Hello, Lori. Paranormal elements mesh intricately with mystery, so share with us about your writing.
How did you know you were meant to write?
When I began writing poetry at the age of ten, I had a few poems published in anthologies at a very young age and a love poem published in a national magazine. It wasn’t until about six years ago that I decided to start writing paranormal murder mysteries.
Writing is a learning curve. What have you learned during your journey as an author?
I’ve learned that becoming a successful author is a long, arduous process. I’ve found it more difficult than owning my own copyrighting business. Extensive networking led to word-of-mouth business when it came to owning my own company. However, there are so many people publishing their own novels these days, both traditional and self-published. So it’s very hard to set yourself apart.
I’ve also learned that you have to be able to take advice to improve your writing. Joining local critique groups helps to get your skills up. Along with writing workshops and local writing organizations.
What inspired you to write mysteries?
I have been a paranormal investigator for the past five years, and experiences on those investigations inspired some of the characters and scenes. The paranormal fits in great with the mystery genre.
What intrigues you about mysteries?
Well-written mysteries that provide fascinating characters, and interesting twists of plot that keep the readers wondering what will happen next. I love mysteries that are set in scenic locales so that I can imagine I am there with the characters.
What enticed you to write a series?
A series represents growth and strength of characters. My fans love the bond between the individuals in the Arizona-Irish Paranormal Research Society. I also have a lot of fun with new places to explore – usually locations that I have visited myself. This includes the Vulture Mine Ghost Town near Wickenburg, Arizona, the Dragoon Mountains in Southeast Arizona, the Painted Desert/Petrified Forest near Holbrook, Arizona and the badlands and ancient ruins in the Four Corners (Mesa Verde, Hovenweep, Chaco Canyon, Salmon Ruins and Aztec Ruins).
What is the most challenging facet of writing for you?
I still work full-time as a writer and editor, plus family, and traveling to promote my first two novels in the series, “The Ancient Ones” and “Caves of the Watchers.” I would love to be able to write full-time one day.
What do you enjoy reading?
J.A. Jance is one of my favorite mystery authors, but I am also doing extensive research and reading pertaining to archaeology and Native American history in the Southwest. My novels take place in Arizona and the Four Corners, so I am focusing on the cultures who resided in these places during prehistoric times. This includes the Anasazi (ancestral Puebloan) and the Hohokam who resided in Phoenix, Tucson and into Mexico.
Which authors have influenced you?
J.A. Jance because of her ability to write an amazing murder mystery set in some of my favorite places, including southeast Arizona. And J.K. Rowling because of her imagination
How much of a story do you have in mind when you begin a new novel?
I know basic events that I want to have happen, such as Lorelei meeting Ian in the first book, then getting married in the second. But I don’t like to outline the plot because I find it inhibits my imagination. It is a true adventure for me to start writing on page one and have a surprise ending. My second book, “Caves of the Watchers,” had an ending that wrote itself. And I am very proud of it! Plus my fans keep telling me they never saw it coming.
Part of the magic of writing is creating memorable characters. Who are your own favorite characters, why, and which of your books feature them?
One of my favorite characters is Joe Luna, the Native American shaman. He is a very strong character – a healer and FBI agent. He performs an interesting ceremony in the first book. Lorelei Lanier, one of the main characters, is also a favorite due to her rather unique abilities that develop throughout the series.
What would you like to tell to your readers & fans?
Thanks very much! I appreciate your continued support and great reviews! It’s always nice when people keep asking me when my next book is coming out.
Do you have advice to offer a beginning writer?
Don’t give up! What helped me tremendously was joining local writer’s critique groups. You have to be able to take advice in order to become a good writer. Also, join local writing organizations, such as Sisters in Crime or the Arizona Authors Association. Such organizations can help writers develop their skills and give them opportunities to showcase their work.
Do you enjoy a touch of romance woven into your mysteries or add it into your own stories?
Absolutely. My series is paranormal mystery, but there is a very strong element of romance between Lorelei Lanier and Ian Healy. As the series progresses, there are other romances that develop. My fans have really enjoyed the powerful connection between Lorelei and Ian.
Authors create magic to allow readers an escape into the story. As you write how deeply do you submerge into your own characters, setting and plot and do you dream any of it?
I have to imagine myself in the exact location, which is why I like to visit the places I write about. I take hundreds of photos to be able to remember the details of my locations and incorporate them into my books.
I based Lorelei’s character off of myself somewhat to be able to ‘submerge’ into the story. Being a paranormal investigator makes it much easier to relate to the plot and what the characters are thinking.
What are you writing now?
I am working on the third in “The Ancient Ones” series, titled “Anasazi Whispers.” It takes place in the Four Corners among prehistoric Indian ruins at Hovenweep National Monument and Canyon of the Ancients.
Where can we find out more about you and your books?
To join the Mystery Most Cozy Facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/188620978695/?
Read the latest interviews with cozy writers: http://shimmerfall.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/mystery-most-cozy-interviews-carolyn-hart/