Friday, March 11, 2011

Lorraine Bartlett

Lorraine Bartlett honed her characterization and plotting skills as a frequent writer for romance magazines. Her manuscript, Murder in Morton Mills, a traditional mystery, was a finalist in the St. Martin's/Malice Domestic contest. Her short story, Cold Case, featuring Jeff Resnick, appeared in Mystery in Mind: A Collection of Mysteries of the Paranormal, an anthology published in spring 2003. Her first novel, Murder On The Mind, written under the name L.L. Bartlett, and featuring Jeff Resnick, was published in November 2005. Dead in Red followed in June 2008, and Cheated by Death debuted in June 2010. A Crafty Killing is the first book in the Victoria Square Mysteries.

Lorraine also writes the Agatha-nominated, New York Times bestselling Booktown Mysteries as Lorna Barrett.

MURDER ON THE MIND by L.L. Bartlett
The mind is a complex entity; it can play strange tricks. It did to Jeff Resnick when he awoke physically bruised and psychologically shattered from a vicious mugging. His recurrent visions of a slaughtered buck in a garage take on terrible new meaning when a local banker is found in the same condition. Jeff sets out to find the killer--no matter what the stakes.

A CRAFTY KILLING by Lorraine Bartlett
The last thing Katie Bonner wanted was to become the manager of Artisans Alley. But when her business partner, Ezra Hilton, is found lying at the bottom of a staircase, bludgeoned to death, she has no other choice. While the cops are proceeding by the book, Katie is investigating by the booths—for the answer to the killer’s identity lies in the hidden secrets of Artisans Alley itself.

MURDER IS BINDING by Lorna Barrett
When she moved to Stoneham, city-slicker Tricia Miles was met with friendly faces. And when she opened her mystery bookstore, she met with friendly competition. But when she finds Doris Gleason dead in her own cookbook store, killed by a carving knife, the atmosphere seems more cutthroat than cordial. Someone wanted to get their hands on the rare cookbook that Doris had recently purchased—and the locals think that someone is Tricia. To clear her name, Tricia will have to take a page out of one of her own mysteries—and hunt down someone who isn’t killing by the book…

Without further ado, let's find out about this award-winning author!


DONNELL: Which of your characters would you most/least to invite to dinner, and why?

LORRAINE: I’d probably enjoy talking to Brenda Stanley the most, from my Jeff Resnick Mysteries. I admire her. She doesn’t’ take any guff. Least want to dine with? Bob Kelly from the Booktown Mysteries. He’s icky.

DONNELL: Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?

LORRAINE:I do read my reviews and often live to regret it. And, yes, they do influence my writing. I’ve chucked a couple of characters because more than one person said they found them unlikable—or—whatever.

DONNELL: Have you ever written a character who wasn’t meant to be a hero/heroine but he/she wouldn’t go away?

LORRAINE: Mr. Everett from my Booktown Mysteries. He was actually an afterthought. He was meant to be a little bit of comic relief, but then people starting writing to me and telling me how much they enjoyed him, and he became a fixture.

DONNELL: What name have you been dying to use as a lead character, but haven’t found the right fit yet?

LORRAINE: Actually . . . none. I do have an idea for another cozy mystery series, and have the name of the main character picked out, but that’s on the back burner and I actually hope I don’t have the opportunity to write the books for a long time. I’m very happy writing the Booktown and Victoria Square Mysteries.

I started a book years ago that I thought would make a good cozy mystery, but shelved the idea for a while. Then tried to write a women's fiction book with her in mind. I wrote 3/4s of a book and abandoned it. It just kept getting murkier and murkier. I might still write women’s fiction one day, but now isn’t the time. (I love her name, and I think about her quite often. And no, I’m not giving these names away!)

DONNELL: What’s in your refrigerator right now?

LORRAINE: A huge pot of black beans that I cooked in the crock pot. I love curried legumes.

DONNELL: What is something that not a lot of people know about you but you WISH more people COULD know?

LORRAINE: I wish more people knew about my Jeff Resnick Mysteries. They’re the books of my heart and have so found not found the audience they deserve. I suppose that’s not about me, but I think of my books as an extension of me.

DONNELL: I so relate, Lorraine. Love that your books are an extension. Well said. What is your favorite tradition from your childhood, that you would love to pass on or did pass on to your children?

LORRAINE: Since I have no children … that’s an impossible task.

DONNELL: What do you do to unwind and relax?

LORRAINE: Read and sip whiskey, preferably from the deck of my cottage. Of course, it’s a seasonal place, so that won’t happen for a while yet.

