Monday Meeting: Interview with Lucy Carol

Today, I am interviewing Lucy Carol, author of the Madison Cruz Mystery series. The latest in the series, Hit That, is available now in both print and ebook formats. I will add a link for purchasing the book at the end of the interview.

About the series: Madison Cruz is an aspiring actress, living in Seattle. Her agent, Phil, does his best to get her auditions, but acting roles are sparse and there are more actresses than roles. Madison takes on whatever she can to pay her bills- singing telegrams, publicity gigs, parties, whatever Phil can get her a contract for. Her mother, an FBI agent, is not exactly thrilled about Madison’s choice of career and they have a strained relationship because of it. Madison is also trying to find a good, decent, sexy guy to share her sometimes crazy life. All in all, it makes for a sometimes crazy, sometimes scary, always fun world for Madison and her friends and family.

On to the questions!

1) Tell us a little about yourself.

Well, I wasn’t always a writer, although I was always a goofball. I was a dance teacher/choreographer, with students, classes and shows. I loved it, and had plans to buy my own dance studio and build it into a thriving business. But life sometimes interrupts our plans, and in my case I developed a spinal problem that took years of physical therapy to overcome. I recovered enough that I could walk and drive a car, without too much pain. But some of the damage was permanent. My new physical limitations meant I had to find something else to do. Lucky for me, it was during my recovery time that I began to write a comedy mystery called Hot Scheming Mess. Making myself laugh was not only good medicine, it also made me realize I had the beginnings of a new vocation. I decided to get serious about my writing, turning that first book into a series.

2) Where did you get the idea for the Madison Cruz series?

It’s difficult to pinpoint an exact time or inspiration. Madison slowly developed in my mind as I tried to invent a world that I could have fun writing about. Personally, I prefer characters who show growth in the course of a story. But in Madison’s case, she also needed the potential for humor. The answer was to make her immature. Someone who is immature, a little wild, but has a heart of gold, has great potential to entertain you as you follow their growth, cheering them on. Once I got her going in the first book, it was like she took on a life of her own.

3) Who or what are some of your inspirations, and they need not be writing related.

Janet Evanovich, JK Rowling, Nora Roberts, Douglas Adams, Christopher Moore, Carol Burnett, Melissa McCarthy, Danny Kaye, and the brilliantly comedic writers of Bugs Bunny, and Sponge Bob Squarepants.

4) What was the most surprising thing you learned writing the series?

Honestly? The most surprising thing was encountering an unexpected number of people, usually at a social gathering, who behave as if they’re uncomfortable to find out I’m a writer. Or, rather, finding out that I think I’m a writer.

“What do you do?”

“I’m a writer.”

“Oh, a technical writer.”

“Actually, I write fiction. Mysteries, romantic comedy…”

Their face goes slack for a second. They might blink once or twice. “Wow, look at the time! I have to, um…” pointing across the room as they walk away.

Maybe they’re terrified they’re about to be asked to read some crazy person’s book. Maybe they imagine me with a sharp stick hiding around the door, watching them through the crack as they read my sad little book. The funny thing is, that person often seeks me out by the end of the evening, asking me if I’d be willing to look at their book they wrote in college.

My face goes slack, eyes blinking once or twice. I’m desperately looking for a way out. “Wow, look at the time…”

5) When you are not writing, how do you spend your time?

We’ve recently moved into a big house that needs repairs, plus it has half an acre of overgrown shrubs and trees. I spend a lot of time cleaning up this huge garden. Inside the house we’re painting, and organizing storage spaces. Leisure time is jigsaw puzzles, hobby cooking, and binge watching some great TV.  Once the garden cleanup is done, I’ll be able to add flower gardening back into my leisure time. Plus, I read in bed every night.

6) What is the best thing about writing? The worst?

The best thing is the responses I get from the readers. There are times when I’ll get a heartfelt email telling me my books helped them endure through a difficult season in their life, or lifted their spirits right when they needed it most. After a hard day, those types of messages strengthen me. If I was instrumental in lightening someone’s heart for a little while, I know I’m doing something right.

The worst thing is getting a numb butt from sitting for too long. I try to change it up by using a treadmill desk on a slow speed while I write on the laptop, but the typos drive me nuts. Still, it’s better than sitting for so long.

7) Are you a plotter or a pantser? Or somewhere in between?

I was a pantser in denial that I was pantsing. I’d start with a partial outline, then abandon it for a better idea, and another better idea…

But with this next book, I’m outlining the crap out of it! I’m figuring out ahead of time exactly where it’s going, and who does what. Then, I have to STICK to it and not keep changing my mind about where the story goes next. I want to publish more often than I have been, and I believe sticking to the outline will help me do that.

Thanks for stopping by, Lucy!

You can follow Lucy on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter to keep up with the latest in Madison’s world.

Hit That (Madison Cruz Mysteries #4) is available in both print and ebook versions here.

If you want to start at the beginning of Madison’s adventures, the first book in the series, Hot Scheming Mess, is available as a free ebook here.

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