Dead On Ice
Lovers In Crime series, #1
Acorn Book Services
In this Loves in Crime Mystery, Spunky Pennsylvania State Homicide Detective Cameron Gates is tasked with solving the murder of Cherry Pickens, a legendary star of pornographic films, whose body turns up in an abandoned freezer.
Dead on Ice is the first installment of Lauren Carr’s new series (Lovers in Crime) featuring Hancock County Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Thornton and Pennsylvania State Police homicide detective Cameron Gates.
In this Loves in Crime Mystery, Spunky Pennsylvania State Homicide Detective Cameron Gates is tasked with solving the murder of Cherry Pickens, a legendary star of pornographic films, whose body turns up in an abandoned freezer. The case has a personal connection to her lover, Joshua Thornton, because the freezer was located in his cousin’s basement. It doesn’t take long for their investigation to reveal that the risqué star’s roots were buried in their rural Ohio Valley community, something that Cherry had kept off her show business bio. She should have kept her hometown off her road map, too—because when this starlet came running home from the mob, it proved to be a fatal homecoming.
Tell us about Lauren Carr. Who are you when you’re not writing?
I’m a middle-aged wife, mother, chauffer, and church lady. I have two dogs, Beagle Bailey and Ziggy (an Australian shepherd) who demand constant attention. Not that they need it—they just demand it. So I spend a good portion of the day letting them in and out, and in and out. Handing out dog treats and driving my son here and there, to and fro.
Do you have a day job as well?
I guess you would call it that. In addition to being an author, I am also a publisher. I own Acorn Book Services. We offer services to independent authors from editing to layout to limited marketing to full service publishing. I work on other authors’ books during the day, and write my own in the evenings and on the weekends.
Why the mystery genre? Where do your ideas come from?
I cut my teeth on mysteries. From the time I could read I was reading mysteries. When they got too easy to figure out, I started writing my own. I love the puzzle in the mystery. I don’t go for the gore and violence. It’s the puzzle of figuring out who done it that I love.
I get my ideas from anywhere. Sometimes it’s an old movie. It’s Murder, My Son, the first Mac Faraday mystery was inspired by a segment of an Unsolved Mystery show.
Dead on Ice was inspired years ago by a show I had seen on the Discovery Channel about hoarding. This was before they had the hoarding shows that are on now. I never knew what hoarding was then. The show recounted a case of a man who had died in his home when a pile of stuff fell on top of him and he suffocated in his own home. As I learned more about this, I thought, “What if they found a dead body in that house while cleaning it up?”
Then came the idea for the start of Dead on Ice. Joshua Thornton’s cousin dies in his own home, which is discovered to be a hoarder house. While cleaning out the hoarder house, they discover the body of a missing porn star in the freezer. How does a famous porn star end up in the freezer in a hoarder house? You need to read Dead on Ice to find out.
Who is your favorite character to write about in your stories?
Homicide detective Cameron Gates in Dead on Ice. She went through several transformations before I fully created her. I have always gravitated toward men as the protagonists in my mysteries. I love men! But I knew I could not ignore having a woman protagonist and I didn’t want what is becoming a stereotypical woman detective who can beat up all the guys and drink and smoke with the rest of them—almost a man with breasts.
Cameron is quirky. Yes, she’s tough, but the reader discovers that she has vulnerability. We find out that she had been married to a Pennsylvania State Trooper for only four months before he was run down by a drunk driver during a routine traffic stop. After that, she spun out of control, disappeared off the grid, and returned to become a top detective.
Cameron doesn’t talk about her marriage or losing her husband or even the time that she had dropped off the radar, but the reader does get hints about it. We see that it was while Cameron was down and out that she had developed her sense of the world and how it works, which made her come back as a stronger—and unique—person.
She handles things differently because she sees things differently, which is what endears her to Joshua Thornton, her lover. It also leads to interesting discussions between the two.
Do you foresee taking one of your lesser seen characters and creating a series about them?
Not at this point, but I’ll never say never.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
They were the usual. I felt like no one would even read it. I did get a few literary agents to read it. One, whose authors had appeared on Oprah, wrote a long beautiful letter talking about how fabulous it was and how talented I was. Then, on the second page, he said he had no idea how to market it. I thought, market it as being fabulous and written by a wonderfully talented author.
