Hi there, guys and dolls! Well, it’s hard to believe, but I’ve been Taking 5 for a full year now with my Cozy Cat Press fellow authors. It’s been such a pleasure getting to know my fellow writers as we pursue our ‘novel’ adventures. Today, I’m sitting down for a chat with one of the first authors I’ve had the pleasure to connect with when I signed on with the group — Leslie Matthew Stansfield. Her Madeline’s Teahouse Mysteries are a delight, full of mystery and margaritas — what more could yours truly want? Her second (and latest) in the series just came out — MR. TEA AND THE BOBBIN’ BODY. Time for all of you fine folks to sit down and enjoy the delightful company that Lee provides.
1. So tell me a little about your series and main characters.
The main characters are from a small town in Maine. The Sutter sisters, Terry and Karen, have opened a teahouse after the death of their mother, Madeline. Their aunt and uncle, Aunt Rose and Uncle Henry, live next door. Their neighbor, Shannon Dindle, works at the teahouse. Mrs. Dindle is her mother. Terry’s love interest is a police detective named Greg Mullins. Shannon is involved with another detective and close friend of Greg’s, Tom O’Hara. The main attraction is a macaw named Mr. Tea. He is prone to saying some of the most outlandish things. He is rumored to be psychic, but it’s hard to tell if he is just chatting or trying to tell them something.
2. What is your writing process like? Do you thrive on routine or work spontaneously as the whim takes you?
I prefer routine, but I go with it whenever the inspiration strikes. I joke with my friends that I walk around constantly thinking about how to kill people in a cozy way.
3. What exciting moment or moments that made you realize that you were really an “author?”
Oh, I still have to pinch myself. I believe that networking with other authors and having my second book in the Madeline’s Teahouse series published has helped me believe it’s real. I don’t think people realize how much authors do besides write. We do quite a bit of our own promoting, we review books, we often have blogs, and we do signings. Writing is really only a small part. My favorite part is book signings. I adore talking to people and sharing my stories with them. I don’t think there is any thrill quite like having someone post on my Facebook page or Goodreads that they loved my book. It’s better than Christmas!
4. What do you do to spark up your creativity when you feel the well of inspiration is running dry?
If I am stuck, I write things down in a notebook. That helps me tremendously. It makes me sad that many schools no longer teach students cursive because they assume the students will always use a computer. I think that’s a mistake. I definitely create better if I can write things out.
5. Who are some of your favorite authors and how do you feel they have influenced your desire to write?
My first introduction to the cozy mystery genre was Lilian Jackson Braun’s series The Cat Who… When she passed away, I was devastated. I really felt like I lost a friend. I am now a HUGE M.C. Beaton fan. I count the days to the next Agatha Raisin or Hamish Macbeth book. For me, it’s about the characters. I prefer books where I fall in love with the characters. I also like characters that make me laugh. If a new Agatha Raisin book came out every day, I would find a way to read it. Because of these two women authors, I wanted to write mysteries that had you riveted by the story and loving the characters as well. I think it’s the characters that keep readers wanting more. I also enjoy making people laugh. I am delighted when people tell me that Mr. Tea made them laugh out loud. Finally, I feel very blessed to be part of the Cozy Cat Press family. I know that every time I open up a new Cozy Cat book, I am guaranteed a good read. I feel honored to be among them.
And I certainly enjoy your Madeleine’s Teahouse Mysteries and can’t wait for the next one! You can get to know Leslie and her writing better by checking out her page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LeslieMatthewsStansfield, Twitter @MrTeaauth and a brand new website: She also has a brand new website: http://lesliematthewsstansfield.weebly.com/. You can also go straight for the goods on Amazon and enjoy MR. TEA AND THE BOBBIN’ BODY this weekend!