Hi, Julie, so glad to have you here today. Tell us a little about Murder Comes Ashore.
Murder Comes Ashore is the sequel to my debut cozy mystery Murder by the Seaside which released in October 2013. The series was inspired by the tiny island of Chincoteague, Virginia. I visited one summer and never wanted to leave. It was the perfect place to plot a romance…and a murder.
Blurb: Patience Price is just settling into her new life as resident counselor on Chincoteague Island when things take a sudden turn for the worse. A collection of body parts have washed up on shore and suddenly nothing feels safe on the quaint island.
Patience instinctively turns to current crush and FBI special agent Sebastian for help, but former flame Adrian is also on the case, hoping that solving the grisly crime will land him a win in the upcoming mayoral election.
When the body count rises and Patience’s parents are brought in as suspects, Patience is spurred to begin her own investigation. It’s not long before she starts receiving terrifying threats from the killer, and though she’s determined to clear her family’s name, it seems the closer Patience gets to finding answers, the closer she comes to being the killer’s next victim.
What are you working on now? Do you have any releases scheduled for this year?
The third book in this series, Murder in Real Time, is set to release in September 2014. I’m excited to see the series wrap up and send my heroine and her heroes on their way into the sunset, but it’s also bittersweet to see them go. To keep my mind off things, I’m writing. I have a dark young adult romance in the works as well as another upbeat amateur sleuth series. I have big hopes for both. *fingers crossed*
What are your writing goals for this year?
In 2014, I plan to give back to the online writing community and also try something new.
Giving back: I will offer online classes to new writers and work one on one to clean up the opening pages and/or queries. I wish someone had helped me this way years ago. There are so many unwritten rules. I learned by failing. That’s not always the best way to learn. Online and at conferences, editors and agents use unclear phrases like “voice” and “show don’t tell.” Sometimes having a friend clarify is all it takes to turn a floundering manuscript into one editors can’t put down. Working with editors and wonderful critique partners has helped me understand the rules. I want to share that knowledge. The Internet makes this possible. I’m looking forward to getting the class details together and meeting new writer friends.
Trying something new: I’m taking the plunge into self-publishing this fall. I’m not sure what to expect, but I do have a sweet romance novel I love and I hate to file it away because it never found the right home, so I think I’m going to put it out there and finally know what it’s like to self-publish. I imagine it will be amazingly freeing.
What is the best thing about being an author?
The escape an author can give a reader. It’s powerful. And mind boggling. I can write something in Nowhere, Ohio that provides a woman on the other side of the world a small reprieve from the chaos of her day. The concept is magical to me. I can make a complete stranger smile without ever meeting them or even knowing I did that. Writing is a way to improve someone else’s day and the ripple effect is endless. For example: I read a book that lifts my spirits and I’m kinder when I interact with my kids. In turn, they are relieved of the stress I never knew they had and they are kinder to their siblings, who kiss their grandma goodbye instead of offering a wave. Grandma makes a casserole for her church group that she hadn’t felt like making before that kiss and a woman who came hungry because she didn’t have the money for groceries eats. It’s an extreme example, but wholly possible. It’s easy to forget how far our kindness goes. Being an author means potentially spreading kindness around the world.
What did you learn from writing your first book or what do you wish you’d known before becoming published?
My first book was a horrible flop. It was a weird story, very artsy, oddball stuff. I secured a contract with a small publisher no one had ever heard of. Bad sign. I didn’t care. I just wanted to be published. Well, I was and it was bad. The writing was bad. The editing was worse. The story was insane. What I didn’t know and understand about this industry could have filled the oceans. It was a newbie move and I regret it. The book still floats around out there and I cringe when a new review occasionally pops up on Goodreads (where I can’t get it down per the site policy). What can you do if this is your story too? You square your shoulders, call it what it was, A Rookie Mistake, learn and move on. No matter how bad it seems at the time, it won’t ruin your name or career. Mistakes like these are unfortunate speed bumps we have to power past and let go. Plus, down the road a little, it makes for a good story.
Do you have a favorite hero and/or heroine in your books and why?
The heroine in my mystery series is my favorite so far. She’s smart and funny, fierce and loyal. I love that she’s like every woman, not exceptional in any specific way. She’s the girl next door. Uncomplicated. Occasionally insecure. She’s loved by her family and community. She’s flawed but accepted. She uses her head to put the clues together and she’d do anything for her family and friends. She’s the kind of person I want to be. Best of all, she’s based on one of my dearest friends. A girl who has cracked me up since kindergarten and now works at the FBI in human resources. I wonder if she reads the books and sees herself in the character or if it’s just my perception of her fueling Patience Price, Counselor at Large.
What is your favorite scene from this story and why?
My favorite scene from my new release takes place after an ear washes up on shore and my heroine’s compulsive curiosity takes over. Sheriff Fargas and a crew from the local hospital have closed the beach to look for other evidence. Patience had to take a canoe from to get to the scene and see what’s going on. Sebastian caught her snooping and tried sending her home, but she’s determined to help. I included the scene below as my excerpt. I hope it makes someone smile.
How do you balance writing and everyday life?
This is the first year since I began writing that all of my kids are at school every day, so I write during those hours. On a deadline, I stay up late and live on coffee, but for the most part, I write between 9am and 3pm. My boys are competitive swimmers so I take my laptop to the pool and write from 6-8 during their practices too. I do my best to always put my family first. Writing will be here for me long after they’ve struck out on their own. I need to be there for them now. If they feel like talking, the laptop gets shut. They get my attention.
What is your favorite memory from childhood?
