Sunday, April 05, 2009

Author Interview - Claudia Mair Burney

Today, I welcome one of my favorite authors; truly, one of my favorites in craft and spirit. If you've been following this blog for more than a month, I've said something about Claudia's work. Zora and Nicky and The Exorsistah were two of my top pics for 2008 and Claudia was my author of the year. I'm a fan.

Welcome Claudia. Introduce yourself to my readers. I’m Claudia Mair Burney, friends call me Mair, which rhymes with fire, no matter how it looks. I’m a Catholic Jesus freak, wife, mom, rabbit owner, artist, and word lover, and I wrote a series of mysteries that are funny, and sexy, and still have Jesus in it.

Your latest releases is the third book in the Amanda Bell Brown series. Tell us about it. I named the heroine after my own great-grand mother. She came from share croppers, and wasn’t able to live her dreams, so I shared some of mine with her. Amanda, Bell to the people who love her, is a psychologist with a troubled past who spends a lot of time helping other people, but she has no idea how deep her own post traumatic stress syndrome runs. She meets Jazz Brown, a fine man, with his own emotional wounds, and they fall in love. But they’re a train wreck together. Half the fun of reading the books is finding out if they ever get it right. Solving a murder is just icing on the cake.

Click to order

Love this cover. Tell us about Deadly Charm.
It’s the last in the series, unless Howard Books decide to publish an optional fourth book. Buy the others and they may! In this one, we see if Bell gets everything she’s dreamed of: her man, her baby, and yes, another murderer going down, this one her most cunning nemesis yet.

Bell's gotta get the man, Claudia. I just ordered my copy and I can hardly wait to see where they're going. How have Bell and Jazz evolved over this series?
It’s easy to focus on Bell’s dysfunction, but we see in subsequent books that the fine man has a few chinks in his armor. Bell and Jazz don’t get better initially, they get worse, like most of us, until grace, the amazing kind, saves us. And salvation isn’t a one time event. We are being saved all the time. Loving each other is a big part of Bell and Jazz’s, as is trusting in love. So, it’s all good in the end, but what a ride getting there. I think Deadly Charm is the funniest of the three.

I know readers will interpret this as the Holy Spirit guides them, but from your perspective, what’s the spiritual takeaway for Deadly Charm? That God loves you, even if you’re broken, and crazy, and make horrible decisions out of love, because you really want to help people. And I want people to know you can love Jesus, too. Boldly go to the throne of grace, battered and bloody if you have to. And love one another. That’s my big message. Seriously.

Claudia, in addition to mystery, you write in other genres – young adult, woman’s fiction, even romance. How is the writing different from genre to genre?
It’s just story, Rhonda. Some books are a little harder to manage, because they characters are not as much like me as Bell is. In the end, I try to tell a good tale, beautifully, or at least do so giving the readers a good time. But I try not to sacrifice story for… anything, including the “rules” about one can and cannot do in a genre or with a structure, and I strive to give readers characters they can love enough to walk 200 to 400 pages with. I do that with all the genres, as best as I can. Sometime I fail, other times, not so much.

What has been the most rewarding experience since being published?
Meeting so many people. When I begged Jesus to let messy ol’ me write for Him, I told Him I’d tell people as broken as I am that He loves them. I’ve been able to do that through these books, and the relationships I’m building because of my work. It rawks! Hard, girl.

Any disappointments or things you would have done differently?
Publishing is unbelievably brutal, from vicious reviewers, to the crazy things that go on for the sake of business. Only the strong survive. Unfortunately, I’m not as strong as I thought I was.

Are we going to see Bell and Jazz again? I hope so. If people buy the books it can happen.

What’s next for you? I’m writing The Exorsistah 3, for Pocket Books, and Let Nothing Upset You, a non-fiction, playful journey with Teresa of Avila. I also write galleries on occasion for Beliefnet, and just dusted off an urban tale I’d like to try my hand at again. It’s called Restoration.

How can readers find you on the Internet? and my blog,, if readers want to know way more about me than they should.

Claudia's books can be found where ever books are sold and certainly on She has quite a few of them. If you try one new author, make it Ms. Mair Burney, I promise, promise,'ll thank me.

Enjoy the trailer for Deadly Charm.


Angie said...

I love, love, the Amanda Bell Brown series. Just started Deadly Charm and can't wait to get further into it. Thanks for letting us know more about this great author!

LaTessa said...

I love the Amanda Bell Brown series and had the pleasure of interviewing Ms. Burney for

She's a great author, and love how she infuses spirituality into her books, without coming across as preachy or bible thumping.

Her characters are very rich, and you can't help but get drawn into their lives and cheer for them along the way.

Great interview.

From Tia's Pen said...

Claudia you look so cute and spunky! I haven't seen this new pic with your new 'do! That has nothing to do with your writing but I just had to say it anyway!
Take care! Tia