Death by Design: A DIY Diva Mystery
by Paula Darnell
I am so happy to welcome Paula to Escape With Dollycas today!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a former college instructor, and I also worked for seven years as a contract fashion writer for About.com. Now that I’m retired, I’m still busy writing, but I’m concentrating on fiction, rather than non-fiction.
What are three things most people don’t know about you?
- I was a manager for several years at a large newspaper chain, but I wasn’t a writer there; I worked in the advertising department.
- I like to binge watch old TV series.
- I would love to live in St. Mary Mead, next door to Miss Marple.
What is the first book you remember reading?
Little Golden books were the first books read to me. My parents always read to me when I was a young child. I still have a box of these old children’s books in my garage. I read the same books to my daughters when they were pre-schoolers.
What are you reading now?
I just finished reading Died in the Wool, A Knit and Nibble Mystery, by Peggy Erhart, and I’m currently reading a couple of non-fiction books about millinery.
What books have most inspired you?
All the cozy mystery books I’ve read have helped me in one way or another. I think Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple stories have probably inspired me the most.
I’m a cozy mystery reader, and I also watch a lot of TV shows and movies in the mystery genre. I like cozies, rather than the hard-boiled detective novels or those with a lot of forensic details because I like the puzzle-solving aspect and dislike graphic violence and gore.
Do you have a special place you like to write?
I write at my PC. It seems like the most convenient way, especially since it’s easy to quickly fact check or do a bit of research online. My printer’s right next to my computer, which is handy when I want to review what I’ve written.
Where do the ideas for your books come from?
Some of my ideas come from places I’ve lived and experiences I’ve had. For example, in Death by Association: A DIY Diva Mystery, I drew on my own experiences as a homeowner in a guard-gated community governed by an HOA, my own crafting hobbies, and my experience as a pet parent to my two Labrador retrievers.
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?
Just getting it done is the most challenging thing for me.
A good story makes the reader want to keep reading to find out what happens.
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?
Probably the main character, Laurel McMillan, is most like me because she likes craft projects, she teaches, and she’s a pet parent to a Labrador retriever.
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?
In the DIY Diva Mysteries, I have craft project instructions in the back of the book for projects that the DIY Diva has made during the story. In Death by Association, I also include four dog treat recipes in the back because Laurel is writing her new book DIY for Dog Lovers and including dog treats in it. In Death by Design, she’s working on projects for her next book DIY Perfect Pillows, so I include project instructions for pillows.
Thank you, Paula, for visiting today!
About the Book
Death by Design: A DIY Diva Mystery
2nd in Series
Cozy Cat Press (June 20, 2019)
Print Length: 184 pages
DIY Diva Laurel McMillan rejoices when her student Jennifer’s peacock pillow wins a design contest; that is, until Jennifer’s husband Matt is smothered with the very same pillow. When the police confiscate her prize-winning pillow, Jennifer freaks out, and Laurel fears that Jennifer may be more upset about losing the pillow than about Matt’s death. But the police arrest disgraced nurse Edna Elkins, not Jennifer. Begging Laurel to find the real killer, Edna insists she’s innocent, but Laurel’s not so sure, and when Laurel encounters Jennifer while walking her lovable Labrador retriever, Bear, she’s left with more questions than answers. Should the crafty DIY Diva play DIY Detective or does Edna really belong in jail?
Includes recipes and pillow project instructions.
More about Paula Darnell
An instructor at five colleges over the years, Paula Darnell most often taught the dreaded first-year English composition classes, but she’s also been happy to teach some fun classes, such as fashion design, sewing, and jewelry making. Paula has a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, and a Master’s degree in English from the University of Nevada, Reno.
Like Laurel, the main character in Death by Association, Paula enjoys all kinds of arts and crafts. Some of her memorable projects include making a hat and a cape to wear to Royal Ascot, sewing wedding gowns for both her daughters, exhibiting her textile and mixed-media artwork in juried art shows, and having one of her jewelry projects accepted for inclusion in Leather Jewelry, published by Lark Books. She sells some of her jewelry and hair accessories in her Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/PaulaDJewelry.
Paula’s interest in DIY craft projects and fashion led to her writing hundreds of articles for print and online national publications.
Living in a guard-gated community governed by a homeowners’ association gave Paula the idea for the setting of Death by Association. She finds that residing in an HOA community can be both a blessing and a curse. A Happy-New-Year greeting from her community association called on residents to “start the new year by reviewing your Rules and Regulations booklet,” something unlikely to top anyone’s list of New Year’s resolutions.
Paula lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, with her husband Gary and their 110-pound dog Rocky, whose favorite pastime is lurking in the kitchen, hoping for a handout.
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