Marilyn Takes 5 with Barbara Jean

Hi there, guys and dolls! Sigh, the end of summer is nigh. Hasn’t it been such a lovely one? Yours truly has had such a golden time; it was just so peachy with my time so beachy.

However, the month coming to a close is not all bad. It means I get to share one of my favorite features, a fellow author confab. This month, I had the delight to share a long, tall, cool drink (or two) with the lovely Marilyn Levinson. She’s written some of the most entertaining mysteries around, as well as some terrific young adult fiction, her latest being a terror-suspense goodie titled THE DEVIL’S PAWN, perfect for the last long nights for the back to school set or anyone who loves a great nail-biter.

1. So tell me a little about your series and main characters.

I love the sleuths in my series and wish I had more hours in the day so I could write more mysteries for them to solve.

Lydia Krause, my protagonist in the Twin Lakes Mystery series, is an attractive, dynamic 58-year-old widow who sells her home and business and moves to Twin Lakes, an over-55 community. Here Lydia finds murder, mayhem, new friends and a budding romance, yet is always on hand to help her grown daughters resolve their life issues (A MURDERER AMONG US and MURDER IN THE AIR).

In the Golden Age of Mystery Book Club Mysteries, English professor Lexie Driscoll leads 515t+48ViVLdiscussions about books by Golden Age of Mystery authors such as Agatha Christie and Josephine Tey as she solves murders and deals with her somewhat complicated love life

In my latest series, The Haunted Library, 29-year-old Carrie Singleton relinquishes her Goth appearance for more traditional garb when she accepts the position of Head of Programs and Events in the Clover Ridge Library. In DEATH OVERDUE, which is now in the editing process,  a retired homicide detective dies while discussing a cold case he claims to have finally solved. Carrie takes on the task of finding the person that murdered him and the victim fifteen years earlier.

2. What is your writing process like? Do you thrive on routine or work spontaneously as the whim takes you?

I always work from a rough outline, and think in terms of scenes. Before I sit down to write each day, I have a good idea of how I want to advance the plot and what clues or red herrings I need to include. That said, I’m always open to new settings and unplanned, interesting exchanges between my characters. Being a procrastinator, I do my best writing in the late afternoon/early evening. Then the words flow.

3. What exciting moment or moments have made you realize that you were really an “author”?

My first book, a young YA novel titled AND DON’T BRING JEREMY, was published in 1986. I was excited to read a wonderful review of JEREMY in Publishers Weekly. I was thrilled that a paperback book club bought the rights to the book, even before the hard cover version came out.

4. What do you do to spark up your creativity when you feel the well of inspiration is running dry?

I do one of the following:

Go back a chapter or two to see if I can recapture the momentum. It may have stopped because I’ve veered off in the wrong direction.

I email my plotting group. We’re a group of mystery writers who help each other with murder methods, plot twists, titles, and many issues that have nothing to do with writing. We’re there to support one another.

Sometimes I’ll go for a walk and the problem will resolve itself. I think it’s good to have a variety of alternatives available.

5. Who are some of your favorite authors and how do you feel they have influenced your desire to write?

I started to write in elementary school and still have my notebook of short stories from second or third grade. Of course my favorites in those days were the Judy Bolton, Trixie Belden, Cherry Ames, and Nancy Drew series. These days I read many, many mysteries, thrillers, and mainstream novels. Some of my favorite mystery writers are Charles Todd, Charlaine Harris, Marion Che41GaC8S-1wLsley/M. C. Beaton, Sara Paretsky, and Ann Cheeves. I could go on and on. They’re all wonderful storytellers, each with his or her own style and voice. They inspire me to write the best mysteries I can.

Thanks for taking the time to enjoy a lovely chat with me Marilyn and sharing with my fellow readers all about your tales of mystery and suspense for all ages. And friends, get to know Marylin and her work a little better for yourselves. Check out her website, Amazon author page, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Pinterest links while you’re toddling around on the net. And be sure to give her latest, THE DEVIL’S PAWN a read.


Barbara Jean


About Barbara Jean Coast

Barbara Jean Coast is the pen name of authors Andrea Taylor and Heather Shkuratoff. She is currently hard at work telling the cozy tales of the fictional town of Santa Lucia, loosely based on Santa Barbara in the late 50's, early 60's, known as The Poppy Cove Mysteries.
This entry was posted in Authors, book series, books, Commitment, Communication, Conversation, Cozy Mysteries, Cozy Mystery Series, creative writing, Creativity, Fiction, Fictional Characters, Inspiration, Interviews, kindle, murder mystery, Mysteries, new release, Newly Published, Readers, reading, suspense, Uncategorized, Writers, Writing, Writing Ideas, Young Adult and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Marilyn Takes 5 with Barbara Jean

  1. marilynlevinson says:

    I’m happy to be here. Thanks so much for having me.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. marilynlevinson says:

    Thank you Thank you!


  3. Pat H. says:

    I’ve read and loved Marilyn’s first two series and am now looking forward to The Haunted Library. I’m sure it will be a fun and intriguing read.

    Liked by 1 person

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