Welcome to author Estelle Richards who lives in the beautiful American Southwest and writes cozy mysteries. The Lisa Chance Cozy Mysteries is her first series. The March Street Cozy Mysteries is her second series.
Describe your current writing spot or space.
I have a cheap desk (a thrift store find) and an expensive chair. The desk faces a window, and in the mornings I can see a family of squirrels playing on a neighbor’s roof. I use an ergonomic split keyboard to save my wrists. (The keyboard also makes it funny to watch other people try to use my computer!) I have dual monitors, which lets me put notes or research on one screen and my manuscript on the other screen..
Do you write under a pseudonym? If not, have you ever considered it?
I do write under a pen name. As it happens, my real name is common enough that there’s already a mystery writer publishing with that name. To choose my pen name, I used my husband’s first name as a last name, and then chose a first name I find pretty. Then I did a bunch of searches on Google and Amazon to make sure I wasn’t accidentally copying another writer’s name. A side benefit of using a pen name is that it helps me remember that while writing is one aspect of me and my life, it’s not the entirety. It helps me stay in balance.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
It can be hard to make them believable. I’ll often run something by my husband to get his take on whether it rings true for how a man might think or behave. Of course, I don’t always take his advice, because they’re still my characters, after all.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
My writing avatar is a cat. Long periods of time staring out the window seemingly at nothing, followed by bursts of energy. All that time daydreaming is how I visualize the scene. Once I’ve got a scene firmly set in my mind, I pounce on it. After all that imagining, when I write a scene, it comes out in its final version. Can you imagine a cat rewriting? I can, it looks like curling up on top of the manuscript for a nap!
What is your favorite childhood book(s)?
As a child, I haunted both the school library and the public library, reading as much as I could. Three of my favorites were the Big Red books by Jim Kjelgaard, Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh, and the Shoes books by Noel Streatfeild. In these books, young people do important things and have considerable independence in the world. As a dreamy, somewhat sheltered child, books were my window into a world of adventure.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
I would tell my younger writing self so many things! First, finish things. It wasn’t until I was in a writers group where we did weekly short stories that I got used to writing endings. Second, I’d tell myself to study plot and structure. My early efforts tended to peter out because I didn’t know how a story was put together. Third, don’t give up!