This week's cozy mystery author in residence in our Cozy Mystery Book Explorer Facebook group is Margaret Lashley, best known for her Val Fremden Humorous Mystery series.
Margaret will be taking over the group from Friday 30th December until Friday 7th December, when we'll be joined by a new cozy mystery author in residence. This is a brilliant opportunity for cozy mystery fans to get up close and personal with the author and to ask them any questions you like, about the characters, series, life as an author, and inspiration behind the books, so please don't be shy.
A Little Bit About Margaret Lashley
I’m Margaret Lashley, Sarah’s first “guinea pig” guest author through December 6. (Forgive me as I bumble along in new territory.)
I am an American, born and raised in Florida, and am the author of the best-selling Val Fremden Humorous Mystery series, which just happens to be conveniently set in my hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida.
How did I get into writing? After graduating with a degree in communications, I got my first real job (unless you count roller-skating waitress) when I landed a spot as a “Girl Friday” at a small advertising agency. I didn’t realize at the time that the job mostly entailed running around the office screaming “The sky is falling!” at lackadaisical artists unfazed by impeding deadlines. In search of a more rewarding position, in my spare time I tried my hand at writing copy for brochures and ads. Every morning, I slipped my fledgling, typewritten attempts under the office door of the agency president. I guess he got tired of stepping on them or throwing them away, because not long after, he promoted me to junior advertising copy writer.
That day, my writing career was born. I’ve never looked back.
I’ll admit it. I LOVE to write. And that’s a very good thing, because I can’t say I have too many other marketable skills. (Snarky stand-up comedian and evil genius don’t pay peanuts unless you know somebody. And getting references? Forget about it!)
I began writing the Val Fremden series because I couldn’t find many books out there featuring a woman with thighs bigger than a hamster’s. And all the female protagonists were either in their twenties or nineties. What about all of us wonderful gals in-between?
Val, my main character, is a smart, snarky risk-taker who hasn’t won all her battles. Maybe not even half of them. At age 45, she still doesn’t have her act together. In fact, she’s divorced, broke, and wondering what Friskies Cat Chow might taste like for dinner. Princess material she most definitely is not. But she does know how to laugh. And that trait, along with a gin and tonic, is, most of the time, enough to get her through.
With Val, I wanted to explore the ups and downs of being a woman, while mining midlife for all the laughs along the way. Val is a heroine who clever, world-wise women can identify with, cheer for, cry with, cringe over, and be happy they met her (and even happier they AREN’T her).
The Val Fremden 10-book series just wrapped up with Cloud Nine. The final book released on November 22 – just a week ago. It’s been a wild ride. And it’s been gratifying to see the series get discovered and loved by readers. (The first book, Glad One, is currently topping many charts on Amazon!)
So, now what?
I’m currently taking a break to read, relax a bit, regroup, and explore what I want to do next. I most definitely will keep on writing. I can’t imagine a day without putting words on the page.
When I’m not writing, I’m traveling. In my late 20s, I started backpacking all over Central America. And while I don’t sleep on hammocks on the beach anymore, I still love to visit new places. I’ve been to well over 40 countries so far. I even lived in Europe for nearly eight years. I’ve been back in the US for five years now. I try to plan a big trip every summer – both for inspiration and to escape a chunk of Florida’s long, hot summer.
So, enough about me! I want to hear from YOU. Feel free to post a question in the comments section of the Facebook group during the week. I’ll be popping in regularly to answer your questions in between doing what I love best…telling stories.
Don’t be shy! I’m here all week folks!