I'm pleased to welcome Amanda Lee to the blog today. Amanda writes the Embroidery Mystery series. Wicked Stitch, the eighth book in the series, was released last week.
Kathy: Marcy owns the Seven-Year Stitch. How did you decide upon a embroidery specialty shop?
AL: Actually, my editor Jessica suggested the embroidery specialty shop. She was, in fact, looking for someone to write a series involving the proprietress of this embroidery specialty shop. And here I was, way down here in Virginia, waving my arms and yelling, "Me! Me!" :)
Kathy: I love Irish wolfhounds. How did you choose that breed as a companion for your series?
AL: When I made Marcy such a small person, I knew I wanted her to have a huge dog. I've always loved big dogs. I currently have a Great Pyrenees. When I was a little girl, I had a Saint Bernard.
Kathy: Is Angus O’Ruff based on a specific dog, or blend of dogs, or is he completely fictional?
AL: I base a lot of Angus's antics on my dog Cooper. Cooper is very sensitive--like Angus--and when I'm upset about something, he hurries over to put his huge head on my lap.
Kathy: In Wicked Stitch Marcy has a booth at a Renaissance Faire. I love Ren Faires. Shopping and watching jousting and are my favorite activities. Do you get to attend Renaissance Faires? If so, what are your favorite bits?
AL: I've attended one and would love to go to more if I can only find them closer to home! Like you, shopping is one of my favorite activities. I also love looking at the costumes. At the one I attended, someone had a baby dressed as a fairy and I took a photo of her. She was so beautiful. She was, in fact, the inspiration for Laura's costume in Wicked Stitch.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
AL: I really enjoy reading cozy mysteries. Readers are able to enjoy the whodunits without the violence being so graphic. I also enjoy the sense of community. Some of my readers know Marcy and the other residents of Tallulah Falls as well as I do, and I'm constantly looking for ways to bring them something new and unexpected.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
AL: A small press recently published my standalone psychological thriller called In Her Blood under the name G. V. Trent. In the book, Alexandra McCormick’s great-grandmother was a brutal serial killer in the early 1900’s. With her mother currently serving time in prison for murdering Alexandra’s stepfather, Alexandra decides to do her college research paper on whether or not the tendency to commit murder or other violent crimes may be passed on genetically. Her research takes her to Savannah, Georgia, a city built upon its dead. There, she meets Chad Greenway, whose ancestor is Alice Riley, the first woman hanged in the state of Georgia. Alice was put to death for killing her abusive master. As a freelance writer, Chad agrees to help Alexandra with her research provided he can write a story about her quest. Soon it seems everyone Alexandra meets winds up murdered. It's a departure from the cozies, but the book is receiving some great reviews.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
AL: The Embroidery Mystery series features a heroine who recently moved to the Oregon coast to open an embroidery specialty shop. She takes along her faithful companion, a one-year-old Irish wolfhound named Angus O’Ruff. She makes many new friends in Tallulah Falls, but she also makes a few enemies. Thankfully, her best friend Sadie MacKenzie and her husband Blake run the coffeehouse right down the street from Marcy’s shop, the Seven-Year Stitch; and Detective Ted Nash always has her back.
The cake decorating series features a heroine who is starting her life over in Southwest Virginia after a nasty divorce. The heroine, Daphne, has returned to her hometown of Brea Ridge to open a cake baking and decorating business and is wrestling with the question of whether or not one can go home again. Daphne has reconnected with her high school sweetheart and is pursuing a rekindled romance while desperately trying to put her past behind her.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
AL: Gee, that's a toughie. I love so many of my characters! I love Marcy because she's young and fun and quirky. I love Angus because he's Angus. And what woman wouldn't love Ted?
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
AL: I think the inspiration would be that intrepid sense of adventure down deep inside each of us that urges us to take a chance on whatever it is that will make us happy. With Marcy, it was opening her own shop and making a life for herself in a new place.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
AL: I hope it will entertain and maybe even inspire readers.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
AL: Only four? Hmmm.... Mary Higgins Clark, Edgar Allan Poe, Dean Koontz, and William Shakespeare.
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
AL: I just finished reading Anne Lamont's Bird by Bird, and I highly recommend it.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
AL: I love reading, of course; and I enjoy embroidery and cake decorating on occasion. I Netflix binge. I'm currently watching Gilmore Girls and The Fall.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
AL: Milk, Diet Coke, tuna, peanut butter.
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
AL: I'm working on a new series centered around a cafe. The first book is due to my editor in June, and I'll be using the pen name Gayle Leeson. I'm really looking forward to introducing readers to the residents of Plantation Valley! Also, I have an additional embroidery book and a cake decorating book coming out later this year.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
AL: I love meeting readers. When people email me or come up to me at events and say they enjoyed my book, it makes my day.
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