Interview with Lauren Carr, author of DEAD ON ICE


Lauren Carr fell in love with mysteries when her mother read Perry Mason to her at bedtime.

Lauren is also the author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. The first two books in her series, It’s Murder, My Son and Old Loves Die Hard have been getting rave reviews from readers and reviewers. Lauren’s fifth mystery, Shades of Murder has been receiving rave reviews since its release.

Lauren’s sixth book, Dead on Ice, has just been released. Dead on Ice introduces a new series entitled Lovers in Crime, in which Joshua Thornton will join forces with homicide detective Cameron Gates.

The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This spring, two books written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.

She lives with her husband, son, and two dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Visit her websites at www.acornbookservices.com and www.mysterylady.net.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

Dead on Ice is the first installment of my new series (Lovers in Crime) featuring Hancock County Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Thornton and Pennsylvania State Police homicide detective Cameron Gates. 

Spunky Cameron Gates is tasked with solving the murder of Cherry Pickens, a legendary star of pornographic films, whose body turns up in an abandoned freezer. The case has a personal connection to her lover, Joshua Thornton, because the freezer was located in his cousin’s basement. It doesn’t take long for their investigation to reveal that the risqué star’s roots were buried in their rural Ohio Valley community, something that Cherry had kept off her show business bio. She should have kept her hometown off her road map, too—because when this starlet came running home from the mob, it proved to be a fatal homecoming.

I wrote the first draft of Dead on Ice back in 2007, years before hoarders became a household word. A friend was telling me about a house that she had moved into that was filled with junk. One closet that she cleaned out was filled from floor to ceiling with those tubes that toilet paper is wrapped around. So, I started thinking, “Gee, what if they found a dead body under all that junk?” That year, I wrote the rough draft for Dead on Ice, even though I had no title for it. But was I unhappy with how it came out. So I filed it away in a folder on my laptop and showed it to no one.

This spring, after I published Shades of Murder, the third Mac Faraday book, where I introduced the characters Cameron Gates and Joshua Thornton, I was struck with the solution to solving my problem with Dead on Ice. The same day Shades of Murder was released, I started on the next draft for Dead on Ice and wrote non-stop for one whole night until I was done. I even had the title. The problem with the first draft was the original main characters. Once I developed the Lovers in Crime, Dead on Ice came completely together.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

The puzzle is the most difficult part of a mystery. I consider murder mysteries to be story puzzles. I start out with the whole picture, and then I take it apart piece by piece. The reader is then challenged to put it all together as they read it in hopes of coming up with the whole picture before I reveal it at the end.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

My publisher is Acorn Book Services, which I own. I have published every way there is. My first book was published by iUniverse. A Small Case of Murder was named Independent Publishers Book Award finalist in 2004.

I was then picked up by Five Star Mystery. As honored as I was to be published in hardback, I quickly discovered that it is very hard to sell a $25 hardback when you’re an unknown.

One day I had an a-hah moment. My degree was in journalism. I had worked more than ten years with the federal government as an editor and layout designer. I don’t need to give a portion of my profits to any publisher. I could do this all myself!

So, I published It’s Murder, My Son, the first Mac Faraday mystery, through CreateSpace in 2010. That book, and the other books that followed in the series, proved to be my most successful book in sales and reviews. I also independently published the e-book versions, which were even more profitable.

Other authors then started asking me to help them publish their books. That was when Acorn Book Services was born!

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

How many facets there are to it. I went into publishing A Small Case of Murder thinking I would just hand off my book to iUniverse, it would come out, appear on the bookshelves in the stores and I would be an instant star.

Nope, that isn’t how it happens. There are so many different parts to it. New authors have so many preconceived notions; which, if they don’t have an advocate in their corner willing to educate them, can cost them not just money, but threaten the success of their book.

Q: Can you describe the feeling when you saw your published book for the first time?

I was so tickled when I received my first proof of A Small Case of Murder. Here was my book, my words, packed up between the cover of a book. I was so anxious and naïve, that I picked up the phone and called the publisher and told him to “Let ‘er rip! Let’s release that baby out to the world!” No one told me that you are supposed to read the proof for typos. When my mother received her copy, she was horrified by how many typos there were. We fixed them, but the publisher would only let us do so much. It still embarrasses me, which is why I strive to help other authors keep from making the same mistakes.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

The fourth Mac Faraday mystery on Deep Creek Lake, Blast From the Past, is coming this spring! Mac finds himself up to his eyeballs with mobsters and federal agents.

After an attempted hit ends badly with two of his men dead, newly released mobster Tommy Cruze decides to come to Spencer, Maryland, to personally supervise his orders to take out the witness responsible for putting him behind bars—Archie Monday!

To protect his lady love, Mac Faraday has to put all of his resources together in a battle against one of the most dangerous leaders in organized crime.

Q: Fun question: How does your book contribute to making this world a better place?

It provides readers with an escape into a world where truth and justice always prevails. The killer is always caught and all is right with the world when you reach the end.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

Whenever possible, surprise people. Do the right thing.
  
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

For a good time, read Dead on Ice!
Visit my websites and blog at:
E-Mail: writerlaurencarr@comcast.net
Website: http://acornbookservices.com/
                 http://mysterylady.net/
Blog: Literary Wealth: http://literarywealth.wordpress.com/


Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lauren.carr.984991
Gnarly’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/GnarlyofMacFaradayMysteries
Twitter: @TheMysteryLadie
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