Steve Takes 5 with Barbara Jean

Hi there, guys and dolls! Now where the heck did 2015 go? It’s disappearing faster than my waistline (and believe me, with all the delish food and drink around, it’s long gone). Now where did I put that industrial strength girdle? Oh never mind, I have a far better topic today.

Friends and fellow book lovers, let me share my latest author confab. This jpg_front_Audition_for_deathmonth’s very special guest is Steve Shrott, who has written a couple of terrific cozies published by my publisher, Cozy Cat Press. Both AUDITION FOR DEATH and DEAD MEN DON’T GET MARRIED are great fun not only to figure out, but also to be along for the ride with Steve’s characters.

1. So tell me a little about your series and main characters.
I’ve written two humorous mysteries, AUDITION FOR DEATH, and DEAD MEN DON’T GET MARRIED. They are not a series—as yet. I’m waiting for crowds to gather in front of my house and yell, ‘Steve, we need a new ‘Dead Men Don’t Get Married’ book! Hopefully, that will happen soon.

AUDITION FOR DEATH stars Joshua Mclintock, a career-obsessed actor. He’s appeared in numerous films and stage productions, although most of his roles have been as dead bodies. When he’s about to be arrested for a murder he didn’t commit, Joshua makes a run for it. After all, he has an audition for a great new role! Joshua believes he can track down the killer and keep his career going full blast at the same time. In the process he discovers deadly forces threatening to destroy Hollywood, and he must try to save show business before it’s too late.

Dead_Men_Don't_Get_Married_360x540_(Website)DEAD MEN DON’T GET MARRIED involves Arnie Katz, dentist, and part-time PI. (Note –No dentists were harmed in the writing of this book.) When Arnie’s ex-girlfriend asks him to find out who murdered her fiancé, Arnie packs his pockets with dental probes and picks so he can defend himself in case he runs into ‘difficult’ situations. And there are a truckload of those, including two warring crime families, a maniac killing local orthodontists, and an eighty-year-old dental patient who, under gas, thinks she’s Lady Godiva. Arnie has his hands full as he attempts to figure out what happened to his ex’s fiancé, and just why, DEAD MEN DON’T GET MARRIED.

2. What is your writing process like? Do you thrive on routine or work spontaneously as the whim takes you?

I generally write most weekday mornings and take weekends off. That way I feel fresh when I come back on Monday. I like routine but I also like variety so it helps that I write in different areas—creating jokes for comedy performers, screenplays, routines for magic tricks, short stories, and, of course, novels. I think this assortment of writing activities helps keep my creative juices flowing.

3. What exciting moment or moments have made you realize that you were really an “author”?

Even though I had previously done a lot of writing, I only thought of myself as an author when I held a copy of my first book, AUDITION FOR DEATH in my hands. Thank you Cozy Cat Press! Of course circumstances sometimes change your thinking a little. A library in town happened to order copies of one of my books. So I decided to take it out and show the librarian at the check-out desk that I was the author. I figured that would make her day. I proudly pointed to my name on the cover and said, “That’s me,” waiting for the oohs and aahs. She read a little of the book, and even flipped to the picture on the inside. Then she shook her head and said, “No it isn’t.” I never did convince her.

4. What do you do to spark up your creativity when you feel the well of inspiration is running dry?

If I’m blocked on my novel, I usually just switch gears and start working on a short story or other writing. I also find that doing something completely different such as taking a walk, or looking around a place that sells interesting gadgets very helpful. I often go to dollar stores and try to figure out how I can use items like squeegee’s for nefarious purposes in my crime stories.

5. Who are some of your favorite authors and how do you feel they have influenced your desire to write?

Originally, most of my writing involved jokes for performers. But when I read a few of Dave Barry’s humorous novels, they inspired me, gave me the idea that maybe I could write some fun books.

A second favorite is Jonathan Kellerman. I really enjoy his descriptions and noir-ish style. He made me want to write that type of material, and I ended up selling a few noir short stories.

Another favorite is Harlan Coben. He made me want to write a book where the readers kept turning pages as I did when I read his work. Due to his influence there is probably a thriller in my future.

Well, this has been fun, and I’d like to thank Barbara Jean for the opportunity.

And to you too, Steve.  It’s been fabulous to share a hot toddy or two with you. Now all you mystery fans out there need to read Steve’s books if you haven’t already done so. Click on the covers and/or titles to get your Kindle copies today and while you at it, visit his webpage at steveshrottwriter.weebly.com

From the bottom of our hearts to yours, we wish you a healthy, happy and harmonious 2016.

Toodles,

Barbara Jean

(and those half wits who make me whole – Andrea & Heather)

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