Q&A with Duffy Brown

I want to welcome Duffy to the blog and for agreeing to take time out of her busy schedule to do a Q&A with us here. It’s a real pleasure to have you here Duffy 🙂

Crash: I know you used to write romance novels years ago, what made you stop writing romance books?

DB: My love of mystery. After writing more than 25 romances I realized so many of my books had mystery in them and I loved writing the mystery part more than the romance. I love romance, I really do but mystery is my first love. There is so much fun built into mystery if you keep it light and I’m all about the fun and humor and having a good time. I read for escape and figure most other do to.

Crash: What gave you the inspiration to write cozy mysteries?

DB:Nancy Drew when growing up! I just love Nancy. I’m sure she is a big reason I am who I am today. Back in the day it was a man’s world…think Mad Men. It was for real, men did all the cool stuff. Then there was Nancy Drew. She was smarter then the guys, figured out stuff on her own, went on adventures on her own, and drove a really cool car. My hero. I figured if Nancy could do all that stuff so could I.

Crash: When did you start writing and why?

DB:I used to write romance and even those have a lot of mystery in them as mystery is my true love. I love Savanna and Mackinac Island and every time I visited I thought…Gee this is a great place to kill someone off. I’m telling the truth. It’s what mystery writers do. So that’s how I got the settings then the characters are all about having fun with murder. How do you have fun with murder you ask? I just kill off the people who have it coming. That makes for a great list of suspects and no one’s running around boo-hooing that Peephole Perry…or whoever…is dead. My books are fun and we laugh and drink martinis and find the bad guys. I just love having fun with mystery so the cozy mystery genre is a perfect fit for me.


Crash: Which genre do you like?

DB: Anything mystery…it’s all I read and all I write. There are so many different aspects of mystery. You can read light like a cozy or if you’re in the mood for something heavy there’s plenty of that too. And there are historicals, paranormals, pets, families etc. I like the aspect of trying to figure out who-dun-it in other books and visiting other places I would never go. It’s a fun trip.


Crash: What kind of books do you read when you have the time?

DB: It’s always the mystery and then there are how to books for writing and research books…that’s how I learned to pick a lock in Geared for the Grave. ☺ I love travel books and cookbooks. I have my family over for Sunday dinners and always looking for new recipes.


Crash: Who is your favorite writer?

DB: Janet Evanovich is my hero. I simply love her Stephanie Plum books. I think she’s up to 21 in her series now and all are good but the first three…One for the Money, Two for the Dough and Three to Get Deadly are magic. They are funny and exciting and the characters are a hoot and unusual with tons of personality that make them real. After reading a S. Plum book you will want to become a bounty hunter and live in Jersey just for the fun of it all.


Crash:  I know, as most of your readers know, that you love Sherlock Holmes.  Is that the inspiration behind you writing mysteries?

DB:I think Sherlock inspires all mystery writers in some way. The cleverness, the humor, the settings, Dr. Watson, the setting and how it reflects the mood of the story. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did a great job on continuing the series and keeping readers engaged. A lesson for us all.


Crash:What are your joys in life?

DB: I love good fun movies and shows and watch them to unwind. Gilmore Girls, Miss Fisher’s mysteries, Psyche, Midsommer Mysteries are some of my faves. They are light and cleaver and the dialogue is fantastic. I garden and love my flowers and I have for kids and two grandkids who I adore and spend tons of time with. If I really get away it’s to the mountains. We have incredible National Parks in the US and they are amazing. Glacier National Park is as close to heaven as we get on this Earth. Go!


Crash: Tell us something that we might not know about you?

DB: -Guilty pleasure is eating peanut butter out of the jar with a spoon, or finger.

-I think Snickers is a gift from the gods.
-Everyone should take in a rescue animal.
-Anyone who mistreats an animal should rot in hell for all eternity (and I really mean that)
-I have met the most amazing people though writing. It is the single best thing about what I do!!


Crash:I want to thank Duffy for taking part and for being such a great guest, It was fun having you here!


You can find out more about Duffy here

Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Duffy-Brown/e/B008CI1380

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorduffybrown

Blurb Braking for Bodies
No one knows why Peephole Perry came all the way to Mackinac from LA, but when he winds up dead things are looking bad for Evie’s BFF who once worked for the jerk. Now Evie has to gear up and get a grip on the truth if she wants to clear her friend and find a killer.

It’s murder and a mystery weekend on Mackinac Island for the rag reporter, his mistress and the wife who wants them both dead.


