Humorous mystery author Cindy Sample has stopped by for a visit from time to time, but she’s never sat down for an interview. Today that changes. Learn more about Cindy and her books at her website.
When did you realize you wanted to write novels?
I discovered Nancy Drew in the first grade and by the time I turned eight, I’d read all of the series. So I decided to use my spelling words one night and dashed off a sixteen-page Nancy Drew sequel. I received an A+ and was hooked. I knew then I wanted to be a mystery author.
How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?
It took half a century before my next mystery was completed. But technically, it took eight years to write Dying for a Date, the first book in my series, get an agent, then find a publisher.
Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
My first two books were released by a small publisher that closed shortly before the release of my third book. They gave me my rights back and I decided to try self-publishing which I ended up loving. I like being in control of every aspect of the publishing business, including not releasing a book until it’s ready.
Where do you write?
I stand in front of my laptop which is perched on my kitchen counter. For some reason that works for me. Plus I convince myself that standing in place is a form of exercise. It’s also next to the pantry in case I need culinary inspiration.
Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
I need complete silence. Music is too distracting because I tend to cha-cha around the house once the music begins.
How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
My character is a single soccer mom at the beginning of the series so she occasionally contends with a few domestic scenes that I might also have encountered. And she is a complete klutz just like I am.
Describe your process for naming your character?
I came up with the name “Laurel” when I was visiting a botanical garden and her last name of “McKay” just magically appeared.
Real settings or fictional towns?
I live in the California Gold Country, a beautiful area with historic gold mines, wineries, and apple orchards, close to the Sierra Nevada Mountains. I wanted to profile the town and some of my favorite places, and the town of Placerville loves the publicity.
What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?
Laurel thinks chocolate has medicinal powers.
What’s your quirkiest quirk?
If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?
The Husband’s Secret or Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. Both are brilliant – suspenseful but also witty.
You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves? Chocolate, chardonnay and my Kindle
What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
Typing card catalog cards for three hours every afternoon during college. That had to be the worst library job ever.
Ocean or mountains?
Tough call. It’s a tie!
City girl/guy or country girl/guy?
Complete country girl. I grew up on a farm in Illinois.
What’s on the horizon for you?
I’m currently two-thirds through chemotherapy (yay) so once chemo brain has dissipated I’ll be working on another Laurel McKay mystery. I’d also like to put together a book filled with brief cancer survivor essays that will be heartwarming, helpful and/or humorous. The positive stories I’ve heard from other authors and non-writers really helped me get through this onerous period, and I’d like to be able to share the positivity with others fighting the same battle.
Dying For a Deal
A Laurel McKay Mystery, Book 7
Laurel McKay Hunter is thrilled when she signs up her first client, a friend of her grandmother, for Gold County Investigations, the detective agency she and her husband have recently formed. The case involves a South Lake Tahoe timeshare scam, which is perfect for Laurel, given her financial background.
When the timeshare salesman is found dead, with her grandmother’s fingerprints on the murder weapon, Laurel adds solving the murder to her caseload.
When a second murder occurs, Laurel discovers that this case could have greater depths than the turbulent waters of Lake Tahoe. From the summit of snow-capped Heavenly Valley, a boat race across the lake, and an unexpected dumpster dive, Laurel is determined to catch the killer.