Thursday, September 28, 2023

An Interview with Author, Graphic Artist, Podcaster, and General Entrepreneur Sarah Burr

 One Bite at a Time: Welcome to One Bite at a Time, Sarah. We don’t get a lot of cozy writers here. No offense to cozy writers, but my books were once described as “a cross between Justified and The Wire,” so that’s where the posts tend to fall. We’ll talk about your books specifically in a minute, but first tell us what attracts you to the cozies.


Sarah Burr: There’s so much to love about cozy mysteries. Not only are the settings warm and welcoming, but the people are, too. Readers can always be assured that the good guys will win in a cozy. Yet, there’s something much deeper that drew me to reading and then eventually writing cozy mysteries. Their sense of justice is really quite remarkable. You have an everyday civilian (an amateur detective) willing to put everything on the line to pursue the truth. My heroines could leave things to the authorities, but their desire to do good in the world outweighs hesitation or fear.


OBAAT: The Court of Mystery is a nine-book series, which is a significant undertaking. I’ve written eight Penns River procedurals, so I have an idea of what’s involved in keeping a series going that long. What is it about this universe that keeps you coming back?


SB: My characters are really the driving force for me to return. I love hanging out with Duchess Jacqueline and her friends as they solve mysteries. I love how her mind works and how she must approach a crime scene, given that the Court of Mystery series is set in a medieval-like fantasy world called the Realm of Virtues. I’ve created my own set of rules in this setting, and it’s been so fun to explore everything it has to offer Jax. While I plan for Book Ten to be the final story in the series arch, I do have a spinoff in the works so that Jax’s adventures can continue.


OBAAT: You also write the Trending Topics series of mysteries, which includes #Tag Me for Murder and #Follow Me for Murder. Please give us a feel for these stories and where you came up with Coco Cline, the protagonist.


SB: A podcaster once described the Trending Topic Mysteries as “Nancy Drew Meets Instagram,” and I can’t think of a more perfect summation. Influencer and blogger Coco Cline introduced herself to me several years ago, back when the cozy mystery genre was still hesitant to get involved with social media and technology. It’s hard to make the Internet as warm and welcoming as a small, storybook town. However, as a millennial, I yearned to see more of myself in the characters I was reading about, someone who viewed their phone as a resource, not a hindrance. Not long after, Coco knocked on the door of my imagination, and we’ve been fast friends ever since.


Coco lives in the small coastal town of Central Shores, Delaware. Beyond her popular lifestyle blog, she runs a small online marketing business. When she stumbles across a dead body in her client’s breakroom, Coco realizes she has a major PR nightmare on her hands. Can she catch a killer, or will Coco end up trending for all the wrong reasons?


OBAAT: You also also write the Glenmyre Whim Mysteries, Too Much to Candle and You Can’t Candle the Truth, featuring candlemaker Hazel Wickbury. Catch us up on those, please.


SB: This series allows me to explore my love of the paranormal. Hazel Wickbury isn’t just any old candlemaker. She can see when someone is going to die. So, when a wealthy business developer dies before he was meant to, Hazel knows there’s foul play involved. Since she can’t alert the police to her power—what her family calls a ‘whim’—Hazel teams up with her best friend/aunt, Poppy, to shine a light on a killer.


The Glenmyre Whim Mysteries helped me get through the isolation and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. I wanted to create a charming, happy place where I could escape, and with the help of Hazel, her friends, and the fictional town of Crucible, New York, I did. This cozy has a sparkle of magic sprinkled over it, and I have so much fun with its diverse cast of characters.


OBAAT: You Can’t Candle the Truth is now available as an audio book. How did that come about? Was there anything unexpected about the process of creating the spoken version?


SB: I first began working with the incredibly talented Melissa Green several years ago to bring the Court of Mystery series to life on audiobook. Since then, we worked together on countless projects, and the partnership we’ve developed has become truly special. I often hear Melissa’s performances in my head as I write; she really has become Jax and Hazel's voice. Also, her performances are so emotive that readers have become too attached to certain characters (me included). I’ve actually changed my decision to kill characters based on her narration.



OBAAT: Apparently writing doesn’t keep you busy enough; you’re also a graphic artist with a niche in helping to create images specifically tailored to book promotion. I’m delighted with the work you did for The Spread. Please talk a little about that business and don’t be shy about telling folks how to get a hold of you.


SB: I’ve always been a creative techie – I love new technology and exploring ways to make myself more productive. This has come in handy as an indie author because you’re required to create your own promotional materials. I discovered so many great applications to help me do this, and eventually, other authors took notice of my social media posts, asking me where they came from. Once I told them I had made the designs myself… well, BookstaBundles was born. Authors began asking me to create graphics for them, and soon, I realized I could help others with my passion for graphic design. I now offer various digital services, as well as bookmarks, posters, and bookplates. If you’re an author looking to post more engaging content featuring your novel, stop by to check out my portfolio and my offerings. (Editor’s Note: I ordered five graphics for The Spreads and wa delighted with Sarah’s work and creativity.)


OBAAT: You fill some of what must be copious free time with The Bookish Hour, a live-stream web series you co-host with J.C. Kenney Thursdays from 8:00 to 9:00 PM ET. The chats revolve primarily around craft, which is a topic I don’t think writers talk about enough, as too many discussions get sidetracked into the business aspects of writing. What led to this, and what are the joys and challenges of keeping it going?


SB: This was another venture that came about unexpectedly. J.C. Kenney is a dear friend of mine in the writing industry, and in May 2022, we both had books releasing at the same time. We wanted to host an online party where our readers could see and interact with us. So, I sat down at my computer, figured out how to livestream a Google Meet call onto YouTube, and voila! J.C. and I had a fabulous time chatting about our books and writing process, and our viewers joined in the fun, too.


After the livestream wrapped, we received several emails from our author pals, asking if they could come on “our show” and chat about their books. With that, The Bookish Hour became a twice-a-month web series, and we’re now booking into 2025. Our biggest challenge is accommodating all the requests we have! To do so, we’ve started a companion show, A Bookish Moment, that allows for much more flexible scheduling. If you have an upcoming release and would like to swing by and talk with us, you can read what we’re about at


OBAAT: Based on what we talked about already, I know you’re working on something now. What’s next for the readers to look forward to?


SB: I have yet another cozy mystery series in the works! I am busy with revisions for Book One in the Book Blogger Mysteries, which features…you guessed it, a book blogger.


Over My Dead Blog releases later this year, and I cannot wait for readers to meet Arwen “Winnie” Lark, her brother Strider, and the folks of Copper Bay, Massachusetts. Interested readers can always learn more about me and what’s happening in my writing world at or by signing up for my newsletter,



1 comment:

Author Sarah E. Burr said...

Many thanks for having me, Dana! It's always a proud moment as a writer to take stock of all our projects and hard work. And I'm so glad you liked your BookstaBundles images for "The Spread."