Monday, May 30, 2011

Interviewing a NYT Best-Selling Author with 3 Pen Names

By Pat Remick

Lorraine Bartlett is a very busy woman.

She writes three mystery series, including the Booktown Mystery Series that generated a prestigious Agatha Award nomination and put her on the New York Times bestsellers list.

When she's not working on the various series, posting her "Dazed and Confused" blog or appearing at the Cozy Chicks blog, she's busy promoting the books she pens under three names:

Her own, which appears on the cover of "A Crafty Killing," the first in her new Victoria Square series centering on a quaint shopping area that is  home to Artisans Alley, a collection of booths for artisans and craft sellers and figures in a murder (of course!);

As Lorna Barrett, writing the New York Times bestselling "Booktown Mystery Series" revolving around Tricia Miles, owner of Stoneham, NH's mystery bookstore Haven't Got a Clue, and whose fifth book in the series "Sentenced to Death" will be released June 7; and as

LL Bartlett, creater of the grittier Jeff Resnick suspense and slightly paranormal series featuring a former insurance investigator solving crimes in Buffalo, NY.

Recently she found some time time to answer a few questions for Workingstiffs readers:
What's the best thing about having so many pen names?

The worst?
Your readers can't find you. If they don't check your web site or social networking, or look you up on Worldcat, there's no way for them to find out you write more than one series, or in a different genre or subgenre. I'm not just a one-trick pony--I write more than one thing, and despite more than two years of trying to get the word out, Lorna Barrett's Booktown Mystery readers have not found Lorraine Bartlett's Victoria Square series or L.L. Bartlett's Jeff Resnick books.

If you had it to do over again, would have multiple pen names?
No. But when the publisher asks you to take a pen name, you have no choice. My (then) agent strongly suggested I hide my gender behind initials because she felt men wouldn't read a book written by a woman. She was correct.

What most surprises you about this writing life -- and being a New York Times bestselling author?
That life really didn't change at all. I still have to do the laundry and there are so many other NYTimes bestselling authors that you're just a face in the crowd. But it does look nice on my book covers.

What is the best writing advice you've received?
Stop reading "writing how-to" books and going to writing classes. Sit down in front of your keyboard and write, Write, WRITE. And then rewrite, Rewrite, REWRITE.

What is the best writing advice you would give someone else? (or What is it you wish someone had told you about being a writer?)
See above.

What question do you wish I'd asked you?
To talk about my various series and how they are different--or alike. I'll go ahead and answer that one, if I may.

The common denominator in my work is that all my stories are character driven, and I hope have heart. The characters may come to loggerheads, but in the end they're there for each other. In my Jeff Resnick series, it's the brothers (Jeff and Richard--who come from different backgrounds) who are there for each other. In the Booktown Mysteries, it's sisters Tricia and Angelica Miles. In the Victoria Square Mysteries Katie depends on her friends--and they depend on her.

The Booktown and Victoria Square mysteries are cozy, but the Jeff Resnick Mysteries are psychological suspense with a paranormal thread. (No vampires, no zombies, no werewolves. Jeff was viciously mugged and since that day is a tad psychic. While his insight might give him clues, his experience as an insurance investigator helps him solve crimes.)

I hope readers will seek out my websites ( / and my blog, Dazed and Confused:

Thanks Lorraine/Lorna/LL for stopping by today!


Joyce said...

Welcome to the Stiffs, Lorraine. Nice to see you here!

Ramona said...

Is being a tad psychic like being a little bit pregnant?

I like that all three of your series focus on strong bonds between people. Those are the best, in books and IRL.

Dru said...

Hi Lorraine,

Love the advice about writing and rewriting.

Can you tell us what's next in your three series starting with the June 7th release for the Booktown mystery series?

Annette said...

Hi, Lorraine! It's great to have you here at Working Stiffs.

I have a question for you: how do you juggle three different series? How many books do you write a year?

Okay, that's TWO questions. I'm a writer because I cannot count. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the warm welcome.

Romona: Um...While Jeff gets "funny feelings" he depends on his years of experiences as an insurance investigator to help him solve his "cases." His psychic ability (he's really more empathic) helps him size up people and sometimes (but not often) he's clairvoyant.

Dru: I'm currently juggling three writing projects (and not making enough headway on any of them). The 3rd Victoria Square book, a short story, and (for fun) a YA novella. Sentenced To Death (#5 in the Booktown Mystery series) comes out June 7th. The Walled Flower (#2 Victoria Square) comes out next February. (Which seems like a million years from now.)

Annette: Juggling three series is ... exhausting. I can really only write two books a year, but I'm trying to add several more hours to the day so I can squeeze in one more book a year. So far, that plan isn't working out too well.

Helen Ginger said...

Totally agree with write and rewrite. Rewriting is not always fun, but it is very necessary. Writing (and promoting) three series is amazing!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Ginger. I always find writing the initial draft to be extremely painful. Rewriting makes that crappy first draft shine.

Anonymous said...

Oops, my bad -- Helen. I was thinking about my friend Ginger when I wrote my last reply.

Sorry. : (

Ellis Vidler said...

I like paranormal elements when they involve psychic abilities. I write them too. I'll be looking for the Jeff Resnick books too.

Patg said...

Welcome, Lorraine. I love paranormal, but the whole 'craft' town or alley is interesting.