Sazerac, Sleuth & Slay (An Andi Anna Jones Mystery)
by Mary Cunningham
It is my pleasure to welcome Mary Cunningham
to Escape With Dollycas today!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in Southern Indiana and lived there until the age of 36. Since then, I’ve moved nine times! I don’t regret any of them because of the friendships and diversity I’ve experienced. I’ve lived in West Georgia for 18 years with my husband/muse/critique partner.
I started writing family memoirs years ago, moved on to non-fiction, children’s fantasy fiction, and now, cozy mystery.
What are three things most people don’t know about you?
* I have social anxiety, which makes author readings and presentations a challenge.
* I was, and still am (despite my age!) a tomboy at heart. I love sports, participating (not so much anymore), and watching live and on TV. A native of Indiana, I’m a homegrown basketball fan and love my Indiana Hoosiers.
*I’m a silent counter. Subconsciously, I count steps and slices when cutting vegetables, such as carrots or celery, in addition to other counting activities. I’m not sure when this started, but it may have manifested when I worked at a bank and counted money every day!
What books/authors have most inspired you?
Oh, so many! When I was young I gravitated toward H. G. Wells, Steinbeck, and Tolkien. Now, I read mostly mysteries, such as books by Hank Philippi Ryan, Stephen King, Jaden Terrell, and J.K. Rowling. On the cozy mystery list, I love Karen MacInerney, Maddie Day, Caroline Haines, Joanne Fluke, Nancy J. Cohen, Julia Buckley, and many more. There are so many exciting cozy mystery writers and series’; I hate to leave anyone out.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
To begin with, I like to visually know my setting. For instance, I lived in South Florida (the original setting for Andi Anna Jones), and visited Cancun, where a murder mystery took place in Book 1, Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder.
I also lived in New Orleans, the setting for Book 2, Sazerac, Sleuth & Slay, so I can put my characters in the French Quarter, or in a spooky bayou.
Like most authors, I do a lot of secondary research on the Internet. I don’t know what we did without online searches!
Do you ever suffer from Writer’s Block?
<Sigh> Who doesn’t? If an author claims they don’t, they’re lying!
I think it’s worse for those of us who are “Pantzers” (writing by the seat of the pants). When it happens, I just try to stay busy with other writing projects, such as blog posts or interviews until I, or my characters, figure out where to go next.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Read, read, read. Discover what genre speaks to you because if you don’t relate to what you write, you’re not going to be very good at it. I have to admit, though, when I began writing Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder, I didn’t think it was a cozy mystery. My editor, however, did.
I also still subscribe to, “Write what you know,” and find your own “voice.”
When you’ve finished your manuscript, and edited it about a thousand times, do a search for publishers that are looking for your genre. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time and theirs.
Many prefer hiring an agent. I didn’t, but it might be right for you.
When you are not writing what do you like to do?
I enjoy swimming and water aerobics in the summer, and, weather permitting, playing golf at the local country club in an annual couples’ league. Walking is also a hobby I don’t necessarily like but is vital as we age. We have several beautiful nature trails close to home.
I’m also into metaphysical activities such as reiki and collecting crystals.
If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?
I’m into genealogy and would love to travel to Switzerland to research the home of my Swiss and French ancestors. Years ago, my cousin discovered a relative who was President of the Republic of Berne in the late 1400s.
What is next on the horizon for you?
Brandy, Bedlam & Bloodshed, An Andi Anna Jones Mystery, Book 3 (working title) is next for me. I’ve decided on Savannah, Georgia, as my next location and plan to visit soon. I can’t think of a more interesting city for Andi Anna Jones to investigate.
Thanks, so much, for having me! I enjoyed the interview, immensely.
Thank you, Mary! I am so glad you could visit today.
Keep reading for more info about Mary and her new book Sazerac, Sleuth & Slay.
About Sazerac, Sleuth & Slay
Sazerac, Sleuth & Slay (An Andi Anna Jones Mystery)
2nd in Series
Setting – In, and around, New Orleans
The Wild Rose Press, Inc (February 27, 2023)
Paperback : 260 pages
ISBN-10 : 1509247440
ISBN-13 : 978-1509247448
Digital ASIN : B0BQGVDG7P
It’s gonna be a great day! Or, so she thought.
Andi Anna Jones, so-so travel agent, and amateur sleuth doesn’t suspect her least favorite client, Stewart (The Pain) Payne, will set off circumstances that lead to disappearance and death.
After his wife is a no-show for a convention in New Orleans, his threat to sue Graves Travel for “ten times more than it’s worth”, and Andi’s wish to honor one of her late dad’s requests, leads her to The Big Easy in search of Grace Payne.
Five unsolved murders, a body caught in a crawfish cage, and a mysterious candle, magic, and incense shop take Andi deep into the bayou on a hunt for clues.
Will another victim be added to a serial killer’s list, or is the main suspect closer to Andi than she thinks?
More About Mary Cunningham
Author, Mary Cunningham grew up on the northern side of the Ohio River in Corydon, Indiana.
Her first memories are of her dad’s original bedtime stories that no doubt inspired imagination and love of a well-spun “yarn”.
Through the author’s horrifying stint as a travel agent, protagonist Andi Anna Jones, travel agent, and amateur sleuth, sprang to life. The adult/mystery series gives extra meaning to the phrase, “Write what you know.”
Cunningham also has a published biography depicting a military brat, college, and professional basketball player, along with a five-book, middle-grade fantasy series.
She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Sisters in Crime, Atlanta Chapter, International Thriller Writers, Inc., and the Carrollton Writers Guild.
When she gives her fingers a break from the keyboard, she enjoys golf, swimming, and exploring the mountains of West Georgia where she makes her home with her husband.
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