Today I’m delighted to have Julie Cosgrove with us on the Rough Diamond Mine. However, this special diamond is neither rough nor unknown to many of us and she ranks in my five top-
favorite-must-read authors. I hope after today you’ll place her on your list of favorites too! Julie and I met at North Texas Christian Writers and became part of the roll call of DiAnn Mills Ripplers Authors. That was quite a few years ago.
Julie, in case someone has not read any of the Bunco Biddies Mysteries, tell us a little about them.
Thanks for the glowing introduction, DiAne. Yes, it was a few million words ago, wasn’t it? But let me give a brief summary of the Bunco Biddies Mysteries.
A group of twelve active, sort of quirky, senior citizens living in a senior community get together every Thursday for a pot luck dinner and to play Bunco, a dice game. When their quiet, rural retirement plans are invaded by crime, the ladies decide to help the police find out whodunnit. After all, they know their community better than anyone else.
Janie, the ring leader, is the widow of a renowned Austin, Texas police detective. Her son-in-law is the chief detective of Alamoville, the nearby town which is growing by leaps and bounds. Her power walking buddies, Ethel and Betsy Ann, also bring their sleuthing skills to the table.
Criminals beware. These gray-haired ladies are sharp, funny, and deadly serious about preserving their way of life.
I’ll second the motion for these off-the-charts comical ladies. Gives me hope that retirement life can be a blast. But how in the world did you come up with this idea? These mysteries are nothing like your other books. I love ‘em and so does my Florida life-long BFF who will read this interview and wonder where her book is.
My older sister, who knows I am a mystery buff, asked me why I didn’t write mysteries instead of suspense and romance. At a writer’s conference, I cornered an editor and asked her the formula for a cozy mystery. She said they involved amateur sleuths and are usually in a small town where everyone knows each other.
I’d recently had a book booth at a festival in a senior community in Texas with a little over two-thousand residents. Most lived independently in condos or garden homes, but others resided in assisted and full nursing care faculties on the property. Theses 55 plus communities are springing up all over the country. I asked the editor if that would suffice as the setting for a cozy and I couldn’t miss the twinkle in her eye
So, I went home, wrote up some synopses and the first few chapters of the first one, Dumpster Dicing, and sent it to her. Unfortunately, her publishing house didn’t contract with me, but my current publisher decided to step outside of the romance genre box and give me a contract for all three.
And Dumpster Dicing won an award, right?
Yes, it did — Best Cozy Mystery set in Texas for 2017 by the Texas Association of Authors.
Woo Hoo! Congrats! But how did you come up with the titles?
I wanted each title to have something to do with the dice game, Bunco. Dumpster Dicing of course is a play on words. I hoped the title would clue the reader into the fact it is a mystery but also humorous. The title also describes the first murder.
Baby Bunco is one of ways to score in the game. Each table is given three dice, and each person at the table takes turns rolling them. The object is to roll as many of one particular number as you can. If you roll three ones in the first round, that’s a Bunco. If you roll three of any other number while rolling for ones, that is a Baby Bunco. In this book, a baby is found abandoned in a vacant condo’s bathtub. Not an everyday occurrence in a 55 plus community.
The third one, Threes, Sixes, & Thieves, derived from the fact that a roll of three sixes ends the Bunco game. But to title a faith-based novel, (Ahem) Three Sixes? Well… So, my publisher came up with this name. It continues the theme, gives a clue to the crime, and also contains alliteration like the other two titles.
I’ve read both and absolutely love ‘em! They’re all you say and so much more. I feel like I know each one of your characters personally. Now, tell us about the third book, Threes, Sixes & Thieves.
Condos and apartments in Sunset Acres with three and six in their house numbers are targeted by burglars. Janie sees a pattern, though her son-in-law Chief Detective Blake Johnson isn’t convinced. Besides he is on administrative leave after his involvement in one of Janie’s unauthorized sleuths. Janie and the Bunco Biddies decide to watch their friend’s house who they believe might be next one to be robbed. It is, and there is a shootout, resulting in a manhunt. Throngs of outlying communities send in their forces to help, and they catch one of the thieves.
However, he is found hanged in his jail cell. And no one can identify exactly who the arresting officer was. Blake’s partner, Mitch, who is back from medical leave, is put in charge. Janie isn’t so sure he is doing a good job tracking down the other thieves, or that the one they caught really hung himself.
All can be found in paperback and eBook on Amazon.
To make sense of your series, does the reader have to read the books in order?
Not at all. Each is a story unto itself. There is a development of characters and their ongoing lives, but clues to that is revealed in summary in each book. However, I hope they will be like potato chips—the reader isn’t satisfied with reading just one.
I can’t wait to get a copy and send to my Florida BFF. If it’s not in her Christmas package, I’ll be in big trouble. Anything else on the horizon?
I am contracted for Bunco Biddies #4, Until Dice Do Us Part. It will be out later in 2018, though I have not been given a date as of yet.
I am also starting a new contemporary cozy mystery series about three thirty-something ladies who become interested in researching their genealogies after studying who begat whom in the first Chapter of Matthew. In the process, they discover a few skeletons in the familial closet. The synopses for the first three books in the Begat Buddies Mysteries are being reviewed by a publishing house that showed great interest in them, and I am hopeful they will be contracted soon.
I have written the first in a crime mystery series set in the 1970’s in Austin after interviewing some retired APD detectives from that era. However, the publisher and I agreed to cancel my three-book contract, because writing about that era involved a plot with sex, alcohol and drugs. It didn’t fit her company’s guidelines, even though it is a redemptive story and the main detective is a believer. She has encouraged me to seek publication with someone else because she thinks they are sellable, and I respect her decision. So, The Case Files of Gabe McGammon have been shifted to the back burner for now.
And of course, I continue my day job as a digital missionary with Cru Canada editing and writing for their two websites, Issues I Face and The Life. With half the world now on the internet, it is the new mission field. It is exciting, and humbling to be a part of this ministry that right now reaches over a half-million people each month. To find out more, you can visit my website www.juliebcosgrove.com.
Because it's Christmas, Julie is giving away an ebook of Threes, Sixes, and Thieves to one lucky responder to this interview. We'll be announcing the winner this coming Sunday afternoon. So be sure to leave Julie a comment and stay tuned to see if you've won!
Julie, as always, it’s been a pleasure to visit with you today and receive an update on what God’s doing in your life. My husband and I pray for you each day—and I’m delighted to hear there’s going to be a Book 4 in this series—and Book Five--Maybe? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.
See y'all next time...Merry Christmas!
See y'all next time...Merry Christmas!