Tea with Sandi Scott
I recently had the pleasure of reading an Advance Reader’s Copy of Sandi Scott’s first book in her new series, Murder in the Art Gallery, A Pet Portraits Cozy Mystery and I enjoyed it so much that I asked Sandi to stop by for an interview.
Murder at the Art Gallery is a story of twin sisters, Georgie and Aleta Kaye, who attend an art exhibition opening party and later discover the gallery owner dead. Since Georgie, an artist who is talented at painting pet portraits, wants her paintings to be featured in the gallery, she feels the need to help the police figure out who killed the owner so she can get her show. Solving the crime becomes a little complicated when the detective in charge of the case happens to be Georgie’s ex-husband Stan.
Sandi Scott has done a great job creating characters that pull you into the story; people you feel are friends, as well as building a plot that keeps you guessing until the end. I thoroughly enjoyed Murder at the Art Gallery and can’t wait for the next in the series.
Thank you, Sandi for stopping by and telling us a little more about yourself.
When did you first discover your love of mystery?
I loved mystery books as a kid – Harriet the Spy, Choose your Own Adventure, Nancy Drew, Agatha Christie. In first grade, I wrote a “book” that was my attempt at mystery stories –I’ve always loved them.
I first realized I could write mysteries when I was on a road trip with a friend, driving through a dense forest and I said, without thinking it at all strange, “This would be a great place to hide a body.” My friend look startled, then laughed, and said, “This is why you are writer.”
When did you decide to write your first book and what made you go for it?
I had an idea for my first book come to me out of the blue and then it just kept bugging me – I tried to dismiss it, but the idea refused to leave. So I finally gave in and wrote it. I never published that book, but the feeling of finishing it was amazing. It gave me the joy of writing just for the sake of writing. I started publishing years after that, when I finally found the courage to share my writing with other people.
Are there any special rituals you have or places you go that inspire your writing?
I love long walks to help me work out places in the plot that I’m stuck on. I’ll put the stuck part in my mind, then just walk through the wood or a park and try to forget it. More often than not, when I finish the walk, I have an idea for how to solve my plot issue.
Writing itself is not always easy for me – I sometimes have to bribe myself. Finish this next 300 words and you can get a refill on your coffee or get up and stretch or something else that I love. It’s hokey, but it works.
Where do your plot ideas come from?
The quick answer: the stories behind the headlines. I am an avid consumer of news stories, investigative reports, and podcasts. They often spark a thought: what are the lives of the people behind this story like?
For example, the idea for Cream Puff Murder, came from a news report I read about how fracking is now the leading cause of earthquakes in Texas. It got me thinking about how this might be changing the lives of people in communities.
The idea for Tarte Tatin Murder came from hearing about how the Ice Bucket Challenge (remember that?) raised enough money to lead to research breakthroughs in ALS treatment. I started wondering about the high stakes attached to disease research funding.
For my third book, Madeleine Murder, I got the idea from listening to an episode of the Criminal Podcast.
Who is your favorite detective character (book, tv, or movie) and why?
I love Rosemary Boxer and Laura Thyme from the British detective show Rosemary & Thyme. It only had 3 seasons, but I still watch reruns. It’s such a great cozy mystery series with two great women detectives. I think any woman who watches that show can see themselves in both of the women.
Who is your favorite mystery author and why?
It’s so hard to pick a favorite. I am always reading other cozy authors to see how they tell stories and some of the authors I’ve been enjoying lately are Alison Golden, CeeCee James, and Cindy Bell.
Any advice for aspiring writers?
Try as hard as you can to silence the inner critic. If you can’t silence her, ignore her for long enough to write your (in the words of Anne Lamott) shitty first draft. That is the hardest step. It’s all just working on small improvements from that point forward.
What would we find in your mug first thing in the morning? Tea? Coffee? Something else?
Coffee and soy milk.
Where do you like to spend time with a good book?
My bed, a coffee shop, or under a tree.
If you were given an entirely free day, no responsibility or tasks, what would you spend the day doing?
I would go to a local bookstore to browse and buy something the staff recommends (I have found so many great books this way.) I would go to a vegetarian restaurant and write in my journal over lunch. I would go for a walk with no destination in mind – just walking where my whims take me.
Any guilty pleasures?
Tell us about an item on your bucket list.
I have always wanted to ride my bike across the US. It would be a long trip with a map and a plan, but a lot of flexibility and no rush. I’ve always thought that would be such a great adventure.
I am a cozy mystery author who is finally living my dream of being able to write what I love, thanks to – my loyal readers. I fell in love with mystery books when I first started reading Agatha Christie eons ago. It only took me a few decades to gather the courage to try my hand at writing them. I love to write books that include pets, sweets, women sleuths and that a reader can enjoy while also thinking about something in a new way after reading.