Category Archives: Books
Interview with Character Taylor Browning
“Dead Editor File” First Book in the Taylor Browning Cozy Mystery Series
By G G Collins
Taylor Browning is the new kid on the cozy mystery block. By day she edits mysteries at the publishing house and in her off hours she’s learning to sleuth. That’s the trouble, she has developed an interest in crime solving. Of course, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. She can’t edit her way out of real murder…or can she? Find out in the first book in the new series: “Dead Editor File.”
How did you become the mystery editor of the most prominent publishing house in Santa Fe?
Somehow I managed to impress the publisher and senior editor with my knowledge of mysteries, especially the classics like Agatha Christie, Mary Roberts Rinehart and Phyllis A Whitney. We talked the basics of a good cozy mystery: nearly bloodless murder, cast of suspects and of course the need for tea. But we couldn’t survive in the mystery world today without the heroine having a distinctive job, in my case, a mystery editor. I’ve been on the job less than a year and am learning the ins and outs of book publishing. It’s a strange world of manuscripts, fonts, bluelines and advance review copies. Learning what to do with all of them is challenging. But it’s the authors that require finesse. Even the nicest authors usually slam a door or throw a small fit right before their pub date. But I’m learning. Usually I can keep it together long enough to hustle them out of the office.
Why did you move to Santa Fe to start a new life?
My husband and I dreamed of moving to the Land of Enchantment, but something always stopped us. You know; money issues, job issues, family issues. Life. But when he died, I wanted to fulfill our dream. It was difficult at first. I didn’t know anyone, but I seem to be meeting a lot of people. There is the team at work, the authors, the vendors we use and the bookstore owners we work with. And lately, well, there have been the police. A certain Detective Victor Sanchez who came to our office after the publisher and editor-in-chief was murdered in his locked office. Now that was a bad day. Virginia, our senior editor was sad and Jim, the production manager was nearly ecstatic. I was horrified, but didn’t know him well.
How’s the house renovation going?
You know, it would be helpful if I’d finish a room before moving on to the next one. But no, I have ladders, tools and paint in every nook and cranny. But Oscar and I enjoy the deck the most. We watch the sunsets and unwind with a little wine.
Oscar? Who is Oscar?
Oscar is my Abyssinian cat. You know brown agouti fur with lighter clown markings. I’m told they were the cats of Egyptian kings and pharaohs. Just between us, I tend to believe it because Oscar is a bit entitled especially if dinner is late. There have been a few, uh, incidents. Of course, it’s all because I became involved in the criminal investigation—at least after I was cleared of suspicion. There were times when I was being followed or doing a little sleuthing and was late to prepare his evening meal. It was really no big deal.
How do you see your future?
I love my life—most of the time. Santa Fe is everything I thought it would be, my job is terrific fun and two men are interested in me. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not ready for a relationship yet. For now, Oscar and I are getting along, if only I can stay on schedule. My author, G G Collins, is currently writing the next installment, “The Looking Glass Editor.” It promises to get me into some weird new age experiences thanks to yet another persnickety writer.
Will have to see what happens next, but I feel confident there is murder in my future. Not me, but someone else. I hope.
Dead Editor File Available 10-15-2017
Mystery editor Taylor Browning can’t edit her way out of real murder!
Thank you for your pre-orders!
The Hazards of Writing a Cozy
by G G Collins (Copyright 2017)
Mystery cozies were originally just called mysteries. Even before Agatha Christie, there was Mary Roberts Rinehart. She introduced the “had I but known” device. I devoured Rinehart’s books but soon attacked Christie’s as well. But I owe it all to a book by Shirley Jackson entitled We Have Always Lived in the Castle. The ending blew me away and it was my introduction to mysteries.
Cozies, a term introduced during the 1980s, have a few things in common. The murder happens “off screen” and is usually poison, a simple wallop to the head with say a candlestick or a clean shot without a lot of blood. Please no hollow R.I.P bullets, a .22 will do nicely.
These murders happened to people and in places where, well, these things just don’t happen: a mansion, bookstore or in my case a book publisher who specializes in mysteries. Did you see that coming? Often the sleuth is an amateur, although they can be a promising amateur.
In the early days, the emphasis was on the puzzle and the suspects. And everyone was and is suspect. The cats, recipes and delving into characters backgrounds and careers is a more modern concept. And if there is romance, it’s discreet. Like those kisses from the early movies that only allowed a 3-second kiss. And please, no bedroom scene unless you only see the lights go off from outside.
But here’s where I got into trouble; swearing! I admit it. I curse. And frankly, I don’t see how a someone who kills people would not use profanity. “Excuse me,” the killer said. “I’m going to cut your blankety-blank throat now.” Really?
Okay, I get it. Cozies are about having fun with murder. Someone gets the axe and we spend the rest of the book drinking tea, petting cats and maybe do a little baking until the perp is identified and all’s well with the world again.
My first cozy is due out in October 2017. I’m having a ball writing the Dead Editor File. But I’ve had a really difficult time, er, not cussing. I’ve even got my protagonist trying not to, you know; swear.
However, there is nothing I can do about her Abyssinian cat, Oscar. I’ve had the pleasure of sharing my life with an Aby, and believe me he could let loose with the four letter words; in Cat of course. He lives on in Oscar. Oscar is known to leave “surprises” for Taylor when he isn’t fed on time or in the way he’s grown accustom to dining.
So I’ll be washing my mouth out with soap and tossing quarters in the “swear jar” before the book is complete as I try to think of clever ways to not write well, you know.
And when I use the term “dang it,” well I think you’ll know what I was thinking. It’s the cozy way.
I hope you enjoy mystery editor Taylor Browning in her first outing in the Dead Editor File. Available on Amazon October 15, 2017.