Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{August 8, 2011}   Interview with Lauren Carr–Author of the Mac Faraday Series

Lauren Carr has been so gracious to answer some questions for me concerning her newest mystery series, her writing process, and some information about what we can expect from the rest of the series. So, without further ado, I give you Lauren Carr:


The Mac Faraday mystery series is extremely well written and captivating.  What led you to write this series?  What were your inspirations, if any?

The premise rose from an incident that happened to a friend of mine. As a teenager, she had given birth to a baby, which was put up for adoption. Years later, this baby found her mother. It was a happy reunion and they’re still close. My writer’s mind thought, Suppose the mother had gone on to become a big famous mystery writer, and her daughter had grown up to become a detective just like the fictional detective that her birth mother wrote about?

Because I prefer writing male protagonists, I changed the daughter to a son and the birth mother passed away, but left her fortune to her son. With Mac reading her journal, it makes her almost a ghost lurking in the background while he finds out more about her during the course of the series. We also have him resembling Mickey Forsythe, his mother’s protagonist in her books, which suggests a mother-child connection even though they had been separated. 

Why did you choose mysteries as a starting point?  Did you always want to write these types of novels, or did it just happen?

I have always loved mysteries. My mother used to read Perry Mason to me at bedtime. From the time I could read I would choose mysteries: Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Agatha Christie, Perry Mason, Elizabeth George.

I believe it’s rooted to a passion for puzzles, but not the jigsaw type. When something breaks in the house, I’m the fix it lady. I love the challenge of tearing things apart to see how they work. That’s how I approach a mystery. I have the murder and tear it apart to scatter the pieces throughout the book and challenge the reader to find all the pieces to put it together.

Is there a particular character within the series that you identify with the most in either It’s Murder, My Son or Old Loves Die Hard?  Why?

Archie. Definitely. Even though she’s Mac’s romantic interest and part of the story, she’s on the sidelines. Gnarly and David are more of Mac’s sidekicks than she is. When he needs help with a background check, she’s Johnny-on-the-Spot for him, and looking gorgeous while she’s doing it. She gets to enjoy being on the inside without getting her hands dirty or breaking a sweat.

Isn’t that what writers are? We’re on the inside but at the sidelines with all the information both at the same time.

Are any of your characters or stories based on aspects of your own life?

Writers don’t live in a vacuum, so we’re all inspired by everyone and everything around us. In It’s Murder, My Son, Mac’s half-brother David is betrayed by Travis, a childhood friend, and ends up getting fired.  When I had started writing It’s Murder, My Son, I was betrayed by a co-worker who I considered a very good friend. A week later, she ended up with a promotion that I had been up for.

As for the character of Gnarly, he’s based on my Australian shepherd Ziggy. When my son was seven years old, he was playing football. During half-time, a woman came up to him with this little puppy in her arms and asked, “Would you like to hold my puppy?” I thought, What harm can come from holding a puppy? As soon as he was in Tristan’s arms, she said, “You can keep him. He’s free.” Then she was gone.

I’m a farm girl. I’ve had dogs my whole life, but I never had one like Ziggy. That dog got into trouble all the time. It was like he was looking for trouble. I’d try one thing to train him, and as soon as he knew the drill, he’d change the rules. Finally, I called in a dog trainer, who said that Ziggy was extremely intelligent, and because he’s so very smart, he’s easily bored, which is why he gets into so much trouble, which is what the dog trainer tells Mac about Gnarly in It’s Murder, My Son.

Many of Gnarly’s antics are based on things Ziggy has done. But, as more readers are reading about Gnarly, I am collecting more storylines for him. So stay tuned.

What do you hope readers take away from your novels?

A fun escape. I write mysteries because I love mysteries and have fun writing them. I’ve created main characters that I would call my friends and want to spend time with. That’s what I want for my readers while they read my books – a thrilling good time. 

What is the writing process like for you—is it difficult to come up with the twists and turns that keep readers guessing?

It all starts with the murder. Then, I come up with the characters and each one’s connection to the victim. Before I start writing, I know who did it and how the book is going to end.

Because my books are character driven, then the storyline gets taken in different directions by the characters, who each have their own agenda. But, as writer, I’m the boss and I throw up roadblocks for the suspects to get them where they need to go while staying true to their character. That’s where you get the twists and turns.

It’s a lot of fun.

Do you have a special place that you like to write, or any special rituals that you go through before/during the writing process?

Anywhere I want. I have a writer’s studio in the top floor of our home that has a fabulous view across the valley here in West Virginia. I write up there during the day. Then, I’ll take my laptop to bed to write after dinner.

Do you have a playlist in mind for your novels?  If so, what music would you recommend a reader listen to while reading?

Celine Dion songs for the romantic scenes between Mac and Archie. Otherwise, I don’t have any particular playlist that comes to mind.

Do you have a favorite author or novel that you recommend your fans read?  What are you reading right now? 

Agatha Christie with her detective Hercule Poirot. I just finished The Mystery of the Blue Train. I was really surprised when I found that at a library. I thought I had read all of her books but this one I hadn’t. It was a delightful discovery.

The first two books in the series are out–what can readers expect from the next novel and the remaining books in the series?

Color of Murder will be released early next year. In his third mystery on Deep Creek Lake, Mac investigates the murder of a famous painter after Gnarly’s antics cause him to accidentally purchase her long lost painting at an auction.

Do you have any plans for a new series at this time?  What are you currently working on?

I’m always on the lookout for a new series to start. But right now I have my hands full with two: the Mac Faraday Mysteries and the Joshua Thornton Mysteries, my earlier series. A widowed father of five, Joshua Thornton is a county prosecuting attorney in Hancock County, West Virginia. I have brought him into the Color of Murder to work with Mac in his investigation. Afterwards, I’m looking to resurrect that series.

Thank you, Lauren, for stopping by and answering some questions about your writing! 

et cetera
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