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Murder Mystery Series by author Tina Czarnota  
Interview - Questions and Answers

By Rich Ryal

Q: What interests you so much about bed & breakfasts that makes them perfect sites for your mysteries?

A: I was reminded why I love country inns and B&Bs so much when recently a friend told me how tired she was upon returning home from vacation. Vacations shouldn't be work and one should return feeling refreshed, something this B&B aficionado usually achieves when visiting one. On why they are perfect sites for my mysteries, well, most country inn, B&Bs are historic buildings and estates that often have been rescued from wrecking balls and have lovingly been restored to their former charm and grandeur. And, because they are usually old, these structures have a feel, a texture that new dwellings just don't possess. Therefore, there's the allure for speculation, for wonderment of how life may have been for the former tenants of these estates.

Often those musings turn to visions of gentility and romance. For things regal and elegant. Granted, reality for some living in these domains decades or generations ago was just that. But, for some, it was not. It was actually quite dark. And so there are whispered rumors of malice and jealousy. Destruction and deceit. Discussions of dark traditions practiced by those that dwelled within. Lifestyles and acts that if were publicly known, would find the practitioners jailed or worse. Yes, the gentility of yesteryear is sometimes a myth. So, having that foundation, you can see why I select country inns and B&Bs for my mysteries. Set those ingredients aside for a bit and consider this. The warm nurturing, caring traits of aunts & uncles. Of grandma & grandpa figures.

Or, the properness of lords and ladies and their refine and genteel ways. Meld those together—the lure, the serene and the dark and there's your backdrop for my mysteries. Add to that contemporary, colorful characters who possess a bit of all the above, garnish with their quirks and beliefs and watch the fun and mystery begin.

Q: You seem a gracious, considerate person. How were you able to understand a killer well enough to create one?

A: Thanks for the compliment. Most kids have their own fantasy "thing" going on. Some love sci-fi, others magic and so on. Well, after "rearing" my dolls and stuffed animals, I found mysteries. I was fascinated by the likes of Vincent Price, Boris Karloff and with all the cool places and escapades black & white TV. took me. Inspired, I wrote essays on haunted houses, penned ghost stories...that sort of thing. Soon, and a natural progression for most girls, I graduated to Nancy Drew mysteries. So, with all that inspiration and a lifelong love of mysteries, with my experiences, research and imagination, I was able to create my "heavies."

Q: How are you like your main character? How different?

A: Like — I am tall. Okay, I do try to be considerate of others which comes through "Trina," my protagonist. Also, we both are inquisitive & curious about life and like her, I have a "Tim" in mine. Tim, her possible dad-in-law, is a bit of a pain for Trina. Sort of her nemesis. See, she prides herself in being independent. For Tim, "independent woman" is a contradiction. Different — She's recently inherited a decent bit of money, is thirty-something gorgeous, has a near perfect beau and has the guts to go into the B&B business with future-in-laws.

Q: Who is your books audience?

A: Whodunit aficionados who enjoy a bit of humor and a little romance in their reads. Mystery lovers who enjoy character driven stories. Folks who love or are intrigued by the country inn, B&B experience. Novice and experienced innkeepers. Readers who need a break from high violence and car chases. Those who love cozies—body in the library type reads.

Q: How has writing these mysteries changed the way you relate to the world?

A: As far as mysteries in go, not much. I've always loved them. As for writing them, well, quite a bit. For starters, "my skin" has indeed thickened. I've learned that rejection (letters) in a writer's life is not a personal jab. It is part of the process. Part of the business. I also feel I get more mileage out of life for not only do I get life's tasks done, I often scrutinize them never knowing when these daily practices will offer me material for a project I'm working on. I appreciate artists, books, movies, plays more for I learned what a small percent make it.

Q: Once you got far enough into writing your first mystery that you knew you were going to finish it, what surprised you most about the actual process of writing mysteries?

A: I didn't know I was going to finish it. I hoped I would, but there were times I doubted I could. I must've really wanted it for that want is what enabled me to be able to type those two wonderful words—"The End!" As for what surprised me most about the process, I'd say it was how every piece of writing had to have a reason for being in the story. Also, the "formula thing." I bucked that all the way but sort of compromised. I felt a formula quashed a writer's creativity. Put them in a grid. In the end, I pretty much wrote my book for me. For me and for my readers.

Q: Probably 100 people start a book for every author who finishes one. How did you manage to be one of the few who completes a book.

A: That many? Again, I guess I really wanted it. Also, I met some really great people who were willing to do a bit of "hand holding" along the way. I just hope I gave something back. That's another thing I'd like to add. Don't just take, give something back and "thank you" goes a long way.

Q: Describe the ideal bed & breakfast vacation.

A: Oh, yes, please! For me it is a snow covered country inn, castle or mansion snuggled in amongst a vast winter wonderland of trails and trees. Upon arrival, I remove my coat and immediately note the crackling blaze in the reception fireplace where a guest couple is milling about. In a flash, a host whisks my luggage up to my suite while another offers me hot cocoa with homemade whipped cream. A plate of warm cookies is placed nearby.

The innkeeper informs me that a masseuse is available on call and I may book an appointment for a personal massage in the privacy of my suite. Further, I am told, there are sleigh rides and ice skating 'round the acreage by day. Harp serenaded candlelit dinners by night. On alternate evenings, the innkeeper tells me he peels back the lid on the downstairs piano and guests and hosts alike join in the singing of carols and holiday songs. Warm brandy, finger sandwiches and crudites will be served and everyone has a good time. As the innkeeper tells me of the pancakes, waffles and other breakfast fare served at "Perfect Estates", I am impressed how warm and charming my hosts are—an extended family of sorts. The guests are equally friendly. Now this is my ideal B&B winter vacation.

Author Tina Czarnota
Murder Mystery Series

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