Please welcome author Luisa Buehler. You can find out more about Luisa and her books at:
www.luisabuehler.com and www.luisabuehler.wordpress.com
Grace Marsden Mysteries ~ Think Monk in a skirt solving Cold Cases ~
Kari: I love your tagline: think Monk in a skirt solving cold cases. Your Grace Marsden Mystery series sounds fascinationg. Can you tell us a bit about it?
Luisa: Grace is a warm, good hearted person who is loyal to a fault and fiercely protective of friends and family. I blame Nancy Drew for Grace's inability to draw the line, say no, back away and in general, not go there. Both Grace and I read Nancy Drew when we were in junior high. Grace, however, resembles Nancy not one bit. Grace is not perfect, not slender and expertly skilled and successful in whatever she attempts. She is shorter than stylish, leaning toward the wrong side of her weight chart and oh, yes, she suffers with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Each book involves a cold case and wherever the bones are discovered, I weave in a ghost story. Because of the spirit involvement, another tag line I'm considering is, When Mr. Monk meets the Medium. Grace becomes involved in these cases not so much because they affect her directly but because a friend or family member becomes embroiled in something nasty, and loyal Grace rushes to their side. It is only in the first book, The Rosary Bride, that Grace makes the actual discovery behind the fireplace at her Alma mater of a skeleton in a tattered wedding gown. Nuns, a cloister walk, underground tunnels and the resident all girls Catholic school ghost kicked off the series.
Grace is never alone for long as she follows the decades old clues. Her English husband, Harry Marsden, ex-British Intelligence, her best friend Karen Kramer, and Karen's older brother Ric Kramer, police Inspector and Grace's early suitor aren't far from her side when trouble comes calling. The series has been called "a cold case sizzle" as it follows the cold trail of bygone crimes blending a traditional whodunit with a hint of romance and a touch of the supernatural.
Kari: You have quite an interesting background. How do you juggle it all? What's your writing schedule like?
Luisa: My secret weapon is the wonderful guy I married 26 years ago, Gerry. (no relation to Harry). He is supportive of both my passions. When in 2002 I bought the business I had been working at and signed a contract with Echelon Press for two books he stepped up and helped with both businesses. When I worked late at the office, he handled dinner and homework with our son, Christopher. When I needed to write instead of clean house, we wore thick socks and dragged our feet when we walked over the tiled floors. I'd thought of spraying the socks with that anti-static, pick up dust, product but never did.
I am joking about the socks but not about Gerry's support. My husband was always a self-sufficient sort of fellow--Army, living on his own, no steady squeeze to do chores and our son learned to do his own laundry, cook some basic meals, sew on the occasional errant button, etc. He's in college now and does more than his share of the grocery shopping and cooking for himself and his roommates and they are girls!
Now about the MIND SET of juggling life. Having help and support are important. Having an internal game plan is key. Since I have a business to run, I have to carve out time to write, research, noodle the ideas and fine tune the WIP. I get up at five a.m. every day (maybe sleep in until six on Sundays). I am a morning person, and a tad obsessive (write what you know,eh?) So I have a routine that helps me stay focused and not fall behind on deadlines and not get tense, anxious and overwhelmed. I turn on my laptop on my desk on the landing of the second floor. While it's booting up, I go downstairs, make the coffee, say my morning prayers (how else does one get through anything), head upstairs to write until about sixish, head to the kitchen for a second cup, step out to get the paper for Gerry (the least I can do) back up to write until seven. I usually (unless I have an early business meeting) walk two miles around the neighborhood. Depending on the season, I either spend a few minutes in my garden watering potted annuals and veggies and pulling the ubiquitous mustard weed, or I loll in one of the sitting areas in my garden and think about Grace and what she'll be doing.
Once I'm back inside, I do my Swiffer 15. This is my way of feeling that I'm not a housework slug. I choose one area and set a timer (heaven forbid I'd clean longer than necessary) and clean. If I don't finish, I put it on the next day's schedule. I leave for my office at about 8:30. I do bigger chunks of cleaning on the weekends (honest) which I try to spend with friends and my family. The short answer to how I juggle career, family, writing is 'haphazardly and usually on one high-heel!'
Kari: What's on the horizon for you? More books in this series? Any plans for a new series or even trying your hand at a new genre?
Luisa: The Grace Marsden series will end with book seven, The Re-Enactors: A Staged Death. I love writing about Grace and her pals but since she is an amateur sleuth, it becomes increasingly difficult to find compelling reason why she continues to become embroiled in murder. People joke about the Cabot Cove Syndrome, and I don't want that to be the case with Grace. I have some ideas for a stand alone thriller novel that would certainly be a departure from the cozy genre.
Currently I have completed a novel for middle grade boys. It's an adventure story about six American Boy Scouts attending Jamboree in Dover, England. They discover the meaning of friendship and loyalty when they meet a ghost patrol of four English scouts killed sixty years earlier during the evacuation of Dunkirk. I am looking for an agent for this book. As for another series, I have thoughts for one centered around an employment agency (my day job), a few characters roughed out but the concept still needs work.
Kari: Who are your favorite authors?
Luisa: Too many as my TBR pile will attest to. I love the classic writers, Christie, Sayers, Allingham. In the here and now, I enjoy reading Anne Perry, Barbara D'Amato, Marcia Muller, Margaret Maron, all great storytellers. Not to leave out the guys I enjoy reading Willian Kent Krueger, John Crais, John B. Parker, Michael Connolly; they write wonderfully heart bruised characters.
Thank you so much for being with us, Luisa! Can't wait to read your series!