In this issue of Mused we are fortunate enough to talk with Leighann Dobbs. Leighann is an award-winning USA Today top-selling cozy mystery writer. Here she tells about how she got interested in writing and offers advice to authors who are getting started! When did you first get interested in writing?
Iíve always been an avid reader and, like most readers, always thought being novelist would be a dream job. But it wasnít a very practical goal, so I went to school for software engineering and didnít try my hand at fiction until I was fifty years old! How did you get drawn into the area of cozy mysteries?
Iíve read mysteries and thrillers my whole life. I donít really like any other genre. So, when I started writing, I naturally wrote mysteries. I didnít actually even realize that mysteries were categorized like that and never knew what I was writing was "cozy". The books just came out that way. Since I have no police training, I used an amateur sleuth and my light, humorous (at least I hope itís humorous) style came naturally. What is your favorite part of writing cozy mysteries?
I have a lot of senior citizens in my books and I love writing about older people that are still just as smart and productive as younger folks. I also have one series that has cats and I love writing from the catís point of view. Do you find you get stuck sometimes? How do you work through that?
I outline my books ahead of time, so I never get stuck for very long, but when I have a plot decision to make, I usually just brainstorm the different things that can happen and a good solution always pops up. I find that going for a walk, taking a shower or cleaning toilets often helps, although I donít really like to use the toilet cleaning method so much. What was the best piece of advice youíve been given?
To sell more books, write more books. If an aspiring writer came to you for suggestions on how to begin, what would you recommend to them?
Read a lot. Learn about outlining. It may turn out that outlining does not work for you, but you have to try it to know. The biggest thing I see happening to people is they get stuck after the first ten thousand words or so. Writing the beginning of the story is easy, itís the rest that is hard and thatís where outlining can come in handy. Also, donít give up when you get stuck - push through and get the book finished! How would you like to be remembered?
Iíve been touched by quite a few of my readers who have contacted me to let me know my books helped them through hard times or just helped them forget about their crappy week at work. Iíd like to be remembered as thatóthe gal who wrote those books that let me escape long enough to forget my troubles.
Thank you so much, Leighann, for your time!
Leighannís books can be found here Ė