I’m not sure how I first got to know Julia Henry (aka Julie Hennrikus aka Julianne Holmes). Was it when she was our Sisters in Crime president, advocating for writers and readers? Was it through her “day job” work with Boston theater companies? Was it through her fun, imaginative cozies? All I know is that she’s a force of nature, which makes me particularly excited about this new gardening series. I’m more than delighted to introduce her here.

How does a book start for you?

I usually have a germ of an idea and sit down with a notebook. I ask myself “and then what” until I have a strong outline for the story. I think about subplots, and jot down ideas for them. Then I take out the index cards, write scenes on each card, and shuffle them until the story is solid, the action is well distributed, and there’s enough to start the novel. I find that creating enough structure helps me be creative in adding layers.

Who in your latest book has surprised you most – and why?

This is such a great question! I have a new series that is debuting in January with Pruning the DeadThe series centers around four friends who are guerilla gardeners and solve mysteries. Lilly Jayne is the center of the series, and she’s a recent widow in her 60’s. Tamara O’Connor has been her best friend forever. Ernie Johnson owns the local home center. Delia Greenway is Lilly’s late husband’s grad assistant. Setting up a series with four protagonists gives me a lot to work with, but a character showed up in the first book, and he is definitely a surprise.  Roderick (Roddy) Lyden is Lilly’s new next door neighbor. He’s charming, a bit mysterious, and a great foil for Lilly. I think he may have been a spy back in the day, but now he’s retired.

When and/or where is your latest book set and is there a story behind that setting?

I write traditional mysteries and have three series all set in Massachusetts. My newest series takes place on the South Shore in a town called Goosebush. I grew up in Duxbury, so it’s based on that town in some ways, though I’ve changed the geography significantly. I also haven’t lived there for forty years, so I’m creating a town from long ago memories. One of the fun parts of writing a series is creating a town, and a specific setting, that builds up over the course of the series. A series set in a sea side town is a great setting, with lots of opportunities.

What are you working on now?

I just finished the second Garden Squad book, and I’m working on synopsis for the third one. As you know, when you’re working on a series it is hard to remember when you are in the work cycle, but I’m enjoying plotting. I’m very excited about this series!

I’m also plotting a thriller, which is a departure for me, but a lot of fun to work on. I’ve added an international corporate intrigue mix to the plot, so I’m also doing research.

Which question didn’t I ask you that I should have?

I’d love to know what other questions your readers may have! I’m happy to answer them. Thanks for having me on the blog, Clea!

Thanks for joining me, Julia!

Julia Henry writes the Garden Squad series for Kensington. The series debuts in January with PRUNING THE DEAD. As J.A. Hennrikus she writes the Theater Cop series, and as Julianne Holmes she wrote the Clock Shop Mystery series. Find her at jahennrikus.com and WickedAuthors.com