- an audiophile, author, and destroyer of holiday cookies
Readers! Let’s give a good, hearty welcome to E.W. Cooper
E.W. Cooper is the author of the Penelope Harris historical mystery series – The Jade Tiger (2020) and Murder at the Met (2021) – and is the 2020 Booklife Prize Finalist for Mystery/Thriller.
A lifelong fan of classic mysteries and Grand Opera, Ms. Cooper is hard at work on the third book in the series. She lives quietly with her partner, children, three dogs, and one cat in a very noisy house in South Texas.
E.W., thanks for agreeing to be here today. While most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that as always, let’s start with the important stuff!
If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?
A dragon. That answer requires zero thought on my part. I know I write mysteries but, yeah, dragon. DEFINITELY.
A classic choice for a reason! Who wouldn’t want one?
What do you write? And how did you get started?
I write historical mysteries set during the Roaring Twenties and Prohibition.
I was a reader before I was a writer which is how I got started – I ran out of books to read. I really needed a distraction at the time, and since there were no books I decided I should just write one. I had several completed manuscripts and dozens of short stories but to be truly distracted I decided to write something entirely new. At the same time, I was very ill (hence the need for the distraction). My medication had the side effect of vivid dreams. One of these was a dream about a young woman at a house party in the 1920s that was so vivid it felt like a memory. I started there. After several years and some arduous editing, The Jade Tiger was born.
I think most writers were readers first. My first manuscript was dream inspired as well! It’s always exciting when that happens.
What do you like to read?
I will read almost anything but automobile manuals and poetry. But my daily reads are historical mysteries, noir thrillers, YA speculative fiction, and science fiction. I am also a lifelong fan of comic books which has led me to online comics from all over the world. Good storytelling is what enthralls me, not the genre, so I will read anything. My favorite mystery author is Italian author Andrea Camilleri. My problem is once I start a book I can’t stop until I finish and that can keep me up all night. I have to do my new reading on the weekends as a result.
I hear that! Although, occasionally I need to check my recommended tire pressure, and my local writer’s open mic night has exposed me to far more poetry than I’ve ever read. Are you sure you’re not me? I’m a genre-hopping sucker for a good plot, and am pretty unfamiliar with quitter-strips… er, I mean, bookmarks, myself.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.
There is one right way to tell a story and one right way to publish.
I’m dyslexic so there are a lot of writing rules that don’t work for me. But if I had to choose just one it would be that there is no one way to tell a story and no single way to publish that story. Books in general are at an exciting point where traditional and independent publishing are offering a wealth of new voices and talent.
So true! Do what works for you is the only golden rule. As my blog followers will know, I babbled about that exact thought last week.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.
Don’t give up.
Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up. Take a break, set it aside, but don’t ever give up completely. Some things take time, and effort. Writing well can be discouraging but the results are worth it.
One-hundred percent! It seems to be that perseverance is the one trait that separates the aspiring writers from the published writers.
Shameless Self-Promotion time!
1928 New York dazzles with extravagant parties and illegal liquor. It is the perfect place for Penelope Harris to start over and leave her sordid past behind. But beyond the flow of champagne, murder is afoot, with all clues leading back to the notorious Shanghai nightclub, The Jade Tiger.
Can Penelope Harris find the killer before her past catches up to put a noose around her neck?
Murder at the Met (Publishing Spring 2021)
November 1928 – There are two things Penelope Harris would rather do than get involved with another murder—sing opera and flirt with Thom Lund. When two tickets ensure Penelope and Thom get some precious time together at the Metropolitan opera, neither believes another murder will interrupt their romantic evening. As Penelope pulls back the cover on a diabolical murder, Lund rushes to complete the investigation of a suicide on the Gold Coast of Long Island.
What they find will uncover the sordid underbelly of high society and put Penelope on the wrong side of her own gun.
Check E.W. Cooper out across the web!