Character Interview with Taylor Browning, Mystery Editor
Taylor Browning is the new kid on the cozy mystery block. By day she edits mysteries at a Santa Fe publishing house and in her off hours she’s learning to sleuth. Of course, a little crime solving knowledge can be a dangerous thing. And she can’t edit her way out of real murder…or can she?
In “Dead Editor File” we found Taylor settling in at her new mystery editor position when the publisher was killed in his locked office. No one knew who to trust. Even Taylor was under suspicion.
In “Looking Glass Editor,” Taylor is leaving the editorial offices once again. She is sent to Sedona, AZ charged with convincing a recalcitrant author that in order to publish her book she really will have to hand over the manuscript. The story has a New Age element and a nasty villain.
How did you become the mystery editor of the most prominent publishing house in Santa Fe?
Somehow I managed to impress the publisher and senior editor with my knowledge of mysteries, especially the classics like Agatha Christie, Mary Roberts Rinehart and Phyllis A Whitney. We talked the basics of a good cozy mystery: a murder, cast of suspects, precocious cats and of course the need for mammoth quantities of tea. But we couldn’t survive in the mystery world today without the heroine having a distinctive job, in my case, a mystery editor. I’ve been on the job less than a year and am learning the ins and outs of book publishing. It’s a strange world of manuscripts, fonts, drop caps, bluelines and advance review copies (ARCs). Learning what to do with all of them is challenging. But it’s the authors that require finesse. Even the nicest authors usually slam a door or throw a small fit right before their book’s pub date. But I’m learning. Usually I can keep it together long enough to hustle them out of the office.
Why did you move to Santa Fe to start a new life?
My husband and I dreamed of moving to the Land of Enchantment, but something always stopped us. You know; money issues, job issues, family issues. Life. But when he died, I wanted to fulfill our dream. It was difficult at first. I didn’t know anyone, but I’ve met a lot of people. There is the team at work, the authors, the vendors we use and the bookstore owners we work with. And lately, well, there have been the police. A certain Detective Victor Sanchez who came to our office after the publisher and editor-in-chief was murdered. Now that was a bad day. Virginia, our senior editor was sad and Jim, the production manager was nearly ecstatic. I was horrified when it turned out to be murder.
How’s the house renovation going?
I’ve got this little adobe on the historical east side of Santa Fe. It’s important to me that I not just fix it up, but restore it to its original glory. It would be helpful if I’d finish a room before moving on to the next one. But no, I have ladders, tools and paint in every nook and cranny. I might just get some help from Jim, who has been re-established as art director, but as you may know, he’s a bit undependable. But Oscar and I enjoy the deck the most. We watch the sunset behind Sandia Peak and unwind with a little wine. Me, not him.
Oscar? Who is Oscar?
Oscar is my Abyssinian cat; you know brown agouti fur with lighter clown markings. I’m told they were the cats of Egyptian kings and pharaohs. Just between us, I tend to believe it because Oscar is a bit entitled especially if dinner is late. There have been a few, uh, incidents. Of course, it’s all because I became involved in a criminal investigation—at least after I was cleared of suspicion. There were times when I was being followed or doing a little detecting and was late to prepare his evening meal. A roll of paper towels took the brunt of it. To further annoy Oscar, I rescued a kitten.
You’ll meet Cheddar in “Looking Glass Editor.” He’s an orange tabby who was lost in a parking garage. Saving him is what got me involved in the second mystery. But I didn’t know it until things began to get troublesome.
How do you see your future?
I love my life—most of the time. Santa Fe is everything I thought it would be, my job is terrific fun and two men are interested in me. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not ready for a relationship yet. For now, Oscar and I are getting along, if only I can stay on schedule.
My author, G G Collins, is currently writing the next installment. It promises to get me into more mysterious circumstances. I feel confident there is murder in my future. No mystery about it.
G G Collins loves the southwestern US, hiking through ruins of the ancient ones and eating countless green chiles. When not traipsing about, she makes up stories with great friendships, quirky characters and weird paranormal stuff. Oh, and dead bodies. In real life she shares her time with a man, several neurotic cats and the ongoing struggle to grow a garden. In previous lives she has worked as a reporter and at a book publisher.