Today we sit down to chat with cozy mystery author Zaida Alfaro. Learn more about her and her books at her website.
When did you realize you wanted to write novels?
Many years ago, I became an avid reader of cozy mysteries. The story lines were intriguing, engaging, and funny at the same time. I was so inspired by the authors, that I then decided to take my musical experiences, and put it on paper. I began writing this first novel in 2012.
How long did it take you to realize your dream of publication?
From when I started the novel, including completing the manuscript, editing it (about a thousand times!), and sending out queries, my dream took about six years to come to fruition.
Are you traditionally published, indie published, or a hybrid author?
Published by an independent publisher, Cozy Cat Press
Where do you write?
My car, my bedroom, the couch, anywhere I can sit with my laptop and get words out.
Is silence golden, or do you need music to write by? What kind?
Because I am a musician at heart, I need background music. I love listening to the Lumineers station on Pandora.
How much of your plots and characters are drawn from real life? From your life in particular?
I would say that 80% of the plot and characters are drawn from real life. The Last Note’s main backdrop, the amazing city of Miami, Florida, is beloved and well known to me. I was born and raised in Miami, and like the novel’s main character Vy, I am a singer/songwriter, as well as the lead singer in a cover band. The phobia's, the dream sequences, and the quirkiness of the main characters, are all based on facts. The love I have for Miami, the Cuban culture, my family, and music, are drawn from real life as well.
Describe your process for naming your character?
I am Cuban American, so I had to give the main character a Latin name. Violet, or as you would pronounce it in Spanish, V(ee)oleta, is as Latin as I was going to get.
Real settings or fictional towns?
Real setting, changing the names of the locations to fictional names.
What’s the quirkiest quirk one of your characters has?
Thinking one insane thought, but actually saying the phrase in a sane manner.
What’s your quirkiest quirk?
Same as my character Vy! Thinking one insane thought, but actually saying the phrase in a sane manner.
If you could have written any book (one that someone else has already written,) which one would it be? Why?
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. The concept of parallel worlds is fascinating to me. I would love to write about that concept, but I do not believe my mind is scientific enough to come up with those ideas.
Everyone at some point wishes for a do-over. What’s yours?
Going to college in another State.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
People chewing loudly.
You’re stranded on a deserted island. What are your three must-haves?
A physical book. My classical guitar. A lifetime supply of Jalapeno Kettle Chips.
What was the worst job you’ve ever held?
Fortunately, I have liked all my jobs.
What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Ocean or mountains?
City girl/guy or country girl/guy?
What’s on the horizon for you?
My goal is to write two more books for this cozy series (I have started writing book two, which I aim to complete in the next couple of months). I love the cozy genre. It is lighthearted, and I feel like you can relate to the characters, at least in the cozy mysteries that I have read. I want to bring that feeling of ease, relating to, and laughter in my future cozy books. I believe I did it with The Last Note, so you can expect that I am going to aim for that in the next two books. Then, I want to write a psychological thriller.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your books?
In high school, I had to take two years of a language. I speak Spanish, and I didn’t have the accent or passion to speak French, so I decided to take Sign Language. I enjoyed it so much that I took three years of Sign Language in high school. My intent was to become an interpreter, so I minored in Sign Language, and majored in English. Needleless to say, I didn’t become an interpreter, but I do know how to sign. And, I am a comic book nerd, so I have a great collection of comic books! I know, this answer was quite random
The Last Note
A Miami Music Mystery
Killer songs and a killer voice, but a killer at her gig?
Vy has always found herself at the center of attention as the lead singer for one of Miami's top cover bands, but when she finds herself at the center of a murder investigation while performing at the Steel Horse Bar, the tune changes. Someone believes that Vy knows the truth behind the murder of the bar owner Ricky, and now that person is after her. Vy had better figure out quickly who wanted Ricky dead, who is threatening her with her favorite band’s song lyrics, and why she’s falling for handsome Detective Houston before she too sings her last note. With a mixture of mystery, mayhem and comedy, you will find yourself immersed in Vy's musical and murderous world.