Welcome to author Erin Scoggins who traded in her corporate suits for casual wear and fried chicken.
Describe your current writing space.
My office is my favorite room in the house. I write at my father’s old executive desk, which I painted a cozy farmhouse gray. I collect antique typewriters, and my favorite sits atop a refurbished card catalog from my local school library. I have a full set of bright blue gym lockers to hold all my notebooks and office supplies. There’s art from my kids, flowers, and an overstuffed chair to curl up in when I need a mid-sentence nap.
Sounds perfect, right? To get the full picture, though, you’ll need to add in three kids who are still in virtual school and like to hang out in the chair waiting for technical support while I’m writing. There’s also a giant dog who sleeps under the desk. I have to shove him out of the way to sit down at the keyboard. He snores like someone is trying to start his engine, which is fun when I’m trying to have a Zoom call.
It’s loud and crazy and messy, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
It usually takes me a few months to write a draft I’m excited to work with. From there, it goes quickly. I’m lucky enough to have a fantastic team of editors who help me wrangle my words into submission with one or two passes, then we’re ready to publish.
I tried to speed up the process recently by dictating a few chapters. In theory, it would be an ideal way to get the books out faster. In practice, I don’t think the software developers who created the program were prepared for people who dictate in a house full of chaos. The editing process takes a lot longer when you’re removing strange voices constantly asking for snacks and a dog who likes to bark in my face to warn me about the squirrels outside the window.
What comes first for you, the plot or characters?
For me, it’s all about the characters. In cozies, the plot is important, but the characters drive the story. I want to see them grow while they’re solving a murder. I’m sure we’d all be thinking about personal development while there’s a killer on the loose, right?
And I live in the South. There’s no shortage of quirky people to use as inspiration.
What kind of research do you do for a book?
Food plays a central role in my books, and it wouldn’t be realistic for me to write about brownies if I hadn’t recently eaten one. So I cook a lot. Thankfully, I have a bunch of people around who think that’s a great idea and encourage that part of my writing process.
Since I write books set on the North Carolina coast, I take regular research trips to the beach to make sure I’m capturing the details of the area. It’s a tough job, but I need to ensure I’m doing justice to the people and traditions of one of my favorite places. Plus, there’s no better place to taste the seafood than sitting next to the ocean.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
I’d give myself the same pep talk I give my kids:
There may be other people who are faster or smarter or more talented than you, and that’s okay. You have a story to tell, and you’re the only one who can tell it. So be brave in the knowledge that you are uniquely qualified to share what’s in your heart and your imagination. You can’t fail when you honor your own story.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently finishing up the third book in the Wedding Crashers series. Here Comes the Homicide is the fun story of what happens when a hundred-year-old rivalry between two Southern towns boils over in the middle of a fairy tale wedding. It involves a leather jacket-wearing corpse, a giant pig statue, and a pair of matchmaking chickens. I’m having a blast with it, and I can’t wait to share it with readers later this summer.
Erin is a long-time Southerner with a fondness for offbeat humor and fresh fried chicken. After fifteen years in marketing with a Fortune 500 company, she traded her MBA for fictional crime scenes and feisty small-town families. She writes fun, flirty mysteries that are celebrations of food, family, and the killer South.