in the spring and summer.  I don’t have much family left here, so if my brother moved … I might consider doing the same someday.  I don’t want to think about it.

MM2: What would you like to say to your readers?

LB:  Thank you.  Without you, I’d still be writing Star Trek fan stories.

MM2: What would your characters tell us about you?

LB:  That they wish I’d work on THEIR story and not some other one. (Right now Amanda Shelton is really NAGGING me to tell her third adventure, but I have other books that need to be written first.)

MM2: If you had a twin to help you this week. What would you have her doing to help?

LB:  I put him or her in charge of my promotion so I could spend all of my time writing (and cooking and gardening).

MM2: Do you have a group of people who read your books before publishing? Such as a writing group, husband etc..?

LB:  I have a Street Team of readers.  Our group is called The Lorraine Train.  They read my books, novellas, and short stories for typos and if they enjoy them, will often review them on Social Media.  I also hire a copy editor who looks at everything I write before it goes out.

MM2: Leave us with a funny story either about family, friends. Something that happened at a book signing or just what one of your characters might have to say about you?

I don’t know about funny, but I know that all my characters seem to be screaming “GET BACK TO WORK” in my ear. 

The immensely popular Booktown Mystery series is what put Lorraine Bartlett’s pen name Lorna Barrett on the New York Times Bestseller list, but it’s her talent -- whether writing as Lorna, or L.L. Bartlett, or Lorraine Bartlett -- that keeps her there. This multi-published, Agatha-nominated author pens the exciting Jeff Resnick Mysteries as well as the acclaimed Victoria Square Mystery series, the Tales of Telenia adventure-fantasy saga, and now the Lotus Bay Mysteries, and has many short stories and novellas to her name(s). Check out the descriptions and links to all her works, and sign up for her emailed newsletter here:

writing as Lorraine Bartlett, L.L. Bartlett, and Lorna Barrett - Victoria Square Mysteries & Tales of Telenia (Facebook) - Jeff Resnick Mysteries (Facebook) - Booktown Mysteries (Facebook)


  1. I love all of your series. As you know I think you're a talented and gifted author. I also think you're a wonderful human being. I would love a screened in porch. I am jealous!

  2. All of us at the Cozy Chicks love Lorraine's graphics!! We are thrilled that she makes them and readers really love them. I just finished reading EYEWITNESS in the Jeff Resnick series, it's terrific!

  3. Lorraine - you are talented in so many ways!


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