What genre do you write?
I write (I hope) humorous, traditional mysteries.
How did you come to write mystery genre?
I grew up reading cozy mysteries; Agatha Christie, Elizabeth Peters, Joan Hess, and Dorothy Cannell were all staples on my bookshelf. When I first started writing my own mystery, I naturally gravitated toward that genre. My first series (the Elizabeth Parker Mysteries) were definitely cozies. They featured an amateur sleuth and focused on various themes from Jane Austen’s novel. The Nic and Nigel Martini books are technically not cozies, as Nic is an ex-detective, but they are similar in that the violence is muted and “off-page,” and the tone is light-hearted.
Who is your favorite character to write about?
I have two favorite characters. The first is Nic Martini. She’s an ex-detective who is now married to a wealthy (former) jetsetter. I enjoy writing about Nic’s reactions to the extremes of her in-laws compared with her own blue-collar upbringing, as well as the banter between her and Nigel. Besides Nic, I love writing about Skippy, Nic and Nigel’s bullmastiff. Although he is only a dog, he serves as a major character in the books. I think that anyone who owns a dog can understand that they have very definite personalities and make their presence known.
Who inspires your books?
My books were inspired by Dashiell Hammett’s book, The Thin Man, and the subsequent movies of the same name. The book/movies feature the Nick and Nora Charles, a wealthy, elegant couple who solve mysteries while sipping a seemingly never-ending supply of cocktails. He is a former NYC Detective and she is a wealthy socialite, and together they own a wire-fox-terrier named Asta. In my books, Nic(ole) is the ex-detective, and Nigel is the wealthy playboy. Rather than a small dog named Asta, Nic and Nigel own Skippy, an enormous Bullmastiff. (For those of you who are fans of the movies, Skippy was the real name of the dog who played Asta.)
What do you do when you’re not writing?
When not writing, I do a seemingly endless supply of laundry. I have three lovely children all of whom seem to believe that if an article of clothing slips off the hanger, it instantly becomes dirty. I have found winter coats and sweaters in their laundry baskets in the middle of August. Second on the list, is loading/unloading the dishwasher. Again, my three (lovely) children are to blame. They seem to view the dishwasher as an updated version of Pin-the-Tail-On-the-Donkey. They will place their dirty dishes near the dishwasher, but never actually in it. Once those tasks are crossed off the list, I love to read mysteries, watch old movies (especially Hitchcock’s), and sail.
If you were stuck on a deserted island what three things would you take?
Can I take a waterproof cell phone, seaworthy raft, and tent? If not, I guess I’d take a copy of Pride and Prejudice, North-by-Northwest, and a toothbrush. I saw Castaway. I would not be good with having to yank out an abscessed tooth.