Sara Rosett's love for the English countryside shows in her murder mysteries that follow a location scout from town to town. Her "Murder on Location" series take readers from quaint little towns to stately homes on a thrilling mission to figure out who the murderers are. As our Author of the Day Rosett chats about how she plans the twists, how her off-beat characters are inspired by real people and reveals how her own experiences as an outsider moving into a new town gave her a perspective to write from.
Please give us a short introduction to what Murder on Location is about
The Murder on Location novels are about a location scout, Kate Sharp, who searches for filming locations around England for a Jane Austen documentary. Kate has a way of finding murder and mayhem wherever she goes—from quaint villages to stately homes.
How do the three books in the series tie in together?
In the first book, Death in the English Countryside, Kate travels to England to look for her boss, who is missing. The rest of the series explores her time in England. Some of the novels are set in the village, Nether Woodsmoor, while others center around other places in the area, like the nearby stately home, Parkview Hall.
Your books are all set in the English countryside. What is it about this environment that inspires you?
I was able to visit Derbyshire a few years ago. I traveled to Bakewell and visited several stately homes. I’ve always been a bit of an Anglophile, and I knew one of the homes I visited, Chatsworth, was often considered to be the inspiration of Jane Austen’s Pemberley, Mr. Darcy’s estate. I thought the combination of the beautiful countryside, stately homes, and a dash of Jane Austen would make a great mystery series.
Tell us about Kate Sharp – who is she and how was her character conceived in your mind?
I read an article about a location scout and thought it was an interesting occupation. I searched out everything I could find about location scouting. The more I learned about it, the more I thought a location scout would be a great sleuth for a cozy mystery. They travel to interesting places, meet all kinds of people, and have a good eye for detail. Kate has all these characteristics, but she’s also curious, independent, and a strategic thinker, which is really good for being a location scout, but she can overthink things, which complicates her love life. :)
Kate is usually an outsider in the town the story takes place in. Why?
I’ve moved many times in my life (former military spouse) and I found that when I moved to a new place, I noticed things that people who had lived there all their lives missed or took for granted. I think being the “new person” gives you a unique perspective, which is great for a sleuth. And I also get to show Kate’s journey as she becomes part of the community.
Who are your favorite mystery authors of all time and why?
Two of my favorite authors are Elizabeth Peters and Mary Stewart. Reading their books when I was growing up inspired me to write. I also love books from the Golden Age of mysteries. Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Patricia Wentworth are some of my favorites from that era.
What has readers' reactions been like to the Kate Sharp books?
Readers love escaping to England. I hear from readers who want to visit England and the books let them travel there in their imagination, and other readers tell me the books bring back memories of their trips to England.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I make pretty good chocolate chip cookies. My kids tell me I’m a great researcher, which probably comes from researching things for my books. If they get stuck and can’t find the information they need for a school project, they’ll ask me for ideas for search terms. I’m not a sporty person, but I do like hiking, kayaking, and rock climbing—the indoor variety! :)
Do you plot out the twists in your books before you start writing?
Yes, I like to have a good idea of where the story is going before I start. I know writers who start with a blank page and begin typing, but that’s a terrifying thought to me! I don’t plot out every detail, but I do know the big overview of the story.
Did you know right from the start that this was going to become a series?
Yes, as a reader I love series and I knew that there were a whole lot of possibilities for stories with Kate in England. Most of the novels take place in and around Nether Woodsmoor, the small village where Kate lives, but in a later book, Death in an Elegant City, she travels to Bath and encounters a mystery.
Your characters are quirky but relatable. How did you pull this off?
Thanks! I think everyone is quirky when you get to know them! I try to create characters who are like people you’d meet in real life, and we all have something interesting or off-beat about us. I want to pull out those interesting things that make my characters unique, but not go overboard with the quirkiness. I think if you go too far with the quirkiness the characters become less real and more of a caricature.
What does an ordinary writing day look like for you?
On an ideal day, I write in the morning for several hours on my work in progress then take a break for errands and lunch. In the afternoon, I work on the marketing and the nuts and bolts of being an author: publicity, advertising, email, etc. I workout or go for a walk in the late afternoon. That’s my ideal day, which doesn’t happen very often, actually! I should probably say that’s my goal for my day!
Where do you like to go for inspiration?
I love reading, especially historical mysteries and Golden Age fiction. I also like watching crime dramas—the lighter ones. Death in Paradise, a British crime show is one of my current favorites.
What are you working on right now?
I’m writing the seventh book in the Murder on Location series, Death at an English Wedding, and having a wonderful time exploring the difference between American and English weddings.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
You can find me at http://www.SaraRosett.com. I’m on several social media sites, but you can find me most often on Instagram and Litsy.
- Website: http://www.SaraRosett.com
- Instagram: https//www.instagram.com/sararosett/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSaraRosett
- Twitter: @SaraRosett http://twitter.com/sararosett
- Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/srosett/
- Litsy profile name: SaraRosett (no profile links available at this time, home page: http://litsy.com/)
- GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/256977.Sara_Rosett
- LibraryThing: http://www.librarything.com/profile/SaraRosett