Cancelled Vows by Lauren Carr is the second book of hers I have read. This is the first time I have met Mac Faraday and read one of his mysteries. One thing I really like about Ms. Carr’s writing is that even though she is writing a murder mystery and some really bad stuff has happened and is happening, she is able to throw in some lighthearted moments and ease the tension a bit. I also highly enjoy her prominent placement of animal characters in her books. And Gnarly, Faraday’s dog who is forced to go to New York with him due to an unforeseen, unfortunate situation, really steals the show for me. What a stinker and a hero he is.
The only reason Mac Faraday and his half- brother, David O’Callaghan have to make this impromptu trip to New York City is for David to divorce his wife, who neither David or the wife, even knew they were married, so that David can finally marry his high school sweetheart Chelsea. As easy as that sounds, both Mac and David are unaware of the danger that they are walking into and how high up the chain of command it goes. With twists and turns a plenty in every imaginable way, I at times didn’t know who to root for especially in the romance department. Not knowing who to trust and wondering how our heroes were going to get back home alive and in one piece makes for one exciting adrenaline rush of a read. I look forward to more of Ms. Carr’s work.
I received a copy for an honest review from iRead Book Tours and the opinions are my own.
Content: Some sexual innuendo, some language, and violence, nothing gratuitous in nature.
Book Description for Cancelled Vows:
Police Chief David O’Callaghan and Chelsea Adams’ wedding day is fast approaching. Unfortunately, at the last minute, David discovers that there is one small problem to be taken care of before he can tie the knot—divorce his first wife!
Lauren Carr takes fans of the Mac Faraday mysteries to the Big Apple in this nail biting adventure. In Cancelled Vows, David, Mac, and Gnarly, too, rush to New York City to dissolve David’s marriage to an old girlfriend—and he’s got five days to get it done. When murder throws up a road block, it is up to David’s best man, Mac Faraday, and Gnarly, K9-in-waiting, to sort through the clues to get David to the church in time!
Buy the book here: Amazon
Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday and Lovers in Crime Mysteries and the Thorny Rose Mysteries. Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real live Gnarly!) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.
And now an interview with author Lauren Carr about her writing. Enjoy!
- Lauren, you refer to yourself as a middle-aged church lady. Yet, you write murder mysteries. What made you chose this genre to write?
I wouldn’t necessarily say I chose the murder mystery genre as much as it chose me. I love murder mysteries. My mother used to read Perry Mason to me at bedtime. I grew up reading Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew. By the time I was ten, I was reading Agatha Christie.
The murder mystery genre is divided into several different sub-genres. Most readers consider my books to be police procedural. As a mystery writer, I concentrate on the puzzle of solving the murder, not the blood and gore of the crime.
2. How long have you been writing?
My whole life. I consider writers born to write. A born writer, even if he or she is not writing books and selling them, a writer is writing inside their head. I remember rewriting the Bobbsey Twins books I would read to change the missing seashell to a kidnapping story. If a friend is late for lunch, I’ll be asking myself, “What if …” by the time my friend will get there, I’ll have a whole story inside my head of how her husband murdered her.
3. Where do you get your inspiration for murder mysteries, besides friends being late for lunch?
Anything can inspire me. I am constantly asking myself “what if …” People are always telling me stories. Recently, a friend told me about someone she knew whose son had been arrested—not for murder, but for another crime that sprouted out of his use of social media. After hearing his story, I twisted the facts around and threw in a dead body. It was intriguing enough that I kept revisiting this idea. Now, I have a whole plot for a mystery that I plan to write next year. I have three other books to write ahead of that one.
4. Next year? Will you remember that plot? It sounds like you plan storylines in advance. How do you keep them straight? Do you write them down?
Actually, I don’t write them down. I’ll write up a loose—very loose—outline for a book and rarely will I refer to it. I don’t write down my story ideas because I have found that if it is a really good idea, it will stick with me. If not, then I will forget about it. Stephen King once said that he doesn’t keep a log of story ideas because it ends up being a journal of bad ideas. He’s right.
5. Do you ever get writer’s block? Doesn’t sound like it.
Actually, I have had writer’s block. Between drafts of It’s Murder, My Son, the first Mac Faraday Mystery, I spent a year staring at my laptop. I was completely frozen.
At that time, I had left my publisher because they did not have a paperback division. It is very hard to sell a $26 hardback when you’re an unknown. Ebooks were still being discovered back in 2010. Getting rejection after rejection, my search for a publisher specializing in mass paperbacks was going nowhere.
After a full year of staring at my laptop, I threw up my hands and walked away. I actually announced to my family that I was giving up writing for good. I spent the next month doing volunteer work, going to lunch, and working out at the gym.
Suddenly, I was back at the laptop rewriting It’s Murder, My Son. Of course, my family reminded me that I had said I was giving up writing for good, to which I responded that I was going to return to writing, but this time, I was going to self-publish. If my books sold—fine. If not, that was okay because I was going to write what I wanted to write and for no one else.
Ironically, a month later I received an offer from a traditional publisher. I turned them down. It’s Murder, My Son has been one of my most popular books, making it to #1 in mysteries on Amazon.
Since that time, I have never had any trouble writing—except for that time Gnarly drooled all over my laptop and it shorted out.
What was the secret to getting over writers block?
American poet William Stafford offers this advice to poets who suffer from Writer's Block: "There is no such thing as writer's block for writers whose standards are low enough."
This sounds terrible at first. "What? I'm supposed to write junk? I need to write the great American Novel! I'm better than that!" No, Stafford is not encouraging writers to produce garbage. He is suggesting, however, that it's easy to take yourself too seriously.
When I walked away, when I stopped trying to impress literary agents and publishers and decided to write what I want for myself, my writers block went away and I am now the happiest writer in the world.
6. Do you have any advice for budding writers?
Write what you love—not what’s hot at the moment. If you love what you’re writing and you’re having fun writing it, then that love will spill in between the lines, your readers will pick it up, and they will love what you have written as much as you have had writing it.
Then, everyone wins!
7. What project are you working on now?
Right now I’m working on Killer in the Band, the Lovers in Crime mystery coming out at the end of April, readers will get to know more about Joshua Thornton Jr (J.J.), Murphy’s identical twin brother. J.J. has graduated at the top of his class from law school and is returning home to spend the summer studying for the bar exam. However, to the Thornton’s shock and dismay, J.J. decides to move in with Suellen Russell, a lovely widow twice his age. The move brings long buried tensions between the father and son to the surface. When a brutal killer strikes, the father and son must set all differences aside to solve the crime before J.J. ends up in the crosshairs of a murderer.