Thursday, October 1, 2015

An Interview with Joanna Campbell Slan and a Peek into the Happy Homicides Anthology

By Pamela James

MM2: Joanna, give us the backstory on when and why you became an author?

·       As a kid, I stapled together papers and told people, “This is my book.” I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write. Nor can I remember when I didn’t want to become an author. I love the way that a story can change you. You never are alone if you can read—and reality is never bleak if you have the imagination to tell yourself a good story.

MM2: Where is your favorite place to write?

·       Right here, right now. I’m sitting on my sofa. I have a bolster behind me. My feet are propped up on an ottoman. My dog, Jax, is sitting on the sofa, sleeping. The ocean is straight ahead, a deep cobalt blue today. The sea oats are waving their golden heads. Life is good.

MM2: How many books have you written?

·       I think it’s thirty. I’ve lost track.

MM2: Do you re-read your favorite books?

·       Sometimes. Not very often. There are so many new books to read!

MM2: Tell us about your latest book, your series and for you what comes first. The plot, the character or the setting?

·       I just finished writing two novellas for a holiday anthology that we’ll be announcing soon. (People should watch my Facebook page or sign up for my newsletter.) One novella stars Kiki Lowenstein, and the other stars Cara Mia Delgatto. 
·       For different projects, different things come first. I’ve written books where there was an idea that drove me to create a character. (The
Glassblower’s Wife is an example.) But I’ve also written books where a character started the ball rolling. (Tear Down and Die—it’s free right now on Kindle and Kobo.) In all my books, setting is a character. By that I mean, the book couldn’t take place anywhere else but where I’ve set it. For example, Cara Mia lives on the Treasure Coast of Florida, and that’s central to her life, her work, and the mysteries.

MM2: What is the best advice you have been given, read or have to give?

·       Wendy Corsi Staub was sitting next to me at a book signing and she told me that each new book sells the last one. A book is your most powerful marketing tool. She was absolutely right! People underestimate how important it is to keep writing. Not only does one book sell another, but it’s also a sure path to improvement.

MM2: What are your future writing goals and plans? 

·       I’m participating in a huge holiday anthology with a dozen other cozy authors. That finished project will be more than 100,000 words!
·       I’m working on a new Cara Mia Delgatto Short Story Collection (Volume 2) and book (All Washed Up).
·       I’m finishing a Kiki Lowenstein book, #12 in that series. (Glue, Baby, Gone)
·       And I have a couple of other projects that I can’t really talk about yet!

MM2: Give us the guided tour about where you live and why you love living there?

·       I live on Jupiter Island, a barrier island off the coast of Florida. There are only 300 full-time residents, so it’s very, very quiet and secluded. All around me there is beauty. We have tons of hibiscus in all colors—orange, hot pink, red, yellow, light pink, and peachy-yellow. I can hear the ocean from everywhere in my house, and I look out on it as I write.

MM2: If you could sit down for lunch with three authors (dead or alive), what meal would you have and what would you ask them, talk about etc...?

·       I would sit down with Mark Twain, Charlotte Bronte, and Margaret Mitchell. The meal would have to be many courses, so we could take our time and talk for hours. I would ask each of them to tell me their writing secrets—and mainly, I’d want to know about despair because as an author, you often feel despair. Your work will never live up to your dreams. So how do you cope with that sense of failure? What keeps you going?

MM2: Now for fun questions. What is your favorite place to vacation, meal, movie/s, television series, song and your perfect writing day?

·       Vacation is home. I really am a homebody!
·       Meal is an acai berry bowl from 3 Natives. I’m hooked on them.
·       Movies would be Michael (with John Travolta) and Bell Book and Candle. Both have a supernatural element. I hadn’t noticed that!
·       Song is “Longer” by Dan Fogelberg
·       Perfect Writing Day is every day.

MM2: What would your characters tell us about you?

·       They would say I’m a lot like them. We’d get along really well. They would also point out that we have a lot of fun together.

MM2: What do you want people to walk away from your books knowing?

·       That they are stronger, smarter, and braver than they think. That friendship can help us through any calamity. That this is a world of abundance and goodness, even when it seems like there’s none of that to go around.

MM2: Lastly, leave us with your favorite quote.

“Dwell in possibilities.” – Emily Dickinson. I love it because if you dwell in possibilities, you’ll always see the best and know that good things are just around the corner. Isn’t that a wonderful way to live? I think so!