Q&A with Mark Tullius

I want to welcome Mark Tullius to the blog. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions for us here at Happiness is a Book.


MT: Absolutely my pleasure. You are one of the trusted few that sees my work before I put it out, and your feedback has helped a good deal. I credit you for the much needed upgrade to my short story “Reunion.” Thank you.

I’m honored to be one of the few that gets to read your work before everyone else and thank you for letting me work with you with Reunion.


Crash: You have been working on a book called Unlocking the Cage about MMA fighting, what got you interested in it?

MT: After college I found my way into fighting, both boxing and MMA. I could never understand why I spent so much time and effort pursuing sports I wasn’t very good at. I went looking for the answer as an out of shape 40-year-old and traveled to 25 states and over 100 gyms. It became a journey to discover who fighters are and why they fight. Along the way, I trained, sparred, got injured, demoralized, and humbled on the mat, as well as uplifted and inspired by the 400 interviews. I can’t wait to share that story.

Crash: When did you start writing and why?

MT: I always enjoyed words and throwing them together, but I lacked confidence so I didn’t pursue it. It wasn’t until after college that I began writing, starting with an unfinished fantasy novel and some terrible horror stories.

Crash:  Which do you prefer writing, shorts stories or novels?

MT: I’m absolutely thrilled with either of those choices because I’ve spent so much time on Unlocking. I believe the project and book were both worth my time and focus, but it’s reassured me that I am first and foremost a fiction writer.
I love short stories because you can do so much with so little. I now think of them as treats, little breaks I can take from nonfiction or a novel. Sometimes the idea is so strong it demands to be worked on and forces a break. It’s my catharsis, where I can throw out all the shadows darkening my mind.
However, creating larger worlds is the most fulfilling. Understanding your characters so well they feel like friends. Putting them through situations you wouldn’t wish on your enemies. Fun stuff like that.

Crash: What do you like to read if you have the time?

MT: This is something that I neglected for a very long time. I use to read constantly, generally a mix of horror, science fiction, and suspense. When I found an author I enjoyed, I would stay with them and read everything they wrote. This was the case with Stephen King, Dean Koontz, James Patterson, and Chuck Palahniuk. I’m aware each of these authors influenced my style, so perhaps my break from reading was taking the time to develop my own voice.

Crash: Having read your short stories I have to say that they remind me of Stephen King in his younger days, was he an inspiration for you?

MT: Stephen King has been the biggest influence on my writing. That’s all I was reading through high school and college, having such a fun ride catching up on all his incredible stories. He went everywhere with his writing, and I take it as a huge compliment whenever someone says my writing reminds them of the master.

Crash: Where did you get the inspiration for 25 Perfect Days? I have to say it was the first book of yours that I read and it has stayed with me all this time. It is an amazing book and I am forever recommending it to everyone I know who reads.

MT: Thank you, thank you, thank you. I can’t tell you how incredible that is to hear. My goal isn’t to be the next Stephen King, but to leave readers with the same feeling that his books left me. Creating a scene, character, or feeling that a reader won’t forget is what I aspire to do.
Unfortunately, I can’t take all the credit for 25. Wouldn’t you know it, it was the wife. Jen suggested I connect my two ‘light horror’ short stories, “Five Minutes Alone” and “Four Percent.” From there I went a little crazy, and decided to write each story from a different character’s point of view, with a different year and different setting. Not the easiest plan, but a lot of fun inventing family trees, deciding who would be the best character, whether they would die, and what horror they would witness.
There were quite a few readers that found the book too difficult to follow, and disliked the format and its limitations, but so many more like you that appreciated it. Thanks for letting me know through your review and messages.

Crash: You have been writing a few books with your daughter, are there more planned?

MT: Writing the Triple S Agency with Olivia was a good experience, but not great. That’s because we were writing a book fit for little kids, and my 3rd grader has already read all the Harry Potter’s and devours 500 page fantasy novels once a week.
That’s why we’re both very excited to be developing a fantasy trilogy based off the characters I’m about to have tattooed across my back. Think a King/Tolkien mash up with the touch of a sweet little girl to keep it PG-13ish.

Crash: What are your joys in life?

MT: Family, writing, training jiu jitsu, yoga, learning guitar, hanging out with friends.

Crash: Can you tell us something that we might not know about you?

