Welcome Christa Nardi, Author of The Cold Creek Series

61XHx3MRE6L._UX250_I am pleased to have Author Christa Nardi on my blog today. Her new book Murder In The Theater was release on August 15, 2016. Let’s get to know Christa.

Thank you for taking the time for this interview Christa.

Thank you, Julie, for having me as your guest.

If people are not familiar with Christa Nardi what would you like them to know about you?

I read a lot – and I always have read a lot. I probably talked with the librarians at school as much as anyone else. As a child I mastered reading in dim light when I was supposed to be sleeping and now my kindle has a nightlight so I can read and not disturb my sleeping husband.  The best thing about a kindle (or Murder-in-the-Theater2 (5)other ereader)? When I travel, I can easily bring along four or five books!  Mystery and romance, and at various times, the fantasy side of science fiction were my favorites. 

What is the first thing you ever wrote that gave you the idea that perhaps you would like to be a writer and author?

A short story back in grade school – I don’t even remember what it was about though. It was fun writing it though. In high school, I wrote poetry – much of which was never shared, some shared only with friends.  I wrote some short stories and toyed with the idea of writing a book – writing was for my enjoyment.

You are a cozy mystery writer. Was it an easy decision to write cozies instead of something more gritty? And will you stay with this genre?

As a reader, I am a big fan of cozy mysteries, although I do like romantic suspense as well. I find I “skip” over the blood and guts and grit (and graphic sex) when I read – I’m more interested in the plot and the characters. I realize some readers like the graphic descriptions but that’s not for me.  Will I stay with cozy mysteries?  Probably, though I am working on a new series that is more young adult – still mystery, still not graphic or gritty.

Tell us a little about the beginning of your Cold Creek series. What made you choose the state of Virginia and what inspired the first book in the series?

I’m originally from the Northeast and particularly love the coast so I naturally graduated to the East coast. I didn’t want to draw from “Southern” theme or a “Yankee” one. I like Virginia with the coastal towns and the hill towns. It seemed like a reasonable place for a private four-year college to be situated. 

 As for what inspired the first book, academic settings (and pretty much large corporations of any kind) are the same regardless of where they are in terms of the pressures, academic culture, and personalities. Across settings, there is the eccentric, the bossy, the loner, and the womanizer.  With all the personalities, it was a perfect opportunity to vent my feelings toward “the womanizer” in the workplace (any workplace).

 How has the series progressed?

In the first one, Sheridan (the protagonist) is directed to help the detective investigating the murder of her colleague. Her curious nature leads her to ask questions and make connections between people, much as she would do in her previous life as a psychologist.  At the same time, she is in charge of the crisis response on campus, so has to work with college administration and gets pressured from them.  In each subsequent book, someone else is accused of a murder but believed to be innocent and others ask her to help prove the person’s innocence. At the same time, Sheridan and Brett’s (the detective) relationship progresses with a few bumps.

Was Murder in the Theater easier to write now that the series is established or was it harder knowing your readers expectations?

Both. The relationship with Brett was the easy part. Many readers commented how much they liked some of the other characters (Max and Kim in particular), so they had to be considered as well. The hard part was having the murder happen some place other than Cold Creek – after all how many murders and murderers are likely to be in one small town? A community theater in another town, but still somehow connected to Sheridan fit the bill.

What gives you joy and how is that translated into your writing?

I like solving puzzles or problems and having it all come together. I think that’s why I like reading mysteries or working with others to meet their goal.  I don’t start with all the pieces to the story; I let the characters and the story tell me how to put all the pieces together as the story unfolds. I’m not always sure who the murderer is when I start writing – so creating AND solving the mystery is double the fun!

Tell us a little bit about your character Sheridan Hendley and how did you decide on the name. Was your character named after anyone you knew?

Sheridan Hendley is a smart, warm, curious, and strong female character; she is educated, middle-aged, and divorced. She’s a professor and a psychologist – she looks at problems very analytically. Where did the name come from? I looked through various lists of names and found a first name and a last name I liked.  I’ve never known anyone named Sheridan (or Brett) and I wanted a name that wasn’t very common.

