Laura Bradford, In the Hot Seat

Today, I’d like to welcome Laura Bradford who is the author of several mystery series. On Saturday, June 11, Laura is joining the Coffee & Crime Book Club at 10:30 AM to discuss the most recent book in her Amish mystery series, Churn for the Worse. Laura has a busy day. At 2 PM, she will then join authors Kate Carlisle and Paige Shelton, where she will discuss the first book in her new series, Eclair and Present Danger. Thank you, Laura, for sitting In the Hot Seat.

Laura Bradford

Laura, I don’t know if you’ve been to The Poisoned Pen before or not. So, would you introduce yourself to our readers? Tell us about yourself.

Sure! My name is Laura Bradford. My two biggest accomplishments in life are my daughters. After that, I can say I’m a writer (as you know) who also loves to read, bake, and travel (when funds allow). Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2006, I’m an advocate for those living with this disease.

I live in New York with my family.

Why did you become a writer?

I fell in love with writing when I was ten years old. I’d always been an avid reader, but the moment a childhood friend and I sat down to write our own books, I was hooked. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to be (besides a mom).

Early on, I thought I wanted to write for children. But once I sat down to take my fiction writing dream seriously, I realized I wanted to try my hand at what I loved to read—mysteries.

When you’re at The Poisoned Pen, you’re meeting with the Coffee & Crime book discussion group to talk about A Churn for the Worse. Tell us about your Amish mysteries.

Churn for the Worse

I’ll start by referring you back to my childhood again. I was a huge Laura Ingalls Wilder fan. I loved everything about that time period and often wished I could be Laura.

So as niche market of Amish romances was really taking off, I looked around and thought, why not an Amish cozy?  And so I was off and running.

To write an almost 1800’s style lifestyle (in many ways) juxtaposed against the modern world really spoke to me. And before I knew it, I had Claire Weatherly (my English gift shop owner) and Detective Jakob Fisher (the local detective who was once Amish, himself).

The very nature of the Amish way of life, sadly, makes them prone to crime. They don’t pose for photographs, they keep large amounts of money in their homes, and they are wary of police. As a cozy mystery writer, I couldn’t ask for more.

I’ve enjoyed weaving a mystery that showcases the Amish. I do a lot of research for each book to make sure I’m portraying the Amish correctly. But my favorite part of the series has to be Detective Fisher. Writing a man with such layers has been a dream come true.

I often wish this series had been marketed better and thus reaching a larger audience. It’s a cozy, yes, but I think it has a wider appeal than that.

That same afternoon, you’re signing the first in a new series, Eclair and Present Danger. Would you introduce your amateur sleuth and tell us about this new series?

Eclair and Present Danger

The only thing Winnie Johnson has ever wanted to do is bake. It’s an interest that grabbed hold of her heart at a young age and charted her path from that day forward. Her bakery—Delectable Delights—is the culmination of that dream.

Until Nick Batkas, her landlord, decides downtown Silver Lake is the next “it” town and raises Winnie’s rent so high she can no longer stay in business.

Or can she?

Winnie is summoned to a local attorney’s office for the reading of Gertrude Redenbacher’s will. But instead of money she could have used to keep her bakery open, Winnie inherits her late friend’s cat (who hates Winnie) and an old vintage ambulance that Gertie’s late husband had been restoring prior to his death.

With all hope now gone, she closes her bakery for the last time.

Through a series of incidents (including finding her across-the-street neighbor’s body), Winnie comes up with a plan to keep her business running via Gertie’s ambulance.

And thus, the Emergency Dessert Squad is born.

I had great fun writing this book (and the two that will follow in March 2017 and January 2018). Perhaps more fun than I’ve ever had writing. The concept is strong, the characters fun. And I’m so excited to sign the debut book, Éclair and Present Danger, at The Poisoned Pen.

Can you gives us a hint about your next book to be released?

I’m going to have a busy 2017 with a sixth Amish Mystery (whether that’s with BPC or not), a 12th Southern Sewing Circle Mystery (written as Elizabeth Lynn Casey), the 2nd Emergency Dessert Squad—Silence of the Flans, and the first three books in my Tobi Tobias Mystery Series with Kensington’s E-line.  It is my hope that this E-series will help draw new readers to all of my work.

Enough about writing. I don’t know how much time you have in Arizona. What would you like to see while you’re here?

I’ll have just about 30 hours in Arizona before I head back home to New York. I want to immerse myself in as much of the local culture (read: food) as possible in that time frame.

If friends come to visit you, what’s your favorite place to take them? 

The Central Park Zoo. Specifically the sea lions. I’m kind of addicted (and I know them all by sight).

Everyone has a bucket list, whether it’s written or in our head. What’s next on your list? What do you hope to do soon?

To rent a cottage on the beach for a month. I picture myself writing with the ocean breeze drifting in around me…  

What were the last books you recommended?

Linda Castillo’s Amish Thrillers.  I think her writing and her character development is incredible.

What’s on your TBR (To Be Read) pile right now?

I’ve been making my way through the Myron Bolitar books by Harlan Coben.  I’m finishing up FADE AWAY right now.  

Thank you, Laura, for sitting In the Hot Seat.

As I mentioned earlier, Laura will be appearing at The Poisoned Pen on Saturday, June 11 at 10:30 AM to discuss A Churn for the Worse. She’ll be back at 2:00 PM that same day to discuss and sign Eclair and Present Danger. I hope you have time to meet her at one of these programs. If you can’t make it, Laura’s books can be ordered here.