November 15th, 2019
I asked Eileen where she would like to chat:
I hurried past Merry March’s insurance agency, glancing in on my way. She was on the phone but gave a warm smile and wave. A block later, I opened the door to Tempting Treasures and Tasty Treats, coming to a complete halt to appreciate an antique marquetry breakfront. Unable to resist, I traced the intricate pattern with my fingertip. Laura Mae tapped me on the shoulder. We agreed that the warm summer day mandated lunch outside. Lovely scarlet red petunia wave spilled from the planters overhanging the railing surrounding the patio. Crisp glasses of Pinot Grigio in hand, we ordered our meal. Beautiful diver scallops nestled in a warm Parmesan risotto studded with green peas soon arrived.
Laura Mae: What inspired you to enter the world of writing?
Eileen Curley Hammond: My mother. She was a voracious mystery reader. Unfortunately, she died over twenty years ago, so she never saw my books come to fruition. I named my publishing company, Twody Press, after her and I like to think that she would have loved reading my work.
L: How long have you been writing for?
E: I’ve been writing novels for over two years. But earlier in my career, I was a speechwriter and most of the rest of my career was in marketing, which entails quite a bit of writing.
L: What are you currently working on?
E: I’m anxiously awaiting my fourth book in the Merry March Mystery Series, Murder So Deadly, to come back from my editor. It will be released on September 27th, so I’ll be working hard incorporating changes before launch. Also, I was honored to have a tweet chosen for Day 12 of the VSS365 Anthology, which will launch September 23rd.
L: Are there any books or authors who inspire your work?
E: So many. I’m originally from New Jersey, so I love the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich. Jana DeLeon’s Miss Fortune series is a hoot as well.
L: What has been the most challenging for you so far?
E: Writing description has been the most challenging. I love to write snappy dialogue (probably due to my speech writing past), but now I’m beginning to love exposition. It allows me to be creative in a different way.
L: What is your favorite writing trope?
E: When I think about writing tropes, I think about Charles M. Schultz’s famous Peanuts strip with Snoopy typing, “It was a dark and stormy night,” which of course calls writers out for using storms to set a mood. I embraced that trope and began Murder So Deadly with a storm.
L: Besides writing, what is it you like to do?
E: Similar to my main character, Merry March, I love to cook for people. My husband is a fabulous gardener, so I generally get roped into his passion as a sous gardener.
L: What would you say is your favorite book or series of all time? Why?
E: Favorite book is The Shipping News by Annie Proulx, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1994. It was one of the hardest books I’ve ever read, but also the most satisfying due to the techniques Ms. Proulx employs. And no, the movie did not do it justice; read the book.
L: Are there any regrets you have or anything you wish you knew sooner?
E: I wouldn’t have published my first two books so close together. I launched Murder So Sinful in August of 2018 and then followed up with Murder So Festive in October of 2018 to have it out in time for Christmas. (And, no, I don’t write that fast, it’s that the first one took me so long.) I think I stepped on myself and hurt the sale of the second book.
L: In a brief statement, have you self-published or traditionally published? What was your experience?
E: Almost everyone I spoke to advised me to publish traditionally. However, it wasn’t for me. I decided to self-publish so that I could keep control of the process. The experience has been good; however, I truly underestimated the amount of work I would need to do once the book was written. That said, the kind of resources now available to independent authors is amazing.
L: What are you currently reading?
E: Lately, I’ve been focusing on independent authors. Carol Beth Anderson’s Sun Blessed Series is amazing. I loved Dawn Hosmer’s book Bits and Pieces and look forward to reading The End of Echoes. And, Holly Dobbie’s powerful gritty novel, Fifteen Point Nine was fantastic.
L: What genre do you read?
E: I love cozy mysteries as you might expect, but I read all genres as you can tell from my reading list.
L: What does a typical day of writing look like for you? Any rituals or ‘must-haves’?
E: Decaf tea and classical music.
L: What’s a word or phrase that people say that always irritates you?
E: “It is what it is.” So annoying.
L: Where would you say you get most of your inspiration?
E: Real-life. I never thought I was much of an observer, but I discovered I was wrong. Some things stick with me and, of course, I use them as fodder for my books.
L: For aspiring writers out there, what would be the best advice you want them to know?
E: Set attainable daily goals and don’t feel guilty if you deviate from them when life gets in the way. Who knows, you may get your next best idea when your path meanders.
Eileen Curley Hammond opted for early retirement after a successful marketing career in the insurance industry. Her husband was happy she retired but was less than pleased with the amount of focus he got as a result. With his encouragement, she began to write.
She is the author of the Merry March cozy mystery series. Books include Murder So Sinful, Murder So Festive, Murder So Heartless, and Murder So Deadly, which will be released September 27, 2019. Eileen lives in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio, with the aforementioned husband. Two vocal cats and assorted fish round out the menagerie.
It’s springtime in Hopeful and the town is abloom. Gardeners, avid to challenge themselves, move past the usual begonias into more exotic plants. Unfortunately, some of their selections are pure poison.
Rob’s mother and her husband are in town for a visit that ends in murder. Merry investigates and finds ugly truths growing in some of the most beautiful places.
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