Author Spotlight

Q&A Plus Giveaway with Barbara Venkataraman

As part of Mystery and Thriller Week 2017, I’m thrilled to welcome Barbara Venkataraman to my blog for a Q&A plus a giveaway.


Barbara is the author of both the Jamie Quinn Mystery Series & the Quirky Essays for Quirky People Series, and you can find out more about her over at her website:

Information about the Jamie Quinn Mystery Series can be found below, along with details of the giveaway, but I’ll start by handing you over to Barbara for the Q&A.

  1. Firstly, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Sure!  I’m a family law attorney and mediator, just like my protagonist, Jamie Quinn, but unlike Jamie, I never find myself in the middle of a murder investigation.  She leads a much more exciting life than I do!

  1. And a little bit about your novels?

My Jamie Quinn cozy mystery series is set in Hollywood, Florida and features reluctant family law attorney, Jamie Quinn, her BFF and fellow attorney, Grace Anderson, her tree-hugger boyfriend, Kip Simons, and her former client, Duke Broussard, a womanizing, hard-partying P.I.  The first book in the series, Death by Didgeridoo, was chosen as an Indie Book of the Day.  The fourth book, Engaged in Danger is currently a short-listed semi-finalist in the Chanticleer M & M Mystery Novel Writing Competition.

  1. Who do you think would enjoy the Jamie Quinn mysteries – who would you recommend them to?

Being cozy mysteries, my books have no sex or violence.  Well, there’s violence, but it’s off-screen, so I would say they are general audience.  Now, most of my readers are women, but that’s because women buy more books than men (it’s a fact!) and most fans of cozy mysteries are women.  To my surprise and delight, the men who have read my books seem to like them too!

  1. Are you working on anything new right now?

I’m glad you asked that! I am working on Book 5 of the Jamie Quinn Series, Jeopardy in July.  It is quite possible that I will finish it in the next month.  Fingers crossed!  Actually, I’d better uncross my fingers if I expect to get any typing done.  Lol!

  1. How do you tend to write – with careful planning, or just seeing where the story goes?

Excellent question!  I always start with a title and a blurb of the story.  Then, I do research on whatever topics are relevant to that story line.  I always know how the book will start and how it will end.  The middle, however, is an organic process, that changes as it goes.  Sometimes, I only know what’s going to happen in the next chapter, but not the one after that.  Somehow, I always figure it out.  Whew!

  1. How long does it usually take you to write a novel?

They are all different.  Each book in the series has been longer than the one before it with more characters and twists, so each book takes longer than the one before.  Also, I’m still working as a lawyer, so I can’t devote all my time to writing, sigh!  The fourth book took me a year; this fifth one is a year and a half.

  1. What kind of research do you do for your novels, and do you do it all in advance?

I mostly do the research in advance, but sometimes I need to do more along the way.  For example, Peril in the Park is set in Broward County, Florida in a number of parks, so I had to research all of the parks and pick the ones that would fit best into the story.

  1. What sort of novels do you like to read, and who are your favourite authors?

I love books that have humor and heart.  I loved The Time Traveller’s Wife. I recently read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry–loved it!  I also loved The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert.

  1. Of your own novels, do you have a favourite? Or is that like asking someone to pick which of their children is their favourite?

Well, I love my first book Death by Didgeridoo because that’s where I met Jamie and found her voice.  I love the second book, The Case of the Killer Divorce because it let me meet Jamie’s boyfriend and her father.  I loved the third book Peril in the Park because there was more action going on and my first true villain!  I love the fourth book, Engaged in Danger because it was so darn hard to write, but I did it!  I currently hate my fifth book because it’s making my brain frazzle, but when it’s done, I will love it too!

  1. What are the three best pieces of advice that you’ve ever been given? (Not necessarily writing specific)

Don’t give up, just keep trying.  Willpower conquers all!

No often means “not right now”.  Timing is important.

Be nice!  It’s easy to judge people, but you never know what’s going on in their life.

Many thanks to Barbara for taking the time to answer my questions!  Here is a little more information about the Jamie Quinn Mystery Series:


Death by Didgeridoo (Jamie Quinn Mystery Series #1)

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.


bv-2-the-case-of-the-killer-divorceThe Case of the Killer Divorce (Jamie Quinn Mystery Series #2)

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 (Jamie Quinn Mystery Series #3)

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.


Engaged in Danger (Jamie Quinn Mystery Series #4)

Finally, life is good for reluctant family law attorney, Jamie Quinn–her father may get his visa soon, her boyfriend is the bomb, and her law practice is growing like crazy–but when she agrees to take on a high-profile divorce case, everything falls apart.  What looked like an opportunity to work with her friend Grace and make some serious bucks has turned into a deadly game, one that could destroy their friendship and tear their town apart.  Why couldn’t Jamie just leave well enough alone?

And now for the giveaway!  As part of Mystery and Thriller Week 2017, Barbara has very kindly offered to give away three digital copies of the Jamie Quinn Mystery Collection, which contains books 1, 2 and 3 of the series (Death by Didgeridoo, The Case of the Killer Divorce and Peril in the Park), as well as a preview of Engaged in Danger.


To enter, simply leave a comment on this post or retweet my pinned tweet (you can find me on Twitter @tiny_ickle_jo) by 16:00 GMT on 17 February.

Good luck!


  1. It’s nice to hear that it takes her awhile to write her books. I often wonder how authors with full time jobs find the time! It’s hard to find time to write a blog post nevertheless a whole book. Thanks for the interview, the books sound interesting!

    1. Glad you enjoyed the interview! I find it amazing that so many do write whilst managing a full time job – so much disciple involved! 🙂

  2. Barbara is great! She’s friendly, caring and in touch with her readers. I’m going to start her fifth book in the next week. Glad to see other fans of her here. I’ve done some reviews on her books on my site, too.

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