Where can we find your books?

Print and kindle version are available on Amazon, and only on Amazon. http://smarturl.it/Theater

And last but not least, what advice would you give to new writers starting out?

Write, write, and write. Find others who write and talk to them, find a local or regional writer’s group, share critiques, and be prepared to throw out whole parts and start over. Get lots of feedback. Be prepared to learn about writing, publishing, and marketing. Then write some more.



The drama program has never been so dramatic. It’d be the season to be jolly if only someone hadn’t set the stage for murder. When a student is arrested for the crime, Professor Sheridan Hendley is cast in the role of amateur sleuth. Tensions run high, friendships are strained, and the college administration is beginning to panic. As the plot thickens Sheridan is yet again drawn deeper into danger. Will she find the truth before the final curtain call? Cold Creek Series Book 4, Murder in the Theater by Christa Nardi, is another great cozy mystery.



Books in the Cold Creek Series




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I Have A Sister, A Sister In Crime

Published in the Albert Lea Tribune August 15, 2016


Sisters In Crime: Julie Seedorf, Barbara Deese, Jessie Chandler, Pat Dennis

As my blank mind stared at the computer screen this week and my fingers froze over my keyboard, a friend suggested I should write about my sisters. Sisters? I know, many of you know I have no siblings, but yes, I do have sisters, Sisters in Crime that is.

The title, Sisters In Crime, doesn’t mean we get into trouble and have the law after us, though maybe if you looked at our search history on our computers, the law might be tempted to investigate. Sisters In Crime is a national organization. Its mission statement is to promote the ongoing advancement, recognition and professional development of women crime writers. To belong to the state chapter you must belong to the national chapter.
Being new to the writing scene in 2012, I was surprised to hear we had an organization like this in the state of Minnesota. A friend of mine, Allen Eskens, author of “The Life We Bury” and “The Guise of Another,” advised me to join the group. Even though he is not a sister, they accepted him and other brothers into the organization. I took his advice and found by joining the group it provided me with a group that not only supports each other’s writing, but also provides valuable information for writers.

The Twin Cities chapter of Sisters In Crime and Iowa Sisters In Crime, of which I am also a member, (Iowa Sisters, if you are reading this I will pay my dues soon) is comprised of a varied group of writers and guppies, those who belong who don’t have books published yet. Because creative people have different talents and styles of writing, it is a win-win situation because we learn from our differences.

Twin Cities Sisters In Crime and Iowa Sinc meet every month. Unfortunately, I don’t get to attend many meetings because of the distance, but I still feel a part of the organization because of opportunities to meet outside of the cities.

Now what do we do at a Sisters In Crime meeting? Our meetings are not boring. Usually there is a presentation by an author or professional guests who give information on bookkeeping for taxes, what happens during an autopsy, different styles of guns and poisons and law enforcement, to name a few.

You see, readers are smart and they pick up on anything that might not be accurate, although in my books, Granny and Fuchsia don’t need to be accurate because it is the high end of fiction and fantasy and nothing should be too real. But for crime writers or true crime, details are important, and the organization provides information to help us become better writers. Yes, published authors still take classes. We are never too old to learn something new about the written word.

Granny_Pins_A_Pilferer_jpeg (2)My fifth Fuchsia, Minnesota, Mystery, Granny Pins A Pilferer, was released last week. Belonging to the Sisters In Crime keeps my spirits and energy up to keep on writing when the going gets tough. It helps connecting with those that understand what happens during the writing process and after the book gets published.

When a book is published the real work begins and that is promotion. Promotion means social media, interviews and speaking engagements. The Twin Cities Sisters In Crime travels and provides panel discussions on writing at libraries and book stores. Various authors take turns taking part. I love being a part of these panels. It is easier to do things together then alone.
If you sit at a table near us when we are talking, please don’t call the police. We might be discussing the best way to murder someone or the best poison to use that can’t be detected. We might be looking for new places to stash bodies or new hiding places in buildings and houses. Or the best way to pick a lock.

