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meet the author
Lucy Burdette is the author of the Key West food critic mystery series, including AN APPETITE FOR MURDER, DEATH IN FOUR COURSES, and TOPPED CHEF (NAL.) MURDER WITH GANACHE DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS, FATAL RESERVATIONS, and coming in April 2016, KILLER TAKEOUT.

Lucy’s alter-ego, clinical psychologist Roberta Isleib, has published eight mysteries including the golf lover’s mystery series and the advice column mysteries. Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, and a past-president of Sisters in Crime.

Lucy posts recipes every other Thursday on Mystery Lovers Kitchen. You can also follow her on Twitter or Facebook or Pinterest or Instagram or on her group blog, Jungle Red Writers. Jungle Red is a daily blog shared with six other best-selling women crime fiction writers. It’s The View. With Bodies!
roberta isleib
photo by Ruthanna Terreri roberta isleib
photo by Carol Tedesco
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Questions for the author:

I don't have a magic formula for this subject.

However, I did find an agent and she did sell my book, though none of this came easily or quickly. I studied Elizabeth Lyon's THE SELL YOUR NOVEL TOOLKIT and Jeff Herman's WRITER'S GUIDE TO BOOK EDITORS, PUBLISHERS, AND LITERARY AGENTS. I contacted agents who had interests like mine (mystery, sports, psychology), or who had some feature in their personal background that made me think we might connect. I hired an independent editor to give me fairly inexpensive but useful feedback on my manuscript, she directed me to several agents. I attended mystery conventions and talked with people there about the process. I attended the International Women's Writers Guild "Meet the Agents" forum in New York City. I groveled in front of everyone I even remotely knew connected with the publishing business. And I suffered through multiple rejections and shouldered forward.

My advice? First, write the best book you can. Take classes, join a critique group, and rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. And second, be persistent and flexible.


Believe it or not, the work of the detective in a mystery has quite a bit in common with long-term psychotherapy. You start with a problem, then follow the threads, looking for clues, and gradually fill in the big picture. So this career move turned out to be a natural progression!

Most shrinks are appalled by the way we are portrayed in the popular media, usually these characters are bumbling fools, lacking in scruples, or crazy themselves. But I have the chance to dream up psychologist characters who can help solve mysteries without stumbling too hard over their own personal issues, crossing ethical boundaries, or imploding with self-importance.

The lead characters in both my series are in psychotherapy, I've really enjoyed writing these scenes which showcase the therapy process.