Friday, July 25, 2014

A Conversation with Mystery Author Julie Seedorf

Omnimystery News: Author Interview with Julie Seedorf
with Julie Seedorf

We are delighted to welcome mystery author Julie Seedorf to Omnimystery News today, courtesy of Great Escapes Book 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.

Julie's second mystery set in Fuchsia, Minnesota is Granny Skewers a Scoundrel (Cozy Cat Press; March 2014 trade paperback and ebook formats) and we recently had the chance to catch up with the author to talk about her series.

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Omnimystery News: Tell us a little more about your series character, Granny.

Julie Seedorf
Photo provided courtesy of
Julie Seedorf

Julie Seedorf: When I wrote Granny Hooks a Crook, the first book in my Fuchsia Minnesota Series, Granny, my main character just happened. She developed in my mind as I wrote the story. In the first book readers might see Granny as a forgetful, silly and over the top old woman. Some readers have been critical about that because they see Granny as unbelievable and some felt that had I had someone with dementia in my family I would not make light of it. In reality I have had a mother with dementia, a mother-in-law with Alzheimer's, and if I didn't laugh I would have been crying all the time. Granny is supposed to be over the top. Society, although it is changing a little in our time, sees older people as disposable and decrepit, and Granny defies those ideas. Yes, perhaps she is more than most of us can be but perhaps she is who we are in our minds as we age. We are still riding that roller coaster at the amusement part whether we physically can do it or not. Granny's story will develop in the silliness of Fuchsia, Minnesota and the books that will follow. You will see her vulnerable side in the fantasy and you will see what made Granny who she is today, a woman of courage, humor with an attitude of finally coming into her own after living her life for others and in the way others expected her to live.

OMN: Into what mystery genre do you place your books?

JS: My Fuchsia Minnesota series are categorized as Cozies although they are a unique cozy. I recently had a reviewer call them the Lemony Snicket of the senior set and felt it should be marketed as more than a cozy. I do find there are disadvantages to the label because some readers expect it be one thing and when they get something different they are unhappy. Being new at all this I haven't quite been sure about the labeling process other than a Cozy.

OMN: Tell us something about your new book that isn't mentioned in the synopsis.

JS: There are two clues or things that happen in Granny Skewers a Scoundrel that I do nothing with. I don't resolve them. They are mentioned and then nothing is mentioned about them again. They are actually clues to my third book that I am writing. I like to do that, drop clues into a book for the next book.

OMN: How much of your own personal or professional experience have you included in your books?

JS: All my characters are fictional and so are the places except for Latte Da and Boneyard Coffee and Tea that are actual places in Champagne, Illinois. Granny and I love their coffee. I think that no matter what I write there are parts of me in the book in that I finally am doing what I love and let what others expected of me go. That is what Granny is doing. Also, my mother was on a roof patching it at 90 years old. She was a lot like Granny including her moods. She tried to rent a car when she was no longer supposed to drive and kept me on my toes as her only child. Also most of the events in my Fuchsia Minnesota series are fictional. In my Granny Is In Trouble Series, which is my young reader series, those events are more factual as Granny teaches her grandchildren who she was when she was young and what she like to do. She does that by creating new memories with her grandchildren.

OMN: What is the best advice — and harshest criticism — you've received as an author? And what might you say to aspiring writers?

JS: The best advice I have received as a writer has been from two reviewers. They took the time to email me and give me some advice about owning my future. By that I mean, paying attention to the details of my new career. Since my series is not typical Cozy and I felt that, I thought perhaps I needed to conform so people would like me and like my writing. These two reviewers taught me that I need to be true to who I am inside and not change the way I write to conform to what society thinks it should be. They told me to be true to me.

The harshest criticism has come to the silliness of my books. They told me I had unlikable characters, couldn't write and my book was confusing to read and they didn't the animals. In all fairness, I probably wouldn't like a history book if I read it but I wouldn't critique it harshly because it wasn't my reading style. Also if the editing hasn't been good, that has been a harsh critique, but I am the first to admit I am comma and grammar challenged. I have to trust that editors will catch my mistakes and sometimes they don't catch the errors.

