I enjoyed Pretty is as Pretty Dies so much that I asked author Elizabeth Spann Craig if she had time for a short interview. I hope you enjoy "meeting" her, as I did.
Lesa - Elizabeth, I just finished Pretty is as Pretty Dies, but I know it wasn’t your first mystery. Would you introduce yourself to my readers, please?
Elizabeth - Sure, I’m happy to. I’m Elizabeth Spann Craig, author of the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink books. I’m currently writing the Memphis Barbeque mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime (as Riley Adams, for them.)
Lesa - Would you tell us about Myrtle, and her two mysteries, particularly Pretty is as Pretty Dies?
Elizabeth - Myrtle is a feisty octogenarian who has bored of bridge, bingo, garden clubs, and other acceptable pursuits for elderly ladies. She’s ready to take on crime-fighting and prove to her police chief son that she’s still sharp and not ready for Greener Pastures Retirement Community yet.
Lesa - How did you ever create Myrtle and Red?
Elizabeth - Myrtle is based primarily on my own grandmother, Mary Ligon Spann, but she also shares traits with my dad…and with me. Myrtle’s good qualities are from my grandmother and father and her bad qualities are mine. Her son, Red, is the embodiment of everyone who ever told my grandmother she couldn’t do something or underestimated her in any way.
Lesa - I know you’re starting another mystery series. Would you tell us about the first book in that series, and the characters?
Elizabeth - The first book in the Memphis Barbeque series is coming out next Memorial Day, just in time for the barbequing season. Lulu Taylor owns a renowned barbeque restaurant right in the heart of Memphis. Her restaurant even attracts the attention of a Food Network scout, looking for the best barbeque in Memphis. When the scout dies mysteriously, Lulu jumps into action to protect her family who have become suspects.
Lesa - You’re doing a fun blog with some other authors, www.mysteryloverskichen.com. Would you tell us about the blog?
Elizabeth - Absolutely. We’re a group of cozy mystery writers who all write food series for Berkley Prime Crime. We’re having a lot of fun sharing mouth-watering recipes and getting to know our readers. Come visit us!
Lesa - Would you tell us what you’re working on now?
Elizabeth - I’ve got my hands full right now and, as a stay at home mom, I’m trying to balance it all (school is still out for the summer here until August 25.) I’m promoting Pretty is as Pretty Dies, revising the first book for the Memphis BBQ series (my deadline is September 1), and polishing up the next book in the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink.
Lesa - Elizabeth, I know you’re blogging with some other authors who write mysteries involving cooking. But, you’ve been reading mysteries for a long time. What authors inspired you?
Elizabeth - I’m a huge mystery nut. I started out with Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden, then graduated to Agatha Christie books. Now I’m inspired by Deborah Crombie, Elizabeth George, M.C. Beaton, Ruth Rendell, P.D. James, Anne George, and many more. These women inspire me to be a better writer.
Lesa - Before my last question, is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Elizabeth - This is a shout-out to the aspiring writers out there—there’s no time like the present to start your manuscript. If you set small, attainable goals, you can do it. My personal blog is directed mainly to writers: http://mysterywritingismurder.blogspot.com.
Lesa - Thank you for taking time to answer some questions. I always end with a
question that I think you’ll like. I’m a public librarian. Do you have a story
about libraries or librarians that you can share?
Elizabeth - You’re going to have to edit my answer for space! I love libraries. I grew up going to the library with my father many times a week (he’s an English teacher.) We’d spend hours there reading books , magazines, and newspapers and the librarians became almost like family to me. When I had children of my own, the first social thing they did when they were babies was a weekly visit to the library’s story time. I’m usually at the library at least twice a week now. Sometimes I go there to write if life gets too distracting at home (you know…you hear the laundry buzzer go off, the dishwasher finishes its cycle, etc.) I’ll wistfully look at the library shelves and wish that I had more time to read the tempting books there. So when people ask me about my book, I refer them to the library. And, usually, they go there. They’ll check out my book and see if they like it. If they do, they recommend it to friends and buy a copy. Libraries are still my best friends.
Thanks so much again for letting me visit here today!
Lesa - And, thanks for taking the time to visit, Elizabeth! I've enjoyed having the chance to ask you a few questions.
Elizabeth Spann Craig's website is www.elizabethspanncraig.com. She blogs at www.mysterywritingismurder.blogspot.com, and at www.mysteryloverskitchen.com
Pretty is as Pretty Dies by Elizabeth Spann Craig. Midnight Ink, ©2009. ISBN 9780738714806 (paperback), 216p.