DONNELL: Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

LORRAINE: When you’re writing under contract, you can’t afford to have writers block. You just have to write right through it. But if I’m having a tough time getting ideas, I go out and sit in my car for a while. For some reason it’s like an isolation tank. Quiet, no distractions, and the ideas just start to flow. It’s a bit difficult to do in the winter in Western New York, though.

DONNELL: What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?

LORRAINE: Doing a facelift on my bathroom. I honestly never gave it a thought that I could ever hit the New York Times Bestsellers list. I did hope one day I’d get nominated for an Agatha, and that did happen. (And I hope it happens again.) It would be nice to win some kind of award, but honestly, the biggest reward is just having good sales.

DONNELL: What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing/researching a book?

LORRAINE: That I hate the first 40,000 words with a passion. Once I hit word 40,001 – the book suddenly becomes fun. Go figure.

DONNELL: How interesting! Sounds psychological. If you could be one individual for a day, who would you choose and why?

LORRAINE: Oprah Winfrey. Being one of the most richest women on the planet has got to be exhilarating and terrible at the same time. I have a feeling I’d come back to my own life with a much greater appreciation of my circumstances and feel a lot less stressed.

DONNELL: (Wait, I think I can guess ) Dog person or cat person?

LORRAINE: Cat. But I’d like to have a dog, too. I’ve had cats most of my life and the short time I was without one, I was miserable.

DONNELL: Which is your favorite language other than your native language?

LORRAINE: I wish I could speak another language, and my High School Spanish is pretty rusty. But I wouldn’t mind speaking Spanish or Italian—not that I have much use for it at this point in life.

DONNELL: If you were given a chance to travel to the past where would you go and specifically why?

LORRAINE: I’d go to England and meet my grandparents before they were old men and women. I barely knew any of them and I think that’s a shame.

DONNELL: What question are you never asked in interviews, but wish you were?

LORRAINE: I thought when I got published that readers and/or interviewers would want to have deep discussions with me about my characters and the plots of the books, asking me why so-and-so did this, and why such-and-such happened. Nope. Not even once.

DONNELL: Here's hoping we can help change that today. What’s the first thing you do when you finish a book?

LORRAINE: Pour myself a health whiskey and soda. After all that hard work, I deserve one.

DONNELL: What author(s) inspired you in your writing?

LORRAINE: Barbara Michaels. Her romantic suspense novels were the first “mystery” books I read. (I was 12 at the time.) I always said if I was to write a novel, it would have a paranormal theme like her books. I still read at two of her books (and listen to a couple more on audio) at least once a year. Funny, though, I never got into her Elizabeth Peters books.

Readers, there you have it. A few fun things about Lorraine aka Lorna Barrett. Today Lorraine is giving away FIVE goody bags. So if you leave a comment or ask a question and want to be entered, be sure to leave your e-mail address, or check back with GLIAS Winner's Circle in plain sight on the blog. To learn even more about Lorraine and her fabulous writing, check out her web page at http://www.lorrainebartlett.com/

Be sure to log in on Monday, March 14th when Maureen McGowan hosts Author Eileen Rendahl.

37 comments:

  1. Interesting interview! Thanks for sharing :-)

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  2. I don't see how you keep up with writing that many series under different names. I get confused just reading them. LOL

    Best of luck with all your series.

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  3. Welcome to GLIAS Lorraine! 40,000 is your magic number? I think it's just the opposite for me. Up to 40,000 is fun and the rest I'm completely angsting that every word is horrible. LOL

    ~~Angi

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  4. Okay, Angi has some psyche problems also ;) Whatever they are, it works!! Welcome Lorraine, give us an overview about your story when you have a minute. And how long were you writing before you were published. Did being a finalist in the Malice/Domestic contest open doors. Thanks for being with us today ;)

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  5. Hi Lorraine! Welcome to GLIAS :) Thanks for the fun and fabulous interview. I caught myself nodding a lot (which my cat found quite funny...she kept looking at the screen to see what I found so interesting. She didn't get it).

    I, too, hate the beginnings...once I pass the midpoint and I can see clearly where I'm going, I like the process of writing much more.

    I'd love to hear a little more about your process pertaining to the mystery elements. Do you have them well-mapped out before you start writing, or do you surprise yourself along the way and have to go back and layer in new/different clues?

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  6. What a great interview! These mysteries sound fab.

    Also, what a generous giveaway! I wish I qualified. We are going to have five lucky readers today :)

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  7. Hi Lorraine,

    I for one, love to hear about the mystery writer's process and I am so looking forward to your answer to Heather's question (see above)!

