While active in a Christian Readers Facebook group, I asked for reading recommendations with humor, and someone recommended this mystery series by New York Times bestselling author, Lorena McCourtney. I loved this book! I connected with Lorena on Facebook, and she agreed to do an interview with me.
My Review: Invisible, By Lorena McCourtney
Retired Ivy Malone wonders if her age has made her invisible. Feeling washed out and with a risk of fading into the background, Ivy takes up sleuthing, trying to find out who has been pulling over gravestones at a local cemetery.
In the meantime the mysterious disappearance of her young neighbor, Kendra, has Ivy scouring out clues of her whereabouts. Ivy gains the confidence of a young man in the police department and feeds him what she’s discovered. When a body is uncovered, the danger deepens.
Missing her deceased best friend, Ivy doesn’t protest too much at her friend, Magnolia’s, affinity for pairing Ivy with eligible bachelors. But Ivy doesn’t let any budding friendships deter her from her endeavors to seek out the truth about Kendra.
Despite the invasion of her privacy and the destruction of her property, gutsy, determined Ivy doesn’t give up and plays her hand until the very end to reveal the grave desecrators and the killer in one swoop.
With dry wit and aplomb, McCourtney skillfully crafts a likable and believable character in Ivy Malone. She grafts Christian faith with mystery in this seamless, entertaining and often humorous read.
Readers of mysteries, Christian mysteries, and Christian fiction will be delighted and entertained by the capers of Ivy Malone, LOL—“Little Old Lady.”
My Interview with Lorena:
What started you on the road to writing mysteries?
I’d already written quite a few romances, both secular and Christian. I put in a murder in one simply as part of the romance plot, and afterward I realized I really liked doing that. I liked the challenge of writing something more than the ups and downs of a romance relationship, and so I changed from making romance the central part of a story to making a mystery the main story. I like reading mysteries too! But I still usually have a little romance in there.
I’ve now had in total fifty books published.
Why did you decide to write Christian mysteries?
I was already writing the Christian romances, so when I decided to write mysteries it was a natural step to make them Christian mysteries.I want all my books to be entertaining, but adding the faith-based element gives the books – hopefully! – a “take away” value as well.
Please describe your process for writing a mystery. Do you plot it out, knowing what happens prior to writing, or do you go with the flow? Or a little of both?
It’s a little of both. Long ago, when I first started writing, I plotted everything out ahead of time. But I usually found myself deviating from the outline, so now I start with an idea and see where it takes me, what ideas occur to me as I get farther into the book.
In my latest book, “That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles,” (Book#4, The Mac ‘n’ Ivy Mysteries) I started with the idea, what if someone took this saying literally and started thinking a crumbled cookie could really predict the future. A little like some people believe in using tea leaves to tell the future.
Then I had to think, how would Ivy and Mac get involved with this? And, since these are murder mysteries, who’s going to get murdered? Who did it? But I didn’t have all these twists planned ahead of time.
Are you anything like your main character, Ivy Malone?
I never use a complete real-life person as a fictional character, myself included, but I put bits and pieces of various people, including myself, in my characters. I suppose Ivy has more of me in her than any other character I’ve written. Ivy and I are both LOLs (little old ladies) with a feeling that we’ve kind of aged into invisibility. But we’ve both also found that “invisibility” can sometimes be a handy asset.
Ivy, however, is considerably more adventurous than I am and uses her “invisibility” in sleuthing. She does tend to run into dead bodies and killers, which I do not!
Ivy first discovered her “invisibility” in the Ivy Malone Mysteries series (five books, beginning with “Invisible”) and now has advanced into the Mac ‘n’ Ivy Mysteries.
What do you enjoying doing when not writing?
Reading, of course! Isn’t that high on every writer’s list of favorite activities. Lots of times I’ll use it as my reward: get the vacuuming done and then I can read for a while. Although sometimes I read first and then – maybe – do the vacuuming. I don’t watch much television.
I also like walking for exercise. I’ve never been particularly athletic, but walking doesn’t take much in the way of talent. I’ve always thought that, when the talents were being handed out, that I must have been off reading a book. Because I am very short on talents other than writing/writing. No athletic talent. No musical talent. No artistic talent. Writing is it!
Who’s your favorite author? Favorite book?
Oh my – I read so many different authors that I can’t really choose one as a favorite. Same with favorite book. However, even with books I’ve really enjoyed, I rarely re-read one. For me, the big pull in reading is – What’s going to happen next? How is this going to end? Because I already know the answers to these questions, I tend to move along to the next book rather than re-reading an earlier one.
I also tend to leave more books unfinished than I used to. When I was younger, I felt obliged, once I’d started a book, to finish reading it. Now I give a book a few chapters, and if it hasn’t captured my interest by then, or if I find something really objectionable in the content, I hit the delete button. (That’s because I tend to read more on my e-reader than in print these days.)
What tips would you offer aspiring authors?
In one word, it would have to be persistence. I guess there are some writers who write a book, hit it big, and then continue with more best-sellers. But not many. I kind of adhere to the old adage, If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
On a more specific basis, I think studying what you’re reading can be useful. If you like a book, why? The characters – are they memorable? The plot – you just have to keep reading to see what happens? And then study how the author accomplished this.
How would you describe yourself, using five to ten adjectives?
- Animal Lover
Thank you so much, Lorena for taking the time to connect with me and answer my questions! It has been a pleasure getting to know more about you! And thank you, Dear Readers and Followers for stopping by my blog to read this interview with Lorena.