Episode 18: Denise Swanson

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I am thrilled to be talking to New York Times Best-Selling Author Denise Swanson. She has two cozy mystery series -- the Scumble River Mysteries and the Devereaux's Dime Store series -- as well as the Change of Heart Romance Series. She also has some incredible stories to tell: her writing career came out of what she has called a face-to-face encounter with evil. You can find all her mysteries in order on her website, and if you're looking for the romances, here's that link. The 19th (!) Scumble River Mystery has the irresistible title of Murder of a Cranky Catnapper. Catnip! As always, if you'd rather read than listen, here's the transcript. Enjoy! Transcript of Interview with Denise Swanson Laura Brennan: My guest today is New York Times best-selling author Denise Swanson. Her mystery series include both the Scumbel River Mysteries and the Devereaux's Dime Store Mysteries. And if that weren't enough, she also writes the Change of Heart Romance series. Denise has multiple awards and nominations including the Agatha award, the Mary Higgins Clark award, the Reviewer's Choice award, and was also nominated for RT Magazine's career achievement award, alongside Sue Grafton and Janet Evanovich. Denise, thank you so much for joining me. Denise Swanson: Thank you for inviting me. LB: Okay, so I was counting up all your published books -- plus, I know you must have more in the works. And you're creeping up on 30 books in the last 16 years, is that right? DS: I think that close. Yes, I have -- the 19th Scumble River will come out in September, which is Murder of a Cranky Catnapper. And the 6th Devereaux's Dime Store book will come out next July. And I have four romances published so, getting right up there. LB: You had a career as a school psychologist, correct? DS: Yes. I worked for 22 years as a school psychologist. I worked every age level from preschoolers all the way through high school, but my favorite was the junior high, that's where I spent most of my time. LB: How did you then make the shift from helping junior high school students survive -- DS: And their parents! LB: -- and their parents, bless your heart -- to writing mysteries? DS: Well, I've always wanted to write. I've always written. I actually wrote my very first book in kindergarten. I am an only child and I grew up on a farm and my mom had a lot of time, she was a stay-at-home mom. So I was reading by the time I went to kindergarten. When I was in kindergarten, the teacher didn't really know what to do with me and she she sat me into the corner and said pretty much, amuse yourself. Because she had to teach everybody else. So I used my big chief tablet to write an alphabet book. And I have to say that when I brought it up to show it to my teacher, it wasn't quite the reaction I was expecting. I brought it up and I said oh, look what I've done! And she paged through the tablet and said to me, you've used your whole tablet. What will you use for the rest of the year? So that was my first bad review. The message came across pretty clearly that this was not an activity that she encouraged. So I started writing again when I was in junior high. I had been reading Harlequin Romances, and you know back then, in the dark ages, they were pretty tame. If the hero and heroine held hands by the end of the book and had little kids was a pretty hot book. So, this was the seventies and my 13- and 14-year-old friends were doing much more than that. So I wanted to write a more realistic book. Unfortunately, my English teacher caught me at it and made me read the section I was working on in front of the class. The interesting thing was, I had been working on a French kiss, and the moment the word 'tongue' came out of my mouth, she whipped me out from the front of the class and sent me down to the principal. So I had my second bad review. LB: I have to ask, given this, what in the world prompted you to go into a career in which you w...

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