To stay on top of Joanna’s new projects, you’ll want to sign up for her email list. Send an email to her assistant, Sally Lippert, You can also visit Joanna on Facebook at

*************Happy Homicides - Just $.99*************

Amazon   Kobo    Nook

Happy Homicides: Thirteen Cozy Holiday Mysteries will be available for pre-order on Sept. 15 on most platforms for only 99 cents. Price includes a special bonus file with recipes and craft ideas. This collection of novellas and short stories is a whopping 213,000 words long! Authors include Joanna Campbell Slan, Neil Plakcy, Lois Winston, Annie Adams, Jenna Bennett, Nancy Warren, Sara Rosett, Camille Minichino, Nancy Jill Thames, Linda Gordon Hengerer, Joyce and Jim Lavene, and Teresa Trent. Release date will be Oct. 15, 2015. Visit

Happy Homicides Information
Table of Contents

  1. Lost and Found Holiday Gifts: A Cara Mia Delgatto Novella by Joanna Campbell Slan -- Santa isn’t the only one who delivers presents during the holidays. Cara Mia Delgatto sets out to do a few small favors and quickly learns how a thoughtful gift can change a life.

  1. Dog Forbid by Neil Plakcy -- A Thanksgiving trip with friends takes reformed hacker Steve Levitan and his crime-solving golden retriever, Rochester, to Pennsylvania Dutch Country. When Steve’s friend’s golden goes missing in an area notorious for local puppy mills, can Rochester nose out the missing puppy and save the holiday?

  1.  Elementary, My Dear Gertie by Lois Winston -- Much to the dismay of her conservative parents, Nori Stedworth and her boyfriend Mackenzie Randolph are living together. Mom and Dad cope as best they can when Nori and Mac arrive in Ten Commandments, Iowa for the holidays. Mac is all for exchanging “I do’s,” but before he can pop the question, an explosion hurls him and Nori into the midst of a murder investigation. Can they uncover which of the town’s not-so-pious residents is the killer in time to catch their flight back to New York City?

  1. Flowers, Food and Felonies at the New Year’s Jubilee Cook-Off by Annie Adams -- Busy florist Quincy McKay thought that judging the annual Jubilee food contest would be as easy as picking daisies. Will the event turn deadly when someone cooks up a scheme to slice and dice the competition?

  1. The Deadliest Christmas Pageant Ever by Teresa Trent -- It's Christmas time in Texas. Betsy Livingston and her boys are caught up in the Pecan Bayou Christmas Pageant to raise funds for needy children. Betsy gets tricked into replacing the absent director and quickly learns that show biz can be brutal—and this Christmas pageant is downright deadly.

  1. Contingent on Approval: A Savannah Martin Christmas Novella by Jenna Bennett -- On Christmas morning Savannah Martin finds herself looking at Rafe Collier, a pair of fuzzy handcuffs, an economy-sized box of condoms, and the rest of her life. But before her happily-ever-after can begin, she needs to get through a holiday dinner with her mother. Savannah has plenty to worry about, not the least of which is whether her new boyfriend will still want to stick around after the meal.

  1. Teddy Saves Christmas by Nancy Jill Thames-- When Jillian Bradley finds herself alone for the holidays, her dog Teddy latches onto a homeless woman with a dangerous secret. Jillian is forced to get involved. Can she find a way to save her new friend in time for a Merry Christmas?

  1. Menace at the Christmas Market by Sara Rosett -- With the holidays nearing, Kate has time off, a rare occurrence for a location scout. She plans to spend her time shopping for Christmas gifts, but when she goes to the local Regency-themed Christmas Market, a new acquaintance is poisoned and Kate gets drawn into the investigation.

  1. The Neon Ornaments by Camille Minichino -- Physicist Gloria Lamerino meets her friend Rose in Boston for what she thinks is a girls’ getaway weekend. But Rose has other plans. She volunteers Gloria to help solve a murder. Will the chemistry between Gloria and the homicide detective get in the way of catching a killer?

  1. A Diamond Choker for Christmas by Nancy Warren -- In order to borrow an extremely expensive diamond and sapphire necklace to wear at Christmas party, Toni Diamond's mother Linda offers her home as collateral. But the necklace is stolen right off her neck, and Toni has to solve the crime or her mother will be homeless for the holidays!

  1. Dying for Holiday Tea: A Beach Tea Shop Novella by Linda Gordon Hengerer -- Sisters Danielle, Chelsea, and Alexandra Powell rejoice when Alex finds their grandmother’s old recipe book--and plan to bake her gingerbread for their upcoming holiday tea. But someone else wants the recipes and is willing to kill for them. Can the Powell sisters cook up a way to catch a murderer?

  1. The Dog Who Came for Christmas by Joyce and Jim Lavene -- A woman running from her deadly past finds hope, a dog, and possibly a new love, at Christmas.

  1. The Rowan Tree Twig: A Kiki Lowenstein Novella by Joanna Campbell Slan -- The holidays offer the perfect chance for Kiki to keep a promise to her late friend, Dodie Goldfader. But this sweet thought hits a sour note when Dodie’s husband is wrongly accused of murder.

