27 Jun 2016

Auithor Interview / Barbara Venkataraman

Books 1-3 of the Jamie Quinn Mystery Series! Including:

"Death by Didgeridoo"-Winner of the Indie Book of the Day award. Reluctant lawyer, Jamie Quinn, still reeling from the death of her mother, is pulled into a game of deception, jealousy, and vengeance when her cousin, Adam, is wrongfully accused of murder. It's up to Jamie to find the real murderer before it's too late. It doesn't help that the victim is a former rock star with more enemies than friends, or that Adam confessed to a murder he didn't commit.

"The Case of the Killer Divorce"-Reluctant lawyer, Jamie Quinn, has returned to her family law practice after a hiatus due to the death of her mother. It's business as usual until a bitter divorce case turns into a murder investigation, and Jamie's client becomes the prime suspect. When she can't untangle truth from lies, Jamie enlists the help of Duke Broussard, her favorite private investigator, to try to clear her client's name. And she’s hoping that, in his spare time, he can help her find her long-lost father.

"Peril in the Park"-There's big trouble in the park system. Someone is making life difficult for Jamie Quinn's boyfriend, Kip Simons, the new director of Broward County parks. Was it the angry supervisor passed over for promotion? The disgruntled employee Kip recently fired? Or someone with a bigger ax to grind? If Jamie can't figure it out soon, she may be looking for a new boyfriend because there’s a dead guy in the park and Kip has gone missing! With the help of her favorite P.I., Duke Broussard, Jamie must race the clock to find Kip before it’s too late.


Award-winning author, Barbara Venkataraman, is an attorney and mediator specializing in family law and debt collection.

She is the author of: The Jamie Quinn mysteries; "Teatime with Mrs. Grammar person", "The Fight for Magicallus," a children's fantasy; a humorous short story entitled, "If You'd Just Listened to Me in the First Place"; and two books of humorous essays: "I'm Not Talking about You, Of Course" and "A Trip to the Hardware Store & Other Calamities," which are part of the "Quirky Essays for Quirky People" series. Both books of humorous essays won the prestigious "Indie Book of the Day" award.

Coming soon, "Jeopardy in July"--the next Jamie Quinn mystery!


1.  If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?

I don’t know if anyone would want to work with me--my mind works in mysterious ways, lol! I do love humor writers like Dave Barry, Carl Hiaasen, and Mary Roach and I’d be thrilled to have a chat with them about writing, maybe trade ideas.

2.  What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?

More haphazard than I care to admit. I work at my desk at home with my two lazy dogs sleeping behind me. I write the blurb for a mystery first and then I list who’s who and make a rough outline. I research topics I will be using in the book, like Northern Hairy-Nosed wombats or poisonous plants of Florida, and then cut and paste the research at the bottom of the document so I can refer to it as I write. I find photos online and in magazines of what I think my characters look like and then I paste those into the document as well. I write short chapters and every time I finish one, I email it to my “reading girls” for their input. Knowing they are waiting for the next chapter motivates me to keep writing.

3.  What is the hardest part of the writing for you?

Staying focused. I can find a million distractions and when I run out of those, I go looking for snacks. I need a babysitter...

4.  When and why did you first start writing?
I first started writing in second grade when I wrote a poem about ducks. I have been scribbling down ideas and short stories (and bad poems) ever since.  

5.  How did you come up with the idea for your book?

Funny story—a few years ago, I was trying to learn how to play a didgeridoo (a large Aborigine wind instrument) when I accidentally dropped it and broke the glass top of a dresser. That's when I realized: You could kill someone with this thing. Later on, my husband found me swinging the didgeridoo around like some weird Ninja warrior and he looked a bit worried, but I assured him I was just doing research. From then on, I couldn't stop thinking about how someone could get killed with a didgeridoo: Who was this person? Why would they even have a didgeridoo? How could the wrong person be blamed for the murder? Why would there be more than one person who wanted the victim dead? Like a jigsaw puzzle, the pieces slowly came together to become my first cozy mystery: "Death by Didgeridoo".

6.  Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?

I’ve been through a lot of stages. I went through my sci-fi/fantasy stage, my Russian Lit stage, my South American Lit stage, my chick-lit stage, and my decade of mysteries. I have to admit that I read the Harry Potter series more than once and that my 11-year-old son and I had to buy 2 copies of each book because we couldn’t wait for the other to finish. Most recently, I’ve enjoyed “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline; “Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore”, by Robin Sloan, “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” by Rachel Joyce, and “We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves”, by Karen Joy Fowler. 

7.  Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?

Everyone has to start somewhere and it’s unrealistic to think that you could sit down at a piano for the first time and play Mozart. Likewise, it’s unrealistic to think you could master the craft of writing without practice, practice, practice. Read books on how to write, take classes, copy a few pages from your favorite book and then try to emulate the author’s writing style as an exercise. Read bad books and analyze what’s wrong with them and, above all, give yourself the freedom to learn. Write copiously, write badly and then try to find the kernel of good writing in the mess and work with it. Sometimes you have to write ten pages to end up with a few good paragraphs. It’s worth it.