Sunday, September 9, 2012

Meet Lorraine Bartlett, Lorna Barrett, & LL Bartlett

I had the wonderful opportunity to interview NY Times Bestseller Lorna Barrett, author of the Booktown Series, Lorraine Bartlett, who writes the Victoria Square Mysteries, and L.L. Bartlett, creator of the Jeff Resnick Mysteries. While the Jeff Resnick series may not be considered a cozy I had to include its author because she, along with the other two, are actually one woman-Lorraine Bartlett!

Kathy:  What made you decide to publish your different series under 3 different names?

LB:  When I was offered the contract for the Booktown Mysteries, my publisher asked me to take a pseudonym.  The Jeff Resnick Mysteries are darker than a cozy mystery series (which describes the Booktown books).  The thought was to keep them separate, but I believe there’s a crossover reading audience, and I want everyone to know about all the series I write.

Kathy:  You grew up and currently live in Western New York. Your Jeff Resnick series is set in Buffalo, NY, the Victoria Square series takes place in a fictional small town in WNY; however, your Booktown series is set in New Hampshire. What made you decide on that setting?

LB:  My editor chose New Hampshire as the setting for the Booktown Mysteries.  If the choice had been mine, I would have set it in Western New York.  I know the weather here.  The weather in southern New Hampshire is different, which is why I don’t write much about winter there. 

Kathy:  You include wonderful recipes in both of your cozy series. Why did you choose to do that and where do you get your recipes?

LB:  Again, my publisher likes to include bonus material in the books they publish.  They asked for recipes, and I was happy to oblige. I get my recipes from all over the place; cookbooks, sides of jars, online. But I try to make each one I publish my own by changing the ingredients and measurements. Sometimes I try to recreate food I've eaten in restaurants. I guess I like to play with my food!

Kathy:  What first drew you to the cozy mystery?

LB:  To be honest, I hadn’t read very many cozy mysteries before I decided to try my hand at writing one.  At the time, I wasn’t able to sell my Jeff Resnick books and was frustrated.  It was time to try something else.  I had tried to write (and quite unsuccessfully) romance, although my first sales were romance short stories. A lot of readers think that romances are easy to write and sell--that they’re just formulaic, but that’s not true.  Nor is it true of writing a cozy mystery.  From the time I wrote my first cozy mystery until the time the first Booktown Mystery was published was a full nine years. I wrote and edited and rewrote countless times before I learned how to do it well.

Kathy:  Tell us about your series.

LB: The Jeff Resnick Mysteries feature a man who was viciously mugged.  As a consequence, he found he gained a kind of 6th sense when it comes to crime.  The Booktown Mysteries feature a small town with a number of used booksellers.  Tricia Miles owns the mystery bookstore, Haven’t Got a Clue and feels compelled to snoop when it comes to solving local crimes.  The Victoria Square mysteries feature a woman who owns and manages an Artisans Arcade in the charming shopping district of Victoria Square.  But crime happens, and usually Katie finds a way to become involved.

Kathy:  Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?

LB:  Jeff Resnick.  Something about him just appeals to me.  He’s a very private person, and yet because of the visions he sometimes gets, is forced to out himself and his new gift to the world at large. I’m also drawn to the relationship he has with his brother and his sister-in-law.  They are an oddball kind of family, but they’re fiercely loyal to one another.

Kathy:  Did you have specific inspiration for your series?

The Victoria Square Mysteries were inspired by my time as a vendor in an antiques arcade. I wondered what it would be like to run such a place and let my imagination run free.

Kathy:  What made you decide to publish your work?

From the time I decided I wanted to be professionally published until the time my first novel saw print was eleven years.  Since 2009, I’ve been self-publishing my backlist of titles (mostly short stories).  I’ve been very pleased with the results.

Kathy:  If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?

That’s easy.  Ellery Adams, Leann Sweeney, Julie Hyzy, and Heather Webber -- they’re all members of a group blog I belong to, The Cozy Chicks.  ( )

Kathy:  Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.

LB:  Horseradish mayo, non-fat milk, eggs, and club soda.

Kathy:  Would you care to share any hobbies your have?

LB:  I like to go junking.  I was once a vendor in an antiques co-op.  You can take the girl out of the business, but you can’t take away the thrill of the hunt.  Only now I don’t buy nearly as much.  It takes discipline to say, “I love it, but I don’t need it, and have no room for it.”  I used to knit and do counted cross-stitch, but carpal tunnel syndrome put an end to that.

Kathy:  What are you currently reading?

LB:  Pies and Prejudice by Ellery Adams.  She’s a wonderful author and a good friend.

Kathy:  Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?

LB:  I have plans to write more books in all three series.  And I have ideas for several more series that I hope to write one day.  In fact, I have more ideas than I can possibly ever find time to explore in novel length.

Kathy:  What’s your favorite thing about being an author?

LB:  My friendships with other authors. I love talking shop.  People outside the “business” just don’t understand what we encounter in our writing and the business side of publishing.

Thanks so much Lorraine, for taking the time to talk with me.

I hope you enjoyed learning more about Lorraine, Lorna, and L.L. Be sure to give all her series a read and check out her various blogs and Facebook pages. In addition, her latest Jeff Resnick mystery will be released tomorrow, September 10, 2012. Look for Room at the Inn at most online retail outlets and get your copy!

If you want to start at the beginning-these are the first titles in each of her series:
Booktown: Murder is Binding
Victoria Square: A Crafty Killing
Jeff Resnick: Murder on the Mind - Victoria Square Mysteries - Booktown Mysteries - Jeff Resnick Mysteries


  1. Great interview! Thanks for starting this interesting new blog, Kathy.
    I have a long list of books I want to read, and you just doubled it!

  2. I'm so glad you like my blog-and happy I've increased your "to be read" list. My TBR pile is overflowing-so many wonderful new books out there. I'm happy to share!

    1. Kathy, It is so good to read a new blog and that you interviewed one of my favorite authors/3 series...I have read all of her cozies and am currently reading the latest Jeff Resnick book. I love all her series and wish for more!!!! Keep up the good interviews!!!

    2. I'm so glad you found me, Janice! I hope you enjoy all my upcoming posts, and yes, I do plan on having more interviews. My goal is to have 1 a month.