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Cindy Blackburn: Books That Inspired

February 14th, 2013

What three books inspired me to start the Cue Ball Mysteries and write Playing With Poison? Finally, an easy question! Here's my answer: Sue Grafton's A is for Alibi, Joan Hess's Malice in Maggody, and Janet Evanovich's One for the Money.

The first book in Sue Grafton's series got me hooked on mysteries decades ago. Prior to that, I was young and foolish and read only "serious" fiction. You know, all those supposedly edifying classics English teachers assign to unwitting students? I do love the classics, and I always loved reading. But what I didn't realize until I picked up A is for Alibi is how fun reading can be. So thanks, Sue, for helping me see the light. Ms. Grafton also turned me on to books written in the first person. Way cool!

Years later I found Joan Hess just by luck. I was searching the stacks of my local library for a new author and found myself in H, and saw all the books by this Joan Hess person. By then I was a mystery addict, so the little skull and crossbones tag the library had put on the spine clued me in that these were mysteries. I read Malice in Maggody in one sitting. I never laughed so hard in my life! Who knew mysteries could be so to-die-for funny? I wiped the tears (of laughter) from my eyes and got the idea, way, way back in my head somewhere, that I would love to make people laugh, too. Thanks, Joan.

Spring forward another decade or so. I was having a glass of wine with a good friend and fellow mystery aficionado. And she told me about Janet Evanovich. And maybe it was the wine we were drinking, but she said something like, "You should read the Stephanie Plum books, Cindy. And then you should try writing something funny like that." One for the Money rocked my world. The self-effacing humor and the fast-paced lunacy of life in Trenton (I grew up in New Jersey) inspired me. Add in another glass or two of vino with my girlfriend, and I pulled out the lap top.

I love mysteries, and I love to laugh. And once I find something I like, I want more and more of a good thing. These three series—the Kinsey Malone series, the Maggody series, and the Stephanie Plum series are what got me started writing a mystery series of my very own. See, I told you that was an easy question!

About Cindy Blackburn

Cindy Blackburn has a confession to make-she does not play pool. It's that whole eye-hand coordination thing. What Cindy does do well is school. So when she's not writing silly stories she's teaching serious history. European history is her favorite subject, and the ancient stuff is best of all. The deader the better! A native Vermonter who hates cold weather, Cindy divides her time between the south and the north. During the school year you'll find her in South Carolina, but come summer she'll be on the porch of her lakeside shack in Vermont. Cindy has a fat cat named Betty and a cute husband named John. Both are extremely lovable. When Cindy isn't writing or grading papers, she likes to take long walks or paddle her kayak around the lake. Her favorite travel destinations are all in Europe, her favorite TV show is NCIS, her favorite color is orange. Cindy dislikes vacuuming, traffic, and lima beans.

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