Today I'm honored to be interviewing Mollie Cox Bryan, author of the Cumberland Creek Mystery series.
Welcome, Mollie, and thank you for joining me today. Can you tell us about your Cumberland Creek Mystery Series...what was the inspiration for the series?
For several years, I was a stay-at-home mom and part-time freelancef after working full time for most of my professional. I got to know a lot of women who were doing the same thing. It’s an isolated way of life at times. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I knew a lot of moms that struggled with depression and so on. At the same time, I found out that there was a woman in my neighborhood who was so addicted to meth that her family was in great danger. I begin each book with the same basic question: how well do we know our neighbors? So that was the spark of the inspiration.
At the same time, when I found out about my neighbor’s horrible meth addiction, a group of scrapbooking women opened their homes and hearts to me. I was hooked on the sharing and the generosity. Unfortunately, we no longer get together because our kids are older and we all are running in different directions.
With the newer books, the inspiration is the same at its core, but now, it feels like I’m visiting old friends when I write about my characters. Their personalities and stories are more the inspiration.
The books are also kind of a wish fulfillment for me that my friends and I could get together every week and scrapbook or eat or do anything. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Are you a scrapbooker?
Yes. Though I don’t have as much time to devote to it now that I’m writing full time. I usually catch up over Holiday breaks.
Can you see yourself in any of your characters?
I think I see parts of myself in each character. But they are each their own women. Heh.
Do you have any advice for an aspiring writer?
A lot of people will go on and on about finding an agent, your platform, and so on. I say find a good teacher and learn your craft. The rest will come when you are ready—and you don’t really want to publish until you are ready. It’s a tough business.
If you could jump into the pages of a book and live in that world, which would it be?
I’d like to live in Three Pines, the fictional Canadian town in Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache books. It’s quiet and artsy, surrounded by woods.
Give us a glimpse into a typical day for you.
I usually get up before my daughters and get some writing in before they need to get up for school. I walk them to the bus stop every day. Depending on which day of the week it is, I head off to the gym for Zumba class or a run. If it’s a Tues. or Wed., I head back home and get busy either writing on my current project or writing blog posts and social media. Usually when my daughters get home, we get a snack or dinner—depending on what they have going on that night. And we are off for evening activities—dance, music, play rehearsals, and so on. And of course, there’s always homework and countless chores around the house. I am never bored.
What's your favorite way to spend a rainy day?
Reading in front of a warm fire with my family around me, including my dog and cat.
What's up next for the Cumberland Scrapbook Crop?
Here’s the blurb for the new book, SCRAPPED.
The ladies of the Cumberland Creek Scrapbook Crop are welcoming an eccentric newbie into their fold. A self-proclaimed witch, Cookie Crandall can whip up a sumptuous vegan meal and rhapsodize about runes and moon phases with equal aplomb. She becomes fast friends with her fellow scrapbookers, including freelance reporter Annie, with whom she shares shallow roots in a community of established family trees. So when Cookie becomes the prime suspect in a series of bizarre murders, the croppers get scrappy and set out to clear her name. Annie starts digging and discovers that the victims each had strange runic patterns carved on their bodies - a piece of evidence that points the police in Cookie's direction. Even her friends begin to doubt her innocence when they find an ornate, spiritual scrapbook that an alleged beginner like Cookie could never have crafted. As Annie and the croppers search for answers, they'll uncover a shockingly wicked side of their once quiet town - and a killer on the prowl for another victim.