I love to chat with my wicked cozy sisters – they’re such interesting people, and I find out new nuggets of information every time! Today I’m talking to Barbara Ross, author of “Clammed Up,” to get an idea of what makes her tick.
Barb, how long have you been writing? What did you start out writing?
I always wrote. My mother has an embarrassing illustrated story about a wild horse circa second grade that she’s saving to blackmail me with some day.
Who has influenced you?
So many people! Like a lot of girls, I graduated from Nancy Drew to Agatha Christie to Dorothy Sayers. Then I wandered in the desert of contemporary American literature for awhile and found my way back to mystery via P.D. James, Ruth Rendell and Colin Dexter.
Who do I buy as soon as the books hit the stores? In mystery, Louise Penny, Deborah Crombie, Julia Spencer-Fleming.
Who would I say has most influenced my series? Cleo Coyle, Sheila Connolly, Kaitlyn Dunnett, Sarah Graves, Leslie Meier, Lucy Burdette, Kate Flora, Lea Wait.
Who would I trade my soul to write like? Alice Munro.
Talk about your past life in the business world. How has that influenced your fiction?
Julia Snowden, the protagonist of Clammed Up worked at a venture capital firm and I knew quite a few people like that when I was a tech entrepreneur. One scene in the book is a direct lift from the life of a young investment banker I knew.
What’s your connection to New England?
I was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts, but my family left when I was just a few months old. It tool me 22 years to get back, but the instant I moved to New England, it felt like home. Currently, I live with my husband in Somerville, MA and we have a summer place in Boothbay Harbor, ME which I’ve highly fictionalized for the Busman’s Harbor in my Clambake mysteries.
What’s your favorite thing about New England?
The people. Hands down. And the variety. City, country, ocean, lakes, mountains, rivers, winter, spring, summer, fall, history, contemporary. You never get bored or run out of things to do.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
People are always surprised to learn that I’m a scrapbooker. I think it doesn’t fit with my personality, but it’s a hobby I enjoy.
What are you working on right now?
Book two in the Maine Clambake Mystery series, Boiled Over. Reading all the submissions for Level Best Books where I’m a co-editor. Getting ready to open registration for the New England Crime Bake, where I’m co-chair.
Why cozies? Do you write anything else additionally?
Cozies because I love a good mystery. I also write short stories.
Which are the top five books are in your to-be-read pile?
There Was an Old Woman–Hallie Ephron
The Clover House–Henriette Lazaridis Powers
Zinsky the Obscure–Ilan Mochari
Together Tea–Marjan Kamali
Kneading to Die–Liz Mugavero
Thanks for sharing, Barb! Can’t wait to read Clammed Up – and I love the title Boiled Over too. Looking forward to your book. Now I’m off to look up your mother, because I would really love to read the wild horse story…..