Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sugar and Spice And Not So Nice: An interview with paranormal mystery author Janet McNulty

Today I'm talking with Janet McNulty about her paranormal mystery, Sugar And Spice And Not So Nice.

1) Please tell us about your book.

Sugar And Spice And Not So Nice centers on the character of Mellow Summers. She moves to Vermont with her friend Jackie and together they get an apartment that has very cheap rent. After moving in, Mellow discovers that her apartment is haunted by a ghost. The ghost’s name is Rachel and she was murdered a year earlier. Unfortunately she does not remember who killed her. So, she enlists Mellow’s help in solving her murder.

Mellow reluctantly helps Rachel. Partly because she’ll never get any peace if she doesn’t. As the story progresses, Mellow gets into tense situations, mostly due to Rachel’s interference. However, she manages to escape with Rachel’s help as well. Together, they discover the identity of Rachel’s killer and then have to set out and prove that he committed the crime.

The book is a short mystery with a paranormal twist.

2) What was the inspiration for this book?

When I moved into my first apartment, I could swear that it was haunted. Strange things happened that I couldn’t explain. When I told a friend about it they said, "Oh, you have a ghost.” I wasn’t thrilled at the time and I was never able to prove it. But, life moved on and I changed my residence.

Much later I came up with the title for a book but couldn’t figure out what to make it about. One day, my friend reminded me about my first apartment and that’s when it hit me. Right then was when I decided to turn this into a mystery about a ghost.

3) Tell us about how you developed your protagonist, Mellow.

A lot of mysteries center on teenagers or middle-aged characters, so I decided to make Mellow more college age, but put her in her mid-twenties. I decided to make her a very simple person who loves her jeans and t-shirts. I took elements of people I knew and put them into Mellow’s personality to make her a well-rounded person that people can relate to.

4) Why did you choose to set the story in Vermont?

Pure chance really. I needed a setting, so I took out a map of the United States, closed my eyes, and pointed. Vermont was where my finger landed, so that was where I set the story.

5) Your book rests on a murder mystery, but the protagonist has an unusual advantage: the ghost of the victim. Can you tell us a little about how this led to challenges with maintaining the mystery and how you dealt with them?

A big challenge to maintaining a mystery is when you have the ghost of the murder victim. To keep it interesting, I decided to make Rachel have amnesia and she slowly gets her memory back as the story progresses. This way, I could have my reader guessing a bit as Mellow tries tp put the pieces together by exploring Rachel’s old haunts. (No pun intended).

6) What do you feel is the most important aspect of a mystery?

The most important aspect is when Rachel gets her memory back completely. Then, Mellow and her friends are stuck trying to prove that the murderer killed Rachel. And her murder happened a year earlier, so whatever evidence there was is gone. This is when the story turns from being a who done it to a catch the bad guy.

7) Can you tell us about some of your other work?

I have a novel that I published in August 2011 under the pen name of Nova Rose. The book is called Legends Lost Amborese. This book is a fantasy adventure novel that I started in high school and finished after graduating from college. It was one of those things I wrote and rediscovered years later in a drawer.

The story of Amborese focuses on a girl of about 20 years of age named Amborese. She is the lost heir to a throne that has sat empty for centuries. Naturally, she discovers this fact when her parents are murdered, but is reluctant to accept it at first because of what it means if she does. In an effort to discover who she really is, she embarks on an adventure to travel to the far side of the kingdom with her friend Zolo and a talking cat that is very forthcoming with her opinions.

Along the way, Amborese encounters many dangers and even makes a few friends as she develops the skills necessary to claim the throne. She also learns that the kingdom is in disarray as several factions have formed fight among themselves. It is her job to unite them. Amborese is also relentlessly pursued by a man named Clymorus who wishes to claim the throne for himself and seeks to kill her before she takes up her birth right.

Legends Lost Amborese is the first book in a proposed trilogy. I am currently finishing up the second book titled Legends Lost Tesnayr and should be released before the end of summer 2012.

I am also writing a sequel to Sugar And Spice And Not So Nice. This I hope to have published before the end of 2012. It is called Frogs, Snails And A Lot Of Wails. Mellow and her friends will be back with a new ghost to solve another mystery.

I have even published a nonfiction book, Illogical Nonsense. This is more of a political commentary book.

All are available on Amazon.


Thanks, Janet.

Sugar and Spice And Not So Nice can be purchased at Amazon.

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