About the authors and their books—
National bestselling and award-winning author Joanna Campbell Slan is a native of Florida, who currently lives on Jupiter Island. RT Times has called her “one of mystery’s rising stars.” Kirkus Reviews says of her Kiki Lowenstein books “the characters are so well developed that each installment leaves the reader yearning for the next.” Her first novel (Paper, Scissors, Death) was shortlisted for the Agatha Award, and her historical mystery featuring classic heroine Jane Eyre (Death of a Schoolgirl) won the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence. Joanna writes three mystery series, including the Cara Mia Delgatto books that are set on the Treasure Coast. Visit her at

Neil Plakcy is a native of Bucks County, PA, where the Golden Retriever Mysteries are set. He is the author of more than two dozen novels and short story collections. Neil is the proud papa of two rambunctious goldens, Brody and Griffin. More information on his books can be found at his website,

Lois Winston is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning author who writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and non-fiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. In addition, she is an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for her books from her experiences in the craft industry. Visit Lois at

Annie Adams is the author of The Flower Shop Mystery series. She lives with her husband, two giant dogs, and two, too giant cats in Northern Utah at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains. When not writing, she can be found arranging flowers or delivering them in her own Zombie Delivery Van. She's a member of Romance Writers of America, the Utah chapter of RWA (URWA) and the Kiss of Death chapter of RWA (KOD) Please visit Annie at her website

Teresa Trent writes the Pecan Bayou Mystery Series that takes place in a little town in Texas. The first of the series, A Dash of Murder, stars Betsy Livingston, a helpful hints writer, on a paranormal investigation with her beloved Aunt Maggie. The Pecan Bayou Series continues as Betsy solves mystery after mystery all the while providing helpful hints and recipes in the back of each book.  Find out more about Teresa on her website

Jenna Bennett (Jennie Bentley) is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who writes the Do It Yourself home renovation mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime and the Savannah Martin real estate mysteries for her own gratification. She also writes a variety of other books and genres for a change of pace. For more information, please visit her website,

Nancy Warren is the USA Today bestselling author of more than 70 romance and mystery novels including the Toni Diamond mystery series. She's originally from Vancouver, Canada, but currently calls Oxford, England, home. She loves to travel, hike, ski, and is currently attempting to learn how to drive on the 'other' side of the road in England. Fortunately, the British are a patient, polite people. Come visit her at
Sara Rosett writes cozy mysteries (the Ellie Avery series and the Murder on Location series) and a suspense series with a dash of romance (the On the Run series). Sara loves all things bookish, considers dark chocolate a daily requirement, and is on a quest for the best bruschetta. Publishers Weekly called Sara's books "satisfying," "well-executed," and "sparkling." Connect with Sara at

Camille Minichino has written more than 20 mystery novels in four series: The Periodic Table Mysteries, The Miniature Mysteries (as Margaret Grace), The Professor Sophie Knowles Mysteries (as Ada Madison), and The Postmistress Mysteries (as Jean Flowers), plus short stories and articles. Her latest releases include the novels Death Takes Priority (Berkley Prime Crime, November, 2015) and Manhattan in Miniature (Perseverance Press, April 2015). She teaches writing in the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit her at
Nancy Jill Thames writes the Jillian Bradley mystery series, beginning with Murder in Half Moon Bay, featuring a feisty garden columnist and her clue-sniffing Yorkie, and has been listed in the Amazon Author Watch Bestseller List. When Nancy isn't plotting Jillian’s next perilous adventure, she travels between Texas, California, and Georgia finding new ways to spoil her grandchildren, playing classical favorites on her baby grand, or having afternoon tea with friends. Learn more at
Linda Gordon Hengerer is the author of the Beach Tea Shop mystery series, and several non-fiction books on football and wine pairings. A New Jersey native transplanted to Florida, she belongs to Mystery Writers of America-Florida Chapter. Many years of working in corporate America have made her grateful for her writing time. Visit her at
 Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery and urban fantasy fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. Their first mystery novel, Last Dance, won the Master’s Choice Award for best first mystery novel in 1999. Their romance, Flowers in the Night, was nominated for the Frankfurt Book Award in 2000. They have written and published more than 70 novels and hundreds of non-fiction articles. They live in Midland, North Carolina, with their family and their rescue pets—Rudi, Stan Lee, and Quincy. Visit them at


  1. This is going to be an awesome anthology!

  2. The anthology looks like fun. The cover is very cozy....

  3. Thank you so much for having me as a guest!

  4. Great interview. I'm wondering if Joanna has a guestroom.

  5. Great interview, Joanna. Love the idea of "Dwell in the possibilities". We need to go on a writer's retreat sometime--at your house!

  6. I'd been thinking about using Emily Dickinson quotes as an epigraph, and particularly love "Dwell in possibilities." That sums it all up, doesn't it?

  7. As Linda knows, I have a guest room, and we love company. Come on down!!!

  8. Yes, a retreat on Jupiter island sounds lovely.Possibly a new book title too! Mark Twain would be at the top of my list as well.


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