Author Interview - Randee Green
Randee Green is the author of the Carrie Shatner Mystery series and the Zoey Wilde Mystery series. Her passion for reading began in grade school with LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature, as well as an MA and an MFA in Creative Writing. When not writing, she's usually reading, indulging in her passion for Texas country music, traveling, or hanging out with her pets Daisy and Snookums G. Cat.
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Q1: What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
WRESTLING WITH DEATH is the first novel in the Zoey Wilde Mystery Series. Zoey is a semi-professional wrestler. When her ex-boyfriend is found murdered at a wrestling event, she jumps to the top of the detective’s suspect list. She sticks her nose into the investigation to clear her name.
I am a lifelong fan of pro wrestling, and, for years, I have wanted to write a book that involved pro wrestling. There is some pro wrestling involved in the second Carrie Shatner Mystery, CRIMINAL CHOKEHOLD, but I wanted to write at least one novel that focused on pro wrestling. I played around with a few different ideas over the years, but ultimately decided to write a cozy series starring a pro wrestler. I love reading cozy mystery series, but I find that there are few main characters who are edgy and in-in-your-face. I’ve been longing for a strong, kick-butt main character. When I failed to find one, I created one instead.
Q2: What are five words that describe your writing process?
Hectic, frustrating, blissful, and overly plotted.
Q3: What authors, or books have influenced you?
I have read so many books by so many authors that it’s hard to really signal any one in particular out. I If I had to name one, it would be Laura Ingalls Wilder. I first read LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS when I was in second grade. It was while reading that book that I had an epiphany that I would someday be a writer.
Q4: What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?
It’s more like what do I need OUT of my writing space to help me stay focused. I have a dog who can be a distraction—not that I mind that distraction. But I am also easily distracted by my phone or the internet. I’ll go to look up something like a word or a specific fact, and then wind up falling down the rabbit hole.
Q5. What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing?
Strong main characters. The main characters do not have to be likable, but I have to feel invested in their story. If I don’t care about the main characters, then I quickly lose interest in the book. Forward motion is also very important. I’ve come across a lot of books that rehash/repeat earlier scenes opposed to creating new scenes/incidents. Having to read recaps of previous scenes over and over gets annoying.
Q6: What is the best advice you have ever heard?
When I was in grad school for creative writing, the mentors kept telling us to “just write the damn thing.” It has been my motto ever since. It’s not a fancy or life-altering quote, but it does get straight to the point. If you don’t write it, it’s never going to get written.
Q7: What is your favourite genre to read?
I love reading cozy mysteries—both contemporary and historical. There are quite a few series that I follow. I particularly enjoy strong female main characters and humor.
Q8: What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?
My characters always come first. I have to know my main character and some of the supporting cast before I can really start plotting.
Q9: What are you working on now?
I am working on Killer Kayfabe. It is the second novel in the Zoey Wilde Mystery series. In this novel, Zoey’s coworker at her brother’s tattoo shop is murdered. CJ Neidigh went to school with Zoey and Zack, and they were the closest thing that the introverted teenager had to friends. It is not long after CJ returns to town—and mere hours after some of their former classmates learn that he’s back—that he is murdered. Zoey knows not to get involved in another police investigation, but she is compelled to find her friend’s killer.
Q10: What are you currently reading?
I am rereading the Molly Murphy series by Rhys Bowen. It’s been years since I read the earlier books in the series, and I wanted to refresh my memory of what happened.
Keep reading for an excerpt from Wrestling with Death:
“None of us are going to be able to sit in the front row during the match.” Vivian yanked her feather boa from her neck. “If Devon comes anywhere near me, I’ll strangle him.”
“Your boa probably won’t be enough to get the job done,” Zack said. He tugged on Vivian’s boa and accidently pulled out a couple feathers.
“Then I’ll stab him in the eye with this!” Vivian held up the knitting needle that she was still clutching in her arthritic hand.
“Put the knitting needle down, Nana,” Zoey said.
“Hitting Devon over the head with this baby…” Zack said as he reached into the trash can full of weapons and pulled out a sledgehammer. It was the same sledgehammer that had been in the back of Zoey’s car. “This would get the job done in one or two blows.”
“Zack…” Zoey said, terrified of the evil gleam in her twin brother’s eyes. She also didn’t like the way he was running his fingers up and down the sledgehammer’s long handle.
“What? I can fantasize, can’t I?” Zack asked, giving Zoey a sheepish look. “I won’t lie to you. I want to kill Devon just as badly now as I did back then.”
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