by Syrl Kazlo (a.k.a S.A. Kazlo)
What’s your book genre of choice? Mine is cozy mysteries. My preference is a cozy that has a strong main character, a fun side kick, and possibly a pet involved. Sprinkle in some humor and I’m hooked.
Having devoured hundreds of cozy mysteries, about five years ago I thought I’d give writing one a try. Lots of people say they can write a book, so why not me? It’s not like I haven’t given writing a try before. Years ago, I wrote articles for children’s magazines and penned a few children’s books. Were the books published? Nope. This was back in the day when being self-published was frowned upon. Self-publishing was only for those authors who weren’t “good enough” for the biggie publishing houses. But, as they said back then, you’d probably paper a room with rejection slips along the way. A side note here, back then email wasn’t as popular as it is today, and you received those rejection notes in your mailbox. Always open your emails even if you think it is going to say “sorry, but…” That was a big mistake of mine. I was going through some old mail and found an acceptance letter from an editor dated from the year before. Palm plant here. Lesson learned, the hard way. So fast forward and here I am with two published cozy mysteries under my belt and a third on the way.
They say life mirrors fiction, but in my case, fiction mirrors my life in my mysteries. As I mentioned earlier, I wrote for children. So does my main character Samantha Davies. She’s about to publish a picture book, Porkchop, the Wonder Dog, featuring her beloved Dachshund, Porkchop. And yes, I have a Dachshund. In fact, over the years, I have been fortunate to love four Dachshunds, Porkchop, Spunky, Lucky, and Wilson. Like many dog owners, I fell in love with the breed.
Other similarities? Sam owns a convertible Volkswagen Beetle and so do I. Hers is egg-yolk yellow, mine is robin’s egg blue. Sam is a hooker, a rug hooker that is, and so am I. A craft I feature in my books along with the Loopy Ladies, a rug-hooking group of ladies, similar to the one I belong to and just as full of quirky characters. In Book 2, A Doggone Death, Sam goes to a hook-in, a rug hooking event we hookers love to attend to feed the wool habit for our craft.
One major difference between Sam and me? I am not divorced, nor do I co-own a funeral home with my ex. I am happily married for almost fifty years. Sam’s hunky boyfriend, Hank Johnson, is drawn from my husband. Yes, after fifty years, he is still my hunk of love. Hank is a detective on the Wings Falls police force. My hubby is a retired Pennsylvania State Trooper. I often pick his brain for police procedural advice. Or even about the strangest cases he ever worked on. Some of them were real doozies.
I’ve modeled many of my characters after family and friends of mine. Sam resembles my daughter with long, very curly hair. Candie Parker, Sam’s Southern Belle cousin, is named after my good friend Candie, who lives in Tennessee, and like Sam’s fictional cousin, writes steamy romance novels. Names of my friends may be sprinkled through out my books. They love to see themselves in print. In fact, one friend wants to be the murderer in a forthcoming novel.
Sam has a designer purse fetish. She can’t get enough of them. Hopefully, her purse count won’t go as high as the late Queen Elizabeth’s. She owned over 2,400 purses. Often, I will use tidbits from the news in my novels. Especially, if they are on the quirky side, like when I read about a man smuggling into this country hundreds of miniature turtles in his pants. Or recently, a news story in my local newspaper featured the world’s largest pumpkin of over 2,000 pounds. I really have to find a way to fit that into my next Samantha Davies Mystery. Life is mirrored in my novels.
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