Author Q&A with Joan Livingston



Today I’m so pleased to welcome fellow Crooked Cat author Joan Livingston, whose brand new crime novel Chasing the Case was published last Friday (18th May). I can’t wait to start reading it – here’s a bit about the book:


How does a woman disappear in a town of a thousand people? That’s a 28-year-old mystery Isabel Long wants to solve.
Isabel has the time given she just lost her husband and her job as the managing editor of a newspaper. (Yes, it’s been a bad year.) And she’s got a Watson — her 92-year-old mystery-loving mother who lives with her.
To help her case, Isabel takes a job at the local watering hole, so she can get up close and personal with those connected to the mystery.
As a journalist, Isabel never lost a story she chased. Now, as an amateur P.I., she’s not about to lose this case.

Here’s the link to buy Chasing the Case in paperback or kindle


Hello Joan, congratulations on the launch and thank you for visiting The Coffee Shop. What can I get you today?

I would love to have black tea with milk and that delicious-looking almond scone I see in the display case.

You certainly can – I think I’ll join you! Meanwhile I hope you don’t mind answering a few questions:

If you’ve had a previous life who were you and when was it?

A number of years ago, I went to a well-known clairvoyant who looked into my past lives. In one I was an Inuit man who was a storyteller. She said I had a very happy life sharing stories. In another, I was a nun in a convent where the sisters secretly created writing and art. There were many others, but those two resonated with me.

What’s the story behind your story?

I take my inspiration anywhere I can find it. In this case, it was living in the rural hill towns of Western Massachusetts in the U.S., where most of my adult fiction is set. My protagonist, Isabel Long is a long-time journalist turned amateur P.I. I relied on my 30-plus years as a journalist to make her experience authentic.

What is your genre and why did you choose to write in this genre?

Actually this is the first time I attempted a mystery after my friend, Teresa Dovalpage showed me one she was writing — Death Comes in through the Kitchen. I tend to write literary fiction, plus books for middle-grade readers. But I’ve read and watched enough mysteries to understand how they work. And I found I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

What do you find the hardest aspect of writing a novel?

Getting it published for a wide audience. As I say, there’s writing and then there’s the business of writing. Luckily, I finally found a publisher, Crooked Cat Books.

When did you start writing and what got you started?

I was fortunate to have teachers who encouraged me to write when I was a child. I moved onto poetry in college. And then I had a writer’s block that lasted two decades while I mothered six kids. That’s where my creative energy went I believe. Working as a reporter covering small towns helped break that block although I wasn’t writing fiction. I didn’t start writing fiction until I became an editor. Being a reporter is hard work. I have several unpublished novels that need a good home.

How do you deal with rejection?

At one time I kept all of my rejections, masochist that I am. Then I burned them. Now most prospective agents and publishers don’t even bother responding to email. I don’t take it personally. But it would be interesting if they contacted me in the future seeking to represent my books.

What’s the best piece of advice on writing you’ve been given?

This came from a college professor: Write like it’s never been written before.

And what are you working on next?

I am working on the second sequel to Chasing the Case. It’s the third in the Isabel Long Series called Checking the Traps.

Thanks so much Joan – I’m fascinated by your previous life experiences and as a journalist with a mystery-loving mother I’m sure Isabel and I are going to get on well! Now I’m off to start reading.

More about Joan

Joan Livingston is the author of novels for adult and young readers. Chasing the Case, published by Crooked Cat Books, is her first mystery and the first in a series featuring Isabel Long, a longtime journalist who becomes an amateur P.I.
Her other novels include The Sweet Spot; Peace, Love, and You Know What; and The Cousins and the Magic Fish/Los Primos y el Pez Mágico, a bilingual book for children.
An award-winning journalist, she started as a reporter covering the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts. She was an editor, columnist, and most recently the managing editor of The Taos News, which won numerous state and national awards during her tenure.
After eleven years in Northern New Mexico, she returned to rural Western Massachusetts, which is the setting of much of her adult fiction, including Chasing the Case and its sequels.

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