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Friday, July 13, 2018


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.

Unfortunately, the killer is willing to stop at nothing. Including eliminating Laurel!

Buy Links


Cynthia Sample said...

Thanks for the interview opportunity, Lois. I hope you and the readers enjoy learning some of my writing secrets!

Heather Haven said...

I have read every one of the Laurel McKay stories. So it was fun to read about one of my favorite author's secrets. I had no idea she knew how to cha-cha! Of course, I knew Cindy Sample was a dance maven. That came out in her second book, Dying for a Dance. But now I feel I know the author just a little better. A great interview. BTW, Dying for a Deal is just wonderful!

Pamela DuMond, D.C. said...

I did not know you grew up on a farm in Illinois nor did i knew you wrote standing! Nice blog feature. Thanks!

Cynthia Sample said...

Thanks for the comment, Heather. I'll send you the link to my one and only cha cha dance showcase. It proves I'll do anything to sell books!

Cynthia Sample said...

Thanks for the comment, Pamela. Yep, just a country girl at heart!

Betty Gor don said...

Good and informative interview. Enjoyed your books and always look forward to the next one. Glad you are finishing chemo. Prayers still coming your way.

Charlotte Cason said...

Love all your books, and enjoyed this interview. Like you I grew up on a farm, in Nebraska. Sorry you are having to go through chemo. I have chronic leukemia, but not having to take anything for it as yet, but may be in my future. God bless you, and hope you get in remission soon, and put this all behind you!

Cynthia Sample said...

Thanks so much, Betty. I'm so pleased you're enjoying Laurel's adventures. I appreciate those prayers!

Cynthia Sample said...

I'm so happy you're enjoying this series, Charlotte. I'm sending you prayers that your leukemia does not get any worse. You take care.

Michele Drier said...

Laurel is an intrepid sleuth although she fell into the career by accident. That's what I love about Cindy's books, the accidental opens Laurel to some great, and funny, situations where she overcomes her own clumsy-ness (LOL Cindy!) and wins the day. Waiting for the next Laurel and you're an inspiration to all of us, you don't let major life changes get you down!

Cynthia Sample said...

Thanks, Michele. Given my klutziness, it's easy for Laurel to accidentally bump into interesting situations. Although I haven't stumbled over any dead bodies - yet! Life is all about growth and change, so this current passage is providing new opportunities.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi Cindy,

Laurel makes a great protagonist. I love your mystery series and glad you are continuing it. Best wishes.

Cynthia Sample said...

Thanks, Jacquie. Thanks for the nice compliment. Take care.

Linda Lovely said...

I did learn two new things. Can't imagine standing to write. I can walk forever but standing still no way. Wondering Where the Illinois farm was located. I spent a fair amount of time on my cousins' farms in Hamilton, ILL. So happy you're almost through with your chemo. Have loved all your books and can't wait for another one.

Cynthia Sample said...

Thanks for commenting, Linda. I love your new series, too. My farm was in Woodstock, Illinois, where the movie Ground Hog Day was filmed. And it's barely changed in 55 years.

Kathy McIntosh said...

Even your interviews are funny, Cindy! But I couldn't imagine standing to write. I prefer the butt-enlarging seated writing, broken up with some pistachios ... or better still chocolate. Even though I've been to Placerville, I always learn something new about the area when I read and laugh my way through your books. Loved Dying for a Deal. And glad you are nearly through with chemo. P.S. I need to send you the story of my recent hysterectomy for uterine cancer. Went smoothly and as expected...the best thing was the girdle!

Cynthia Sample said...

Oh dear. Well, first I'm sorry to hear about your cancer. hated that girdle. Ripped it off as soon as I was released! And I'm so glad you enjoyed Laurel's latest adventure. Off to email you now.

Cathy McGreevy said...

Fun to see some of your writing habits. Standing up! Wow! Now, the next to the pantry, thing, well, that's exactly where I do my best work. Makes the writing more fun, too. :)

Cynthia Sample said...

Thanks, Cathy. I started standing about six years ago when I had a cha cha injury (true) that messed up my back when I sat. And I just kept on standing in front of my laptop!

Kathleen Asay said...

I always enjoy your interviews! and like the others here, I am happy to see you are continuing on with Laurel's adventures. She just can't avoid those dead bodies. I hope this interview brings a lot more fans to your books. Keep smiling and the world smiles with you!

Cynthia Sample said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to read the interview. I have so many potential titles for a new Laurel adventure. I just wish I could write faster!


It's always a pleasure to have you stop by, Cindy!