Lauren Carr is the bestselling author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, the Lovers in Crime Mysteries, and the brand new series, The Thorny Rose Mysteries. We caught up with the charming mystery writer as she preps to kick off her upcoming virtual book tour for A Fine Year for Murder, the 2th in the Mac Faraday series.
Author Interview with Lauren Carr
Lauren, thank you so much for chatting with us. Right off the bat, I’m curious. Is it hard to break away from your successful Mac Faraday series to work on another one?
Yes and no. Actually, I don’t consider this breaking away so much as taking a break from Mac and the gang at Deep Creek Lake. I’m not leaving Mac Faraday and the gang in Deep Creek Lake or the Lovers in Crime in their small town in West Virginia at all. I’m simply taking my readers on a detour to visit a new and different group of detectives.
As a writer, an occasional detour helps me to step away and marinate on my next Mac Faraday or Lovers in Crime Mystery—think about where I want the characters to go. Now that I am returning to the next Mac Faraday Mystery, I am actually approaching it with a fresher perspective, which adds a special treat for my readers as well.
A Fine Year for Murder, the second Thorny Rose Mystery, was released January 30. The Thorny Rose Mystery series is a different direction for you, isn’t it?
Yes, it is—which makes it exciting for me as the writer and for my readers, as well. As an author, I am always striving to stretch my wings and try new things. I always listen to readers, not just talk about my books, but other authors’ books. It is not uncommon to hear a reader complain about an author’s books starting to all read the same, or for the reader to become bored with an author’s books. Well, that can also happen to the author who is writing the books. Some readers may not like the new direction I go with the Thorny Rose Mysteries. They can take comfort with Mac Faraday and the Lovers in Crime. The rest, they can dive into the mystery and suspense of Murphy and Jessica, the next generation of mystery detectives.
In the first Thorny Rose Mystery, Kill and Run, it was plain to see that the young newlywed couple, Jessica and Murphy, have a far different lifestyle than Mac and Joshua. Can you share some of the differences we will see? Living in Washington DC, will their stories lean toward political suspense?
Jessica and Murphy are much younger, more daring, and without a doubt more impulsive than their fathers. Also, since they are millennials, they lean toward today’s high tech lifestyle—thus, the character of Nigel, their virtual butler.
The setting alone (Washington DC) makes for a different type of criminal element. Since Murphy is a military officer assigned to the Pentagon, then we get to add a political element. As a phantom, he’s often sent on secret assignments. Then, we have Jessica Faraday, a savvy and rich young woman who knows her way around high society, which will prove to be helpful to Murphy.
Behind the scenes, readers get to see the normal adjustments that every newlywed couple must deal with—like where does the peanut butter go (fridge or cupboard) and how many children do they want to have and when.
Yet, personally, I do not want the Thorny Rose Mysteries to be a wholly political suspense mystery series. Wanting to make that clear, I set our detectives in the wine country of southern Virginia for A Fine Year for Murder.
Speaking of setting, how do you decide on the setting for a book? For instance, in choosing Washington DC or Virginia’s wine country, do you already have your story idea in mind before you settle on the location or is it character driven?
Character driven! My books are completely character driven. The decision for Washington DC for the Thorny Rose series came naturally. Murphy Thornton was a recent graduate from the Naval Academy and Jessica wanted to be with him. That meant she had to move to Washington as well. As an author, this worked well for me because I used to work in Washington as an editor for the federal government. My husband had been a navy officer assigned to the Pentagon, so I didn’t need to do that much research.
Yet, for A Fine Year for Murder, the murder case was based on a real cold case that happened in a small town. I had selected this mystery to be Jessica’s case, since Murphy took center stage in Kill and Run. Jessica had grown up in the suburbs of Washington DC, which is not a small town. So, I created the storyline in which she had become involved in the case as a child while visiting distant relatives. That resulted in my taking Jessica and Murphy on a road trip to southern Virginia.
What led to the decision to bring together the two grown children of Mac (Mac Faraday) and Joshua Thornton (Lovers in Crime)? I love the idea, by the way.
Oh, like love, it just sort of happened. I thought long and hard about bringing the two of them together before I made the final decision. Then, it was almost a year after that before I decided found the right book launch them.
Murphy’s character came about in my first mystery book, A Small Case of Murder, a Joshua Thornton Mystery. At that time, he was seventeen years old. I knew then that he would be going to the Naval Academy. When I created the character of Jessica Faraday (readers meet her via phone conversation in Old Loves Die Hard) she was already in college in Williamsburg. When I brought back Joshua for the Lovers in Crime, I realized Murphy and Jessica were about the same age. As their fathers became friends, it became natural for them to grow close. Like my readers, I was very surprised by how quickly they grew together.
Your Mac Faraday series as well as the Lovers in Crime series have both garnered a loyal following. I’m one of them. We will still be seeing their series continue as well, won’t we?
Oh yes! Each series will continue to grow on their own with interconnecting mysteries occasionally. In Kill and Run, the Lovers in Crime actively participate in the mystery. In A Fine Year for Murder, Mac Faraday and the Deep Creek Lake gang make an appearance. Then, this summer, readers are in for a treat as all of my series characters come together for two mysteries in Twofer Murder! This special mystery will be a lot of fun—I promise! As long as readers are clamoring for mysteries, I’ll be writing them.
I, for one, love the direction you are going with this series. Characters grow and change and to keep up with the times makes them feel even more real to me.
Thanks so much for visiting, Lauren, and I look forward to reading more of your work!
After months of marital bliss, Jessica Faraday and Murphy Thornton are still discovering and adjusting to their life together. Settled in their new home, everything appears to be perfect … except in the middle of the night when, in darkest shadows of her subconscious, a deep secret from Jessica’s past creeps to the surface to make her strike out at Murphy.
When investigative journalist Dallas Walker tells the couple about her latest case, known as the Pine Bridge Massacre, they realize Jessica may have witnessed the murder of a family living near a winery owned by distant relatives she was visiting and suppressed the memory.
Determined to uncover the truth and find justice for the murder victims, Jessica and Murphy return to the scene of the crime with Dallas Walker, a spunky bull-headed Texan. Can this family reunion bring closure for a community touched by tragedy or will this prickly get-together bring an end to the Thorny Rose couple?
ABOUT LAUREN CARR
Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!
Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.
Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real Gnarly) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.
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