Second Saturday Author Interview with Julie Seedorf

As you can see from the photo, we are in for a real treat today as we visit with the fun and unexpected Julie Seedorf, author of cozy-comic mysteries set in Minnesota.

weird pic of me

Thank you so much for joining us today, Julie, and for answering a few questions for me and your many curious fans… I mean the fans are curious to learn about you, not that they are necessarily odd, you understand…(ahem) Maybe we’d better get right to the questions:

  • You obviously wear many hats: mother, grandmother, computer technician, author – can you give us a snapshot of your career path? I began writing in high school for fun, fell in love with speech and enrolled in college for a short time wanting to become a speech teacher. It didn’t feel right so I left college and worked as a secretary, which is what it was called in those days. Got married, had three kids and became a full time mom for a time. Part time jobs always seemed to be offered to me. I don’t think I have ever applied for a job. I worked in activities in a nursing home, as a soda jerk, waitress, bartender, advertising rep, and volunteered as SADD advisor, Sunday School Superintendent, and more. I wrote programs for church Christmas and Lenten services. Someone offered me a job as office manager of a small computer firm after my kids were gone (another fell into). They trained me as a computer technician and then when they closed their business they helped me set up my own computer business. I closed that in 2012 to become a full time columnist and author.
  • You live in Minnesota. How similar is your home town to Fuchsia and Brilliant, the towns in your books? If they are alike, at all, I definitely want to move to Minnesota, snow and all. My community is very different from Fuchsia and Brilliant as it has the rules most people have in their communities. One thing it does have in common is that it is a small community, probably a little smaller than Fuchsia, but it has many caring people.
  • How did you connect with Cozy Cat Publishers? It was a fluke. I had never intended to get published. I was too chicken to send my book into anyone. One day I was reading a book by a Cozy Cat Author and thought it sounded a lot like the book I wrote. On a quick whim I immediately queried the company. They told me to send my manuscript. I wasn’t nervous about it because I thought I would get rejected. I got an answer and they told me they might consider it if I made changes. I took two months to do it and resent it and they accepted me. I call it a God thing.
  • The pets in your stories seem to have amazing abilities. Can you share any stories about your own, real life, pets? I have two shysters of my own. I would own more but I have someone in my household that keeps a reign on my animal love. Boris and Natasha were both rescues. Boris is laid back and huge, 17 pounds. He is the lover. We also have Natasha, in fact I have a couple of video’s out with her. She can get into anything. We have hooks on our bi-fold doors, Velcro on our cupboard doors and the backs of our recliners taped shut. The best story is one night when I was sleeping and I heard my closet door opening waking me up. Then I heard the bottom drawer in my closet chest  opening and then I heard a few noises that I wasn’t sure what they were. I opened my eyes and the empty coffee maker box was sitting in the middle of my bedroom. It had been tucked away tightly underneath a shelf in the closet. I heard noises coming from the box. Natasha had opened the closet, opened the bottom drawer and then moved on and maneuvered the box out of the closet and unhooked the tab holding the cover shut and then opened the top and got in. I couldn’t figure out how she did it so the next time I heard her in the middle of the night I got my camera on my cell phone out and videotaped it. You can see it on my youtube channel.  (Click here...I watched it and it is amazing!)
  • The question every author is asked: are you like Granny? How much of these stories are autobiographical? I think there is always a part of all of us in our books. I would like to be like Granny and I am in the fact that I don’t like conformity. But Granny is actually somewhat like my mother. She was stubborn, believed she could do anything and that she wasn’t old. She kept on going and could do anything including being on top of her roof fixing it, running a chainsaw etc. until she was around 92.

Well, this is surprising, Julie, look who just came in! Bunny Elder, what are you doing here? and who is that with you? 

grannyHi, J.B. This is my pal, Hermiony Vidalia Criony. When we heard that you and Julie were getting together, we decided to add our two cents. Move over, ladies, and let us take your seats, so I can interview Hermiony. Put down the pitchfork, Granny, before you poke someone’s eye out.

