"How I Write" by Sally Carpenter

Let's hear from Cozy Cat Press author Sally Carpenter, author of the Sandy Fairfax, Teen Idol mysteries (sandyfairfaxauthor.com) and see how she answers these interview questions:

"Like the Easter Bunny, I’m hopping along on a blog hop at the invitation of author Marie Lavender (http://marielavender.blogspot.com/). Authors who are “tagged” are asked to answer four questions about their writing process and then “tag” other authors to continue the chain. When you’ve finished reading my post, please “hop” on over to the other blogs that follow.

What am I writing?

My work in progress is “The Cunning Cruise Ship Caper,” the third book of the Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol mystery series. Cozy Cat Press will publish the book in early 2015. I can’t believe I’m on my third book! After finishing two books, this one seems both easier-I think I know what I’m doing-and harder-how do I top the last one?

Sandy’s a former ’70s teen idol; he starred in the TV hit series, “Buddy Brave, Boy Sleuth.” Now he’s a 38-year-old recovering alcoholic trying to make a comeback.

In this caper, he’s giving concerts aboard the USS Zodiac, a cruise ship with decor themed to the various astrological signs. Sandy’s performing with his estranged sister, Celeste, whose folk singing career went nowhere.

Also aboard the ship are Helen Wheeler, Sandy’s ex-girlfriend who still loves him; Cinnamon, whom Sandy wants as a girlfriend if he can get rid of her current boyfriend; along with Bunny and other members of Sandy’s fan club.

As if this isn’t enough, on the first night at sea Sandy finds a dead body in his backstage dressing room. To solve the crime he must work with another passenger, a female cop who can’t stand teen idol music. With so many women around him, Sandy remarks, “my life resembled an Elvis movie.”

If Sandy can stay out of the murderer’s crosshairs, he hopes to unmask the killer at the ship’s grand Halloween costume party.

How does your work differ from others in the same genre?

My book is a humorous cozy. Many cozies have female protagonists who run a store and live in a small town after leaving the big city. My protag is a guy who lives in Los Angeles and he had no head for running a business.

Sandy is a former teen idol still in the entertainment business and no other novel has a character in that profession. I’m aware of a mystery series about a former 80s pop singer but that character is no longer performing.

Why you I write what I do?

I write what I like to read: a light hearted, funny, easy read with colorful characters in the world of show biz and minimal sex and violence.

I started out writing in other genres but the mystery field is where I’ve found success.

How does your writing process work?

I don’t think of it as a “process”; I just do it. I handwrite the first draft and type it up on the computer for editing. Pen and paper is more conducive to creativity than the computer.

I plot out the story first. Before I start writing I know whodunnit and why. I create the main characters and red herrings. For this book, I had to “design” cruise ship and map out the rooms. The USS Zodiac closely resembles the Carnival ship I rode years ago.

Since this story takes place during a five-day cruise, I researched real cruises and their points of call. I am plotting what events take place on which days, working around the ship’s programming schedule and Sandy’s concerts. I only have five days in which to solve the crime.

I work a full-time job so I write in the evenings and weekends.

Sally Carpenter

"The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper"
Eureka! Finalist/2012 Left Coast Crime-Best First Book"

Please let Sally know about your thoughts about her series and her writing.

Patricia RockwellComment