Monday, June 17, 2013

A Conversation with Mystery Author Erika Chase

Omnimystery News: Author Interview with Erika Chase
with Erika Chase

We are delighted to welcome mystery author Erika Chase to Omnimystery News today, courtesy of Cozy Mystery Books Tours, which is coordinating her current book tour. We encourage you to visit all of the participating host sites; you can find her schedule here.

Erika's second "Ashton Corners Book Club" mystery is Read and Buried (Berkley Prime Crime, December 2012 mass market paperback and ebook formats).

We recently had the chance to catch up with Erika and talk about her series.

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Omnimystery News: Introduce our readers to the Ashton Corners book club.

Erika Chase
Photo provided courtesy of
Erika Chase

Erika Chase: I have several recurring characters in my series. They're all members of a book club, which is the premise of this cozy series. I believe it's important for them to develop personally, as well as a group, in order to keep the series interesting, to allow for more variety in their "cases", and to grow as a community of readers and friends.

OMN: Give us the synopsis of Read and Buried in a tweet.

EC: Southern mystery reading book club members combine fictional interests and skills in sleuthing real life murderers.

OMN: Describe your writing process for us.

EC: I now write a synopsis first, because that's what my editor has asked for, and use that as a guide to keep the plot moving in the right direction. However, I find that the finished book only partially resembles the original outline. I still have the freedom to let the story evolve in whatever new twists or threads that may appear. I have even been known to change the murderer as the real culprit reveals him or herself in the writing of the story.

OMN: Where is Ashton Corners?

EC: Ashton Corners is a fictional town in Alabama but it's really (in my mind) a town not far from where I live. I started with the approximate size of the town I wanted and then searched my memory for someplace that resembled it. Using a map of the real town, I substitute street names, buildings, and also take great liberties with some aspects of the physical layout. What I ended up with is the fictional spirit of a town within known geographical guidelines.

OMN: What authors do you read for enjoyment?

EC: I write what I enjoy reading — cozies. They put things right in the world and leave you smiling. And along the way, you meet a variety of interesting characters who, hopefully, become friends and you want to keep meeting with them to discover what's going on in their lives. So, naturally the authors who have influenced my writing from when I first started trying are from the cozy or traditional writing field: Carolyn Hart, especially her "Death on Demand" series, Nancy Pickard, with her "Jennie Cain" series, Susan Dunlap, who wrote three series which I devoured, and Joan Hess with her "Claire Malloy" series. All, excellent writers and great inspirations.

OMN: What are some of your outside interests? And do any of these find their way into your books?

EC: I love choral singing and have been in several community (non-professional) choirs over the years, along with taking voice training. I gave this love to my main character Lizzie Turner and her weekly choir practices help to add another dimension to her life and also, at times, will provide a valuable clue to her sleuthing. (not something that applies to my life, however.)

OMN: What's next for you?

EC: Next up is the fourth book in the Ashton Corners Mystery Book Club series, Book Fair and Foul, which not surprisingly, partly take place at a book fair. The third book, Cover Story appears in August, 2013. And, there's a possibility of a brand new series on the horizon.

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Erika Chase Book Tour

In a parallel life Erika Chase is also known as Linda Wiken. A former mystery bookstore owner (Prime Crime Books in Ottawa, ON, Canada), Linda is also a short story writer. She is a member of those dangerous dames, The Ladies' Killing Circle.

Her short stories have appeared in the seven Ladies' Killing Circle anthologies (three of which she co-edited), and in the magazines Mysterious Intent and Over My Dead Body.

Before life in the world of mystery, she worked as an advertising copywriter, radio producer, journalist and community education worker. Besides writing and reading mysteries, her other passion is choral singing and she is a member of two choirs.

She shares her house with Keesha and Mojo, her two Siamese cats. Actually, they allow her to live there.

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Read and Buried by Erika Chase

Read and Buried
Erika Chase
An Ashton Corners Book Club Mystery (2nd in series)

Hosting an award-winning novelist is quite a Christmas coup for the Ashton Corners Mystery Readers and Cheese Straw Society. But when he's murdered in Lizzie Turner's house, she's got a holiday homicide on her hands …

For their very first guest author event, most of the book club members can't wait to pull out all the stops in Southern hospitality. But for Lizzie, Derek Alton is nothing but trouble — from his massive ego to his smarmy moves. When he's found murdered in her living room, it seems someone decided that this womanizing writer would be better off dead than read.

After suspicion falls on Lizzie's friend, she and her fellow book club members discover that Derek wasn't who he pretended to be. Cracking this case means going up against Lizzie's boyfriend, police chief Mark Dreyfus, and unearthing a novel's worth of nasty secrets. And as they get closer to uncovering Derek's scandalous final manuscript, someone hiding in plain sight is out to write finis to Lizzie's sleuthing for good …

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