Today’s author interview is with Cozy Mystery and Thriller author and publisher, Summer Prescott!
Intro: What is your name, what do you write, and where can readers find you on social media? And just for fun, if you could be any mythical being or creature, who or what would you be?
Hi! I’m Summer Prescott. I write Cozy Mysteries and Thrillers, I own Summer Prescott Books Publishing, and I can be found on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/summer.prescott.58 on Twitter @summerprescott1, and on my blog http://summerprescottbooks.com
If I were a mythical creature, I’d want to be a fairy godmother, spreading joy and sunshine!
- You have a passion for crime novels, and the the titles often seemed be themed after baked goods. What inspired this sweet and spicy combo?
I’m a foodie from way back – I’ll eat just about anything, at least once. Blending my love of mystery with my love of all things food seemed to be the best of all possible worlds.
- Adult thrillers and crime novels are such a wide-open genre. What type do you enjoy writing the most and why?
I enjoy both reading and writing serial killer thrillers, and I think it’s largely because of the psychological aspects involved. Everyone has a dark side, and it’s fascinating to see how some folks choose to embrace theirs. There’s also a bit of…”Hey, I’d like to be able to recognize who might be a serial killer and be really nice to them.” LOL
- Do you find there are central themes or elements that are unique to your books? (For example, are you drawn to anti-heroes, antagonists, certain settings etc.) Why do those things stand out to you?
I like complex characters. So many times the heroes and villains alike seem to be rather one dimensional. Real humans aren’t like that, so I try to create heroes with flaws, villains who are somehow compelling, and everyday people who are fascinating. My books are very character driven, so complexity is important.
- What are the characters of Butter Pecan Killer like?
Butter Pecan is the 10th book in its series, and has two prior series with the same characters as well, so there are old favorites, and I’ve also introduced new characters as well. The main character, Missy, is a spunky gal from Louisiana, who is smart as a whip and has a heart of gold. She’s been known to put folks in their place when they need it.
- On you website you say you are “inspired to create tales inspired by the truths, triumphs, terrors and trials of many people blended into rich, complex characters.” What is the craziest Behind the scenes story to have inspired a book?
I live in a part of Illinois where there are wide swaths of farmland between towns and cities. I was traveling on a country road one day, and a pickup truck turned into the road in front of me. There was a blue tarp covering something in the bed of the truck, and when it flapped in the wind, I saw a large plastic barrel. My mind immediately went, “I bet there’s a body in there!” and a story was born.
- Who should pick up your books and why?
Anyone who loves a good mystery to solve and appreciates good family-friendly fun would probably enjoy my cozies. There’s nearly no violence/gore, no swearing, no sex and almost no negativity, aside from murder. My thrillers would be enjoyable to those who read the Dexter books or Stephen King and Dean Koontz.
- Favorite quote from your own work?
“You’re kind of hot, in a sciency, dad-bod kind of way.” Fiona McCamish to Timothy Eckels, Coroner.
- What’s a favorite moment you’ve had with a fan/someone who’s read your work?
There is a precious reader of mine who was diagnosed with the same kind of cancer that my mom had, at roughly the same time. My mom didn’t make it, but the reader did. I messaged her and told her that every book I wrote and published would be free to her, because she used to read them when she was in the hospital and said they helped her get through her treatments. Once she had recovered, unbeknownst to me, she ordered fabric with all of my book covers printed on it, and handmade me a quilt. I cried like a baby when I got that in the mail. It now hangs in my office. When I thanked her for it, she told me that she’d no longer accept free books because she wanted to pay for them because they were totally worth it. I choke up every time I think of it.
I’ve also received precious quilts and beautiful, often handmade items from my other awesome readers, whom I’ve come to regard as family. It’s so humbling.
- Have any of your books been inspired by your own life? Which ones and how so?
I have a series called Hawg Heaven, where the main character is a woman whose husband died and she had to start her life over, while raising her teenage son. I went through a painful divorce and faced the same reality with my kids, so in some ways, I really relate to Rossie, the main character. She was also a military wife and I grew up in a military family, so there are some parallels there as well. I was also vegan, for health reasons, for seven years, which helped me shape the character of Echo Kellerman in the cupcake series.
- What is the most fun part of writing crime novels? What’s the hardest part?
I love creating a puzzle with the forensics!! Evidence, evidence, evidence! I’ll put clues right out in the open, but (hopefully) the readers don’t recognize them as clues until the killer is revealed. The most difficult part is narrowing down the red herrings. I like to throw in a few in every book, so that the killer is a surprise, and then I have to eliminate them as suspects without giving away the whodunit.
- If you had to take the place of one of your book characters, who would it be and why?
I’d probably trade places with Spencer, from the cupcake series. He’s young, he’s well-educated and well-traveled, but is still trying to figure out his place in the world. He’s sweet and sensitive and clever.
- What are your favorite types of characters to write (protagonists, villains, side characters etc.) and why?
I love writing unexpected characters, like, the sweet little old lady who turns out to be a serial killer. Or the computer nerd who solves the crime from his basement apartment. People are so multi-faceted, and I like surprising the reader with the various layers of a character.
- What tips to you have for other crime writers.
KEEP IT REAL! Nothing drives me crazier than implausibility in a mystery. We writers sometimes get so wrapped up in the momentum of a story that we don’t stop and think… “No, the police aren’t going to let the spunky little baker trample over their crime scene while they sit back and watch.” I’ll literally stop reading a book if there are too many far-fetched scenarios, particularly involving police procedure.
- Butter Pecan Killer is a mystery. How hard was it to maintain that motif until the reveal? Would you do anything differently?
I always like to keep the reader guessing until the end, and will build a rock-solid case against one or more red herrings to achieve that. I think it worked pretty well in this one, but I always look for ways to create an even bigger surprise.
- What was the writing process like for Butter Pecan Killer? Are you a planner, pantser, or somewhere in between?
I’m definitely an in-betweener. I have to plan certain things, but once those things are in place, I let the story tell itself. There have been times when I’ve refused to take a break from writing because I have to see what happens next. The book unfolds, in movie form, in my mind and it’s exciting to watch.
Thanks, Summer! You can buy her latest release Butter Pecan Killer on Amazon. And don’t forget to say hi on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/summer.prescott.58, on Twitter @summerprescott1, and on her blog http://summerprescottbooks.com.
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As always, keep making magic, word weavers!