What is the title of your newest book? How many books have you published?
My newest book is Marinating in Murder. It’s book #3 in the
Dinner Club Mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime and it’s the eighth book
I’ve had published. I’m also very excited about a new series I’ve
started, the Castle Bookstore Mysteries, the first book coming out early
next year from Crooked Lane Books. BTW, I’ll be writing as Essie Lang.
How did you develop your character and choose your location?
Developing a new character takes a lot of time just letting everything
gel and come together. I start with a name – that’s important to me –
and also a visual description. My main character is always female. Next
comes her job and then I choose her friends and cohorts. The rest, her
backstory and her preferences, appear as I let her develop in my brain.
location, these days totally for my own gratification, must include
water and some place that is an easy drive. Also, I try to find
locations that are seldom used in mystery series. Burlington, VT
fulfilled those criteria. Besides, I had a cousin who used to live there
and I loved visiting her.
What is a day in the life of an author like? Do you write a certain number of words, do you write in the morning or evening?
A typical day for me, at this point (I say that because it’s changed
over the years), is to fill my mornings (after my second espresso) with
the business of being a writer. That includes answering emails, writing
guest blogs, catching up on Facebook, etc., and any office work. I also
try to schedule appointments in the morning. The afternoon is for
writing. I try to do a minimum of 1000 words a day but I don’t beat
myself up about it. Weekends are sacred – no writing unless I’m up
against a deadline.
Do you belong to a writers group or are you in touch with other writers? How does that help your writing?
I have been a member of the Ladies’ Killing Circle for over 25 years! We started out together as
six unpublished but eager writers, meeting weekly to critique each
other’s work. And we were brutally honest with each other. We needed
that non-family honest input. At this point, we still get together on a
more irregular basis, as friends to enjoy lunches, go to movies, and
generally celebrate all the ups and downs in our lives. We still support
each other in everything we do. And, I’m pleased to say that we are all
Do you model your character after yourself or any one you know?
I gave my character J.J. Tanner some things in common with me, for
instance our love of collecting and reading cookbooks. The ones with
many colorful photos in them! Also, neither of us are great cooks … but
we’re trying. Other than that, she’s her own woman.
Who is your favorite author?
This may sound like a cop-out but my favorite author is based more on
what I’m in the mood to read and who I go back to the most. But I will
mention that Martin Walker and Andrea Camilleri are on that favorite
list. I love their settings, the mentions of food, and their quirky
How do you keep track of character details from book to book so they are consistent?
I keep lists of details from the color of hair to food
preferences, a favorite song, or the color of their cars. This is all
part of the backstory I do for my main characters. It’s totally
necessary as I’ve been known to get very creative in describing someone,
only to find that person doesn’t exist!
If you could not be an author, what would like to do as a career?
I had toyed with the thought of being a police officer but I know I
don’t have the temperament for that. Or a musician but I don’t have the
talent. I am taking art classes these days, so who knows!