This week, Midnight Ink sat down with Joni Folger, author of Of Merlot and Murder (Tangled Vines Mystery #2).
Midnight Ink: When did you start writing?
Joni Folger: [I] started writing romance in the mid-1980s with a category romance that will never see the light of day! But that was followed by what eventually became Hidden Treasures, a romantic suspense that was published in 2012 (Story Vault).
MI: What influence have other authors had on your writing?
JF: Huge. I have very eclectic tastes. I read everything from horror to historical romance. Biggest influence for my writing: Stephen King & Nora Roberts! Both have motivated me in different ways.
MI: Who is your favorite mystery sleuth and why?
JF: [I] love Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, love Sherlock (in any form) and Martha Grime’s Richard Jury (and all his sleuthing friends). [I] also love BBC’s cozy mystery series Rosemary & Thyme and the Midsomer Murder mysteries by Caroline Graham. [And I'm a] huge fan of J.D. Robb’s In Death series—love the characters of Eve and Roarke.
JF: It’s set in an area of the Texas Hill Country where I lived for several years. The town of Bastrop was my inspiration (and the quirky characters that live there). I made up the town of Delphine, but in my head...it’s Bastrop.
MI: Tell us about Elise Beckett.
JF: Elise is headstrong, perky and inquisitive, with a huge heart and boundless affection for her family and extended family. She is kind and compassionate, but will defend those closest to her with the aggression of a mama bear defending her cubs, should the need arise. She’s funny, intelligent, and a romantic at heart.
MI: How does the Tangled Vines series compare to your other works?
JF: This was my first foray into the world of cozy mysteries. I usually write romantic suspense or paranormal romance (my first love). I’m all about the romance!
MI: What are your favorite things to do when you’re not writing or working?
MI: If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?
MI: If you have a job outside of writing, what is it?
JF: Accounting Clerk for Dept of Community Development in Tillamook County, Oregon
JF: Until recently, I had three little girls—cats. Unfortunately, I lost my oldest baby girl to cancer in July. Brindle had been with me for eleven years, and her loss is still very fresh with me. But I have two little goobers left: Spritie-Marie (really beautiful middle child and very naughty), and Isabeau (Momma’s little gray bear—sweet as honey).
MI: What is your favorite part about being an Inker?
Of Merlot and Murder is available online and in bookstores now!