ABOUT THE BOOK38-year-old formal teen idol Sandy Fairfax is a guest panelist on a TV game show–and the first category is murder! When his brother, a college professor, is framed for the murder of one of his students, Sandy investigates, in between fighting with his ex, visiting his kids, wooing his new girlfriend, and presenting a concert at a black tie gala to save his father’s orchestra. Sandy’s ready to tear out his long blond hair as the game points and suspects pile up.
INTERVIEW WITH SALLY CARPENTER
What's your favorite thing about the writing process?
Revisions, when the characters begin to develop, the writing smooths out, I streamline the plot, and it all pulls together.
Do you write every day?
No, but I try to write most days, and it’s not always on a book. Sometimes I’m writing a blog post (like right now) or my newspaper column. Sometimes I’m spending the time researching for the book. And occasionally it’s good to take a “vacation” day or two and just read or catch up on life’s chores.
How often do you read?
Daily. I read as part of my day job at a community newspaper. I read to do research for my writing. I try to include “fun” reading at the end of the day if I’m not too exhausted.
What books do you currently have published?
I have four books in the Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol mystery series: The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper, The Sinister Sitcom Caper, The Cunning Cruise Ship Caper, and The Quirky Quiz Show Caper. I wrote chapter three of the group mystery novel Chasing the Codex. I have a short story each in the anthologies Last Exit to Murder and Plan B: Omnibus.
Do you have any marketing tips you could pass on to indie authors?
Find your niche. For my first book, I did a guest post on every blog I found and joined a number of online writers’ groups. Most of that was wasted effort. Since then I’ve focused my efforts toward cozy readers only. I’ve joined cozy reader Facebook groups and limited my guest posts to cozy-focused blogs. This has worked better than trying to reach every possible person. I also had good success with a recent Goodreads giveaway. I caution authors at paying for ads and listings in “mass mailing” blogs. That hasn’t worked for me; I didn’t earn back what I paid. But some authors swear by paid ads/listings, so that must work for some writers. And don’t get so bogged down in marketing that you forget to write the next book! I spent an entire year doing nothing but marketing. I had few sales, no new book, and my previous publisher dropped me. So I got smart, wrote another book, and found a new publisher.
If you could only watch one television station for a year, what would it be?
That’s easy: TCM. I love old movies. Many of them are still “new” to me, and the ones I’ve seen I watch again. In those days the storytelling/writing was superior to now. The acting (except for B movies) was better too.
What’s one thing you never leave the house without?
House and car keys. Duh. I have to lock the house and start the car.
That's two things! You can lock you house, but you can't go anywhere. :) What do you love about where you live?
My cats have a big outdoor area where they can lounge, prowl, and catch mice. And I have a detached cottage, no adjoining walls with any neighbors.
What's your favorite treat for movie night?
Popcorn and chocolate (separate, not together).
What drives you crazy?
People who lie to me.
What’s your least favorite chore?
Taking the car to the garage, as car repairs generally end up taking a great deal of my time and money to get them fixed.
Would you rather be a movie star, sports star, or rock star?
Do you procrastinate?
I’ll answer that question late.
What would your main character say about you?
That I need to give him more sexy love scenes and fewer deathtrap scenes.
Where is your favorite library, and what do you love about it?
I’ve never “used” this library as a patron, as it’s too far away, but once I went on a group tour of the Los Angeles Central downtown library. It’s a massive building full of incredible artwork, paintings and sculpture. Lots of things to look at and endless stacks to wander in. And it has over a million books! A person could check out books weekly and still not read everything.
Who is your favorite fictional character?
I have two: Lt. Columbo (best detective ever) and Ernest Pratt, dime novelist in the Old West from the TV show Legend.
How do you like your pizza?
Pizza Hut veggie pizza.
What is the wallpaper on your computer’s desktop?
A goofy looking bird is staring at me and saying, “Is the book done yet? Is it? Is it? How about now?
What’s your biggest pet peeve about writing?
That it takes so long. I’d like to be able to finish a novel in a week instead of a year. Think how many more books I’d have!
What is your favorite movie?
The Trouble with Angels with Haley Mills and Rosaline Russell.
What are you working on now?
I’m starting a new mystery series, a retro cozy set in 1967. Still working on the details. It will have a cat.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sally Carpenter is native Hoosier now living in Moorpark, Calif.
She has a master’s degree in theater from Indiana State University. While in school her plays Star Collector and Common Ground were finalists in the American College Theater Festival One-Act Playwrighting Competition. Common Ground also earned a college creative writing award and Star Collector was produced in New York City.
Carpenter also has a master’s degree in theology and a black belt in tae kwon do.
She’s worked as an actress, college writing instructor, theater critic, jail chaplain, and tour guide/page for Paramount Pictures. She’s now employed at a community newspaper.
The Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol series is comprised of: The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper (2012 Eureka! Award finalist for best first mystery novel), The Sinister Sitcom Caper, The Cunning Cruise Ship Caper and The Quirky Quiz Show Caper.
She has short stories in two anthologies: "Dark Nights at the Deluxe Drive-in" in Last Exit to Murder and “Faster Than a Speeding Bullet” in Plan B: Omnibus.
Carpenter penned chapter three of the Cozy Cat Press group mystery Chasing the Codex.
To atone for her sins of killing fictional people, she also writes the monthly "Roots of Faith" column for the Acorn Newspapers.
She’s a member of Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles.
Connect with Sally:
Website | Facebook | Goodreads
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