LUCY BURDETTE: Two of our favorite friends and authors are sharing a book tour this week to celebrate ICED UNDER (Barbara Ross) and CUSTOM BAKED MURDER (Liz Mugavero.) They asked if they could visit the blog and we are delighted to have them. Please note that there were no dollars or other favors exchanged for this post! Welcome Barb and Liz!
Barbara Ross and Liz Mugavero are doing their blog tour together for their fifth books in their respective series: Iced Under, a Maine Clambake Mystery, for Barb and Custom Baked Murder, for Liz. Recently, they got together to have a conversation about a favorite topic—the Jungle Reds.
|Liz, Barb, and Lucy in Key West|
Barb: Hi Liz. It’s so great to be back with the Jungle Reds. Not just because we love the blog, but also because the Reds have had such profound effects on our writing lives. On our personal lives as well. So many writers talk about the Reds’ generosity, but today we thought we’d get into specifics. Let’s start with Lucy. Liz, you and Lucy share a home state, Connecticut. Tell me about one interaction with Lucy and what it meant.
|The marvelous Seascape class of 2009|
Liz: I’m so happy to be back here! I have to go back to the first time I met Lucy, at the Seascape Writers Retreat. A wonderful weekend on the water in Madison where I met fabulous people, worked at my craft, and learned a ton (from Hallie as well!). I think that weekend was the first time, after the encouragement I received, that I realized if I just kept working hard at my writing that I’d be published. It happened, and so much credit goes to these ladies. What about you? Who was the first Red you interacted with and what happened?
|Liz, Hank, Barb, and Julia|
Barb: The first Red I met was Hank, but we didn’t even realize we were meeting. Years ago (like 20) we were in a class for beginning mystery writers at the Boston Center for Adult Education. Neither of us were published or even had a finished a manuscript. In the last class (I think there were four) we each read our opening scene. Cut to years later. I’m embarrassed to admit how many, but more than a decade. Hank is well published and we re-meet through Sisters in Crime New England. I ask her to blurb my first book, The Death of an Ambitious Woman. Hank recognizes my opening scene! She says, “Were you ever in a class at the Boston Center for Adult Education?” So funny. You mentioned Hallie. Can you recall a piece of advice Hallie gave you that was meaningful?
|Lucy, Hallie, and Barb|
Liz: You know, it wasn’t so much a piece of advice as it was…confidence. She had confidence in me and my writing that I wasn’t sure I had myself yet. I remember her saying to me at Seascape that I’d do it - I’d get published. Because I had the talent but more importantly, the drive. And that always stuck with me. That someone like Hallie Ephron had that much faith in me!
I do remember her also having no patience for weak characters, be it men or women. She would be the first to point out any displays of wussiness. I definitely carried that reminder with me as I created Stan. I wanted her to be able to stand on her own two feet, be financially stable, and most of all, smart. Do you know any other Reds personally?
Barb: Yes! Julia Spencer-Fleming. Since I spend the summer in Maine, and Julia lives in Maine, I get to see her on the Maine writers’ circuit. In fact, we both read at a pub in Portland a few weeks ago. Both Julia and her husband, Ross, have been wonderfully supportive of me as a newcomer. And I am a huge, huge (like buy it in hardcover the first day level) fan. Julia, Hank and I (along with Gin Malliet) all had our books nominated for the Agatha Award for Best Contemporary novel in 2014.
I don’t really “know” any of the non-New England Reds, except what I read here. I have long been a huge fan of Deb Crombie’s. I think she and I shared an agent years ago and I called her for a reference. (Or maybe I dreamed it. It was that long ago, back with the book that Hank…) I’ve met Rhys at conferences and am always a little tongue-tied. She’s such an amazing writer. But now that I’ve made the muffin tin-sized mince pies she wrote about on the blog a few weeks ago, I’ll have something to say to her. What about you Liz? Non-New England Reds?
Thanks so much to all you ladies for having us. It’s always a blast!
Readers: Do you have a story about an interaction with a Red, either virtual or in the real world that you’d like to share?
(PS, note from Lucy, we love these ladies and their books, so add them to your piles please!)
Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries, including the Agatha-nominated Best Contemporary Novel Clammed Up, as well as Boiled Over, Musseled Out, Fogged Inn, and Iced Under. Her story “Nogged Off” appears in the holiday novella collection Eggnog Murder along with stories by Leslie Meier and Lee Hollis. Barbara blogs with the Wicked Cozy Authors and Maine Crime Writers. In the summer, she writes on her big front porch overlooking the water in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. You can visit her website at http://www.maineclambakemysteries.com
Liz Mugavero is the author of the Agatha Award-nominated Pawsitively Organic Mysteries Kneading to Die, A Biscuit, A Casket, The Icing on the Corpse and Murder Most Finicky. Custom-Baked Murder, the fifth in the series, will be released in December 2016. As you can imagine, her canine and feline rescues demand the best organic food and treats around. She is a member of Sisters in Crime National, Sisters in Crime New England, Mystery Writers of America, and the Cat Writers’ Association. She currently lives in Connecticut.