cozy

Author Profile: Julie Hennrikus

 


 

Meet Julie Hennrikus, a multi-talented author with three names and three different mystery series:

  • The Clock Shop series by Julianne Holmes

 

  • The Theater Cop series by J.A. Hennrikus

 

  • The Garden Squad series by Julia Henry

 

NBR: Your first series was about a Clock Shop. How did that come to be?

Julie: It’s an interesting story, actually. There was an editor who had an idea for a series. More than an idea, a pretty full book bible for a three book series. She was looking for a writer. Through some opportunistic happenings (partly thanks to Barbara Ross), I was suggested as a writer to the editor. I wrote a proposal, and got the opportunity to write the three books in the series. I’d never imagined that that would be how I was first published, but what a wonderful opportunity. I’d been trying to sell A Christmas Peril for a while, so I was grateful to have the opportunity to write the three Clock Shop books, to get them published, and to learn more about that side of the writing life. Also, I loved the series! The first book was greatly influenced by the editor’s ideas (she was so great to work with), but the next two had more and more input from me.

 

NBR: Writing as Julianne Holmes, the first book in the Clock Shop series, “Killing Time,” was so well crafted that Ms. Hennrikus received an Agatha Award nomination in the Best First Mystery category.

I was in the audience for the Best First panel at Malice Domestic when Margaret Maron interviewed the five finalists in the category. Look closely at Julie’s outfit (clock fabric). She was completely into the Clock Shop role and the onlookers loved it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


NBR: Read the review for "Just Killing Time" here.

 


 

NBR: About the Theater Cop series – were you ever an actor or was your theater work always behind the scenes?

Julie: I always wanted to be an actor, but I was never that brave! Maybe I’ll find the courage as I get older. I’ve made a career working behind the scenes. I’ve run box offices, company managed shows, done marketing, run a service organization. I’ve also taught arts management classes for close to 15 years. The list is long. I love the performing arts, and am blessed to have found a way to make a life in the field.

 

NBR: With the Clock Shop series getting great reviews, Ms. Hennrikus found a home for “A Christmas Peril,” and the series highlights much of the behind-the-scenes life in the theater world.

 

 

 

 

 

 


NBR: Read my review of "A Christmas Peril" here.

 

 

 

Book #2 in the series, “With A Kiss I Die,” is out now.

 

 

NBR: It looks as if you created your own arts related business. Is this a fulltime job outside of the writing?

Julie: A year ago I started Your Ladders. Most artists are taught the craft of their work, but nothing about the business side of the arts. Your Ladders is a subscription that artists can use to learn the business side of show business without having to go back to school. Getting it up and running has been more than full time, but my goal is to incorporate my writing life more and more. So many folks who have creative pursuits have to work several jobs to make it all work. I’m one of those people. But the jobs I have–writing, teaching, running Your Ladders–are all joyful pursuits.

 

My goal has been, is, to empower artists on their journey. As a published author, I navigate my own artistic journey, and know that the skills I teach have helped me move from writer to multi-published author.

 

 

NBR: The new Garden Squad series features gardening. Do you have a garden?  Photos? Tips?

Julie: I used to have a house, and loved gardening. My sister Caroline is an amazing gardener, and she is one of my sources for tips. By the way, if any of your readers has a tip they’re willing to share, please do! Here’s a form to fill out. I include tips in the back of the books. (NBR: The list in “Pruning the Dead” is practical and easy to use.)

 

There is something so joyful about gardening, isn’t there? I love writing this new Garden Squad series, and exploring the different ways of gardening. I was worried about the seasonality of the books, but Lilly Jayne has a greenhouse, so it’s working out. I’m still not exactly sure how I was inspired to create Goosebush and all the characters in the series, but I’m so glad that I was. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


NBR: Read my review of "Pruning the Dead" here.

 

 

Book #2 in the series, "Tilling the Truth," will be out later this month.

 

NBR: Do you have pets?

Julie: I do! Three years ago, a friend reached out. She was trying to place two cats who had been found in an abandoned house in Stamford, Connecticut. They both have FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus), so they couldn’t be placed in a shelter. I adopted them both, and named them Fred and Ginger. Ginger was likely feral, and it took her a while to settle in. She is now a lovebug who is this close to being a lap cat. Fred is a big boy, a gray tuxedo cat. They think he was dumped, because he was fixed when they found him. He’s settled in as well. They are probably around 5 now, and are great company.

