Yes, we all have bios on this website, but there is so much MORE to know about our Classic and Cozy bloggers. So the 2nd Friday of each month is dedicated to getting to know us better. This month I'd like to introduce you to someone who helped me along when I first came on the blogging scene, Sandra Cary Cody. Not only does she write cozy mysteries, but they are set in one of the many places I’ve lived—Memphis, TN. I’ve read all of her Jennie Conners cozy mysteries, where, with the help of the residents of Riverview Manor Retirement Home, they solve murders. I highly encourage you to rush off and read them too…but wait….take a moment to read the interview first.
Okay, inquiring minds want to know…why a writer? Certainly not for the fame and fortune…or maybe it is?
You’re right. It’s not for fame and fortune, though I certainly wouldn’t say no - at least to the fortune part. As for being famous, I don’t think I’d be enjoy that; I like my privacy too much. So ... why? I honestly don’t know. The closest I can come is to say that I’m a lover of stories. I come from a family of great storytellers, most of whom tell their tales under guise of truth. I’m the first to admit mine are fiction. And, of course, like all writers, I’m a reader. If you read enough, eventually I think you’ll be compelled to jump into the pool (or onto the page).
When did you first put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) to create the your classic and cozy characters?
I was a late bloomer. I didn’t begin to write until my kids were grown and didn’t become a published writer until after I was a grandmother. What took me so long? When I was younger, I revered writers so much it didn’t occur to me that I could actually BE a writer. It took me a long time to gain the confidence to share the stories I’d always carried around in my head.
Do you have a set writing schedule?
The short answer is “yes”. I start out every day planning to write first thing, but the day seldom goes according to plan. The time I actually get words on the page is usually in the evening or late at night. Dinner’s over. The kitchen is cleaned up. The phone doesn’t ring. My time is my own. And, truth be told, I’m not a morning person. I’ve learned to use my crabby morning brain to edit what I wrote the night before - and I’m usually amazed at what my good-natured evening brain thought was wonderful.
Is there a certain routine, food/drink, or location that summons forth the muses for you?
I like to write alone in a bedroom that’s now an office. My desk is near a window that looks out into the treetops. It’s a great spot for daydreaming (a necessary part of writing). Food/drink? Tea and chocolate. Music? No, I’m much too distractible.
What do you do when not writing?
I’m a quilter, though I haven’t made a quilt in a couple of years. Both quilting and writing take over your life and I chose writing. I also like to be outdoors: camping, hiking, fooling around in the yard. I love old movies, especially anything with dancing, i.e., Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire - maybe because I’m so klutzy myself. Reading, of course.
I imagine you’ve been reading all of your life (all great writers have.) What was your favorite book as a child?
Heidi. I don’t even know how many times I re-read that book - and I cried every time. Even now, I feel sad when I think about Heidi’s unhappiness when she has to leave the mountain and live in the city. Same for Little Women. I still haven’t accepted Beth’s death.
Do you re-read books? If so, which one have you re-read the most?
Yes, of course. There are the childhood favorites mentioned above and lately, I’ve been re-reading books by Ruth Rendell, trying to learn from her. She does an amazing job creating suspense and sketching her characters without putting limits on the reader’s imagination. Another writer I go back to again and again is Pearl Buck.
But there is more to life than reading, writing (and arithmetic)…what is your most memorable adventure in your life? <<I think this is the point where Barbara Walters would ask you if you were a tree, what kind would you be, but I’ll skip that and throw a softball…>>
Being the mother of sons, we’ve done a lot of camping and hiking. I’m not sure it qualifies as an adventure, but when the boys were in their late teens, we took a ten-day canoe trip in Maine, following channels cut by loggers to connect the lakes. It was rugged country; there were no amenities - a far cry from the parks and campgrounds we usually frequented. Moose were not something distantly sighted, but were up-close and personal neighbors - sometimes a little too up-close and personal for me. (By the way, if Barbara ever asks, I’d be a willow - slender, graceful, ethereal.)
If you were on American Idol, what song would you sing to WOW! the judges?
I’m a sucker for old musicals so I’d pick something from one of them - maybe “Younger Than Springtime” from “South Pacific”. Now, if you’d asked me that the day after we returned from our Maine adventure, it would be “I Enjoy Being a Girl” from “Flower Drum Song”.
Last question…movie rights…who will play your two main characters when Hollywood comes knocking on your door?
Am I allowed to flashback and cast a young Audrey Hepburn? She’s my all-time favorite - the perfect combination of beauty and vulnerability, plus she was so good at those comedic double-takes that the Riverview’s residents inspire in Jennie. It’s hard to pick one other character because Jennie has a host of sidekicks among the residents of Riverview Manor. I’ll take Nate, though, because I love him and because I see him so clearly; he’s Peter O’Toole. At the risk of sounding greedy, please may I have one more? Good. Thank you. Maggie Smith would be the perfect Tess; I can see her scheming away beneath a calm and cool demeanor.
Hey, this was fun! Thanks.
Catch more of Sandra the third Friday of every month here on the Classic and Cozy Blog.
For a complete list of Sandra’s books click on over to her website http://www.sandracareycody.com/
And be sure and check out her blog https://birthofanovel.wordpress.com/