Tuesday, December 6, 2016

An Interview with EJ Copperman

MM:  E.J., you have a new book released today. Tell us about your book?

Thanks for inviting me! SPOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL is the eighth in the Haunted Guesthouse series, but a new reader can jump right in without worrying about being lost. All is explained. In this novel, Alison Kerby, who owns and runs a haunted guesthouse on the Jersey Shore, is annoyed that her ex-husband, whom she calls The Swine, is visiting because he’s running from some unsavory characters who he says want to kill him. Alison, who can see the upside in either outcome, reluctantly lets him stay in the guesthouse, but when one of The Swine’s pursuers ends up shot dead, she’s not sure whether she’s harboring a killer or protecting the father of her daughter from one.

MM: Give us the backstory on your series?

Alison bought the guesthouse in Harbor Haven, NJ (I made it up, don’t bother with Google) after her divorce and moved in with her nine-year-old daughter Melissa, who is now thirteen in SPOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL. When renovating the place before opening it up to paying guests, she was hit on the head with some wallboard compound (don’t ask) and upon awakening saw two ghosts in the house, Maxie Malone and Paul Harrison. They wouldn’t leave until Alison helped Paul, a fledgling investigator, find out who had killed them. But even after she did, they weren’t able to leave. So they struck a deal: Alison will help Paul with the occasional investigation if the two ghosts help perform “spook shows” to attract guests who want a supernatural experience. 

MM: You write the Asperger’s Mystery series with Jeff Cohen. What would Jeff tell us about being your writing partner?

That I’m always prepared and ready to work, and he is… let’s say Jeff needs some encouragement early in the day, and he only drinks decaf. It’s a trial.

MM: Direct us to where we can find more information about your series and how to order your books?

You can always check in with me at www.ejcopperman.com and I do blog (although Cohen takes the credit) at HEY THERE’S A DEAD GUY IN THE LIVING ROOM every Monday. Books can be found in honest-to-goodness bookstores and, truly, anywhere books are sold. 

MM: Writing a series can be hard but you write at least two series. Tell us what haunts you about being a series author?

I actually am now writing FOUR series if you include the one with Cohen, which I do because somebody has to do the majority of the work. Besides the Guesthouse series and the Asperger’s series, I write the Mysterious Detective Mystery series, in which a crime fiction writer is confronted with the living embodiment of her main character, and starting in 2017, the Agent to the Paws series, in which a theatrical agent whose clients are all (actual) animals keeps finding trouble wherever one of her furry or feathered clients goes. 

I like writing series because you’re telling a much longer story and you can find out things about the character over time rather than having to unveil it all at once. I think readers who hang in there for more than one book feel rewarded for their loyalty, and new readers can come in anywhere and get caught up.

MM: Where did you come up with the idea to have a series about a divorced mother who makes a fresh start then ends up living with ghosts?

Actually, it started as an idea about a house-flipper and evolved over dinner with my editor at a Bouchercon. I honestly don’t remember how the ghosts got there.

MM: When not teaching, writing, blogging and being a hard writing author. What do you do to de-stress?

I play some bad acoustic guitar and nap a lot. And we have this dog who needs to be walked more times a day than I care to consider. 

MM: I know you love baseball and movies but what else do you like to do in your spare time?

I write four series. What is this “spare time” you mentioned?

MM: Is there an author or two whose book you never miss reading as soon as it is released?

I’m not going to name people because some are friends and I might not mention everybody. But I did used to read Robert B. Parker a lot.

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

Hello! Have a seat! I’ll make cocoa.

MM: Think back and pick a special memory in your childhood that you will share with us today?

My father owned a paint store in Newark, NJ at the time of the riots in 1967. My mom was very worried about him getting home in the midst of all the looting and violence she saw on TV. But he always treated everyone with respect and dignity. He made it home that day untouched and the next day found the plate glass window on the front of his store had been emblazoned by neighborhood residents with the words SOUL BROTHER. No one touched the store. That told me something about people and how they should be treated.

MM: In closing share with us some fun facts about you. Your favorite meal, dessert, vacation, movie/movies, and song?

Favorite meal? Wow. Something bad for me. Pasta? Steak? Steak with a side of pasta? I eat like a 12-year-old. Dessert: Chocolate chip cookie ice cream from Thomas Sweets in New Brunswick, NJ. Vacation: I loved Rome. We’re going to Hawaii for Left Coast Crime in March. Movie: How much time have you got? NORTH BY NORTHWEST, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, HORSE FEATHERS, SILVERADO, THE MALTESE FALCON, DUCK SOUP… I could go on. Song: I don’t have a favorite song. My favorite album ever is RUBBER SOUL and current one is the HAMILTON cast album, although Circe Link is great, too.


  1. I guess the ghosts just forced their way in like they are wont to do! LOL

  2. Jeff,
    We did a great job on this one.

  3. I love the story about your father during the riots. So uplifting. The series all sound interesting, especially the Asperger's Mystery series. Good luck with Spouse on Haunted Hill!


Review: Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers and Felonies by Donna Andrews and Shari Randall

Each story in this collection features an animal as an important part of the story. Some of my favorite stories were "As the Crow F...