Teresa Inge, Heather Weidner, Jayne Ormerod, and Rosemary Shomaker
Authors of To Fetch A Thief
I am so happy to have these wonderful authors here today
as part of their Great Escapes Book Tour!
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Heather: Over the years, I’ve been a technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, IT manager, and cop’s kid. I live in Central Virginia with my husband and a pair of crazy Jack Russell terriers. And I’ve been a mystery fan since Scooby Doo and Nancy Drew.
Jayne: We moved 19 times during his 30-year career, so it was impossible to put down roots. We’re now settled in a cottage by the Chesapeake Bay with our two rescue puppies, Tiller and Scout. I’m a real estate agent by day, and a cozy mystery writer by night.
Rosemary: I’ve been a huge reader forever. Books really opened up the world to me. I read to my kids as my mother read to me. I even worked in a job where I wrote . . . analytically, that is. Now I write fiction on my own time.
Teresa: I love to write mysteries, go to car shows with my husband, and visit the Outerbanks to write and read good books.
What are three things most people don’t know about you?
Heather: The first two albums (those things before MP3s, CDs, and cassette tapes) I bought with my own money were a 5th of Beethoven and Shaun Cassidy. I have seen the Monkees in concert three times. I have never seen Billy Idol in concert, and it’s still on my bucket list.
Jayne: I play the piano (mostly classical). I watch Little League World Series every August. I once slept on the street of Ventura Blvd in Los Angeles waiting to get into a taping of the Price is Right. It was a few weeks before Bob Barker retired. Sadly, neither my son nor I got called to “Come on down!”
Rosemary: Three things people don’t know about me are: my house got struck by lightning and burned to where we had one whole floor completely renovated; I’m fifty percent Lithuanian; and my first dog had the unfortunate name “Snoopy.”
Teresa: I come from a large family with many brothers and a sister. We were taught to work hard and make something of our lives.I’ve been an administrative professional since high school and have worked in a long and successful career. I’ve loved reading mysteries and watching mysteries on television since I was a kid.
What is the first book you remember reading?
Jayne: Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Rosemary: I remember the book The Parent Trap based on the 1961 Haley Mills movie. Before that, I remember some early Dick and Jane readers.
Teresa: Are You My Mother. It’s a fascinating tale of a little bird who was hatched alone while his mother had gone to look for food. He sets out on a journey to find her. He asks a kitten, a hen, a dog, and cow if they are his mother.
What are you reading now?
Heather: John Grisham’s The Reckoning
Jayne: The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton
Rosemary: Now I’m reading some of Nevada Barr’s mysteries and some William Tapply mysteries.
Teresa: A wine mystery. Murder Most Fermented by Christine E. Blum.
What made you decide you want to write?
Heather: I have wanted to be a writer since I was in the seventh grade. I loved writing stories and poems. I’ve always loved mysteries, so it was a perfect fit.
Jayne: I read a few bad romances and said “I can write better than that.” Turns out it is MUCH harder than it looks. I soon gave up on the romance-writing career (I just couldn’t keep two desperately in love people apart for 300 pages!) and turned to writing cozy mysteries. It’s so much easier to ramp on the conflict by stumbling over a dead body!
Rosemary: My imagination made me want to write. My mom read to me and my sister, and my dad told great stories—I could so easily picture in my mind what they read and told. Written expression is easier for me than is oral expression, so writing became my medium.
Teresa: I wrote professional articles and loved reading mysteries. So, I combined my love of both and began writing mysteries.
Do you have a special place you like to write?
Heather: I usually write in my upstairs office. My Jack Russell Terriers each have a bed on either side of my desk. They help me with plotting and dialogue when they’re not napping.
Jayne: I do have a writing room with a “virgin” computer (it doesn’t have a modem so has never connected to the Internet.) It keeps me from getting distracted by Facebook and email.
Rosemary: I like to write at an old desk in my daughter’s old room or outside. I write my raw material longhand.
Teresa: In my bedroom. I have a writing area with a beautiful country view.
Where do the ideas for your books come from?
Heather: A lot of ideas come from true stories I’ve read in newspapers or magazines. Some come from people watching. I always keep a notebook with me. I jot down ideas when I see or hear them. You never know when they’ll appear in a book.
Jayne: I have always played “what’s the worst that can happen” in my mind as I walk or drive. So I can see a leaf fluttering to the ground and think “now what’s the worst that can happen with a leaf?” (Answer: I can be watching the leaf thinking big thoughts and trip on the sidewalk and fall into the neighbor’s prize rose garden and flatten some bushes just before Secret Garden Tour and my name becomes Mud around the neighborhood. Plus I get all scratched up and have to go to the ER! You can see how this could go on and on and on…)
Rosemary: My ideas come from what I see on my everyday errands and what I read in the newspaper.
