June 22, 2006

3 Questions with Sara Rosett

Sara Rosett is the author of Moving is Murder, the first in a series of Cosy Mysteries starring amateur sleuth and military wife Ellie Avery. Rosett is a military wife herself, so she has been murderously moved PLENTY. SADLY her husband got restationed and moved them out of Georgia RIGHT BEFORE she joined the GCC, so I won't get a chance to actually meet her. How boogery is that?

I've never read Sara before as this is a debut novel, but I'm interested in this book. I was born and bred an army brat, and I'd lived in I think seven states before I was nine and Daddy retired us to the Florida Panhandle where I squandered the rest of my ill-spent youth on beaches and pernicious orange eating. I plan to pick this book up while I am out on the road in July. I think I read something like 22 or 23 books on my last book tour, and the vast majority of them were mysteries and thrillers as I was tired and meanspirited and grumpy from the constant travel and loss of sleep and I wanted BIG DELICIOUS SCOOPINGS of murder.

I have good company on tour a lot of the time, I have to say, BUT one can only make booksellers sit and drink with you for so long... EVENTUALLY the booksellers' livers come leaping out of their nostrils to escape the next beer, and then the booksellers go home. Then there I am, having more insomnia and being grumpy and getting on airplanes with horrible people who take up the whole armrest and recline the seat right in front of you all the way back. People in airplanes so OFTEN make you want to commit murder yourself, especially if you are lonely for your family, so on tour I read mysteries like a madwoman, letting nice folks like Sara Rossett kill people by proxy, in lieu of me commiting actual mayhem. ANYWAY -- let's let her talk.

JJ: What do you think of your cover and how does it compare to the cover you imagined when you were writing the book?


SR: I love the cover. I felt kind of guarded while I waited to see it. I’d heard so many stories about how authors absolutely hated their covers—they had nothing to do with the story, they gave away a key plot point, etc. So I wasn’t getting my hopes up. My editor asked for input and requested character descriptions and any ideas I had along with details of what covers I liked and didn’t like. Well. You should have seen the email I sent back—about three pages of covers I loved and hated along with lots of descriptions and ideas. My protagonist, Ellie, and her husband Mitch have bought their first house in what they mistakenly assume will be a neighborhood free of military influences. The house is very important to Ellie and central to the story, so I sent off pictures of houses that inspired Ellie’s house. I pictured the house, an Arts and Crafts bungalow, on the cover. Maybe a close-up of the front porch with the arched front door and the honey-colored bricks. After I sent my email lots of waiting followed, as is typical in publishing. I heard at one point it was going to be orange. Not my favorite color! My editor let me know they’d gotten the artist who did the Mitford series to do my cover and I immediately clicked over to Amazon to pour over those covers. The actual cover was a night scene, a deep blue starry sky with yellow letters, not a bit of orange in sight. No people either, but the house made it! And it incorporated some of my architectural details.

JJ: Your main character seems to have a lot in common with you. You’re both military spouses and mothers. How is she/he different from you?

SR: Ellie is organized. I’m not. I want to be organized, but I’m not. I can be organized in spurts, but I’m not really an organized person. Making her a professional organizer must be wish fulfillment on my part. I saw a feature on a news magazine about professional organizers several years ago and I thought the whole thing was so cool. Then when I was writing the first drafts of MOVING IS MURDER, I realized that making Ellie a professional organizer was perfect for an amateur sleuth because she’d have an entry into homes and she’d actually have a reason to snoop through their closets! Ellie is also very “Type A.” I’m more easy-going and I’m not confrontational at all. I’d never be able to ask questions and be as nosy as Ellie. She is also a bit of a perfectionist. I’ll admit I do have some of those tendencies, but only up to a point, and only in certain areas. Writing is one of the areas where my perfectionism comes out. Unfortunately for my family it doesn’t come out at all in my housekeeping.

JJ: Tell us about your most recent move.

SR: I’ve just completed a cross-country move from Georgia to California. My husband is still with the military, although in a civil service job in the Air Force Reserve that’s linked to his pilot job, but we might as well be active duty. Our move wasn’t as awful as Ellie’s—no dead bodies turning up in our new neighborhood or in our new squadron! We did have a glitch during the pack-out when the movers realized that they hadn’t reserved enough space on the moving van for our stuff—they forgot to include our garage and attic. That’s where most of our junk is!! I’ve already confessed that I’m not organized, so I can admit that we have tons of junk in our garage and attic. Anyway, they realized they didn’t have enough room on the moving van at about six pm. They had to split our shipment. That meant calling for another truck, unloading items, re-tagging them and re-inventorying them. They finished about 9:45. It was a long day! I have mantra for when military-related things go bad. I chant, “I’ll use this in a book someday,” and I usually feel better. Writing about the military is very cathartic, but my mantra didn’t help much that day.

Everything arrived fairly intact (broken refrigerator magnets and minor scratches on bookcases don’t count) and our second shipment even found it’s way to our new house. We drove 2,400 miles, visited family along the way, and I worked in a few drop-in book signings. Over-all, not a bad move. Now I’m in the middle of unpacking boxes and flatting packing paper—I swear that stuff breeds inside the boxes. There’s a scene in the book when Ellie surveys her house with boxes everywhere and nothing put away and she thinks, “It has to get worse before it gets better.” That’s kind of a succinct summary of a mystery plot, too. Not to mention it describes my house perfectly right now!


Posted by joshilyn at June 22, 2006 8:16 AM

oohh... I wanna read that.

Posted by: Heather at June 22, 2006 9:38 AM

I love that: “I’ll use this in a book someday".

I'm definitely going to use that one in real life!

Posted by: Heather Cook at June 23, 2006 12:00 AM

sounds good. Hard to believe someone else had my same experience. NO LIE. I do love me some Marine Corps life! It's never dull, but always poor.
29 Palms, Ca. has more than it's fair share of "secrets".

Posted by: desi at June 23, 2006 9:51 PM

LOVE IT. I am definitely going to read this! I'm in the middle of my first military move so this will be PERFECT.

Posted by: Pattie at June 26, 2006 5:24 PM