MT: I recently earned my purple belt in 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu and am a huge proponent of yoga. If anyone would like to learn more about me, I often get pretty candid on my weekly podcast, Unlocking.

Crash: Will there be a followup to Brightside?

MT: Most definitely. I’m nearly finished with UTC and will be jumping onto Try Not to Die: In Brightside. This book will be written from a different character’s POV, showing all of day 100, extending past the original’s ending. It will blend nicely into the Brightside sequel, which is partially developed, but won’t be finished for quite some time. Sorry.

Thank you Mark for taking part, it’s been great having you here. Are you working on anything at the moment?

MT: I’m hitting the Try Not to Die’s hard this next year, something possible because I’m giving my coauthors a lot of the workload. Besides the Brightside one, I’m currently playing with one set at a heavy metal festival.

After these are finished, I’ll be polishing up a nearly complete Ain’t No Messiah, the first in a five book series.
I have my work cut out for me.


Q&A with Misty Evans

I have been thinking about doing Q&A’s with authors and approached Misty Evans about taking part and she graciously agreed.


Crash: Misty can I say how thrilled I am that you have agreed to take part in my first author Q&A! The first books of yours I read were the Kali Sweet books and I have been hooked ever since.  I am secretly holding out that one day you will write more to that series lol. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to take part in this Q&A.

ME: Chris! Thank you for inviting me. I’m excited to be here and hang out with one of my favorite readers! It’s an honor to be the first to do an interview on your blog.

And yes, I’m working on another Kali Sweet book! Romantic Suspense is my bread and butter, and with two kids in college, I have to work in the genre that pays the bills. Urban fantasy has been on the downhill for a few years now, so Kali doesn’t get as much time as I’d like during my normal workweeks. I miss her! She’s such a kick-ass character.

Crash: I Miss Kali as well and am glad she will make a comeback!  

Crash: How long have you been a writer?

ME: I’ve been writing since 4th grade when I won 2nd place in a school contest with an essay about my dad. It was published in the local paper and I’ve been writing off and on ever since. LOL. When I graduated from college, I entered the business world and spent 10 years there before having twins and becoming a stay-at-home mom. Then the writing bug hit again. ☺

Crash: What made you become a writer?

ME: 9/11. I’d always dreamed of being an author and suddenly realized tomorrow wasn’t a given. If I was going to do it, I had to set real goals and carve out time to take writing classes, plot stories, and put my fingers on the keyboard.

Crash: You have written in a few different genres, which is your favorite?

ME: I get that question a lot, and I have to say, I love them all. I wouldn’t write in a genre I didn’t love with all my heart. Each one has its good points and allows me to use my very active imagination. Take Kali Sweet, for instance. I get to channel my inner demon in order to writer her. It’s better than therapy!

Crash: In your Shadow Force International and Southern California series there seems to be a lot of research done on your part. Just how much time do you spend researching and how do you find out most of your information?

ME: Research is half the fun with any of my books, but the RS books definitely require a lot. I easily spend an hour or more everyday when working on those books, researching everything from gang tattoos to how to make a car bomb. I’m blessed to have real world contacts too – people who’ve been in the world of law enforcement and spies. ER nurses who can advise me about gunshot wounds, etc. Readers are savvy these days from shows like CSI and NCIS so it’s important that my facts are accurate as well as dramatic.

Crash: Again with regards to the series in Q4, do you base some of these stories on real life events?

ME: Ideas for plots are everywhere, and fact is often stranger than fiction, as the saying goes. I don’t listen to the news or read newspapers, but on occasion when researching, I stumble across an idea or character that spawns an entire story

Crash: What kind of books do you read?

ME: Everything! Fiction and nonfiction both. My TBR pile on my ereader and my bedside table grows all the time.

Crash: What gives you joy in your everyday life?

ME: Family, friends, coffee and yoga. ☺ I’m a registered yoga teacher and have many interests outside of writing. Some days, it’s crazy-making, juggling my schedule, but bottom line, I love everything I do and all the people I meet, online and in-person.

Crash: Misty it was wonderful to learn more about you.  Thank you for your time and I look forward to your next book, I think that will be in November is that correct?

ME: Yes! The next SCVC Taskforce series novel, Deadly Attraction, releases November 7th. This one features Mitch Holden and Dr. Emma Collins, a forensic psychiatrist who needs protection when a criminal she testified against escapes prison and comes after her.

Thank you for having me today, Chris! Always fun to chat with you, and I appreciate your support of my books. Take care and happy reading!