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  8. Thank you for the warm welcome, everyone. Donnell, I've been writing for about mumble, mumble years now. (A LOT.) I wrote and produced amateur publications for a lot of years and then in 1993 I decided to try my had at going professional. It took me 11.5 years to see my first novel in print (with a small press--not a very satisfying experience), although I sold 9 short stories before that. (And I rewrote that first book 14 times.) Persistence is the key.

    Being a finalist in the Malice Domestic contest did open some doors for me. It gave me credibility. I got my second agent because of it. The fact that she was terrible and I fired her after a year was unfortunate, but nowadays there are better places (online) to do research before one ties up her life (and manuscript(s)) for a year.

    Which book did you want a brief recap on?

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  9. Heather, I am a pantster--that is, I write by the seat of my pants. I never really know where a book is going to go. That keeps it fun to write. I don't map out clues, etc. But I try to do a juggling act with my characters. I think to myself, "Hmm...we haven't heard from Andy in a while, time to do an Andy scene." That helps to keep the story moving. This does mean that I often have to go back and put in clues and/or change when information is revealed. Sometimes I just write all the scenes I know will have to happen in the book and then I figure out how to transition into them. And every book is different. Sometimes I sit down and write straight through.

    It keeps things interesting, that's for sure.

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  10. Lorraine, I'll take a recap or blurb on all three it's your day!

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  11. These are the first books in my three series.

    MURDER ON THE MIND by L.L. Bartlett
    The mind is a complex entity; it can play strange tricks. It did to Jeff Resnick when he awoke physically bruised and psychologically shattered from a vicious mugging. His recurrent visions of a slaughtered buck in a garage take on terrible new meaning when a local banker is found in the same condition. Jeff sets out to find the killer--no matter what the stakes.

    A Crafty Killing by Lorraine Bartlett
    The last thing Katie Bonner wanted was to become the manager of Artisans Alley. But when her business partner, Ezra Hilton, is found lying at the bottom of a staircase, bludgeoned to death, she has no other choice. While the cops are proceeding by the book, Katie is investigating by the booths—for the answer to the killer’s identity lies in the hidden secrets of Artisans Alley itself.

    MURDER IS BINDING by Lorna Barrett
    When she moved to Stoneham, city-slicker Tricia Miles was met with friendly faces. And when she opened her mystery bookstore, she met with friendly competition. But when she finds Doris Gleason dead in her own cookbook store, killed by a carving knife, the atmosphere seems more cutthroat than cordial. Someone wanted to get their hands on the rare cookbook that Doris had recently purchased—and the locals think that someone is Tricia. To clear her name, Tricia will have to take a page out of one of her own mysteries—and hunt down someone who isn’t killing by the book…

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  12. Thanks, Lorraine, went ahead and added these to the blog so readers can check them out! Each sound fascinating.

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  13. Thanks Lorraine, I have so much fun reading your books. Can't wait to start A Crafty Killing.
    Tess

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  14. I love the Tricia Miles books. I will definately read all of Lorraine's books, I think the Jeff Resnick books will be next. I'll download them onto my new Nook which was a gift from my daughter. I thoroughly enjoyed this interview.
    Nancy Roessner

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  15. I liked the interview. I read Murder is Binding and sometime I'll have to read the others. So many books, so little time. I want to try out A Crafty Killing and see if I prefer one series over another.

    spookycat72@gmail.com

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  16. Hi Lorraine!
    I am a big fan of Tricia's (and the dear sweet Mr. Everett) and have recently finished A Crafty Killing. I am remiss in not writing reviews for Amazon...your posts have put that on my "to do" list for sure!!

    Thanks for all that you do...
    Nanc

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  17. I think you are one of the few real awesome writers around. It's so nice to read about how you feel about your characters. I will start passing the word about Jeff Resnick. Give it a bit of time, so the seeds can bloom big.

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  19. I'm so pleased to see so many of you have given one or two of my series a try. Hope you'll try them all.

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  20. What was the factor that you believe led to your contract book gig? (Sorry if I phrased that wrong, I don't know exactly how this process works.) Thanks.


    ozsulin@dwx.com

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  21. Um...not sure what you mean by contract book gig. Could you rephrase the question?

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  22. Do you make time to read others books? I'm sure you have a lot of friends who write?

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  23. I loved reading the Bookstore books so much, that when I saw the cover for "Sentenced to Death" I emailed my favorite bookstore to pre-order a copy. Now, I will have to see if they can can get "Murder on the Mind". I read "A Crafty Killing" right after I bought it and look forward to reading more of that series. Thanks so much for the wonderful mysteries.

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  24. Vivian, I have very little time to read for pleasure these days. Most of the fiction I read is for blurbs for other authors. I'm having to turn some of those down because I've made goals for the year I can't make if I'm constantly reading other stuff. That said, I will make time to read my favorite series. I just read Ellery Adams's A DEADLY CLICHE and loved it. (Can you tell I was between projects?) I'm juggling three projects right now (including starting to write the 3rd Victoria Square Mystery) and feeling a teensy bit stressed.

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  25. Duh, well, you said when writing under contract you can't have writer's block. So perhaps this is a non-question. Do you have a contract to produce 'A' book in a certain series? Or a multiple book contract with certain deadlines? Or maybe I should just shutup now. Apparently my dose of Starbucks coffee was not a particularly good thing.

    ozsulin@dwx.com

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  26. Rachelle, Murder on the Mind is available as a trade paperback, an ebook, and a audio book. Here's the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Murder-Mind-Jeff-Resnick-Mysteries/dp/1456555456/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

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  27. Oh, and thanks for your patience. :-}

    ozsulin@dwx.com

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  28. Lin, I'm under contract to write the Victoria Square and Booktown Mysteries. The contract specifically says I will deliver a book on a specific date. It would be unprofessional of me to not hit those target dates. Publishers schedule books up to 18 months in advace. If authors didn't deliver on time it would really disrupt the schedule.

    Here's an example. Murder on the Mind was originally scheduled to be published in Feb. 2006. But an author missed her deadline and they decided to replace my book with her slot. At the time I thought this was great. It turned out to be a disaster that nearly derailed my writing career. The book did not go out in time to be reviewed by Library Journal, Kirkus, Publisher's Weekly or Booklist, and since libraries but based on those reviews (and my publisher targeted the library market), my print run was miniscule and I never even made back my paltry advance. What might have happened if that author hadn't missed her deadline? Who knows. But I cried buckets of tears over what happened and what might have been.

    My agent recently negotiated a new contract (Books 7,8,9) for the Booktown series. The original dates were totally unworkable. I had her amend them so that I could juggle both series. (And I still hope to write another Jeff Resnick book in the interim.)

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  29. Thank you and I'm sorry about the circumstances of publishing "Murder on the Mind." I am *very* glad your career was not derailed although it's horrible that the timing caused such problems. I am glad to hear that your Booktown series has books 7, 8 and 9 under contract. Looking forward to all of them.

    ozsulin@dwx.com

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  30. Very interesting interview quite refreshing !What inspires you to write the various types of series?

    And what method do you use to come up with your character names ?

    Thanks for the stunning giveaway!

    Take Care
    Desere

    desere_steenberg@yahoo.com

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  31. The very first "mystery" I ever read was a book written by Barbara Micheals. All her romantic suspense novels had a paranormal thread. I always thought if I wrote a novel I'd love to do soemthing with a paranormal thread and Jeff Resnick appeared. He's viciously mugged and his injuries include a skull fracture which makes him a little bit psychic. He's a trained insurance investigator and while he's influenced by his psycic ability, he does not rely on his insight alone to solve a crime.

    I was a vendor in an antique co-op for 12 years, which is why I chose to write about a similar business (Artisans Alley) in A Crafty Killing. I always wondered what it would be like to run such a place (and thought I might do things a lot different than the manager of the place where I was a vendor). I get to live out that fantasy in my Victoria Square Mysteries.

    Lots of times I pick names out of the phone book. Sometimes I consult baby name books. It varies.

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  32. Brilliant thank you so much for taking the time to reply to my questions and thanks again for the stunning interview !

    Take care
    Desere

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  33. Welcome, Lorraine! Sorry I'm so late to the party. Been one of those days.

    I laughed when I read that you always hate your first 40K I'm the opposite, most books. I LOVE the book at the beginning when I'm throwing balls up in the air... Then in the final 40 or so when I have to actually catch them all???? Sometimes that part makes me crazy for a while to the point where I have to go back to the beginning and toss in slightly different directions to get through the latter part of the middle and the end.

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  34. Lorraine - I love the idea of using your car as an isolation tank! I live in Michigan, so I know what you mean about not being able to easily do that during this time of year. :)

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  35. Lorraine, I'm just glad you are writing because I enjoy all your books.

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  36. Interesting what you said about the first 40,000 words. I just write 50,000 words in November (for National Novel Writing Month), and I was sweating bullets to make that, since I had never written any story over 20,000 words.

    I enjoy your works. I've just gotten into mysteries (apart from Agatha Christie) in the last couple of years...

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  37. BTW, I'm a different Lorraine :-)

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