 

  • As a woman of a certain age, I know numbers don’t matter, but just how old are you, Granny? I am 25 but I am an undercover sleuth, you know, so I have to hide under this wrinkly body costume. Your  kids seem to think you are on the edge of decrepitude, but you look pretty spry to me.  – Do you remember Spry cooking oil? If you greased something up with that it would slip through your fingers. So as long as they think I’m, ah, that big word you used,  then I’m just like the cooking oil, slippery, and I can slip things right past their noses. Just like they did when they were teenagers. You know what they say, payback is  a *****.

  • Do you mind that Julie shares your secret passions – “naughty” books and lingerie – with the readers? I just hate it when J.B. tells everyone when I slip up or give in to temptations. A girl should have some secrets; don’t you agree? – I don’t mind, as long as my readers don’t tell my kids or Franklin or Silas. Oh wait, you probably haven’t met Silas. Anyway, if my readers tell my kids then I will put the kibosh on Julie telling tales.

  • Don’t your fancy purple leather pajamas sweat? Of course, the Oregon Coast where I live is warmer than Fuchsia, Minnesota.- Honey, I can’t answer that question for the readers because this is a G rated interview.

  • I envy your ability to eat what you want (all those chocolate truffles and doughnuts!) and not worry about cholesterol or extra pounds. Do you have an exercise regimen you can recommend? – Yup, you should try it sometime. You take your right hand, if you’re right-handed, and pick up a truffle or a donut and then you raise your right hand to your mouth, give it a twist and toss the truffle or the donut into your mouth. Then you lower your arm and hand, pick up another truffle and donut, give it a twist and toss. Great arm exercises. You forgot to add wine. I bend over my footstool, whip my arm in a big circle and open the footstool. Lift out the heavy bottle of wine, twist my wrist to pour it all while bent over, and then I lift the bottle back into the footstool, tap twice on the top of the footstool to make it secure and then I slowly unbend at the waist and lift the top of my body back up straight. Then I lift my right arm, grab my wrist with my left arm, open my mouth and gently move my wrists to tip up the glass and pour the wine into my mouth. I can give you a diagram sometime if you want to follow those exercises.

  • Julie provides you with some wonderful mysteries to solve, but your bad guys seem pretty tame compared to the nasty brutes J.B. gives me to deal with. Would you like a roommate? Ya know, I know it seems that way in the books, she tends to whitewash it, but if you knew what I really go through, but she insists this needs to be a cozy mystery so she refuses to tell the entire gruesome tale. Did you say broommate? You know a witch?

Well, thanks so much for dropping by, girls, so sorry you have to leave, right now. Bye, Bunny, bye, Granny! So long, see ya!  –  Whew! Please excuse that interruption, Julie. I know you understand how it is. We create these characters and before you know it, they have a mind of their own. Now, where were we? Oh yes:

  • Please tell us about your current work in progress – I’m working on Granny Pins A Pilferer, another Fuchsia Minnesota Mystery and The Joy Killer, which is a serious book about a woman examining her life and choices when she turns 65. Sounds interesting. I’ll have to read that before I hit the big six-five (again).
  • Any other plans for the future? I guess God has led me this far, so I don’t plan too much in the future. There will be another book in the Brilliant Minnesota Series after my new book The Penderghast Puzzle Protectors. It’s a hoot and has ties to Fuchsia but with an entire new cast of characters. puzzle bookJust released in February. And I am also a columnist for area newspapers. My column is called Something About Nothing on the premise we talk about nothings every day when we meet but underneath those nothings there is something wanting to be said if we take the time to listen.

Thanks so much for sharing with us today, Julie. It’s been great fun.

To learn more about Julie and her writing follow any of the links below:

http://julieseedorf.com
http://sprinklednotes.com
http://www.facebook.com/julie.seedorf.author
http://www.amazon.com/Julie-Seedorf/e/B009WAAANQ
http://www.twitter.com/julieseedorf
http://www.instagram.com/julie_seedorf

 

 

Interview with Author, Krysten Lindsay Hager

Today I am interviewing fellow author, Krysten Lindsay Hager.

Thanks for joining us, Krysten. We are all eager to get to know you and your work.Krysten Lindsay Hager

Your genres are children, teen and YA values and virtues fiction. What led you to focus your writing for young people? 