We might be having a more mundane discussion on the best way to use Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to promote books. Sharing different festivals and book conferences also might be thrown into the conversation. And of course we also might run a character past the other Sisters to get their opinion.

Our organization also connects with professionals to give us information. I am excited to attend a workshop which includes FBI 101, cyber crime and violent crime. Since I was a computer technician, I am especially excited about the cyber crime workshop.

I guess if I think about what I want you to know about authors is that writers work hard. It is our dream job, but it involves more than putting pen to paper or getting on the computer and writing away. There are many hours of research, many hours of promotion and many hours of editing. I am working harder now than I did at a nine to five job. Writing is a solitary profession unless you reach out to those who share the profession along with you.

It is a profession we chose, a profession we love, but it can also be a profession where you are lonely and that burns you out unless you take time with people like the Sisters who walk the walk with you. The reward is not only the writing, but friendships that will last a lifetime.

If you are a mystery writer and are looking for Sisters, let me know. We can always use another mystery sibling. Or visit our Facebook fan page at @TwinCitiesSistersinCrime or @SincIowa.

Granny’s Back With A New Mystery!

Granny_Pins_A_Pilferer_jpeg (2)After many weeks of sweat and anxiety and….late nights I can finally announce the release of Granny Pins A Pilferer. This is the fifth book in the Fuchsia, Minnesota Series. Over the next week or so I will introduce you to the characters in Granny Pins A Pilferer.  But for now, here is  the back cover description:

Granny is at it again! When Granny accompanies her friend Mavis to the Next To The Last Resting Place nursing home to visit Mavis’ sister, Beulah, both women are shocked to find the new resident dead. Granny, being the amateur detective she is, suspects foul play, and soon she and her entire family concoct a plan to investigate possible shady doings at the nursing home. Granny will enter the home incognito and attempt to determine how Beulah met her suspicious demise. All this happens while Granny’s new husband Silas is entangled in his own dangerous mess. Someone has just blown up his house and Silas (a former detective) is out to discover the culprit, even as he worries about Granny’s safety in the home. As more nursing home residents fall victim to a strange and sudden “memory loss virus,” Granny engages the aid of her friends to get to the bottom of what turns out to be a very complex and complicated plot.
And this is what the early readers had to say about my book:

“Granny in the wrinkle farm? Unthinkable! Going undercover to catch a killer? Now, there’s the Granny we know and love. Hold onto your cane because this adventure is full of twists and turns before it rolls to a very satisfying conclusion. Can’t wait to see what Granny will do next!”

Linda Crowder

The Jake and Emma Mysteries

“A fun romp through the looking glass to fantastic Fuchsia, MN, where Granny proves, once again, there’s no rest for the wrinkled.”

J. B. Hawker

Award winning author of the Bunny Elder and First Ladies Club series–including the recently released A Corpse In The Chapel

“A madcap roller coaster ride full of twists and turns and laugh-out-loud fun. All the characters you’ve come to love return plus a few new friends and critters. It’s the best Granny yet!”

Timya Owen

President, Twin Cities Sisters In Crime

This verbally witty comedic mystery is another hit for Julie Seedorf.

Diane Weiner, author of the Susan Wiles Schoolhouse Mysteries

This was a hard book for me to write. Granny has a reputation and I wanted to stay true to her character yet address a very serious subject also, the subject of Alzheimer’s. I dedicated this book to some of my family. There has been a little controversy involving Granny’s forgetfulness in my earlier books with the criticism that if I ever had anyone with Alzheimer’s then I would not make light of forgetfulness. But I do that because unless we can find the humor in small things we would cry with grief. So I dedicated this book to my mother-in-law, Dorothy Seedorf, sister-in-law Audrey Giese and brother-in-law Evan Seedorf. We loved them all very much. This book in a small way addresses the disease. And for those of you coping with a loved ones illness, it is not easy. Look for the small moments of joy.


Mymother-in-law, Dorothy and Sister-in-law, Audrey


My brother-in-law, Evan and our nephew Troy .