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ABOUT THE BOOK

ISBN-13: 978-0-9964209-7-6 (Print),

978-0-9964209-8-3 (Kindle)

Mystery and Horror, LLC Paperback:  pages

September 2016

Also available for Kindle

 

It’s 1926. The West Coast Development Company is staging its biggest land deal in Homosassa, Florida, selling pieces of a planned city to speculators who dream of a tropical paradise. Army nurse Cornelia Pettijohn takes leave to travel to Florida with her ancient uncle, who claims that he wants a warm winter home. When their car breaks down, they take the local train, The Mullet Express, into Homosassa. By the time they arrive, though, a passenger has been poisoned. A second murder victim boards the train later, iced down with the fish. Uncle Percival’s hidden agenda makes him the sheriff’s prime suspect. Cornelia and Teddy Lawless, a twenty-year-old flapper in a sixty-year-old body, must chase mobsters and corner suspects to dig her uncle out of the hole he’s dug for himself.

 

 

INTERVIEWS WITH THE AUTHORS

 

GWEN MAYO

 

What initially got you interested in writing?

 

I blame my little sister for my writing start. She was afraid to go to sleep at night, so I would tell her stories. I had to start writing them down when she hit the age of wanting to hear the same story over and over again. The little twerp would sit up in bed and tell me if I changed the tale in any way. She taught me the value of committing a story to paper.

 

What genres do you write in?

 

My books are all historical mysteries. The Nessa Donnelly series is set in the late 1870’s, although the short stories with her range from the American Civil War era to the turn of the century. The new cozy mystery series I’ve teamed up with Sarah Glenn to write is set in the 1920’s.

 

With short works, it is harder to pin down what I write. My published work goes from literary journals and poetry collections to science fiction, horror, and mystery anthologies. I even write drabbles and strange little micro-fiction stories. I always come back to history, though, and usually crime.

 

What drew you to writing these specific genres?

 

The books I read in my youth had the biggest effect. Books were hard to come by in my hometown. There was no public library or bookstore. The school library was woefully inadequate for my reading level. There was a rack of mass market paperbacks in the local grocery. These were not children’s books. My choices were romance, mystery, or westerns. The lurid covers of the romances ruled them out. Mom would have taken them the moment she saw the cover, and my mother saw everything. Budget constraints also played a role in my genre choices. At slightly over a dollar each, I could purchase one or two a month. This made me very picky about which books to buy.

 

I became very familiar with the work of Zane Grey and Agatha Christie. Readers can still see traces of their influence on my writing. Christie was always my first choice. Other mysteries came second, but only when I couldn’t find a Christie novel that I didn’t own. I was very loyal. Her puzzles were amazing. I suppose that loyalty still draws me to mysteries. Whether writing or reading, there is nothing I love more than a quiet room and a new mystery.

 

What do you find most rewarding about writing?

 

I love the moment when the plot comes together. My big reward is that moment when I know what my protagonist has done that creates a do or die situation. She knows who the murder is and is in direct conflict with the killer. When I get to the point where both hero and villain are locked into an inevitable confrontation that leads into the climax of the story, I want to dance.

 

What do you find most challenging about writing?

 

The biggest challenge for me is killing my darlings. I hate cutting pieces of work that are solid but no longer accomplish the job of either moving the plot forward or giving the reader insight into my character. I tend to save scenes that don’t work for this story into a file titled “cuts.” They may end up trashed, but not before I review them again to see if I want to use them for another story.

 

What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field?

 

It is a tough and crowded field. Be prepared to work hard in every aspect of the craft: writing, editing, improving your skills, finding an agent/publisher/editor. You have to learn to pitch your book; even if you decide to publish yourself, you have to be able to succinctly tell people what your book is about. Come up with a marketing plan. Build relationships with your local writers, bookstores, and libraries. Build a website and social media presence. The success of your work depends on skill, planning, hard work, and luck, in that order.

 

What type of books do you enjoy reading?

 

I love mystery, mostly historical mystery, Louise Penny is the most notable exception. I also enjoy historical nonfiction, the occasional thriller, poetry, short mystery and some science fiction.

 

Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find interesting about you?

 

Gosh, I hope so. I’d be a pretty dull person if all I did was write. In my twenties I was a locomotive engineer. In my thirties, I went to college on a poetry scholarship, spent a summer in Trinidad and Tobago as an arts exchange student, and help build a school with Habitat for Humanity in Nicaragua. I was in my forties before I started my first novel. I’m a huge history junkie, an award winning chocolatier, and most of all a wife, mom, and grandma.

 

What are the best ways to connect with you, or find out more about your work?

 

From my personal site, gwenmayo.com, my blog at http://gwenmayo.blogspot.com/, and the website for my press, mysteryandhorrorllc.com .

 

Sarah Glenn

 

What initially got you interested in writing?

I loved to read. I loved reading, and I began writing stories set within the worlds of my favorite authors; I didn’t want to leave them. Later, as I grew older, I started to develop my own characters and settings. I can’t think of anything nobler than creating a place of imagination that other people would want to enter.

I did take a different path than many authors. Most of my early stories were comic books stories, including artwork. I learned to draw the human figure from Betty and Veronica, and then got caught up in the Dave Cockrum era of the X-Men. I didn’t try my hand at prose until my introduction to Roger Zelazny’s Amber series.

 

What genres do you write in?