I loved reading when I was growing up and so many of the middle grade and young adult books I read then shaped me as a person. I remember reading on my bed one day and thinking how amazing it must be to be the author of the book I was reading and how it must feel to touch people’s lives that way. I always wanted to write a book that did that for someone else and I wanted to write teen fiction since it had touched my heart.

Have you found today’s youth to be receptive to the values presented in your work? Perhaps you would like to share what values and virtues you are trying to promote.

I have gotten a lot of messages from young readers who feel like my characters are dealing with the same things that they deal with, such as self-esteem issues, frenemies, social media influences and self-image issues. My characters talk about things like dealing with feeling anxious, feeling like they don’t fit in and having to conform to fit in and those are all things I dealt with growing up. I want to promote that even though we see certain images in the media, that much of that is false—even your best friends Instagram pics can be modified and filtered to look better than they do in reality. I want teens to realize that their value isn’t in their appearance or the things they own or how popular they are, which is something they are really bombarded with in the media. Being a good friend and having your focus on what’s really important and staying true to your values are the things to pay attention to—not who is dating who and what bag everyone is carrying.

You lived in Portugal for a time. What took you there, and what are your strongest impressions of the place and its people?

We moved to a Portuguese island because of my husband’s job. What I first noticed there was the more laid back pace. People will sit and talk over a cup of coffee for hours and enjoy each other’s company. There was less of a focus on schedules and to-do lists and a slower pace of life. I found that when I moved back to the U.S., you could really see a change in me. I drove a few of my family members crazy because they would discuss the “itinerary” of the day while we were eating and I’d say, “Wait, let’s just enjoy our meal and then we can figure out what we want to do or play it by ear.” I really irritated my aunt with that. It was such a foreign concept to her to not have a plan ready to go.  Religion is a big part of their culture, which is something that I was brought up with as well, so it felt familiar to me and I enjoyed going out on Sundays and seeing that the focus was on spending time with family and friends.

Like you, I’ve lived in South Dakota. Coming from California, I noticed the cultural differences. What are the biggest differences you notice between South Dakota and Ohio, where you now live?

I moved from Michigan to South Dakota and I remember people would stare at my clothes and not in a, “Oh I want to buy that,” kind of way! At the time, that Jennifer Lopez urban style was what was in style where I was living and working, which was between Detroit and Flint, Michigan. So when I moved to South Dakota, it seemed like every time I’d meet someone they’d say something like, “Oh you’re not from around here.” It would make me laugh a little bit. There was a lot of Scandinavian culture there, which was interesting to me. I liked learning about that. I was in a couple of writing groups at the time and at one event I was introduced as the “ethnic” writer. I guess it was because I was working on my thesis about Polish-Americans at the time. When I lived before in Michigan, no one batted an eye when I began my thesis on that, but in South Dakota, it stood out more. Ohio is much more like Michigan in some ways, but I live in the southwestern part and you do feel more of the southern pace here than you do in Michigan.

How long have you been writing? Is it your full-time occupation or do you have another job?

I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I started going to writing conferences straight out of high school. I freelanced and have worked as a journalist, so it’s always been about writing for me. Now my focus is on fiction and other types of creative writing and I seemed to have put journalism behind me, but who knows if I’ll ever go back to it.

How many books have you published?

I have three young adult novels published and two coming out next year. My books are: True Colors, Best Friends…Forever? and Next Door to a Star. My other books coming out are, Landry in Like (out January 12, 2016) and Competing with the Star (out March 22).

Can you give us an idea of your writing schedule?

I don’t have a set schedule. I usually do my business admin side of writing first to get it out of the way and off my mind. I write at night and in the early morning. I edit as I go, which is something a lot of writers prefer to do at the very end when they are finished, but I find it helps me to get back into the story easier if I begin with some editing before I begin to write.

Do you have a current project you would like to tell us about?

