Blog Archive

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Adding the Mystery Twist: Author Interview with Eunice Loecher

Today's author has been writing for over twenty years. She started with inspirational non-fiction then tried her hand at writing romantic suspense. However, her true writing calling is cozy mysteries - with several in print. Read on to learn her writing story.

Your early books were non-fiction. What drew you to the idea of writing your first mystery novel?
First, I have always loved reading mysteries, starting with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. When my husband and I moved to Erie, Pennsylvania, the ideas sprang from an interesting new location plus a positive experience I had working at a Hallmark store in Normal, IL. Our grown daughters remained in Normal so I had quite a bit of free time to fill.  My imagination went into overdrive.

Was there a specific book or author that made you think – I could write like that?
Agatha Christie and Rex Stout continue to inspire me. I only dream of writing as well as they did.

How long did it take for you to write the first book?
I honestly don’t remember, probably two or three years.

Was it harder or easier to write your second book?
Both! Easier because the story idea came after a trip to Alaska. Our cruise ship was leaving a port and a man was left behind. He arrived at the dock and a boat brought him out to the ship. It was a “what if moment.” What if he didn’t arrive in time to be brought out to the ship? The story built from there.

Harder because I began working with my mentor and critique partner, author, Lyn Cote. Between my comma sprinkling wherever and no concept of point of view, I shed a few tears over my writing.

Are you active in any writing critique groups?
I joined a local writing group in the 1990’s. Eventually they disbanded. Lyn Cote (author of over 40 books) took me under her wing so to speak. She has been an amazing blessing in my life. We meet once a week to read and critique our pages. Without her guidance, I know I wouldn’t be published. She recommended a wonderful editor, and also a formatter who designs my covers.

What makes for a good mystery?

My books are cozy mysteries. I enjoy stories that are character driven written with humor and quirky characters. There has to be a reason for the murders, not violence for violence sake. I want my readers to be satisfied with the ending. And best of all, I want them to enjoy spending time with Zita and Zinnia in Arbor Vale, Wisconsin. With them it is usually a pretty wild ride.

How do you go about deciding what red herrings to throw into the mix?
Interesting question. As the story develops, I notice some characters acting in ways that become suspicious. Occasionally I’ll decide one character will be the villain and suddenly they end up dead. Oops! Things usually get interesting while I try to decide how that happened and why.

What type of research do you do for your books? Tell me about the process.
Most of the Arbor Vale Mystery Series is set in northern Wisconsin. I use a great deal of the local history and current events. Where else do they have a celebration of roast beef in September with a parade of roasts down the main street with people dressed like cows? Our history includes bootleggers, loggers, and gangsters.

John Dillinger and his gang had a shootout with the FBI at a local resort and restaurant, “Little Bohemia.” They filmed a recent movie at the restaurant about Dillinger. You can still see the original bullet holes in the building. I love all the quirky local history. It works well in mystery novels.

Did you go through the normal process of pitching your book to agents and traditional publishers?
Yes. An endless nightmare of rejection.

What feedback did you get?
I’ve received enough rejection letters to paper my office. I’d spend a few days licking my wounds and then start writing again. Occasionally there would be some interest. The most disappointing events happened with two different publishers. I was nearing a possible acceptance of one of my manuscripts when suddenly those particular lines were discontinued.

What made you decide to go the indie publish route?
First and foremost encouragement from my critique partner Lyn. And I like having control over the finished product. My stories told my way.

How do you write?
It always starts with an idea or an event I experienced. The saying, “Write what you know,” is true and works for me. A transatlantic cruise I took with my daughter. A creepy picture of my grandchildren in a corn maze. A fiftieth class reunion when the memories that surface cause revenge. Revenge served cold fifty years later can be very satisfying. 

Did you do an outline first?
Not a traditional outline. When starting a new project I go back to several books and reread them, The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler, Goal, Motivation, and Conflict by Debra Dixon and Creating Characters by Dwight Swain. My current favorite is Write Your Novel from the Middle by James Scott Bell. I also do scene and sequel for each chapter.

Did you do individual character development before doing the full plot?
Originally I did character questionnaires for all my characters. After six completed books in the series, my characters have become well known and understood friends.

What type of publicity do you do to promote your book? What has worked best for you in generating sales?
I promote my books on Facebook, Twitter, and blogging is free. I use Create Space for my print on demand orders. My books are accepted on consignment at three local bookstores. I occasionally do local book signings or craft shows. I’ve been asked to speak at bookstores, libraries, and book clubs etc. Last fall our local newspaper did a feature story on me. I was also on the cover and feature story for a local magazine.

What do you know now about writing/publishing that you wished you had known sooner?
Everything has worked out at the perfect time for me. I enjoy the freedom of indie publishing which wouldn’t have been available a few years ago.

What is the best advice you've been given about writing or that you've learned that you would like to pass along?
“The dog shouldn’t have a point of view,” Lyn said, during one of our early critique sessions. I avoid having multiple points of view in my stories. It’s too easy to head-hop. Especially with the dog.

What other works do you have in the process?

I’m currently finishing book # 7 in the Arbor Vale Mystery Series, Vengeance is Mine. And yes this book is about that fiftieth class reunion. The next book percolating in my head will feature search and rescue dogs. My daughter volunteered to be a victim during a training session. Very Interesting!

Are there any other points you’d like to cover?
I enjoy meeting people and encouraging them to write. I’m at a stage in my life where I do this for fun. When I give a talk, I dress as one of my characters, Zinnia. I’ll put pink, purple, green or blue chalk in my hair. I have a sweatshirt that says, “It’s a Zinnia thing you wouldn’t understand.”

That's all for today's interview. If you would like to learn more about Eunice's writing, here are some links to get you started. 

Twitter @EuniceLoecher
Friend me on Facebook


  1. Once again, it shows that having a good writing buddy is priceless. Someone who honestly lets you know that a scene stinks! I look forward to reading one of Eunice's mysteries. Thanks, Chris, for introducing her books to me.