Welcome to Around the Fire. I hope you've been enjoying the variety of guests and their books. Before we get to today's lovely author I'd like to take a moment to tell you about Sea Hunter. My historical, action, adventure, paranormal, romantic, novella, (can I get anymore tropes into one book?) releases tomorrow. In the way of birthdays I'd like to give a free e-copy of Sea Hunter to a random name drawn from commenters to this post. Sorry USA only unfortunately. And come back tomorrow because I have a short blog post too. So without further ado please help me welcome today author Mary Cunningham who also has a new release.
Hi Mary, Welcome to the fire. I hear you are a coffee person, so while I grab a cuppa for us, please introduce yourself.
Coffee! I must have three cups and a latte in the morning to function like a semi-normal human being the rest of the day. I’m a wife, mother, grandmother, grandmother, and a dog lover. Our sweet rescue dog, Lucy, crossed the Rainbow Bridge last summer, and I’m lost without her.
I’m fiercely loyal and don’t tolerate injustice or lying. I’m also pretty easy-going unless you rile me. Then, “Katie, bar the door!”
Oh, I’m so sorry. Losing a beloved pet is so hard. You have quite a few published works that must take up a lot of time, but what interests do you enjoy?
I enjoy golf in the spring through the fall, but not enough to play when the temperature dips below 60◦. I enjoy water aerobics in the summer and walking on beautiful West Georgia mountain trails. I also love watching college sports; especially my Indiana Hoosiers basketball teams (men and women). The first week of March Madness is one of my favorite times of the year.
My DH has been promising me for years to teach me golf. Maybe now that he’s semi-retired, we’ll find the time. Speaking of Peter, he’s my biggest supporter. Tell us, who is your network or support system?
I belong to a great writers’ group, The Carrollton (GA) Writers Guild, where you can’t be thin-skinned when asking for critiques. My husband is my biggest fan and toughest critic. When writer’s block hits, he usually comes up with an idea or storyline that moves me forward.
It’s such a blessing to have a partner who understands and is supportive. Who or what books or authors are your inspiration?
Wish you hadn’t asked that! I have too many to fit in one answer. Hank Philippi Ryan has been an inspiration for over a decade. I can’t remember a time when she hasn’t been there to answer a question or give advice. The same for author Jaden Terrell, an excellent writer, and editor. I’m in awe of multiple-series authors Lucy Burdette (Roberta Isleib), Nancy Cohen, Karen MacInerney, Carolyn Haines, and Regan Black. I hate to stop there because there are so many more amazing, prolific writers in my genre and others.
I know Jaden Terrell! She is amazing. Do you have any fun or outrageous talent?
My brain stashes sports trivia, especially basketball. If my husband and his friends are stuck on a name, team, or year of a specific sporting event, he’ll say, “Let me call Mary. She’ll probably know.” And I usually do.
Right now I live in a campground. We'll be back home in NJ next month. What is your neighborhood like? Are there any places you frequent? What makes them unique?
We live on a cul-de-sac, so it’s generally quiet on our street. We also have the most wonderful neighbors we could ask for. Generous and kind. Always willing to help when needed.
As to places we frequent? Sprinkles Doughnuts is much too close for our waistlines.
What is your favorite T-shirt with a graphic or Meme?
Oh, this is an easy one. I saw a shirt in Sanibel, Florida, with this: “I live in my own little world, but that’s okay, they know me here.” It’s been my motto ever since.
I love it! How about your favorite childhood book? Or writing that inspired you to become an author.
Besides sports biographies, I enjoyed Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.
The person who inspired me to write, however, was my dad. He was a journalist for the Louisville Courier Journal for 40 + years. In his later days, he wrote a human interest column, and I’d sometimes go with him when he interviewed a subject for a story. To watch him go from a tape recording (back in the 70s) to pecking out the story on his old Royal typewriter, to being published in the paper, was motivating.
If you could time travel, where would you go and when? Why?
One of my favorite books was The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells. I’ve always been fascinated with time travel and wished many times I could go to the past during some history-making event. I’d love to travel to the time of the Incas in South America or the Aztecs in Mexico. Or maybe watch Stonehenge being constructed, although that could take decades or centuries!
What ridiculous thing has someone tricked you into doing or believing?
When I was around eight years old, I stayed all night with my best friend. We switched rooms with her brother and slept in his bunk beds. I was in the top bunk with an electric blanket draped over me. Since I’d never seen one before, I believed him when he warned, “Don’t dare move during the night or you’ll catch on fire.”
Boys are so mean. LOL. Now, about writing, how do you select the names of your characters?
I use some names from my family tree. Especially if that particular ancestor had an unusual story passed down through the generations. I sometimes let the characters name themselves. Many times their personalities and dialogue will dictate their names. Ruby, Andi Anna’s annoying ex-stepmother, was obvious. How could she be anything but “Ruby”?
