Q & A with Author Peg Cochran! - Dark Streets
Mystery writing let's Peg indulge her curiosity under the guise of "work". As a kid, she read the entire set of children's encyclopedias her parents gave her and has been known to read the dictionary. She put pen to paper at age seven when she wrote plays and forced her cousins to perform them at Christmas dinner. She switched to mysteries when she discovered the perfect hiding place for a body down the street from her house.
A former Jersey girl, Peg now resides in Michigan with her husband and Westhighland white terrier, Reg. She is the author of the Sweet Nothings Lingerie series (written as Meg London), the Gourmet De-Lite series, the Lucille series and now the Cranberry Cove series. Her newest series, the Farmer's Daughter, debuted with No Farm, No Foul in September 2016.
Visit Peg's Night Owl Reviews Author Page
Tell us a little about your background
I'm a Jersey girl transplanted to Michigan. I've wanted to be a writer since I read my first Nancy Drew. I wrote bad, angst-ridden poetry in high school, studied journalism in college, got side-tracked and spent many years working in the art world in NYC but eventually started doing some freelance writing for magazines and the web and had some success with that. But I always wanted to write fiction—specifically mysteries. I used to haunt bookstores looking at all the mysteries with the Berkley Prime Crime handprint on the spine and imagining my name on one of those! I still can't believe it's happened!
How do you “get to know" your characters before and while you're writing the books?
I fiddle around on paper asking myself questions and answering them—like what age do I want him/her to be? What kind of person are they? I don't do a whole character inventory like some writers—a lot about the character comes out as I'm writing the story.
How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write "by the seat of your pants"?
I'm sort of half and half. I have to have plot points before I start (what happens at critical points in the story like midway through the book, the ends of acts I and II etc.) I've tried the storyboard thing—sticking post-it notes on a large piece of poster board and moving them around until I like the flow of the story—but that doesn't work for every book for some reason. I can't go into the story blind, but I do love the moments where something completely unexpected pops into your head that works really well with what you've already got.
What is the biggest challenge you've faced as a writer and what inspires you and keeps you motivated?
The biggest challenge was getting an agent! I racked up 400 rejections on three projects in two years. The biggest challenge after you're published, for me, has been conquering doubt and fear—a nasty duo that can stop you in your tracks. But I push through it and keep going because I love telling stories!
What is a typical workday for you and how many hours a day (or week) do you devote to writing?
I have a “day job" and work forty hours a week as a marketing communications manager. So the hours between 8:30 – 5:00 p.m. are not my own—except for my lunch hour which I spend working on my current manuscript. I spend some time writing when I get home and before I start dinner (we tend to eat on the late side.) I will sometimes go back to my desk after dinner—except Fridays because that's the start of the weekend, right? You have to party a little. And by party I mean watch something on TV! I try to carve out a bigger chunk of time on Saturdays and Sundays to write.
What question do you wish interviewers would ask? (And what's the answer?)
Question: How do you deal with negative reviews? Answer: By crying, sulking, drinking a whole bottle of wine…just kidding. Everyone has an opinion, and not everyone is going to like the same books. But I do look to see if there is a nugget of constructive criticism in the review that I can take away and work on improving. You can learn something from a lot of reviews although unfortunately some are just plain mean spirited. I had one reader disagree with something I posted on Facebook (I learned my lesson—stay away from religion and politics!) and she subsequently wrote a really nasty review of my next book on Amazon. I had someone review a book that hadn't come out yet—the only copy of the manuscript that existed was on my computer! I've also had people put reviews of my book on Amazon that were actually for someone else's book.
Where can we learn more about you and your books?
Probably the best place is on my web site: pegcochran.com. You can also sign up for my newsletter there where I give readers advance notice of contests, giveaways, etc.I blog on the first, third and fifth Saturdays of the month on mysteryloverskitchen.com and on the 26thof the month on killercharacters.com.
Buy Peg's Books!
Columnist: Toni LoTempio
By Toni LoTempio – As T. C. Lotempio,she pens the Nick and Nora mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime. Her latest, Purr M for Murder, first in the Cat Rescue mysteries, debuts from Crooked Lane Publishing in May. She and her cat ROCCO do fundraising for Nathan Fillion’s charity, KIDS NEED TO READ, when they aren’t interviewing authors on ROCCO’s blog! You can keep up with all the latest interviews and news (including her 2014 releases!) at www.catsbooksmorecats.blogspot.com