Today I want to share what I have learned about writers, Libby Vivone and her sister, Candi, who write by the names of Annie Irvin and Rae Sanders. I'm a little confused but that's nothing new. These gals have put together a wonderful book (cozy mystery) called Final Sale, a Bittersweet Hollow Mystery.
The final sale of Olivia Waterford’s beautiful old bed and breakfast, the Bittersweet Inn, seems to be going smoothly. A lovely young couple--Mead and Alice Hoover--are ready to take over the running of the Inn so Olivia can retire to a townhouse and enjoy her later years. Unfortunately, just as the almost new owners are enjoying the local Pumpkin Festival on the grounds of the Inn, their real estate agent, Grace Potter, is found murdered in a shack on the back end of the property. The horror of a killing on the Inn’s grounds is bad enough, but Alice Hoover is apparently psychic and claims that Grace Potter’s ghost refuses to allow the sale to take place until her murderer is caught.
Annie Irvin has enjoyed a nomadic life and after inheriting her grandfather's large collection of books still managed to always find room in the U-Haul for every last page even if it meant leaving behind the kitchen table. Eventually Annie ended up where she began—a small town in Iowa where gossip is king and scandal has ruined more than one good woman, although no one has yet resorted to murder.
Annie Irvin and Rae Sanders are sisters who became addicted to reading cozy mysteries while in their teens. Today they enjoy every minute spent creating the characters that live, love, and alas die in Bittersweet Hollow.
Now we will listen to author Libby Vivone in her own words:
1. Libby, please tell us who or what influenced the cozy writing?
It would have to be my sister. I think we had been fooling around with the idea of writing a book for several years, we had written a satirical murder mystery, and then one day I asked her if we could do it for real. She said yes, but she wanted to do the cozy thing. I just followed her.
2. How long have you and Candi been writing together?
Seriously for about four years, I guess. And there are other things I like to write. I have been working on what I was calling a mystery, not quite a thriller and not quite a romance. I would like to try my hand with a futuristic theme.
And I would like to talk my sister into doing a series other than the
Bittersweet Hollow stories.
3. Are you two anything like your protagonist?
Candi thought about us when doing this book. It is more like what would you do, or I can't see me doing that. But there isn't really a cookie-cutter type of thing going on here. (That we are aware of
4. Please tell us about your methods and your style?
Whoa. And here I thought this was going to be easy. Both Candi and I like to outline where we want to go with the story. We may end up doing 180º, but we start with one plot.
We write backgrounds on all of our characters. At least two typed pages of who these people are and why are they doing whatever it is they're doing. We do this together, each contributing.
As for the writing style, I like to just type. Just go with it and see where I end up, take it as it comes to mind, live in the moment.
A lot of that turns out to be useless, but that's the way I like to do it. Candi keeps me grounded when I end up off character, my mind goes to far, far away, and my moments are garbage. I really need to slow down and I mean SLOW DOWN.
I was going to say I try to write every day, but that's a lie. I work Mondays and Tuesdays, (at a grocery store, with the public, and yes I draw a lot from some of the characters who are customers), so as far as writing on those days, I don't. I can get back to it by Wednesday, unless I have an appointment or a really filthy house, (and I mean it must be really filthy for me to dig in and clean), then I try to get in gear in the afternoon. The rest of the week I can spend five or more hours at "work," which most days seem like
play. Although there are times when it is really hard work.
5. Libby, where do you live and why do you live there?
I live in southern Iowa with my daughter, a single mom. She has one boy in college and two who are in the sixth grade. Yes, twins.
Besides my daughter, I have twin boys also, and three more grandchildren and five great grandchildren in Missouri. My sister lives in Minnesota. I guess Iowa is in the middle of all that, and is
the reason I am here and not in a state with a better climate.
6. What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I read. And read, and read, and read. I have been known to knit, but only scarves. I am a terrible cook and my housekeeping would not win any prizes. I like to plant flowers and some of them even live.
7. What projects are you currently involved in?
So far, the only thing going is the Bittersweet Hollow book.
Candi takes care of the website and the blog, I just write a few things for it now and then.
Candi and I are outlining characters in the second Bittersweet Hollow book. We tend to start to write and then have to stop and go back to who are these people and why have they just done what we've just written they did.
Thank you, Libby, Candi, Annie and Rae (it takes a village) for taking the time to answer questions and share your lives as authors.