Today on Daring Debuts ’18 I’d like to welcome my Golden Heart sister Pamela Kopfler.
Have you ever heard a woman going through a divorce say, “It would have been easier if he’d died?” Have you said it? Thought it? But what if he did die?
It’s a question Debut Author Pamela Kopfler has asked and answered in her new cozy mystery. BETTER DEAD, published by Kensington Books, is a romp of a mystery about a B & B owner who wants a divorce. Instead, she gets a funeral and thirty days to solve her not-so-dearly-departed’s murder or she’s stuck with his ghost for life.
A feisty B & B owner believes her cheatin’ husband deserves to choke on his divorce papers and spend eternity roasting in hell after nearly bankrupting her Louisiana bed and breakfast. At least, she’s half-right when he turns up dead, but she’s dead wrong when she accidentally calls him back from the grave. Unfortunately, he has unfinished business. Unless she wants to be stuck with her ghostly ex forever, she has to wedge him through the pearly gates by cleaning up the mess he left behind—a smuggling ring he started behind her back at her B&B. Now she has thirty days to solve her not-so-dearly-departed’s murder or she’s stuck with him for life. Or worse, she may be doing life.
And check out these blurbs!
“BETTER DEAD is written with an incredible Southern twist, as charming as the author herself! Page turning, fun, and filled with suspense–and very unique characters! As the saying goes, a “keeper,” and just the beginning of the series!” Heather Graham, New York Times Bestselling Author
“BETTER DEAD was impossible to put down—a sassy Southern romp of a read.” ~~ Susan M. Boyer, USA TODAY Bestselling author of the Liz Talbot Mystery series.
“BETTER DEAD is brisk, witty, full of unexpected happenings and wonderfully real characters. Pamela Kopfler has given us a fresh new heroine in bright and funny Holly Davis, deftly mixing homicide and haunting with Louisiana charm.” Carol J. Perry, Author of The Witch City Mysteries.
And it just gets better with the opening line:
Holly Davis wanted a divorce, not a funeral.
The young widow eased her desk drawer open and removed two files. The first held the divorce papers her husband hadn’t lived to receive. The second was filled with every reason to divorce him in full-color, glossy prints. She strolled to the fireplace of her bed and breakfast and dropped both files onto the cold ashes.
SW: Welcome, Pamela. And thanks for joining us today. So, first, where did you get this wonderful idea?
PK: The inspiration for BETTER DEAD came during a writers’ retreat at Nottoway Plantation in Louisiana. The organizer challenged the authors to write a ghost story in the spirit of Lord Byron’s challenge to Mary Shelly to write a supernatural story at a retreat in 1816. Shelly gave us the classic Frankenstein. I twisted Frankenstein and added a funny bone when I remembered a lament of many women going through divorce. It would have been easier if he’d just died. But what if he did die and he came back as a ghost? That thought sparked the premise for BETTER DEAD.
SW: What’s the story behind the title?
PK: The title came with the inspiration for the BETTER DEAD. Titles always come to me with the premise. I’m not sure I could write a book without a title. I’d feel all wishy-washy about it. A title is like a rudder steering the story and keeping it from drifting in the wrong direction. Thank goodness my publisher liked the title too.
SW: No spoiler, but tell us something we won’t find out just by reading the book jacket.
PK: Everyone knows everyone’s business in a small town but not their secrets.Tell us something we won’t find out just by reading the book jacket. Everyone knows everyone’s business in a small town but not their secrets. - Pamela Kopfler Click To Tweet
SW: Tell us about your favourite character.
PK: Ha! Just one? Impossible. Burl, the not-so-dearly-departed, was so much fun to write. I had to keep reminding myself he was dead. Miss Alice almost sat on my shoulder and fed me lines. Of course, Holly’s nose for trouble kept the me busy. Nope. I can’t pick just one.
SW: How long did you take to write BETTER DEAD?
PK: It took seventy-eight days to draft BETTER DEAD. The revision took much longer, but I don’t remember how long. Revision is something that is never really complete.
SW: What kind of research did you do for this book?
PK: Oh, it was grueling…I visited many historic homes that had been converted to beautiful bed and breakfasts, sipped lots of cocktails, and ate some of the best southern style food on earth. Don’t pitty me too much though. (Excuse me while I bless my own heart before you do.) Actually, that part of the research was serious fun! Other than that fun B & B research, my family has orders to bleach bit my computer to hide my search history.Other than that fun B & B research, my family has orders to bleach bit my computer to hide my search history. - Pamela Kopfler Click To Tweet
SW: What is your favorite part of your writing process, and why?
PK: Revising. It’s like makeup. Everyone looks better with a little lipstick on.
SW: Can you share your writing routine?
PK: It’s not pretty, but it works. First, I’m easily distracted, so write alone in a room, any room. I face a wall and listen to Bach or ambient sound on and wear noise-cancelling headphones. All notifications are turned off on my computer, and I don’t answer calls except designated rings. My best writing times are first thing in the morning or late at night.What is your favorite part of your writing process, and why? Revising. It’s like makeup. Everyone looks better with a little lipstick on. - Pamela Kopfler Click To Tweet
SW: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
PK: Write like you know what you’re doing and one day you will.
SW: How did you get into writing?
PK: I took the scenic route, as I often do. I was hosting a home and garden show on a local TV station, telling Southern anecdotal stories on a local NPR affiliate when I met Mr. Deluxe, my current husband. After a year of our long distance relationship, he popped the big question, but someone had to move. That someone was me. The only marketable skill that survived the move was my ability to write, so write I did.If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? Write like you know what you’re doing and one day you will. - Pamela Kopfler Click To Tweet
SW: Can you share something most people probably don’t know about you?
PK: At an air show once, I was invited to fly in an old World War II double-winged, two-seater plane that had been used to carry injured soldiers in its belly. I jumped at the chance, and it was so worth it. There was no pressurization and I felt like Snoopy and the Red Barron as the wind whipped through my hair.
SW: What are you working on right now?
PK: DOWNRIGHT DEAD, book two in my B & B Spirits Mystery series.
SW: What’s your favourite writing advice or quote?
PK: “We are all apprentices in a craft where on one ever becomes a master.” Ernest Hemingway
Pamela Kopfler is a novelist, Southern-fried and sassy. She writes award-winning humorous mysteries with a kick of Southern sass. Her debut novel, BETTER DEAD, is the first in her B & B Spirits mystery series, to be followed by DOWNRIGHT DEAD, and HOG WILD DEAD. (Kensington Books) She is a four-time Golden Heart® finalist and a Daphne du Maurier award winner.
She can stir up a roux, mix a cocktail, and loves swapping stories. Putting words on the page keeps her alligator mouth from overloading her hummingbird heinie in real life. She marks her time on earth by the lives of the dogs she has loved––who often show up in her stories.
Pamela lives in South Louisiana where the spirits are restless, the food is spicy, and the living is divine.
- For lagniappe (a little something extra), sign up for her newsletter at pamelakopfler.com ~~ Unique cocktail recipes, finger-licking-good Southern recipes You can find Pamela around the internet at: