Erin: Ponderosa Pines is located in Maine, and it’s a perfect setting because Maine is a place where small town living is the norm. Our largest city has less than 70,000 people—it’s a state made up of nothing but small towns. There is also a focus on living off the land, conserving resources, and keeping local, small businesses alive. Those are things we care about, and wanted to include in the series—it just made sense to set the town in our own little corner of the world.
ReGina: I’m dating myself, but growing up we had party line phones, which meant I could accidentally listen in on my neighbors conversations. Good etiquette required hanging up quickly, but every now and then, a sentence snippet revealed interesting details about my neighbors.
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?
ReGina: We sit down together and write out a detailed plot, which then gets dumped into a Scrivener file that we share using Dropbox. Once the outline is finished, we decide who is going to write each chapter/scene. When the first draft is complete, we each take a second pass at the whole manuscript to make sure it all hangs together.
Erin: We also have daily discussions about the scenes we’re writing, and we read each other’s work throughout the process. We’re open to changes, and we have no problem editing and revising each other’s sections. By the end of each book, there will be some of both of us in every scene. We’re mother and daughter, so of course we have differences of opinion and occasionally a discussion that feels reminiscent of my teenage years—but five minutes later we’re laughing and smiling again!
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
ReGina: I read the first Cat Who book by Lilian Jackson Braun when I was in high school and fell in love with the genre. Then came the Mrs. Pollifax books by Dorothy Gilman and I was hooked.
Erin: I happened across mom’s collection of Agatha Christie books sometime in high school, though I didn’t know the term “cozy mystery” back then. Miss Marple was always my favorite, and I don’t think you can get much cozier than her!
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
ReGina: My Psychic Seasons series has a bit more romance than the typical cozy, and with a touch of paranormal added in, it crosses genres.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
ReGina: Nothing bad ever happens in Ponderosa Pines. Or that’s how it was before the quirky little hamlet becomes a hotbed of intrigue when a hapless handyman ends up dead and it’s up to EV Torrence and Chloe LaRue to find his killer. The stakes are raised even higher when a second death, the handyman’s brother, occurs and reveals a blackmail scheme that threatens their beloved town.
Ponderosa Pines, located in the woods of Maine, started out as a commune in the sixties where a like-minded group headed by EV’s parents used their trust funds to build eco-friendly homes and raise their children. Fast forward to the present, and the next generation has embraced modern technology with an emphasis on green living while still retaining their small town sensibilities.
The first three books, Cat Killed A Rat, Crafting Disorder, and Caught in the Frame, are a trilogy where we follow EV and Chloe while they track the blackmailer and bring him to justice. Bait and Snitch, like the rest of the books to follow are single, standalone stories.
Psychic Seasons, my first series, has elements of the paranormal blended with romance, and a fun mystery. When Julie Hayward is dragged off to a Tarot card reading by her best friend, Gustavia, both women get more than they bargained for.
A ghostly encounter provides a cryptic clue to the location of a lost family fortune and a warning that Julie’s fiancé is not what he seems. Launched on a wild adventure, Julie and her three closest friends search for treasure, meet a guardian angel, deal with a dark spirit, and find love.
Earthbound, the spin-off series from Psychic Seasons, features former guardian angel, Galmadriel. After being tossed out of heaven, she isn’t like any other angel. Not quite human, yet not fully an angel, the best thing the PTBs can think to do with her is bounce her around so she can solve supernatural problems.
Ghosts that need to find their way home or that purposefully take the wrong path are her bread and butter. To add insult to injury, she is assigned a fledgling pair of guardian angels to train. Julius and Estelle are ready and willing to learn, but they also have a secondary agenda. One that Galmadriel is never supposed find out about.
Helping the ghost of young Ben Allen find his way home reconnects Galmadriel with Psychic Seasons alumni: Kat, Amethyst, Gustavia, and Julie in the first of many adventures to come.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
ReGina: No, I’m sorry, I can’t choose a favorite.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
ReGina: I grew up in a small town in Maine where the feeling of family—with all the good and the bad that can come along with it—was strong. I’ve watched feuding neighbors forget their animosity in the face of tragedy and be supportive of each other. It’s a singular feeling to grow up in a place where you know you can knock on any door and get help, or a drink of water, or even a shoulder to cry on.
Erin: A couple of years ago I lived in a townhouse that was part of a sprawling apartment complex in the woods. During the summer it felt like camping all the time, and it reminded me of home (I was living in upstate New York at the time). My mom and I had several conversations about the place, musing about how cool it would be if it was its own little self-sustaining community. It got our juices flowing, and eventually evolved into Ponderosa Pines.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
ReGina: Years of people telling me they wanted to read my stories and why didn’t I put them in a book.
Erin: I’ve been talking about wanting to write for a living since high school, but I never pulled the trigger. When we came up with the idea for Ponderosa Pines, my mom was writing her Psychic Seasons series. Seeing her succeed and have that much fun made me want to do the same. So we just decided to go for it.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
ReGina: Madeleine L’engle, Anne McCaffrey, Jim Butcher, Maya Angelou.
Erin: Barbara Kingsolver, Agatha Christie, Jane Austen, Amanda Hesser.
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
ReGina: A Scone to Die For by H.Y. Hanna
Erin: Oh, my goodness. Tea and Milk with Murder by H.Y. Hanna. Not even joking.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
ReGina: I haven’t had as much time to play with my camera of late, but photography has been a passion of mine since I picked up a Brownie camera as a kid.
Erin: Hiking, boating, camping in the summer; home improvement and décor projects in the winter when I don’t want to go outside for any reason.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
Erin: I have 9 and 11-year-old boys, so: fruit snacks, popsicles, smoothie supplies, and peanut butter. For myself, I can’t live without: coffee, salsa, diet coke, and yogurt.
ReGina: Coffee, apple cider vinegar (the good, unfiltered stuff), cucumbers, and don’t judge, but Pop Tarts. The unfrosted kind.
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
ReGina: Absolutely. We have at least one more Ponderosa Pines book slated for release this year and we’ve been tossing around ideas for a new series. Plus, I’ve got book 2 of the Earthbound Series to finish up by fall.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
ReGina: No alarm clock. I’m not a morning person and I think alarm clocks are evil devices of torture.
Erin: Being able to work from pretty much anywhere. I wrote part of Cat Killed A Rat from a boat-access camping plot on a beautiful pond. Plus, no daily trudge to an office, and I can work in my PJs and nobody will know the difference.
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