Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Interview with JESSIE CROCKETT

I love the title of your new book, LIVE FREE OR DIE. Isn’t that the state motto for New Hampshire? Tell us why New Hampshire is so terrific.

Live Free or Die is the Granite State motto. I love New Hampshire for so many reasons but I would say these are amongst my favorites:  With four distinct seasons every year you never get bored with the prevailing weather.  We have no sales tax.  You can hike a mountain, swim in a lake, swim in the ocean and eat at a 5 star restaurant all in the same day. You will have to hurry a bit though!  There is beauty here everywhere, from our naturally occurring features like the White Mountains to our man-made attractions like beautiful old homes and quaint villages. 

Tell us a bit about the book, which will be released next month. And don’t forget to tell us where we can buy it!

In Live Free or Die, volunteer fire chief Gwen Fifield’s life is about as good as can be. Sure, she’s gained twenty pounds and her property taxes skyrocketed just in time for Christmas. But, her basement didn’t flood with the fall rains for the first time in years and the general store has started delivering pizza. Yup, by Winslow Falls, NH standards it’s pretty darn good. That is, until an arsonist lets loose in the village and Gwen finds a body sizzled like a sausage in the smoldering remains of the local museum.

With more experience handing out burn permits than solving arsons Gwen is eager to turn over the case to State Fire Marshal’s Investigator Hugh Larsen. But things are seldom that easy; Hugh needs her insider knowledge concerning the village just as much as she needs him in order to solve the case.

Fortunately for the townspeople, a newly arrived immigrant family provides ideal suspects. When an artifact from the burnt museum shows up in the possession of one of the foreigners, the town readily blames the “people from away”. But clues from the past convince Gwen the town she’s always trusted is harboring a home-grown murderer.

Live Free or Die is available at,, directly from my publisher at and at many independant book stores.

Do you have any writing schedules or daily requirements? Any secrets to success?

I have to keep a schedule or I won't get anything done. Right now, I am participating in a challenge issued by Jan Brogan at Jungle Red Writers to write at least one page each day for the next six weeks before checking my e-mail or using the internet. Generally, I write about 1500 words each morning and then use time in the afternoon to edit and to work on the business end of writing--like press releases, marketing issues, and correspondance.

I think the biggest secret to success is to just keep at it. And to remember that the work is personal, the rejections aren't. Like my husband always says to me, "Chin up, pen down".

Tell us about the elementary school writers you mentor.

I've been very fortunate to have the opportunity to volunteer at the elementary school all of my children have attended. This past year I have worked with second graders on individual projects ranging from science fiction to biographical incidents including beloved gerbils. I also worked with an after school program to create a newspaper-style blog with fourth and fifth graders. Working with them has helped keep the love of writing fresh for me because many of them have such great enthusiam for the stories they want to tell.

How long have you been writing and why do you write cozy mysteries instead of, say, science fiction?

I've wanted to be a writer since I read my first Bobsey Twins Mystery. I've taken the dream seriously for the past five years.

Live Free or Die is a cozy because that is just how it came out. I don't think I planned it that way but it didn't feel right to do otherwise with that particular story. Crime fiction holds first place in my heart and in my "to be read " pile. so I am not surprised that was the direction my writing life headed.

Why do you think mysteries are consistently at the top of the bestseller lists?

Mysteries tell a story, a real story. Readers can expect a beginning, a middle, and a real end. Life is so full of things not completed, laundry never finished, lawns that need another mowing. Mystery stories, with their promise of an ending, are an oasis of doneness. I think we all need that sometimes.

Share with us your websites, blogs, and other online presences.

Readers can find me at I am also Jessie Crockett on Face Book as well as Twitter, Good Reads, and Crime Space. I'd love to connect with readers at any of these sites.

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