While at the Tucson Festival of Books, I met a quartet of mystery writers, and am happy to share with you the second of those. Jenn McKinlay.
Last week I shared a mystery novel by Becky Masterman. Her novel, Rage Against the Dying, which is set in Tucson, Arizona, has been getting raves from many quarters, including New York Times. I became aware of Becky’s wonderful new book when I visited the Tucson Festival of Books. And by the way, this is your last day to try to win a copy of Becky’s book, by commenting here.
McKinlay writes a series of best selling “cozy mysteries” known as the Cupcake Mysteries set in Scottsdale, Arizona. I’m currently reading Going, Going, Ganach. But just as you can’t eat just one, McKinlay can’t write just one. She also has a series of cozy mysteries set in a New England library (the latest–Book, Line and Sinker) and I’m looking forward to the launch of her latest series with, Cloche and Dagger, set in a London hat shop. She has two other series, but I’ll let you explore Jenn McKinlay’s website and learn about them on your own.
While I’m waiting for her latest punny title to arrive, I asked Jenn a few questions by e-mail.
A Traveler’s Library: You write several cozy mysteries. Can you tell us why you choose this type of mystery– rather than police procedural, thriller, etc.? You mentioned at the Book Festival that cozies have less violence, and a more intellectual approach to solving crime.
Jenn McKinlay: I didn’t really know what cozies were until I started writing and submitting and editors told me that my voice was “cozy” or “traditional”. My amateur sleuths are thinkers and cozies are generally puzzlers, so it was a natural fit.
ATL: How important is locale to each of your cozy mysteries?
JM: My settings definitely define my characters and their actions. The urban southwest is cupcake crazy, so it matches up with my bakery quite well. My New England setting for the library series brings all of the unique stoicism of that area into the books. And, of course, the hat shop series is set in London because that suits the hat shop so perfectly.
ATL: While you are slaving away turning in four books to your publisher in a year, are you ever tugged in a totally different direction? Is there something you’d love to try, if only your fans would give you a vacation from the series?
JM: Yes! I reward myself at the end of a writing day (usually about 10 pages) with writing something new and different just for the fun of it. Currently, I’m writing a YA novel, but it could be anything. Mental, I know!
ATL: Your new series is set in London. Is that just a ploy to be able to spend time doing research in England?
JM: You caught me. I needed a vacation so I decided I wanted to go to London and figured setting a book there would be the perfect excuse. I’m really looking forward to my “research” trip in June!
ATL: Are there any books you have read that made you yearn to go to a particular place?
JM: Deborah Crombie‘s James-Kincaid series certainly called to me to visit London. Also, Sheila Connolly‘s new Irish series is luring me to Ireland. Love foreign settings! [Note: Connolly’s newest is Buried in a Bog, for your Ireland fans.]
ATL: You mentioned at the Book Festival that you have two boys. How old are they? I marvel at women who can keep a creative career going with kids underfoot!
JM: My two are 10 and 12. I write when they’re in school and late at night when the house is finally quiet!
If you can’t wait for the new London book to arrive, please do check out Jenn McKinlay’s other popular series and let her take you to Scottsdale or New England. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on Going, Going, Ganache very soon. My thanks to Jenn for taking time to respond to my questions. Note: The photos here belong to me, and I appreciate your observation of my copyright.
So, are you a Cozy mysteries fan? Who’s your favorite author of the genre?