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Thursday, August 18, 2011


Today we welcome Melissa Bourbon, the author of the new A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series. Pleating for Mercy, the first book in the series, was released earlier this month. Melissa, who sometimes answers to her Latina-by-marriage name Misa Ramirez, is also the author of the Lola Cruz Mystery series, the co-author of The Tricked-out Toolbox, and the author of two romantic suspense novels to be released in 2012. She also works as the marketing director for a publisher. Read more about Melissa at her website. -- AP-- AP

I’m so happy to be at Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers today, and especially glad to be sharing a little about Pleating for Mercy.  It was released about 2 weeks ago, hit the Barnes & Noble mass market mystery list at #14, and hit Bookscan’s list at #19!  I couldn’t be more thrilled!!

This book is for anybody who loves cozy mysteries, dressmaking, sewing, and/or anything crafty to read.

As I was thinking about visiting here, I got to thinking about why I write mysteries.  All I could come up with is that they are close to my heart.  Okay, truthfully, books of any kind are close to my heart, but mysteries, in particular.  The mystery can be large or small.  It can be the central focus of the story, or play a supporting role.  It really doesn’t matter to me the scope of the mystery elements, as long as it’s there in one way, shape, or form.

My love of mysteries started, like most young girls of a certain age--ehem, we don’t need to talk about age, now, do we?--with Nancy Drew.  From there I graduated straight to Agatha Christie.  I have a distinct memory of going with my mom to our town’s library so she could check out the last Hercule Poirot novel, Curtain.  She was crushed that it was to be Poirot’s last, and her love of these book intrigued me enough to start reading them.

I spent almost all of my high school lunches in one classroom or another reading.

Now, I should say that I’m a light-weight when it comes to these things.  Horror movies and books are not for me.  I threw Silence of the Lambs across the room once or twice while reading it, and I cover my eyes during certain parts of Dexter (though he and the show are morbidly fascinating and I LOVE it).

But I love the deduction. 

So, of course, I when my passion for writing grew until it couldn’t be denied, it was no surprise that it manifested itself in the form of mysteries.  I began with the Lola Cruz Mystery series, published initially with St. Martin’s Minotaur, and moving soon to a new publisher with the next 3 books in the series.

Then I wrote 2 romantic suspense, which, of course, have strong mystery elements in them.  They’re based on Mexican legends, and these will be coming out sometime next year.

Finally, my cozies, A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series with NAL, have brought me full circle to the kind of mysteries I love the most.  They are small town, feel good whodunits.  They are like comfort food.  They just make me want to curl up in front of a fire and escape into the town of Bliss (if only we weren’t on our 40 something day of 100+ degree weather). 

Mystery, mystery, mystery.  The characters.  The communities.  The crime.  The puzzle.  The deductions.  The justice.  All of it makes for such a satisfying read.

I’m particularly lucky to now be part of a dynamic publishing group.  I’m the marketing director for the new boutique publisher, Entangled Publishing.  Here, I get to help market so many books, some of them romantic suspense or mystery, many of them paranormal, urban fantasy, and sci-fi, most of them with some strands of mystery and romance elements in them.  There’s no better job, and it has been so exciting to be part of something like this from the get-go. 

I’d like to know what everyone loves most about mysteries, and how heavy the mystery element needs to be in books you read. 

Thanks for joining us today, Melissa! Readers, anyone want to chime in and answer Melissa’s question? -- AP


Cathy Shouse said...


I have to confess that when I read Anastasia's post about your book, I went over and previewed the first chapter. The opening reminded me of my favorite thing about cozies: the characters.

I love your characters! The murder hasn't happened yet and I'm already hooked. While the mystery is important, for me, solving the clues is the backdrop for what else is going on in the story. The setting also matters.

Best of luck with book sales.

Liz V. said...

Congratulations on the great start.

Enjoy cozies, and Pleating for Mercy sounds like fun.

Misa said...

Thank you, Cathy! The characters were so fun to create, and when I write them, it's like hanging out in Bliss with friends. I love the Butch Cassidy connection, too. There's just something about the old west and outlaws...

Misa said...

Liz, thank you!

Elizabeth C. Main said...

I read many types of mysteries, from police procedurals to cozies, so I'm going to fall back on an explanation I heard years ago, i.e., that mystery lovers enjoy seeing justice done. That's certainly true for me. I want the bad guy or gal to be caught. However, since I write cozies, I normally care more about interesting characters than an intricate plot. When I'm reading someone heavier, like P.D. James, I sink into the exquisite English countryside and enjoy the complexity of the plot for a good, long read. Liz M.

jeff7salter said...

Misa, there was a recent article on the internet (last week) about a newly discovered ms. supposedly written by the guy that some people swear is Butch Cassidy ... who DID survive the shootout in Bolivia.
Can't recall his name right now. Maybe Parker. Anyhow, I also am intrigued by that character ans his companion Sundance.
I'm awed by how many books you've written, have in the publishing pipeline --- and the variety. Write on.

Misa said...

I agree, Elizabeth! There is a satisfaction in knowing that wrongs can be righted...at least in fiction. The things I love about cozies are also the characters and the setting. They're comforting and like home!

Misa said...

Thanks for stopping by, Jeff! I did research on Butch Cassidy for this book and found the same thing... many people DO believe that he survived and came back to the states to live out his years under another name, married, etc. Interesting! There is something about those outlaws that's intriguing...at least in fiction.

Jenny Milchman said...

Congratulations on starting off with such a bang! May it only continue!

Misa said...

Thank you, Jenny!