Please welcome Erika Chase, author of the Ashton Corners Book Club Mysteries.
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
My perfect day includes equal parts of uninterrupted writing time plus reading time on the deck, an iced tea in hand, and a cat or two close by. Of course, they’ll probably be vying for my lap.
Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase, or meal?
At home, my signature “accessories” are my two Siamese cats, Keesha and Mojo. They’re always close by and especially “helpful” when I’m settled in front of the computer to write. On a foodie note, I carry on the tradition of baking my mama’s Swedish Coffee Bread each Christmas for the family.
Excluding family, name three people who either inspired you or influenced your creativity.
Mr. Ross, my eighth grade English teacher who said great things about my early attempts at writing. Phyllis Wilson, newspaper reporting prof at Journalism school, who got me hooked on reporting as a career. Nancy Pickard, cozy mystery author of the Jenny Cain series, my favorite read for many years.
Do you listen to music when you write?
Usually I do. When I first started writing the Ashton Corners Book Club Mysteries, I listened to the soundtrack from the Big Easy over and over again. Also, Sweet Home Alabama and others for that Southern feel. But my all-time favorite background for writing is baroque music.
If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
A dark chocolate bar from cocoa Nymph because it’s my very favorite chocolate. I salivate just thinking about it!
What made you interested in writing this particular story?
Books. Books. And more books. How much fun to write a series that combines mysteries with reading books and having my characters share them while I’m sharing them with readers!
What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?
Secrets from the past that surface with repercussions in the present.
Tell us about your main character’s psyche or personality. What led her (or him) to be the person s/he is today?
Lizzie Turner, the main series character, is caring and curious. She’s deeply concerned about her friends which is why she doesn’t hesitant to get involved if they’re in trouble, like say a murder charge is looming. Of course, a healthy dose of curiosity helps, too. And, she’s loyal, sometimes to a fault. Her childhood traumas, dealing with the death of her daddy when she was ten and the eventual withdrawal of her mamma from reality, combined with the nurturing of many friends, worked together to shape her.
Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
Trixie Belden of the same series, Christine Cagney of the Cagney and Lacy TV show, and Katie Couric, noted TV host. All favorites of mine at some time or other and females I admire.
If you could host an author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
P.D. James, Carolyn Hart, Martin Walker, Andrea Camilleri, Joanne Harris, and Kate Atkinson. All for the same reason – I’m a huge fan of their works. And I’d love to talk writing with them all evening long. I also think it would be quite a fascinating evening with such different personalities.
What’s next for you?
I’m just putting the finishing touches on the fifth Ashton Corners Book Club Mystery which will be out next spring and then, as my alter ego, Linda Wiken, I start writing the first book in the Culinary Capers Mysteries about a supper club. All very mysterious at this point
Please visit me at http://www.erikachase.com, on Facebook, and at Twitter @erika_chase.
Erika Chase, in a parallel life AKA Linda Wiken, is a former mystery bookstore owner.
The fourth book in the Ashton Corners Book Club Mysteries, Book Fair and Foul has just been released and she’s working on the fifth. She’s a member of the Ladies’ Killing Circle. She’s been short-listed for an Arthur Ellis Award for Best Short Story from Crime Writers of Canada, and for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel. www.erikachase.com