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
The first book I wrote, twenty years ago, was a children’s chapter book called Cynthia’s Attic: The Missing Locket. I sent it to several publishers and kept getting rejections.
Finally, one editor had the courtesy to write a few notes on the manuscript. “The story is very good, but you have too much telling, not enough showing.”
Puzzled by that comment, I did research and realized the problem. I spent the next six months revising and was accepted by the next publisher I queried. I still credit that editor with Pelican Press with giving me the tools to be able to write and get published.
As writers, we are so appreciative when someone gives constructive advice. I’m so glad she/he did. Mary, thanks for hanging around the fire with me today. Before you head off to the donut shop, please tell us about your newest book and where we can find out about it and you.
Sazerac, Sleuth & Slay
A cozy mystery
It’s gonna be a great day! Or, so she thought.
Andi Anna Jones, so-so travel agent, amateur sleuth, doesn’t suspect her least favorite client, Stewart (The Pain) Payne, will set off circumstances that lead to disappearance and death.
After his wife is a no-show for a convention in New Orleans, his threat to sue Graves Travel for “ten times more than it’s worth”, and Andi’s wish to honor one of her late dad's requests, leads her to The Big Easy in search of Grace Payne.
Five unsolved murders, a body caught in a crawfish cage, and a mysterious candle, magic, and incense shop, takes Andi deep into the bayou on a hunt for clues.
Will another victim be added to a serial killer’s list, or is the main suspect closer to Andi than she thinks?
Grab a copy today
Amazon: Sazerac, Sleuth & Slay (An Andi Anna Jones Mystery Book 2) - Kindle edition by Cunningham, Mary. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.
Barnes & Noble: Sazerac, Sleuth & Slay by Mary Cunningham | eBook | Barnes & Noble® (barnesandnoble.com)
What others are saying
"Loved this book! The characters are funny and very likeable. The story is very good. Definitely want to read more from this author!"
"The story has twists, turns, wonderful local New Orleans local color, and some surprises for everyone. I would recommend this book to anyone who wished to get lost in a fun cozy murder mystery. I look forward to reading more books by Mary Cunningham with this lead character."
More about the Author
I grew up on the northern side of the Ohio River in Corydon, Indiana. My first memories are my dad’s original bedtime stories that no doubt inspired my active imagination and love of a well-spun “yarn”.
Childhood experiences, and a recurring dream about a mysterious attic, inspired characters, Cynthia and Augusta Lee, for award-winning middle-grade series, Cynthia’s Attic.
Through a horrifying stint as a travel agent and more rewarding experience teaching travel and tourism, Andi Anna Jones, travel agent/amateur sleuth, sprang to life. Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder will be published by The Wild Rose Press in 2021. Book 2, Sazerac, Sleuth & Slay is in process.
I’m also writing another middle-grade series, The Adventures of Max and Maddie, an adult mystery, For the Life of Claire, and the biography of an army brat who evolved into a star college and professional basketball player.
Follow Mary here
Facebook (17) Mary Cunningham | Facebook
Amazon Author Page: Amazon.com: Mary Cunningham: books, biography, latest update
Instagram: Author Mary Cunningham (@marycunningham2604) • Instagram photos and videos
3/15/2023 10:25:27 am
Thanks, so much, Donna, for the great blog spotlight of my new release! Much appreciated!!
3/15/2023 02:03:43 pm
The new book is terrific. I just read and reviewed it. My mother in law was Ruby but thankfully not nearly as crazy as Andi Anna's!
3/15/2023 02:14:30 pm
Thanks, Kim! I appreciate the review! And, so happy your Ruby isn't like Andi's!
3/15/2023 02:33:36 pm
What a wonderful interview! I love your motto. And your cozy mysteries look great!
3/15/2023 02:54:30 pm
Thanks, Anastasia! My motto fits perfectly!
3/15/2023 02:34:44 pm
It was great getting to know you, Mary, through this interview with Donna. I haven't read your book yet, but it's on my TBR list! I must admit, it still gives me pause when I see your name, because a very dear aunt was also named Mary Cunningham.Continued best of luck!!
3/15/2023 02:55:47 pm
Thanks, Barbara! I hope you enjoy the book! I'm also honored to share the name of your favorite aunt.
3/15/2023 10:35:41 pm
I love it! “I live in my own little world, but that’s okay, they know me here.” When introverts are born, they should each get one of these T-shirts in their welcome kits.
3/16/2023 01:37:34 pm
Ha! It’s been my motto since I bought the shirt years ago. Thanks for the comment, David.
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Your Host D.V. Stone
Award winning multi-genre author and blogger. Fantasy, romance, mid-grade. Nothing better than a campfire, book, and glass of wine. Okay maybe there is.📚
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