Teresa: Everywhere! Conversations, news, songs, and sometimes plots come to me while I am driving to and from work.
What books have most inspired you?
Heather: There are too many to list. I think I read Charlotte’s Web at least ten times in elementary school. I loved the Nancy Drew stories because she was a teen who had a cool car, great friends, and could solve mysteries before the adults did. My favorite book about writing is Stephen King’s On Writing.
Jayne: I am not just blowing smoke when I say every book I have ever read has inspired me in some way. Some, because the eloquent turn of the phrase makes me want to make readers pause and take notice; others because the plot is so thin and the characters so flat I challenge myself to be better than that. The short list of authors who have had the biggest influences on my writing are books by Janet Evanovich, Mary Dahiem, and Lillian Jackson Braun.
Rosemary: In the 1980’s I read Jean Auel’s Earth’s Children Series and Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon series, and I was enthralled. In the early 1990’s I read Frank Herbert’s Dune series. Those three series inspired me.
Teresa: Nancy Drew mysteries.
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?
Heather: The writing is the easy part. The writing life also includes what feels like hundreds of rounds of editing and proofreading. Authors are also responsible for a lot of their marketing and book promotion. And you have to blog, maintain a website, and all your social media sites.
Jayne: It is much easier NOT to write than to sit down and write. Sometimes the biggest challenge is simply getting my rear end in the chair…and keeping it there.
Rosemary: The most challenging aspect of writing is pacing the story. Getting the pace right is hard, and I struggle to keep the story moving because at times my characters get too wordy and introspective.
What do you think makes a good story?
Heather: I like stories with lots of plot twists. I like clever dialogue and stories where I learn something (event with fiction.
Jayne: Plot twists. When the readers say to themselves, “Wow. I didn’t see that coming!”
Rosemary: Hmm. I read more and more “how-to” guides and advice about this. I’m warming to the advice that the main character has to mature or evolve in some way, either by dealing with an issue, seeing a different point of view, becoming a better person, etc. In these cases, anyway, there is some problem that needs to be addressed, and the story is how the characters address the problem.
Personally, I’m drawn to the adventure story’s hero’s journey. You know, the journey that starts with the ordinary world, continues with the call to adventure, refusal of the call, meeting the mentor, crossing the threshold, test/allies/enemies, approach to the inmost cave, ordeal, reward, the road back, resurrection, and return to the ordinary world a changed person. The best stories fit this archetypal story pattern. I recognize phases of the hero’s journey in mystery stories, although the plotting is necessarily a bit different.
Teresa: Relatable characters, a good location, great plot, and wrapping up all loose ends.
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?
Heather: My private investigator, Delanie Fitzgerald and I share a lot of things in common. We are both redheads who like Mustangs, 80s music, and live in Central Virginia. She’s a spunky PI who gets in way more trouble than I do. She’s more like my alter-ego.
Jayne: I will admit to putting a little bit of myself in every character, but the most of me has gone into Ellery Tinsdale in The Blond Leading the Blond and Blond Luck.
Rosemary: My character Olivia Morris in 50 Shades of Cabernet’s “Home Tour Havoc” is most like me. Adam Moreland in “This is Not a Dog Park” has some of my characteristics, too. Like Olivia, I’ve found a sort of peace and regret some decisions from my past. In real life I relish some of those past experiences, however, while Olivia is still hurting from them. Adam Moreland hides from conflict and tends to protect himself from further hurt by walling out people. Hey, I’m right there with Adam on that. Yes, I know that’s not healthy.
Teresa: Strong working women. I write strong female characters who own their own business.
Why did you pick your particular genre?
Heather: I have loved mysteries since Scooby Doo and Nancy Drew. They were gateway mysteries that led to Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock. I’ve had a library card since I was four, so I’ve sampled quite a few mystery authors and subgenres. (Plus, I’m a cop’s kid. Many of our dinner conversations were crime-themed, so it was a natural fit.) I took a mystery and detection fiction class as an undergraduate, and it was the best class I took in college.
Jayne: I’ve always loved mysteries and adventures with female characters, ever since I read my first (of over 100) Nancy Drew stories as a child.
Rosemary: My short stories are different from other mystery stories because I introduce main characters who refuse the call to investigate and seem ill-equipped to investigate anyway—not in the bumbling way, but in the “I don’t want to get involved” way. Perky matrons with time on their hands and their thumbs on the pulse of the community are not my sleuths.
Teresa: Cozy mysteries are easy to read since they do not contain gore, blood, or violence.
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?
Heather: I write where I know. My novels are set in Central Virginia, and all of my short stories are set in Virginia. It’s a great place to live and work, and I want to share it with my readers. I am also a huge fan of popular culture, so you’ll find lots of references in my works.
Jayne: My amateur sleuth is reluctant to solve the crime, and usually has a stronger person behind pushing (or pulling or dragging) her to find the killer.
Rosemary: My stories are mostly in anthologies, and those anthologies differ from other “books” in the mystery genre in that a reader gets to sample the styles and content of various authors in one book. Anthologies are a great way to find your next favorite author. To Fetch a Thief is the first collection of novellas in the Mutt Mysteries series. Readers get to sample the efforts of four mystery authors in this book. The rotating authors in the next several Mutt Mysteries compilations will allow readers access to the works of other mystery authors, so compilations and anthologies are a win-win for authors and readers.
Teresa: My characters and book titles. I love creating relatable characters and fun titles.
What’s next on the horizon for you?
Heather: I have a short story, “Art Attack” coming out in Deadly Southern Charms: A Lethal Ladies Mystery Anthology next year. I also have a non-fiction article coming out next year in PromoPhobia. I’m working on a cozy set in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the third Delanie Fitzgerald mystery will be out next year.
Jayne: I’m getting ready to release Goin’ Coastal, a collection of two novellas and two short stories that have two things in common, a coastal setting and a gruesome murder. After that is the much anticipated third Blonds at the Beach book, Blond Luck.
Rosemary: Writing “This is Not a Dog Park” was a challenge for this short story writer since the novella length is three times that of a typical short story. I have a better sense, and a greater respect, for what it takes to write a novel. I can make a better stab at a novel now, but I’ll keep my hand in writing short stories. In the spring see my “Heads or Tails” in the Wittier Than Thou anthology, benefiting the upkeep and operation of the Whittier Birthplace Museum in Massachusetts.
Teresa: Book two in the Mutt Mysteries series.
Thank you, Heath, Jayne, Rosemary, and Teresa for visiting today.
Keep reading to find out more about To Fetch A Thief. . .
About the Book
To Fetch A Thief
Cozy Mystery Anthology
Light, humorous, dog-themed mysteries.
Bay Breeze Publishing, LLC (November 8, 2018)
Paperback: 278 pages
Digital ASIN: B07K97ZYY6
To Fetch a Thief, the first Mutt Mysteries collection, features four novellas that have gone to the dogs. In this howlingly good read, canine companions help their owners solve crimes and right wrongs. These sleuths may be furry and low to the ground, but their keen senses are on high alert when it comes to sniffing out clues and digging up the truth. Make no bones about it, these pup heroes will steal your heart as they conquer ruff villains.
About the Authors
Teresa Inge grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries. Today, she doesn’t carry a rod like her idol, but she hotrods. She is president of Sister’s in Crime Mystery by the Sea Chapter and author of short mysteries in Virginia is for Mysteries and 50 Shades of Cabernet.
Heather Weidner, a member of SinC – Central Virginia and Guppies, is the author of the Delanie Fitzgerald Mysteries, Secret Lives and Private Eyes and The Tulip Shirt Murders. Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series and 50 Shades of Cabernet. Heather lives in Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers, Disney and Riley. She’s been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. Some of her life experience comes from being a technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, IT manager, and cop’s kid. She blogs at Pens, Paws, and Claws.
Jayne Ormerod grew up in a small Ohio town then went on to a small-town Ohio college. Upon earning her degree in accountancy, she became a CIA (that’s not a sexy spy thing, but a Certified Internal Auditor.) She married a naval officer and off they sailed to see the world. After nineteen moves, they, along with their two rescue dogs Tiller and Scout, have settled into a cozy cottage by the sea. Jayne is the author of the Blonds at the Beach Mysteries, The Blond Leading the Blond, and Blond Luck. She has contributed seven short mysteries to various anthologies to include joining with the other To Fetch a Thief authors in Virginia is for Mysteries, Volumes I and II, and 50 Shades of Cabernet.
Rosemary Shomaker writes about the unexpected in everyday life. She’s the woman you don’t notice in the grocery store or at church but whom you do notice at estate sales and wandering vacant lots. In all these places she’s collecting story ideas. Rosemary writes women’s fiction, paranormal, and mystery short stories, and she’s taking her first steps toward longer fiction, so stay tuned. She’s an urban planner by education, a government policy analyst by trade, and a fiction writer at heart. Rosemary credits Sisters in Crime with developing her craft and applauds the organization’s mission of promoting the ongoing advancement, recognition, and professional development of women crime writers.
Mutt Mysteries Links:
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