 

 

NBR: What is your favorite place to vacation?

Julie: My folks have a place on Cape Cod, so I love visiting there. And my grandparents had a place on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, and some of my happiest memories are there. But I’ve take two river cruises with my friends Marianne and Stephanie in the past five years. I know that a river cruise isn’t a place, but what a wonderful way to travel!

 

 

NBR: Are you a city gal or country gal?

Julie: I am a city gal. I live in Somerville, MA, which is a small city right outside Boston. I love the convenience, the plethora of things to do, and the different opportunities the city offers. That said, I do enjoy visits to the country. Though dead silence keeps me up at night.

NBR: LOL Me, too! I need at least crickets in the background.

 

 

NBR: Many cozy/mystery writers include food and/or cooking scenes in their books. You do that as well, especially in “Pruning the Dead.” Do you have any favorite foods or recipes?

Julie: My grandmother taught me how to bake. I have a very soft spot for pies, and make a mean apple pie if I do say so. I bake with my nieces and tell them stories about Grandma so they know her, and they also get the recipes. Her secret, by the way, was to overseason. One teaspoon of cinnamon is one tablespoon. One quarter teaspoon of nutmeg is one full teaspoon.

NBR: Great tip. I upped the seasoning in my apple tart this past weekend and the flavor really pops!

 

Julie: As for other food? I’m a decent cook, and love all sorts of food. I love going out to dinner, but at home I cook for myself. Unless I’m on deadline. Then I order a pizza and eat it for a few days.

 

 

NBR: Do you write every day? What is your favorite time to write and where?

Julie: My goal is to write every day. It is surprisingly hard to get started and to do it, but writing gives me such joy. I am a plotter, which makes a daily practice a bit easier, since I work hard at the roadmap, so sitting down and writing is a bit easier.

 

Up until last August I had an office job, so I only wrote nights and weekends. It’s so hard to get out of that habit! But now that I’m running my own business I find that my best time writing is early afternoon. I wish I could say that writing at my desk works best, but I have a big red couch, and sitting on that with my laptop is my favorite writing place.

 

Recently I got an iPad, and I installed Scrivener on it. I used the iPad to do the edits on my most recent manuscript as well. That has made my writing life much more transportable, so I may try writing outside this summer.

 

NBR: It’s rumored that Julie Hennrikus has a WIP (work-in-progress) of a thriller she’s “been noodling for a while.” We shouldn’t expect to see lots of blood in the book, but she admits a car has been blown up. Hmmm…a cozy thriller? If anyone could pull it off, Julie/JA/Julianna could.

 

 
Julie: I tweet under @JHAuthors, am on Pinterest and Instagram, and have a page on Facebook. I also blog on Live to Write/Write to Live, and I blog on Killer Characters on the 20th of each month. My email is jhauthors@jhauthors.com

I blog with the wonderful Wicked Authors. These women are my friends, my blog mates, and my cheering squad. Come by and visit us!

NBR: Back in November, 2018, the recipients of the 3rd annual Massachusetts Artists Leaders Coalition (MALC) "Champions of Artists" awards were announced. The awards are given to recognize 'exceptional support of the artists community.' Julie was one of the six recipients! We congratulate her for making a difference in the lives of so many artists, both on and off the stage, throughout the years. Bravo!!!

 

Many thanks to Julie Hennrikus for generously sharing so much of her time to answer my questions for the profile.  🙂  Please visit www.jhauthors.com for more about this delightful bestselling author and her books.
 

 

Book List: Author Sherry Harris

 

Sherry Harris writes the Agatha nominated, wonderful Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mysteries.
 

Sarah Winston is a military spouse who must transition to being on her own. Her emotional struggles to make her own way as a newly single woman are realistic, and her scenes detailing military life ring true. Harris’ storylines peel back the layers of Winston’s battle with feelings about her ex in each book, while delivering great mysteries.

 

Have you read all the books in this marvelous series? Take a look at the book list below, listed in order, with links included.

 

 

 

"Tagged for Death”   read review here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"The Longest Yard Sale”  read review here.  

 

 

 

 

 

All Murders Final

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"A Good Day to Buy”   read review here.

 

 

 

 

 

I Know What You Bid Last Summer


 

The Gun Also Rises

 

and….just released today, July 30, 2019:

 

Let’s Fake A Deal”  

 

 

Sherry’s other writing includes:

A short story called “Country Song Gone Wrong” in the Deadly Southern Charm anthology from the Central VA chapter of Sisters in Crime. It's a Sarah Winston story — She goes to Virginia.