I learn so much for the other authors at Cozy Cat Press. We have each other's backs. We support each other along with Cozy Cat Press. I have learned that I have to get better at editing my own works and asking for help when I need it. I have learned that we see the negative more than the positive when we read our reviews. I actually like positive criticism because we grow from it.

I would give aspiring authors this advice; Don't give up your dream, ask for help when you need it, be prepared to work hard and trust and believe in yourself because if you don't believe in yourself, others won't believe in you.

OMN: Complete this sentence for us: "I am a mystery author and thus I am also …".

JS: I am a mystery author and thus I am also a dreamaholic living in a world where anything is possible in the world of fiction. I am fueled on coffee and dreams.

OMN: What kinds of books did you read when you were young?

JS: I was deep into the Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew books. As a teenager I discovered Harlequin. I was an avid reader and devoured books. Without realizing it I think they did influence the type of books that I write today.

OMN: What do you read now for pleasure?

JS: I read Cozy Mysteries, Harlequin Love Inspired Romance, Thrillers, Inspirational and pretty much everything except history. I am not a big history fan. I should be but it makes me fall asleep.

OMN: What are some of your outside interests?

JS: I love to do and try so many things. My husband keeps telling me to stick to one thing but it is impossible. I love to do crafts and refurbish old things. I love to do stained glass and want to learn to fuse glass. I write human interest stories for newspapers and I always find when I interview someone that is working their passion that I want to shadow them to learn what they are doing such as a barista in a coffee house. My biggest hobby is spending time with my grandchildren. They give me so much inspiration to try new things. I am learning to skip again so my granddaughter can teach me her dances from dance class. I had an accident with my leg a few years ago and I have a steel ankle which makes hopping harder but I want to learn the dance. I have an inquiring mind and I hope it never quits Yes, I am sure those things find the way into my books, in fact one of them that I want to try will be Granny's new mode of transportation in book three.

OMN: What's next for you?

JS: I hope to write more books and through my books I hope I inspire people. I am sure I will be surprised at where my dreams and God take me.

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Julie Seedorf Book Tour

Julie grew up in a small Minnesota community. She knows the value of neighbors looking out for neighbors.

Julie has worn many hats during her lifetime. She has been a waitress, barmaid, activities assistant, store clerk, office manager and for the last 14 years has worked in computer repair, and finally owning her own computer repair business. In January 2014 she closed her computer business to write full time. In addition to her series books, Julie writes freelance for the Courier Sentinel and the Albert Lea Tribune. She also is designing a line of shirts, cups and other material to complement her books.

For more information about the author, please visit her website at JulieSeedorf.com or find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Granny Skewers a Scoundrel by Julie Seedorf

Granny Skewers a Scoundrel
Julie Seedorf
A Fuchsia Minnesota Mystery

Granny has a new addition to her arsenal of crime fighting weapons as Fuchsia, Minnesota's most colorful detective. Now, along with her famous crook-hooking umbrella, she's acquired a scoundrel-skewering knitting needle. And just in time! Residents of Fuchsia seem to be dropping dead like flies! First, it's Granny's neighbor Sally (who gives up the ghost in her weed-filled front yard), followed by Esmeralda Periwinkle (the squirrel lover on Main Street), and then, Mr. Nail, owner of the local hardware store (who is squashed when dozens of bags of fertilizer fall on top of him). Granny is baffled. Who is behind this murder spree?

Granny enlists the help of her sort of boyfriend Franklin Gatsby, the town's police chief Cornelius Stricknine (or "The Big Guy"), her reality-show loving neighbor Mavis, and her own son Thor. And, of course, the special assistance of her menagerie of pets — including Mr. Bleaty, the goat. Soon Granny is hot on the trail of this dastardly murderer. Unfortunately, when Granny herself is poisoned, everyone insists that she cool her crime solving ways and stay indoors and out of harms way. Of course, that's never going to happen! Not when Granny knows all the secret passageways and tunnels that run underneath Fuchsia. Out she goes — and watch out, you evil doers! Granny will solve this mystery — you can bet your pink undies, she will!

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