Finally, I went to iUniverse. A Small Case of Murder went on to be named a finalist for the Independent Publishers Book Awards in the mystery category. That got the ball rolling.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
As great as A Small Case of Murder was, it did have problems. But the issues were all things that could be fixed. However, being a new author back in 2004, and not knowing any other authors (this was before the Internet) I had no one to tell me. Agents and publishers who would send me rejections would simply say, “It has problems.”
Then, after it was released and out there, reviewers would say what those problems were. Well, that’s too late. I hadn’t found my voice yet at that point. There were a couple of other things that I addressed in a revised re-release.
I wish someone who knew what these problems were would have taken the time to sit down with me to tell me. Now that I have six books out, all doing very well with readers and reviewers, I have new authors asking me to read their books and give them the rundown that no one would give me. Remembering what it was like when I was new, I do offer to do editorial reviews on books before they are published.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
Oh, you mean the Great American Catastrophe. Back when I was nineteen years old, before laptops and the Internet and email, I decided that I was going to write my first book. I spent a whole summer cooped up in my apartment writing on my electric typewriter. It didn’t have a delete button. When I emerged I had an eight hundred page book about a killer in Hollywood. I had never even been west of the Mississippi at that point.
I had no idea who to send it to. This being before the Internet and email I would have to have copies made of this book to mail it off to wherever it needed to go. Do you know how expensive that would be? No one ever read it.
It’s now in my mother’s basement.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
I do virtual blog tours. I love to guest blog. I send out e-books to reviewers. The Internet is great! I can market my books without getting out of my bathrobe! I could do it naked if need be!
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
Oh, that is so hard to answer. In writing, I love the actual writing part, where the story is flowing from my mind and down onto the page. It’s like I’m transcribing from my imagination. That is my favorite part.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
I would have to say the toughest criticism I have received was from a couple of reviewers who, admitting they were obsessive-compulsive, insisted that they had to read all of my books in the order that they were written. Well, the Mac Faraday Mysteries and the Lovers in Crime are my newest books which readers love. My first two books were written a decade ago and completely different. They have different tone and style. I even posted that on my website.
However, not keeping in mind the age of the books, these couple of reviewers trashed these two books and me as a writer saying they would never read anything else I had written because I am so bad.
Finally, I had to make a difficult decision to take those first two books out of distribution. Really, they aren’t bad books. A Small Case of Murder was short listed for a couple of awards. But some reviewers failed to acknowledge how an author, like any artist, can grow over time and appreciate their earlier works.
The best compliment was from a reviewer who said that I could “give Agatha Christie a run for her money.” She is who I aspire to be like, and any comparison to her or Earl Stanley Gardner is a great compliment.
Here’s a couple of quirky questions for you, Lauren Carr
What’s your favorite movie? Die Hard and Witness for the Prosecution. I’m talking about the 1957 movie which is impossible to find now.
Cake with or without ice cream? With, of course!
Date night out, or date night in? Date Night Out. (It happens so rarely.)
Thanksgiving or Christmas? Christmas.
Physical copy of a book or eReader?? Both. Depends on the book.
Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Visit Lauren’s websites and blog at:
Blog: Literary Wealth: https://literarywealth.wordpress.com/
Gnarly’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/GnarlyofMacFaradayMysteries
Lovers in Crime Facebook Page:
Thanks for stopping by!
About The Author:
Lauren Carr fell in love with mysteries when her mother read Perry Mason to her at bedtime.
Lauren is also the author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. The first two books in her series, It’s Murder, My Son and Old Loves Die Hard have been getting rave reviews from readers and reviewers. Lauren’s fifth mystery, Shades of Murder has been receiving rave reviews since its release.
Lauren’s sixth book, Dead on Ice, has just been released. Dead on Ice introduces a new series entitled Lovers in Crime, in which Joshua Thornton will join forces with homicide detective Cameron Gates.
The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. This spring, two books written by independent authors will be released through the management of Acorn Book Services.
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 two dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.