 

Good news for Mrs. Harris’ fans – a future series is in the works:  In 2020, the first book of the Chloe Jackson Sand Dollar Saloon mysteries comes out – “From Beer to Eternity.”

 

The Sherry Harris Author Profile can be read here.

 

Please visit https://sherryharrisauthor.com to see what else Sherry is up to.  🙂
 


(Photos courtesy of Sherry Harris)

 

 

“Murder in an English Village” by Jessica Ellicott

 

“Murder in an English Village” is the first title in the wonderful new Beryl and Edwina Mystery series by Jessica Ellicott (aka Jessie Crockett/Jessica Estevao). Old school mates, Beryl Helliwell and Edwina Davenport, have lived wildly different lives since leaving Finishing School. American Beryl has been a world traveler and well known adventuress, while English Edwina has lived quietly in Walmsley Parva in picturesque southern England. But Beryl is tired of the demands of public life and Edwina needs a boarder now that her post WW1 income has shriveled. A perfect setup for the old chums to meet again after all these years.

 

Beryl discovers the seriousness of Edwina’s plight, but when she takes it upon herself to pay the shopkeepers for some of Edwina’s bills, she also attempts to divert the gossip about Edwina’s situation with an outlandish lie she reveals to the biggest gossip in town.

 

Beryl persuades Edwina that the BIG LIE will not remain one if they work together to solve a few crimes. What crimes? Warmsley Parva is a fairly quiet place…or is it? The seemingly peaceful village has a great many secrets, some tragically kept to preserve reputations. Villains parade as upstanding citizens with devastating consequences.

 

Ellicott’s marvelously descriptive writing transports us to rustic English cottages, dressed country fields, one phone in a sparsely populated countryside, and small shops showing their wear, while revealing societal views about women of 100 years ago. It was a hard life for everyone worldwide that lived during WW1, but England took years longer to adjust to the new economic reality with money, food, and manpower shortages. In a masterful touch of subtlety, Ellicott shows how Edwina’s financial circumstances change because of Beryl’s presence, and dinners become more varied. Even the occasional outing for tea can be enjoyed.

 

One of the interesting historical references in “Murder in an English Village” is The Women’s Land Army, a government program initiated because able-bodied men that might otherwise have been farming the land, were off fighting for home and country. Women committed to a year to work the land, but despite doing a great service, the women were not always looked upon with favor, considered by some to be a lesser class of citizen. This attitude was exploited by some and used to great effect in the book through Ellicott’s deft character development.

 

“Murder in an English Village” is both historically enlightening and entertaining, launching the new series with two engaging, intelligent women who will capture your hearts and minds.

 

Please visit https://www.jessicaellicott.com for more information about the talented Ms. Ellicott and the next book in the series, “Murder Flies the Coop,” out in September, 2019.

 

“Pruning the Dead” by Julia Henry

 

“Pruning the Dead” is the first book in the marvelous new Garden Squad Mystery series from Julia Henry (aka JA Hennrikus/Julianne Holmes). Lilly Jayne is a charming 65 y.o. expert gardener, quietly accepting of her beloved husband’s illness and passing. In the real world, it takes a while to heal emotionally from that kind of life trauma and Henry hits all the right notes of grief and recovery, including the friends that nudge Lilly ever so gently to return to former activities.

 

Pat French, the Queen of Bureaucrats at City Hall, fines people that have slightly oversized mailboxes and leave trash receptacles too close to the street. Except for foreclosure notices, there are no warnings, merely multiplying fines. This is not a gated community with strict compliance expected by the residents, this is a diverse small town. French's  regulations are so ridiculous as to keep repairs from getting completed – because the repairs might not live up to code? As we say in the South, “Good grief, she needs a whoopin’ – her mama didn’t raise her right!”

 

A park cleanup is underway when the body of a conniving moneygrubber is discovered on top of the mulch, and the Garden Squad gets organized. They must dig into the many secrets of the dead woman that almost everyone hated, while solving the mystery of the zealous city hall clerk. The picture of stealthy Goosebush Garden Squad do-gooders of a certain age weeding and plotting at midnight, is a hoot to imagine as they skulk and whisper through the neighborhoods.

