This Week’s Feature Author Interview with
Hi Barbara Venkataraman, welcome to the Indie Publishing Group website. Introduce yourself to us. Tell everyone who you are, where you’re from, what do you enjoy doing, hobbies and interests.
Like Jamie Quinn, the protagonist of my cozy mystery series, I am a family law attorney and mediator living in South Florida. Unlike Jamie however, I never find myself in dangerous situations or embroiled in murder investigations. Jamie gets to have all of the adventures and I just enjoy them vicariously. She and her BFF Grace Anderson and the womanizing P.I. Duke Broussard tend to have conversations in my head at the most inconvenient times, like when I’m standing in line waiting to pick up a burrito. That’s when I have to text myself the conversation before it falls out of my head.
When did you start writing and why?
The first thing I remember writing was a poem about ducks in the second grade. I only remember it because my teacher enlarged it and hung it on the wall for all to see. I was published! After that, I wrote short stories and poems just for fun. A few years back, I wrote some humorous essays (an homage to Dave Barry and Erma Bombeck, two of my favorite humor writers growing up). I self-published the collection on Amazon, won some awards and received some lovely reviews. After that I wrote my first Jamie Quinn Mystery, “Death by Didgeridoo” and I was hooked!
Which is your favorite book you have written and what gave you the idea for it?
That’s like asking me which of my children is my favorite, lol! My favorite book is always the one I’m working on but I do have a special place in my heart for my first Jamie Quinn Mystery. The idea came to me as I tried to teach myself to play the didgeridoo, got winded and dropped it on a glass table, cracking the glass. That’s when it occurred to me that a didgeridoo could be a deadly weapon. The title “Death by Didgeridoo” popped into my head and I couldn’t stop thinking about it until I had a story to go with it.
Who helped you with the cover? Or did you design it yourself? What was your inspiration for your cover design?
I design all of my covers with the help of Amazon Kindle cover creator. I come up with a concept, buy a few photos on Shutterstock and then design it. I come up with several variations and run it by my reader team for their input.
What are some of the themes of your story?
The theme of family runs through my books. When we meet Jamie she’s still mourning the death of her mother. She has to snap out of it to help her autistic cousin who has been accused of murder. In the next book, she searched for the father she never knew as her circle of family and friends continues to expand. The theme of friendship is also present, even when those friends are feuding or on the outs.
What’s your process when you sit down and decide to start writing a book? What is your process and do you have a system?
Now that I’ve written five Jamie Quinn mysteries I think I can say I have a system. I start with a title, come up with a blurb and then do research on the topics I want to include. Since nobody is ever killed with a gun in any of my books, I have to come up creative methods–like a didgeridoo. After I finish my research, which I paste at the bottom of my document for easy reference, I start writing. My chapters are quite short but if I can write one or two a day, I’m on fire.
Who are some of your favorite characters and why?
I have too many favorite characters to count. I love Clare and Henry from “The Time Traveler’s Wife” and Harold Fry from “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry”. The characters from “Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore are sweet and the characters from “Ready Player One” are funny and spunky.
Have you got anything you’re working on now?
I’m working on a YA novel right now that I started a while back. It requires more research than my usual books but I’m excited about it. After that, the next Jamie Quinn Mystery will be “Villainy at Vizcaya”.
Where do you hope to be in 5 years’ time?
I hope to be an overnight sensation! If it takes ten years to become an overnight sensation I’ll be right on time, lol!
Thanks so much for taking the time to do an author interview. Take a minute and check Barbara Venkataraman out on the links below. Barbara Venkataraman’s book, Jeopardy in July: A Jamie Quinn Mystery, is available now on Amazon!
Barbara Venkataraman Author Blog
Barbara Venkataraman Goodreads Author Page
Barbara Venkataraman Amazon Author Page