Fishing with my dad. My dad is a formidable outdoorsman. He grew up in a time that hunting fed his family when nothing else could. He sees the forest through different eyes. To him, it’s a second home. It’s a gift from God that provided things his family needed when there was no money to buy those things elsewhere. As a result of those hard times, Dad is happy. He appreciates things in ways I can’t. Learning to fish, shoot and walk silently in the forest are things I’ll never forget. Memories with my dad are the best I’ll ever make. He’s truly a remarkable man.
Where is your favorite place in the world?
Oceanside. There’s something about the ocean that lulls me. I love the salt and brine in the air, the unstoppable white noise and steady roar of wave breaks. I could watch for hours.
What do you like to read?
I’m a voracious young adult and new adult reader. I also love the high speed fun writing styles of authors like Gemma Halliday and Janet Evanovich. Their mysteries take me away and leave me laughing. I hope this novel comes close to making someone as happy as those authors have made me.
Do you listen to music while you write? What are you listening to now?
I do. I use Pandora and have a few stations/channels on “shuffle.” They are the Katy Perry station – which gives me my fill of pop music, the ColdPlay station mixes in my alternative rock favorites and of course the Lady Antebellum channel to fill my need for country. These three channels on shuffle keep my imagination and my feet moving. In full disclosure, the music is sometimes a distraction. There are plenty of songs that demand I stop and sing along. It can’t be helped.
Who influenced your decision to become a writer?
The idea of writing a novel hit me in 2011 after the birth of my third child. I was spread so thin as a mom. I was homeschooling a kindergartener (which is harder than it sounds because they know nothing and need individual instruction and guidance on everything), potty training my toddler and nursing/caring for a newborn. I read my first novel in years while up with the baby and I was so happy in those moments of escape. When the book ended, I wanted more than anything to do that too. I called my husband and said, “I’m going to write a book.” He was spectacular. He didn’t laugh or scoff. His only question was, “What’s it going to be about?” He’s been my biggest supporter every day since.
A Giveaway! Who’s your biggest supporter? Leave a comment to win your own digital copy of Murder Comes Ashore!
“Look.” I smacked Sebastian’s arm.
Sebastian turned to look and I darted past him. His footfalls kept pace with mine, allowing me to maintain the lead when he could easily have passed me. I waded into the grasses, waving my arms overhead to keep the gulls at bay.
“Told you I could help.” In a moment of gloating, I lost sight of the evidence. A seagull honked and dove at me. I jumped back on instinct and fell into the sand. A wilted reed of grass rammed up my nose and I screamed. Sneezing bug eggs and cooties, I scrambled to my feet and chased the offending bird across the sand. Two more birds joined him in the air and attacked. Whatever they all wanted, it was flesh colored and I wanted it too.
Sebastian shoved two fingers in his lips and whistled. Fargas jogged toward me, a look of shock on his face. Yeah, yeah. How’d I get here? I pointed to the sky. “They’ve got something.”
The birds circled in the air, stretching the thing in their beaks and flapping with vigor.
“Should I shoot them?” Fargas called to Sebastian.
A mob of birders appeared from the trees like magic. “No!”
“What the hell?” Sebastian frowned.
“They were probably here all night looking for owls or something.” I rolled my eyes.
Fargas unholstered his side arm and the birders started closing in, cell phones at arm’s length, digitally capturing the chaos.
“Do not shoot that bird!” A wild scream broke out above the other voices. A woman in hip waders and a dirty shirt charged Fargas.
I tossed shells at the birds circling overhead. “I can’t hit them!” Frustration burst from my chest in a growl. “Stop!” I screamed at the birds.
Fargas toppled into the sand beside me, crushed beneath the rampaging woman. Her giant binoculars bounced off his forehead and he went limp.
“Aw, hell.” Sebastian groaned. He scooped a handful of rocks from the sand and pulled his arm back.
A shower of feathers burst above me and a bird fell from the sky. The others squawked complaints, but headed out to sea. I ran for the grounded bird and yanked the skin from his beak. He flapped his wings and waddled in a daze across the sand.
“You monster! You hit that bird with a rock! Murderer!” The woman climbed off Fargas and headed for Sebastian, who dropped his remaining rocks in favor of cuffs and badge. She raised her fists and Sebastian spun her around, cuffing her and reciting her rights.
I flipped the fleshy prize in my hands, struggling to make sense of what the birds had worked so hard to keep. I tugged and squeezed the thing, looking past the damage done from multiple bird beaks. Realization dawned. My tummy lurched.
“Ahh!” The scream that ripped loose from my chest was Oscar-worthy. I dropped the thing and ran in a tiny circle, unsure which way to go for bleach and a fast hand-removal surgery. I rubbed my palms over the seat of my pants until they hurt.
Sebastian finished reading Waders her rights.
A line of EMTs-turned-beachcombers surrounded Fargas. One checked his vitals. One followed the waddling bird and radioed the park ranger for assistance. We had two head injuries, six EMTs and no ambulance. I marched in big, knee-to-my-chest steps, trying not to think of the thing I would never forget. Ever. Ever. Ever.
I covered my eyes with one hand. The one without lifelong cooties. With the other hand, I pointed to the item saved from the seagulls. “The victim is not a woman!”
Bio: Julie Anne Lindsey is a multi-genre author who writes the stories that keep her up at night. She’s a self-proclaimed nerd with a penchant for words and proclivity for fun. Julie lives in rural Ohio with her husband and three small children. Today, she hopes to make someone smile. One day she plans to change the world.
You can find Julie at:
Photo-gramming her life on Instagram
Pinning the pretties on Pinterest
Tweeting the crazy on Twitter
Blogging about books & the writer-life at Musings from the Slush Pile
Recording her Reading on Goodreads
Cover Art: 2014 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited