Perky, peppy, and prolific, cozy mystery author Cindy Blackburn is living the dream! She spends her days sitting around in her pajamas, thinking up unlikely plot twists and ironing out the quirks and kinks of lovable characters. When she’s not typing on her laptop or feeding her fat cat Betty, Cindy enjoys taking long walks with her cute hubby John. A native Vermonter who hates snow, Cindy divides her time between the South Carolina and Vermont. In this #TeamFluff interview, Cindy shares her love of atrocious poetry, her advice for using social media wisely, and her strategy for getting your book club trashed on champagne.
Minty Fresh Mysteries (MFM): In addition to writing the Cue Ball Mystery series, you publish a regular series of what you describe as terrible poetry on your
blog. How did your love affair with silly poems begin? I’m assuming a silly poet bought you a drink, and then one thing led to another…
Cindy Blackburn (CB): Ha! Nope, can’t say that I know any other silly poets. And I imagine silly poets can’t afford to buy drinks for others? I started writing poetry when I decided to blog once a week. Seemed to me, plenty of authors were blogging about “the writing process” and other really serious stuff. So I decided to do something light, funny, and sometimes (okay, often) awful. Nearly three years later and I’m still composing groan-inducing ditties for an update every Sunday. I’m also still waiting for someone to buy me a drink while I recite. Hmm…
MFM: One of your characters is a frenetic, hilariously hyperactive literary agent. Has your own publishing journey been populated with any eccentric nutballs?
CB: Absolutely! I just love, love, love writers. We’re an eccentric and quirky bunch. I met most of my favorite author-friends through Sisters in Crime and the Romance Writers of America—both terrific organizations. I don’t have an agent, but if I did, I’d look for one as fun as Geez Louise Urko. BTW, Louise thinks your questions are fantastical!
MFM: You’ve got a huge Twitter presence. In fact, you and I “met” through Twitter. I have to admit that I secretly hate it. If you appreciate a well-constructed sentence, and, you know, basic grammar, it can make you want to sit in a dimly-lit corner and weep. What are your tips for other authors trying to use Twitter to connect with fans and other writers? I’m specifically wondering how you keep from coming across like an illiterate 14-year-old.
CB: One of my mottos in writing and in life: Leave them wanting more, not less. I love Twitter, since it forces us to get to the gist of it—whatever “it” is. To me, that means good writing, not bad. I also love connecting with thousands of people from all over the world and every walk of life. My tips for other writers? Tweet several times a day, follow new people every day, use the notifications button to see who’s paying attention to you and pay attention to them, re-tweet often and generously. Have fun with it—here I am, doing this terrific interview because we connected on Twitter. Nice! Come follow me @cbmysteries.
MFM: By the way, R.P. Dahlke shared some other tips in an earlier #TeamFluff interview.
MFM: I wholeheartedly approve of the excessive amounts of champagne your characters consume. Has anyone ever made a drinking game out of reading your books? For every glass of champagne drunk in the book, one has to be drunk in real life.
CB: Not that I know of, but I think I’ll steal this idea and use it as an ice-breaker the next time I speak at a book club. And, of course, I’ll try this out when I finally come across that silly poet who’s looking to buy me a drink.
MFM: Your books are available as audiobooks. What was it like to transform your written words into spoken words? Any surprises?
CB: I am SO glad I didn’t have to narrate my books. Caroline Miller (a true professional with a terrific voice) did a great job as “the voice of Jessie.” The surprise was when she put the emphasis on different words and phrases than what I had heard in my head, and when HER interpretation sounded better than what I had thought I meant! Caroline kept track, and there were over 70 different characters (one being a parrot) that she narrated for the 4 Cue Ball Mysteries. Impressive!
For readers who enjoy light, funny, cozy reads, the Cue Ball Mysteries are: Playing With Poison, Double Shot, Three Odd Balls, and Four Play. Jessie and Wilson wanted a vacation after Four Play, so I gave them a break and have just released the first book in a brand new series. Unbelievable is the first Cassie Baxter Mystery. And, never fear, Jessie’s vacation didn’t last long. Right now I’m starting her and Wilson on their fifth adventure, Five Spot. They should have that murder solved sometime in mid 2015.
Thanks tons for hosting me on your blog today, Mindy. I enjoyed the visit.
MFM: Thanks, Cindy! Y’all head over to Cindy’s website to learn more: www.cbmysteries.com