Sunday, May 26, 2013

Joyce and Jim Lavene Visit Just in Thyme!

I'd like to welcome Joyce and Jim Lavene to Cozy Up With Kathy as part of the Thyme To Die Book Tour.
Kathy: You write as a team. How does that work? Does one person work more on the plot while the other writes the actual words?

J & J L:We actually write together real-time. Our computers are networked together (Jim used to do this for a living) and we both see what’s going on. We tell the story to each other while one of us types until we have the whole rough draft. Then we revise. We both work on plot, dialogue and everything else together. Jim IS better at details and Joyce IS better at dialogue.

Kathy: As readers, whose voice do we hear when we read, Joyce's or Jim's? Or does it change depending on the book or series?

J & J L: We’ve worked very hard for there not to be any difference – there should only be one voice when people write together.

Kathy: Peggy Lee is a botanist who runs a garden shop. Do you like to garden?

J & J L: We both like to garden and have been Master Gardeners. We don’t have as much time as we used to (wouldn’t want anyone to see our yard right now after a book tour), but we still enjoy coming up with new projects.

Kathy: It's been a while since we heard from Peggy Lee and I, for one, am delighted that she's back. What kept her away for so long?

J & J L.: Thanks! Berkley decided not to publish more books in that series after 2009. We were both still working day jobs and didn’t have time to explore creating more than the books we put out for our print publishers each year. Last year, we were able to quit those day jobs and decided to try bringing Peggy back. We’ve had hundreds of letters and emails asking about her. We brought out a novella, Buried By Buttercups, last year and readers seemed to enjoy it. So we brought out a full-length novel this year.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

J & J L: The puzzle – solving it and peeking through the blinds to get there. We both grew up reading mysteries. We still enjoy figuring out what happened and why it happened.

Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

J & J L: We have written romance, science fiction, fantasy, and even a western.

Kathy: Tell us about your series. I know you have a few!

J & J L: Sheriff Sharyn Howard Mysteries – our first series set in a small town in NC that is corrupt. These twelve books were originally hardbacks but are now being issued as paperback and ebooks.

Peggy Lee Garden Mysteries – Peggy Lee is a botanist and a garden shop owner in Charlotte, NC. She’s snoopy and knows everything about plants and botanical poisons.

Renaissance Faire Mysteries – Jessie Morton is an associate history professor who solves crime at a Renaissance Faire in Myrtle Beach, SC. along with her boyfriend, hunky bailiff Chase Manhattan.

Missing Pieces Mysteries – These books are set in Duck, NC and the protagonist is the mayor of the small town. She has the psychic ability to find things that have been lost. This leads to all kinds of trouble.

Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries – These are written under a pseudonym, J.J. Cook, and feature fire chief Stella Griffin who is aided in her work by the ghost of a former fire chief in Sweet Pepper, TN.

Pie in the Sky Mysteries – written under the name Ellie Grant, will be out in September 2013. A high-powered businesswoman comes home again after ten years when she is accused of embezzlement and helps her aunt build up her pie shop business while solving crimes.

Biscuit Bowl Mysteries – are set in Mobile, AL and feature a woman who has a biscuit food truck whose bestseller is the fried biscuit bowl. The first book in this series will be out April 2014.

Retired witches Spellbook Mysteries – takes place in Wilmington, NC. A group of witches want to retire and move to Boca but they have to find three young witches to replace them and give them their spellbook which has been stolen. Debuts December 2014

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

J & J L: That would be like asking which of our kids we love best. Each character is special and has a special place in our hearts. Some are more difficult – some come out easy. But we love them all!

Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?

J & J L: Usually it’s something we’ve seen or heard. Or it’s someone we meet. It starts a buzz in your head and you can’t let it go until you write it.

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

J & J L: We were running an office supply business as our kids were growing up. We thought about what we’d like to do when the kids were gone and decided we wanted to try our hand at publishing after years of writing. Our first book, a Silhouette Romance, was published in 1999 with six books following that same year. We now have written and published more than 65 books.

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

J & J L: Emily Dickinson, though she probably wouldn’t come. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Jules Verne. Edgar Rice Burroughs and Edgar Allen Poe.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

J & J L: Jim is reading Ender’s Game and I am reading Monterey Mischief – Fine Art and Murder by Henry Simpson.

Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?

J & J L: We enjoy gardening, watercolor, driving back roads, photography and tinkering.

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

J & J L: Chocolate. Cherry Pie Filling. Peanut Butter. Celery.

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

J & J L: The next book in the Peggy Lee Garden Mysteries is Deadly Dahlia (2014). Pie in the Sky Mysteries – Plum Deadly (September 2013). In the Renaissance Mysteries – Murderous Matrimony (November 2013). Missing Pieces – A Finder’s Fee (October 2013). Sweet Pepper – Playing with Fire (January 2014)

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

J & J L: Being able to work with our best friend and stretching our imaginations as far as we can stretch them!

Thanks for the interview!

Kathy: So glad you could visit!

Be sure to follow this link to be part of the Cozy Mystery Book Reviews and Book Tours Giveaway-Enter to win a $25 gift card or $25 Paypal cash!


  1. Glad that Peggy is back and I will have to check out a few of the other series as well!

  2. I tried enter the giveaway but get the following response when I click on the link button:

    Sorry, the file you have requested does not exist. Can I get there by going to directly to Cozy Mystery Book Reviews site directly???

    1. Thanks for letting me know-the link should be working now!