Mystery, horror, and stories that are just plain weird.

 

What drew you to writing these specific genres?

Mystery and horror are the genres I enjoy reading. The weird is just an extra service I provide.

 

How did you break into the field?

Persistence. I wrote, and then looked for a market. On a few occasions, I became intrigued by the theme of an anthology and wrote a story for submission. I wrote short stories because I was—and am—impatient, so I subbed to a number of anthologies and magazines. Eventually, someone would surrender.

Nepotism was a strong factor in getting my first novel, All This and Family, Too, published. My spouse had a book published with Pill Hill Press (which, sadly, is no more), and I joined the author forums. I mentioned that I had a novel about a vampire fighting her homeowners’ association, and Jessy Roberts, my soon-to-be-editor, told me they were looking for vampire stories and suggested I submit. I did, and was accepted. It wasn’t an easy pass, though; she did a real content review on my work, and after several rewrites I had a much better story than I started with.

 

What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?

If I thought about such things in advance, I’d never get any fiction written. When I write nonfiction, I write to educate or persuade, but my first goal in fiction is to amuse the reader—to create a good story. I like to tuck details about the setting in the narrative here and there, but I do that to make the world come more alive for the reader.

 

What do you find most rewarding about writing?

For me, it’s at the end, when the whole story comes together and I see that it doesn’t suck, that the details have come together, and the product is genuinely good. This feeling isn’t limited to my own work; when an anthology I edit comes together, I have the same great feeling.

 

What do you find most challenging about writing?

Finding the nerve to write. I am very self-critical, and I have to push myself. The words come easier when I’m with other people who are writing, oddly enough: something I learned about myself when I tried NaNoWriMo. It’s usually my most productive month of the year.

 

What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field?

First: write the stories you want to write—don’t go with what’s hot in the market. Unless you’re submitting a short story on spec, or write as fast as Stephen King, trends will change by the time you finish writing. Worse: if you don’t find the subject matter interesting, you might not finish at all.

Second: take some time to learn the craft of writing. Learn how to write a coherent sentence and stick with a single verb tense throughout your story. That’s your responsibility, not the publisher’s. Join a writing group, even an online group. Feedback will help you become a better author.

 

What type of books do you enjoy reading?

I like books with a strong sense of characterization and place. I want to be immersed in the world of the story. Stephen King is very good at this, as are Louise Penny and Anne Perry. I also enjoy Robin Cook, but in his case, the place is the human body and the character is often the practice of medicine itself.

 

Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find interesting about you?

I enjoy humor and wordplay immensely. I love the hashtag funnies on Twitter, posting memes, and solving crosswords. On a darker note, I also watch programs about true crime, listen to creepypasta on YouTube, and am a fan of True Tales of the ER. Plus, I’m a poison enthusiast. I don’t have a degree in the subject, but I have an unhealthy interest in the topic. Fortunately, I can’t cook.

 

What are the best ways to connect with you, or find out more about your work?

I can be found at my Twitter feed at @SarahEGlenn, my blog at http://saraheglenn.blogspot.com/, my website at sarahglenn.com, and the website for my press, mysteryandhorrorllc.com .

 

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Gwen Mayo is passionate about blending her loves of history and mystery fiction. She currently lives and writes in Safety Harbor, Florida, but grew up in a large Irish family in the hills of Eastern Kentucky. She is the author of the Nessa Donnelly Mysteries and co-author of the Old Crows stories with Sarah Glenn.

 

Her stories have appeared in A Whodunit Halloween, Decades of Dirt, Halloween Frights (Volume I), and several flash fiction collections. She belongs to Sisters in Crime, SinC Guppies, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, the Historical Novel Society, and the Florida Authors and Publishers Association.

 

Gwen has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Kentucky. Her most interesting job, though, was as a brakeman and railroad engineer from 1983 – 1987. She was one of the last engineers to be certified on steam locomotives.

 

Website URL: http://www.gwenmayo.com

Blog URL:         http://gwenmayo.blogspot.com/

Facebook URL:            https://www.facebook.com/Gwen-Mayo-119029591509479/

Twitter:           @gwenmayo

LinkedIn:          https://www.linkedin.com/in/gwen-mayo-41175726

Skype:              gwen.mayo

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4108648.Gwen_Mayo

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Gwen-Mayo/e/B003PJNWJE/

 

Sarah E. Glenn has a B.S. in Journalism, which is a great degree for the dilettante she is. Later on, she did a stint as a graduate student in classical languages. She didn’t get the degree, but she’s great with crosswords. Her most interesting job was working the reports desk for the police department in Lexington, Kentucky, where she learned that criminals really are dumb.

 

Her great-great aunt served as a nurse in WWI, and was injured by poison gas during the fighting. A hundred years later, this would inspire Sarah to write stories Aunt Dess would probably not approve of.

 

Website URL:              http://www.sarahglenn.com

Blog URL:                     http://saraheglenn.blogspot.com/

Facebook URL:            https://www.facebook.com/Sarah-E-Glenn-177315008966709/

Twitter:                       @SarahEGlenn and @MAHLLC

LinkedIn:                      https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarah-glenn-216765b

Skype:                          sarah.glenn63

Goodreads:     https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4710143.Sarah_E_Glenn

Amazon Author:        http://www.amazon.com/Sarah-E.-Glenn/e/B004P3MI2Q