What Are You Reading, Jenn McKinlay?

On Saturday, May 5, The The Poisoned Pen Bookstore  and the Phoenix Public Library are teaming up to present CozyCon, a mystery-writing conference with a dozen favorite mystery authors. 

Jenn McKinlay, author of both the Cupcake Bakery series (Sprinkle With Murder, Buttercream Bump Off, Death by the Dozen) and the Library Lover's series (Books Can Be Deceiving, and the latest, Due or Die, published in March) will be in attendance to sign a few books and answer questions. 

We caught up with her to ask a few of our own.

What makes a book a "cozy"? 
Cozies are basically traditional mysteries modeled after Agatha Christie. They are the toughest of the mystery genre to write. They don't get to use the cheap tricks of the thrillers, where there are gory scenes and psychotic points of view to drive the plot. 

Cozy readers are smart, and they want a complex puzzle delivered by three-dimensional characters in a realistic setting that also offers them a glimpse into a world they want to be in -- such as a library, a cupcake bakery, a cheese shop, or an antique store.
You used to be a librarian at the Phoenix Public Library -- how did working there inform your Library Lover's Series? Did you meet lots of interesting "characters" there? 
OMG. The library is second only to Phoenix Sky Harbor for people-watching. You get so many interesting stories at the library from people of all socio-economic backgrounds. It's a great place to be inspired.

Working at the library grounded the Library Lover's series in facts. My library director is authentic because I have the inside skinny on how libraries really work. It's more complicated than people realize. 

You have two new releases. Do you often have multiple stories working themselves out in your head at the same time? 
Yes. I write four to five books per year, so I'm usually writing one, revising another,  and editing a third. Because each stage is so different, I can usually keep them straight.

What are you reading now? 
Bossy Pants by Tina Fey and Justice There Is None by Deborah Crombie 

What was your last guilty pleasure read? 
Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James 

Where's the best place in Phoenix to read something? 
Lola Coffee on Roosevelt -- nice atmosphere and a bacon scone to die for! 

Name three mystery books that should be required reading. 
In no particular order (and I had to do four): The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie, The Daughter of Time by Jospehine Tey, Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters, Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier 

CozyCon takes place at the Pulliam Auditorium at the Burton Barr Central Library, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cost of admission is $25 (which includes a box lunch). To register, call 480-947-2974. Books will be available for purchase at the event. 

Other writers scheduled to attend: Avery Aames, Kate Carlisle, Donis Casey, Jane Cleland, Hannah Dennison, Earlene Fowler, Rebecca Hale, Carolyn G. Hart, Beth Kendrick, Paige Shelton, and Betty Webb.

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Sativa Peterson
Contact: Sativa Peterson