Good day everyone!
I’m welcoming the author of Jamie Quinn Cozy Mysteries, Barbara Venkataraman, on my blog today! If you’d like to read her books, you can buy your copy here: link. I’ve interviewed her and what you’ll read below were her answers to the questions I’ve asked her.
1. Tell us a bit about you and how you’ve got the ideas on writing your books.
I’m a family law attorney and mediator in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I’ve always been an avid reader and a wannabe writer scribbling ideas and poems on legal pads. I had written a few short stories, but never anything longer until the time I tried to teach myself to play the didgeridoo, a large primitive wind instrument. I got so winded I dropped the didgeridoo on a glass table and cracked it. That’s when it occurred to me that this could be a lethal weapon. The title “Death by Didgeridoo” came to mind, and it made me laugh. After that, I couldn’t stop thinking about it—who would get killed by the didgeridoo? A music teacher who wanted him dead? Lots of people who would get blamed for it? One of his students. Thus was born my alter ego, Jamie Quinn, reluctant family law attorney who finds herself embroiled in murder mysteries through no fault of her own.
2. How important are character names to you in your book? How did you come up with those names?
That’s a great question! I do put a lot of thought into the names I choose. Two of the names, Jamie Quinn and Duke Broussard, reflect their heritage. Jamie’s mother was Irish, Duke is from Louisiana. I intentionally gave Duke a long pretentious name, Marmaduke Broussard, III, because it contrasted with his personality so much. I always Google the names I choose to make sure I’m not using the name of someone famous or infamous. One of the unlikeable characters in “Peril in the Park” is named Quincy Graves because it just suited him so well.
3. Talking about characters, do you think they are unique? In what way?
I try to make them unique, lol! As a protagonist, Jamie Quinn is different from other cozy mystery protagonists in that she is a lawyer, she is not helpless, she is a bit insecure, and she is not looking for romance or checking out handsome men. All of my female characters are smart and capable, a fact I am proud of. Duke Broussard is quite an interesting character too. He loves the ladies, he parties too much, yet he has a good heart, a great sense of humor, and is a loyal friend.
4. So far, what’s your best accomplishment as an author?
My best personal accomplishment in my mind is that I keep writing and trying to improve, but I would have to say that I am thrilled when readers tell me that my books gave them a laugh, cheered them up or made them smile. To reach out and connect with people in that way is a great joy.
5. Have you always liked to write?
Yes, ever since second grade when I wrote a poem about ducks and my teacher put in on a poster on the wall.
6. Do you read reviews of your books? How do you deal with the bad ones, if there are any?
I read every single review! I actually appreciate the bad ones because they provide me with critical information. Sometimes they sting, but often they show me the shortcomings of my writing and where I need improvement.
7. Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write?
They’re all hard, lol! Every novel is a series of scenes that are connected. Some scenes need to do the connecting, and they can be hard to write. For example, sometimes I know where I want to go, but I’m not sure how to get there. In the book, I’m writing now, “Jeopardy in July.” Jamie needs to be in a certain place to make a discovery, and I need to come up with a plausible reason for her to be there.
8. Do you write in a specific place or you just write anywhere?
Unlike the old days when I scribbled on legal pads (pre-computer), I can’t write anywhere except on my computer where I can easily move sentences and paragraphs around and paste research at the bottom. That being said, I often have shower epiphanies where ideas come to me, and I have to write them down as soon as I dry off. I have also been known to work on a chapter on my phone on plane rides.
9. Why should readers buy your book?
Because they love cozy mysteries and fun characters and snappy dialogue.
10. Any advice on readers and aspiring authors out there?
Good question! Besides the obvious advice of reading as much as possible, I can be more specific. Read lots of books on how to write, they are instructional and inspirational. I still do that, and I always learn something new or reinforce something I heard before. To learn how to write tightly, write a paragraph about anything you like, then condense it to 100 words without sacrificing the meaning. Then condense it to 50 words. This is an incredibly useful exercise. Always use the dictionary and thesaurus so you can be as precise as possible in your word choice. Read a book or essay by one of your favorite authors and then copy one of the passages you most enjoyed—that will teach you some of their tricks, like sentence structure, cadence, etc. Then try to write a passage in the same style. Write every day and give yourself permission to write badly. If you were learning the piano, you wouldn’t expect to be able to play Mozart without lots and lots of practice.
Thank you for an excellent interview with you, Barbara Venkataraman! I’m looking forward to reading your books!
Thank you too for everyone who read this post! Have a nice day!
Award-winning author, Barbara Venkataraman, is an attorney and mediator specializing in family law and debt collection.
She is the author of The Jamie Quinn mysteries; “Teatime with Mrs. Grammar Person”, “The Fight for Magicallus,” a children’s fantasy; a humorous short story entitled, “If You’d Just Listened to Me in the First Place”; and two books of humorous essays: “I’m Not Talking About You, Of Course” and “A Trip to the Hardware Store & Other Calamities,” which are part of the “Quirky Essays for Quirky People” series. Both books of humorous essays won the prestigious “Indie Book of the Day” award.
Coming soon, “Jeopardy in July” – the next Jamie Quinn mystery!