Lauren Carr has written over twenty-five novels in a multitude of genres, so you can be sure she knows something about what it takes to maintain a writing career. In addition to all the other hats she wears, Lauren took time to offer up some helpful advice to writers here. Thanks so much, Lauren!
What books do you recommend for an aspiring writer?
Stephen King’s On Writing. This book is a memoir. But the second half of the book is devoted to Stephen King’s advice to writers about writing. Much of it is not the traditional advice and he really gets down to the real-world facts about writing fiction. His writing is so simple that any author can connect with his advice.
What’s your Go-To source when you need inspiration?
Forensics Files and other true crime documentaries and podcasts. Remember, I write murder mysteries. Not only do these programs inspire me for plotlines, but they are also great sources of research in criminal investigation. I don’t turn to crime fiction for inspiration for plotlines. More, I turn to them to help with settings and writing techniques.
Do you create elaborate outlines for your books? If so, can you explain the process (briefly)? Or do you fly by the seat of your pants? If so, do you have any tricks you use to keep yourself from crashing?
I used to write outlines, but I kept losing them. They’d end up all over the house and I could never find the one that I needed. Not only that, but once it was written then I had it committed to my memory. And then as I would get into the book, the characters would take over and I’d end up in a completely different place than where my outline took me.
How do I keep from crashing? I’ve never crashed. But I have written myself into a corner a time or two. Usually, I call a writing buddy of mine and we’ll talk my characters out of that corner and back onto the track to take us to a good solution.
What was the greatest challenge you faced when writing the book? How did you get through it?
Speaking of your characters taking you in a different direction ….
With SHADOW OF MURDER, my characters in this murder mystery decided to introduce some paranormal into the plotline. I’m a murder mystery writer. I don’t write paranormal. I have a touch of paranormal in THE MURDERS AT ASTAIRE CASTLE, but that was planned because that was a Halloween murder mystery. In SHADOW OF MURDER, the paranormal deals with suggestions of witchcraft and spirits. Fearful of writing outside of my league, I set the book aside and dove into research on the topic. This included an interview with my church pastor about the demons and witchcraft. Once I felt more confident about where the storyline was going, I was able to pick up the book again. Without a doubt, SHADOW OF MURDER was one of the most difficult books I’ve written.
In what genres have you written, and which one of them gives you the most satisfaction?
I write murder mysteries that include a touch of humor among the suspense. What gives me the most satisfaction is coming up with a twisting, turning, complex mystery that challenges mystery lovers.
What one piece of advice can you offer to a writer who has yet to tackle the publishing world?
Beware! The publishing world has gone through huge changes in the last twenty years. Yes, the publishing world is no longer that closed door community where only those who have the right connections can get published. You can now do it yourself. But just because you can publish your book yourself, you need to make sure you do it right. I am all for seeking professional advice from those who have gone before you, but I am also for being smart about it. There are a lot of sharks out there eager to take money from newbie writers. Take your time when making publishing and marketing decisions. Be sure to check references and don’t be afraid to talk to other authors. Social media is filled with author groups who are always willing to offer advice and recommendations.
What one piece of advice can you offer to the more experienced writer who is having a bad day/week/year/decade?
Get a writing buddy! It took me over a year to write SHADOW OF MURDER. Writing that book was murder! During the process, I spent a lot of time on the phone with my writing buddy (C.S. McDonald, a best-selling cozy mystery author). She was so much help.
A writing buddy is a fellow writer who knows exactly what you are going through when you are writing, publishing, marketing a book.
A writing buddy is there to listen to you vent about crazy reviewers, editors taking too long to return your book, and the latest ploy by Amazon to rip-off authors. They can read sections of your book and give objective advice. Also, if your writing buddy is not your agent or publisher or otherwise employed by you, they can count on their advice being objective.
Unless your spouse is a writer, they don’t understand the obstacles you face when creating characters and piecing together your plot. Neither Cindy nor my husband want to hear about our books—so they love our relationship.
The most rewarding benefit of having a writing buddy is knowing that you are not alone in this otherwise wacky profession called writing.
“This newest title in the author’s Mac Faraday cozy murder mystery series offers Lauren Carr’s most intricate plot to date – full of twists and turns guaranteed to keep readers up until the wee hours. While still full of the humor, fun critters and touch of romance that are her trademark, the author has also woven in a dark supernatural element that whispers through to the startling ending.” – review by Marilyn R. Wilson, bestselling author, freelance writer, editor, and speaker at Olio by Marilyn.
True crime blogger, Erica Hart starts a new chapter in her life with a bang when a dark shadow darts into the mountain road to send her SUV off a cliff and to the bottom of Deep Creek Lake.
Spencer’s newest addition to the police force, Dusty O’Meara assumes it was a bear. Erica is not so sure.
Soon afterwards, contractors discover Konnor Langston’s body at the bottom of an abandoned swimming pool at the new summer home of Mac Faraday’s son.
With Police Chief David O’Callaghan away on paternity leave, Deputy Chief Dusty O’Meara must lead the investigation in his first murder case since moving to Spencer. Not only does Dusty have to work under the shadow of the legendary Mac Faraday, but he also has to match wits with Erica, who is determined to find justice for Konnor, her childhood friend.
Mac isn’t so difficult. Even Gnarly, the town’s canine mayor, is manageable if his authority is well-respected and he is kept entertained.
Erica Hart, Dusty finds, is more of a challenge. It wouldn’t be so difficult if she wasn’t so irresistible.
Meet the Author
Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, Thorny Rose, Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries, and Nikki Bryant Cozy Mysteries—over twenty-five titles across five fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!
Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.
The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, and virtual book tour coordinator for independent authors.
Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions.
She lives with her husband, and two spoiled rotten German shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.SHADOW OF MURDER (Mac Faraday Mysteries) Tour Giveaway