Writer Wednesday: Carla Vergot’s Mystery in the Mangroves

Today I’d like to welcome Carla Vergot to my Writer Wednesday feature. I greatly enjoyed her first novel and was excited to learn that her second book (the sequel) released yesterday–no foolin! She is also a wonderful human being who took the time to chat with me over coffee one day and also to talk to my creative writing students as well. Please check out her links at the end of the post to learn more!

Hey, friends! I’m so excited to be sitting here, tapping the keys, taking a minute to visit with y’all. This has been an awesome but hectic week. My publisher and I launched my second book on March 31—Book 2 in the Lily Barlow Series titled Lily Barlow: The Mystery in the
Mangroves.

The desire to write has been in my veins since elementary school. The skill to write has been there since college. But the time to write…that didn’t present itself until 2016 when my husband gave me the gift of a sabbatical. I put in for a one-year leave of absence from teaching special education at Fairfax County Public Schools, and that’s when it all started.

I did a series of things to position myself for The Year of the Book. I connected with a critique partner. We established a writing schedule and made a writing space in her home. I entered contests to get some initial feedback. I got my feelings hurt upon receiving the feedback. I eventually stopped listening to the feedback, and instead, I wrote my story. When the
sabbatical ended, I was so in love with the job of writing, I resigned permanently from teaching and started the next book.

I’m a slow writer. I do an incredible amount of re-writing as I go. I might change one sentence
20 or 30 times before I move on. That first year, there were days when I wrote for a solid
eight hours and produced barely 250 words. I’m talking about legitimate writing, not that
kind of writing you do when you’re really goofing around on social media.

That was the first book. I was faster and better at it for the second, because, well, that’s
what 84,000 words will do for you. Do your craft, and you get better at doing your craft,
right?

I love my first book (Lily Barlow: The Mystery of Jane Dough). It represented a big
achievement, the product that forced people to stop using air quotes when referring to the
“book” I was working on. But, no matter how much I love LB1, I have to admit that LB2 is
better. Which is funny to me since I wasn’t even sure I had a second book in me. I didn’t know
if the storyline would hold together, or if the characters would stay authentic, or if I had any
ideas left.

Now that LB2 is launched, I’m itching to start LB3. My plots weave elements of romance, comedy and mystery, and I borrowed the genre “romcomstery” to describe it. I don’t know where book 3 is headed. I have a couple of action items that need to happen, but how those things come about is up to the characters.

Book 1 starts in Marshall, Virginia, when Lily Barlow comes home from UVA to get her family’s bakery opened after her dad’s heart attack. That’s when Lily thinks she has identified a murder victim online. Meanwhile, she believes her landlady is caught up in something nefarious. Oh, and there’s the little matter of Jack, her best friend since kindergarten, who suddenly wants to start dating. In book 2, Lily and her friends take a short trip to the Florida Keys, looking for the identity of the murder victim, only to uncover a different mystery.

If that whets your appetite for more, join me in my Facebook group, Carla Vergot’s Back
Porch, or on my website, CarlaVergot.com. I’m also on Instagram @carla_vergot, and I love to
connect!

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