Welcome to BookView Interview, a conversation series where BookView talks to authors.
M. N. Cox writes paranormal and mystery stories with shades of low fantasy, cosy mystery, and even horror. She’s interested in small towns, psychology, and exploring monsters in safety.
The mother of three grown kids, when not writing she is found painting, reading, and listening to records and the local birds.
A Queensland native, M. N. Cox lives and writes happily and quietly tucked away in the Noosa Hinterland.
Author website: www.mncox.com
Tell us some more about the premise and genre of The Strange Brew.
The dark side of life is a massive attraction for me, but I also prefer to explore the dark side safely. I adore paranormal, horror, mystery and cosy mystery, and I drew, to varying degrees, on all of those. But ultimately, The Strange Brew is a paranormal mystery. With Dora as the “amateur investigator” in a small town cafe setting, it allowed me to explore various elements that interest me and to play with lives that are different to mine.
How did you decide on this title?
The name of the cafe in the novel is The Brew, and there are many strange happenings in the story. So, honestly? The title wrote itself!
Are any of your characters based on real people?
Absolutely not. There are threads of myself and others throughout many characters and scenes. But none are based on anyone real. The closest I came was describing a primary school acquaintance’s hair.
What do you hope your readers will take away from this story?
I hope it’s a fun read with a few thrills. Life isn’t perfect, and people aren’t perfect, but we push on. When things break, we build them again. We make the best of what we have, and I think that is what Dora is wrestling with and hopefully can do. You’ll have to read to see.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Buying Scrivener, a writing app that I use for writing my short stories and novels. It’s so easy to organise within Scrivener.
Professional editing. You cannot beat it.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing a novel?
The challenge is remaining disciplined over such a long period while working on one project. I write a lot, but some periods are very intensive, others less so. But, if you don’t write, you will never complete a novel. It’s hard work sometimes, and you have to overcome that feeling that you can’t do it. That it’s too complex, too hard, and you just want to smash your head on the desk.
The rewrites and editing seemed endless. I did one rewrite on my own, plus one after a structural edit. Then I worked with a professional editor to tidy everything up. You just need to push through—and let those smaller goals you meet carry you through to typing ‘the end’.
How often do you read, and what is your favourite book?
I read most days barring the occasional dead spell. My favourite books are Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens and the Sookie Stackhouse Series by Charlaine Harris. I love the True Blood TV show, which was based on Harris’ book series, but I was hooked on the books too as soon as I read Dead Until Dark. Charlaine’s been a huge inspiration to me as an author.
What’s next for you?
Dora’s story continues in another book that currently lives as a basic first draft. Right now, I’m focused on writing the first in a series about a vampire living in North Queensland. Edits have begun on that one. But don’t worry, book two of The Dora Hermansen Series is coming.
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