 

“Pruning the Dead” has a lively cast of business owners and friends with roots in Goosebush that go way back, plus a newbie garden lover that may be the perfect more-than-friend companion for Lilly in the future. And he just happens to live next door… Henry's descriptive phrasing delivers fully-fleshed out characters we'd love to serve on committees with and take out to lunch. They feel like friends for life, delightful for a continuing series. The villains are equally well drawn, creating off-center realities and excuses for themselves while wreaking havoc on everyone else.

 

Henry gives a nod to aching knees and creaky backs of senior citizens, while also showing that brains don’t shrivel just by virtue of reaching the ripe young age of 60. Each of the members provides different skill sets: organization/planning, computer knowledge, horticultural expertise, close connection to the police department, and deep pockets. Combining skills with savvy life experiences, “Pruning the Dead” is a terrific homage to the active, productive boomer crowd that runs the real world. Never underestimate the power of senior citizens. You’ll never, ever outsmart them.

 

There are helpful gardening tips throughout “Pruning the Dead,” and a special list at the end. I can’t wait to see what happens to Lilly Jayne and her Goosebush Garden Squad in book #2, “Tilling the Truth.” Is it August yet?

 

Please visit www.jhauthors.com for more about this multi-talented author and her other work, as well as the books written under her other names.   

 

 

 

“Murder on Cape Cod” by Maddie Day

 

 

“Murder on Cape Cod” is the first title in a new series by Maddie Day (aka Edith Maxwell), Cozy Capers Book Group Mystery. Mac (MacKenzie) Almeida belongs to a cozy book club in fictional Westham on Cape Cod, that gathers at different houses to discuss the book of the week. After a meeting one night, she trips over a body on her way home – not quite the same as reading about the fictional bodies on the page.

 

To make matters worse, Mac knew the dead man, an often unpleasant, frequently unreliable handyman, with surprising connections to several members of the community. Why was he killed and by whom? The evidence left at the scene implicates only one person, but how could that be? The prime suspect goes missing, confusing matters for everyone. Guilty people don’t flee, do they?

 

Mac is a bike shop owner and is in a unique position to see lots of people pass by the window every day. She can recognize anyone out of place and since there is absolutely nothing impersonal about a small town, plausible suspects keep popping up.

 

One of the several interesting plotlines cleverly intertwines employee difficulties at the bike shop with the murder. Day uses the real-world challenges of small business ownership to complicate matters for Mac – getting workers to show up on time, dealing with impatient customers, honoring ‘the customer is always right’ credo. I felt as if I was right there in the store.

 

“Murder on Cape Cod” contains plenty of local food discussions at mealtimes. It’s especially fun to read that Mac loves good food, but does a lot of take-out. In Real Life, Day is a talented amateur chef, a personal detail that shines through her descriptions of various dishes in her other series Country Store Mysteries as well as those in this new series. Yummy sounding recipes are included in the back of the book. Cozy readers will also be delighted at the way Day inserts titles of actual cozy mysteries and their characters into the conversations.

 

Day’s writing is crisp in “Murder on Cape Cod” and her multi-layered plot features a cast of characters both diverse and perfectly suited for life in the ebb and flow of a tourist town. Mac’s caring and reliable boyfriend has his own business and Day shows us a rock-solid couple, enjoying each other and their time together, without being joined at the hip. Mac’s father is a pastor, and his wife’s interest in astrology plays a role in the story. Mac’s errant brother and her main employee? There are surprising reveals. And it has to be said: a huge round of applause to Maddie Day for writing a refreshing octogenarian grandmother who is feisty and quite capable of managing her own life.

 

“Murder on the Cape” is a solid page-turner, with a strong new female character, who can’t help herself when wanting to discover the truth. I look forward to the rest of the series.  🙂

 

Please visit www.edithmaxwell.com for more information about the Cozy Capers Book Group.

 

 

 

 

 

“Steamed Open” by Barbara Ross

 

Julia Snowden is back in “Steamed Open,” the seventh book in Barbara Ross’ Agatha nominated Maine Clambake mystery series. Julia has worked hard to bring the family Clambake business back from the brink of financial disaster, but a new threat challenges her problem-solving ability – the clams she needs for the Clambakes may no longer be readily available. This isn’t a matter of refinancing or getting a backer to underwrite a cash-strapped, seasonal business. The very character of the business itself is vulnerable to the baffling decision of one man.