I am editing Competing with the Star now, which is the sequel to Next Door to a Star. In this book, we see the growth of my teen character Hadley as she and her new boyfriend form a deeper bond as he confides in her about his grandfather being diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinson’s. It brings the two closer together, but then we see people interfering with the relationship and Hadley’s insecurities about never having a boyfriend before and looking at his exes (as well as finding out he had a crush on their friend, a former TV star) really messing with her self-esteem. I love the scenes between Nick and Hadley and the way she navigated through friendships, betrayals and handing her insecurities. She also makes an unlikely friend who has her back through all of it.

Sounds like an interesting book. I’m sure your young readers will love it.

Thank you so much for sharing today. Where can we learn more about you and your work?

Website: http://www.krystenlindsay.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KrystenLindsay

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/KrystenLindsayHagerAuthor

Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/krystenlindsay/

Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/Krysten-Lindsay-Hager/e/B00L2JC9P2/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Instagram http://instagram.com/krystenlindsay

Readers, please come back 2/13/16, for my next Second Saturday Interview, when we will be meeting another Young Adult author, Angela Carling, whose latest release is The Secret Keeper, a powerful story of human fallibility, sacrifice, and timeless love inspired by a small town in Heber Arizona. Here’s a little blurb:  

       When Seventeen year old Winter Merrill chose to make a bargain with the mysterious Secret Keeper, she knew there were rulSecretKeeperCoveres. The most important one, the next time you have a secret, you will not be able to tell it….even if you try.
What she didn’t know is that her next secret if not told, would destroy her life and the life of Liam, the only boy she ever loved. Can Winter find a way out of the dark bargain that binds her tongue or will her deal with the Secret Keeper bring devastating consequences unimaginable even to her?

 

The Big Day, Dec. 1

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Click on the Book image to buy now

On December 1, 2015, A Body in the Belfry will be available in all formats.  I’m discounting the digital version (Kindle, ePub) to only 99 cents for a limited time during the launch. After that, it will return to the regular price of $4.99.  Those who have pre-ordered will get the $.99 price.

I’m excited to have this book “out there” because I think it shows how I’ve grown as an author.

Please share the promotional discount with your friends who read cozy mysteries and Christian fiction, so they can take advantage of the low price.

If you read and enjoy this, or any of my books, please consider posting a review. Reviews really do make a world of difference to authors.

A Body in the Belfry Now Available in Print from Amazon

The long wait is over. Print copies of A Body in the Belfry are now available. The digital version is in pre-order from all the major dealers for release December 1.

View on Amazon

Now I’m in the crucial (and dreaded) promotion/marketing phase.

Thanks to my launch team and all my supportive fans for sharing news about my books and posting positive reviews. What would I do without you?

I am being interviewed for 30 minutes on the Rave Reviews Book Club radio show, Rave Waves, this coming Thursday, November 12 beginning at 9:00 a.m. (Pacific Time). Listen in by going to Bring on the Spotlight. You can submit questions during the live broadcast by tweeting with the tag: #RRBCBringOnTheSpotlight.  The program archives are available at http://hosts.blogtalkradio.com/ravereviewsbookclub.

I’m learning to create trailers (video snippets) for my books. The one for A Body in the Belfry is below:

Be sure to watch for next week’s blog when I interview the team writing as Maureen Kovach, authors of Sunny Side Up and other cozies featuring life on Lake Erie.

Progress Report: A Body in the Belfry Launch Update

In response to the generous, encouraging fans who have asked about my upcoming release in the First Ladies Club series, I am happy to report “A Body in the Belfry” is on track for an early release.

Thanks to hard work by my beta readers and editors, I am reviewing the proof copy this weekend and anticipate publication of the print version to happen mid-November, just in time for Christmas gift-giving ;-).

The digital version for Kindle and other ebook-readers will be in pre-order until December.

There is still time to join my launch team and receive a free Advance Review Copy (ARC) in exchange for an honest review.  If you would like to participate and are willing to read and post your review when the print copy releases in November, drop me an email, telling me a little about yourself, to: jbhawker@jbhawker.com and I will send you a PDF copy of the book.

Besides posting reviews on Amazon, members of a launch team are encouraged to promote a book on social media and share with family and friends.

No writer can be a success without the generous support of fans like you.

Thanks so much.