 

The problem? Public entry to a prime clamming beach and the parking lot near it have been fenced off after local philanthropist, Lou (Heloise) Herrickson, passes away. Her heir, Bartholomew Frick, a very unpleasant distant relative of Lou’s, is not at all interested in the impact that decision has on the community – both tourists and business owners alike. He is only interested in selling the beachfront house and all its contents as quickly as possible. The professional clammers can’t dig up the clams and the dwindling supply is threatening to remove clam dishes from all the area seafood restaurants.

 

Frick winds up dead, killed with a clam rake, and Julia was the last person to see him alive – except for the killer. Who did it? Was it a frustrated local resident, a disgruntled neighbor, or an annoyed vacationer? Who will inherit the estate now since Frick died before a will could be written? Ross provides us with plenty of motives as well as a few feisty suspects and a complex side-plot that moves front and center as the story evolves.

 

Julia bends the rules a bit while looking for someone who would inherit the estate and return the beach access to what had gone before. She has a personal stake in the outcome, since every day without access to the beach creates difficulties for the business and her entire family. “Steamed Open” revisits the point that summer tourist businesses have a limited four- month window in which to earn the money to live on for the year. Not an easy place to exist, let alone thrive.

 

I spent many summers at beach towns on the USA East Coast and as Ross discusses in her book, public beach access is flatly denied in some oceanside communities and in some places, day passes can only be purchased at the police station. Regulations vary from town to town where the debate rages with loud, angry exchanges at the public and private meetings. It’s a choice between a source of revenue for the town and owners that don’t want their expensive beach fronts crowded with strangers that litter the sand and destroy the dunes. Compromises between the groups are hard to achieve in real life.

 

Julia’s relationship with her boyfriend, Chris, gets complicated in “Steamed Open.” He has his own secrets and while they have given each other plenty of space before, she now feels that if the two are going to continue to complement each other in business and as a couple, there has to be more openness. What Chris reveals will break your heart.

 

“Steamed Open” is a study in the necessity to get answers quickly before time runs out and everybody loses. A murder and a search for an heir that affects the entire community? High stakes investigations indeed and a great read, with Ross delivering a clever multi-layered plot, well-crafted continuing (and a few new) characters, and as always, wonderful recipes and that fabulous coastal Maine setting.

 

Click here to read Ross’ Author Profile.

 

Please visit http://www.maineclambakemysteries.com/ for more information about Ross, her appearances, and her other work.


 

 

 

“A Christmas Peril” by J.A. Hennrikus

 

“A Christmas Peril” introduces us to Sully (Edwina) Sullivan, Theater Cop, a former active duty detective in Massachusetts. Sully is now the managing director of the cash-strapped Cliffside Theater Company whose troupe is about to stage the iconic Christmas play, A Christmas Carol. But first, she has to keep Scrooge from quitting, while holding her ex-husband and an old boyfriend at bay. There’s also the matter of the murders.


In the five years since leaving law enforcement, Sully has not lost her sleuthing skills, so when an old friend becomes a person of interest in his father’s murder and needs Sully’s help, she agrees to look into the circumstances. It turns out that every single member of the family is hiding something. With big money, romantic intrigue, and a large company at stake, there is plenty of motive to go around and no shortage of suspects.


Her ex-husband, Gus, complicates matters just by being around, but he’s a lawyer for the dead man’s family, so he’s hard to avoid. Sully still has a soft spot for him, though, and any guy that can make her toes curl can’t be all bad.


“A Christmas Peril” is an absorbing peek behind the curtain at the world of theater production. Costumes have to last for years, tech rehearsals take longer than I would have thought, and the battle for Arts money is a continuing challenge. One of the characters says while half-kidding, (paraphrased so as not to give anything away) “We can’t kill the star. His name is above the title and we would have to refund the tickets.”


Can Sully’s savvy skills save her former boyfriend and the play from disaster? Will she be able to keep from adding her ex-husband to the rising body count? And, what about the murders?


Hennrikus has penned a complex, multi-layered plot that delivers jaw dropping surprises. I could have sworn one of the ‘obvious’ suspects did at least one of the deeds, but instead turned out to be guilty of something else.

 

I’m looking forward to a repeat performance from the personable core group of characters – some quirky, some serious, but always entertaining. You can pre-order book #2 in the series, “With a Kiss I Die,” now. 

 

Please visit www.Jhauthors.com for more information about this Agatha nominated author and her other series.