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Interview with Jonathan Rabb, Writer (conclusion)

TS.  This has been a terrific Interview. All writers achieve the same goals using different paths to get there. 

Q. and the all-important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like for you?

JR. Muscle memory. That’s where it is now. I can’t imagine not having a book I’m working on. In other words, I have to be working on something. So, in some sense, I never fully enjoy “finished book” because I’m always at least thinking about the next one. In the same way, I never feel I’m in “no book” territory.

You don’t get a lot of resolution in your creative life if you’re a novelist (at least I don’t). It’s probably why I do crossword puzzles. Resolution is immediate.

Q. How has your life experiences influenced your writing?

JR. How can they not? When I first started writing, I was in NY and single. Now, I’m in Savannah, married with two kids, and a professor of writing. Save for that first novel, I don’t borrow from my own life as the foundation of a novel. Yes, my characters grapple with the same anxieties I grapple with, but they aren’t me in a fictional guise. But as the challenges have changed in my life, I think they’ve changed for my characters as well. And my interests have shifted. Five years ago I would never have thought about a book in Mexico. Now, I can’t imagine not writing it.

Q. Have you or do you want to write in another genre`?

JR. I’ve been accused of bucking genres. My first two books were clearly thrillers, based around historical documents. Then I dove into historical fiction entirely with three books in Germany and Spain in 1919, 1927 and 1936. Yes, there was a mystery in each of those, but the mystery was always less important than the political and social anxieties that the characters were dealing with. Some reviewers called them historical fiction, others literary fiction, still others mysteries. And then I jumped to my last book, which is Savannah 1947 – a much more intimate novel, less about the historical backdrop and more about one man’s struggle. And now I’m doing contemporary Mexico in one book, and 1606 Venice in another

So, I don’t really think in terms of genres. I just write what excites me. So far I’ve been lucky enough that my publishers let me do that.

Q. Note to Self: (a life lesson you’ve learned.)

JR. Writing is hard, maybe harder than anything else in the arts for the simple reason that everyone thinks they have access to language. Very few people walk around thinking, Yes, I can design a dress or produce a self-portrait. But everyone thinks, Hey, I can write. Just look at me on Facebook….

But that’s not true, which makes writing even harder if you really want to take a stab at it.

So, the lesson I’ve learned is: do whatever you can to make writing easier while you’re writing. Take the pressure off and just try and get a single sentence down that you don’t hate. Some days, that one sentence is enough. It paves the way for the days when you write 5,000 words and you can’t imagine how you did it.

Give yourself a break. Writing is hard. Don’t make it harder than it has to be.

Did you miss Part 1 or 2 of this fine Interview? Click here
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   August: Mega best selling author, Susan Mallery. September: Jonathan Rabb.  October: Alretha Thomas. November: Joe English. December: Molly Gloss. Coming this winter: Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick) and Patrick Canning.

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Interview with Professor of Writing, Jonathan Rabb (part 2)

Q. Do you have a new book coming out soon? If so tell us about it.

JR. The paperback of my last one came out a few months ago, and I’m at work on two very different projects right now. One is contemporary in Mexico; the other is 1606 Venice. I’ve never written two at once, but it’s proving to be exciting, even if it is more challenging. We’ll see how it works out.

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

JR. I was 28 or 29. I decided that political theory wasn’t for me, and I got the idea for that first book, The Overseer. There was no pressure, so I don’t know if I really thought about it as “serious” writing (there’s the old chestnut: you have a lifetime to write your first book, about a year to write your second). But somewhere in there I began to think, “Maybe this is what I’m meant to do.” I got lucky and have been allowed to do it ever since.

Q. How long after that were you published?

JR. I started The Overseer in late 1993 or early 1994. I finished the first draft (a very economical 750 pages) in July of 1996. By happenstance, I was working a translating job and someone else on the job heard I’d written a manuscript and said he had a friend in Lectures at William Morris. He said he’d be happy to show the first chapter to the woman at WM. I sent it to him, he sent it to her, and three days later, the woman called and said she had sent it on to someone in Literary. Three days later, the agent in Literary called and said he needed to see the rest of the manuscript. I sent it over and, two weeks later, I signed with WM. My agent had been an editor, so he helped me trim the manuscript down to 525 pages. We sent it out, got rejected, sent it out again, and then Holt, Crown and Harpers all came in with offers. We went with Crown in June of 1997, and the hardcover came out in June of 1998.

Q. What makes a writer great?

JR. I don’t know. I think you have to find whatever it is that makes writing a need for you, and that’s purely idiosyncratic. And then commit yourself to it. Writing a novel is like any long-term relationship. There’s the infatuation at the beginning, but then the feelings mature. And it can be hard. But it’s the best kind of hard you’ll ever experience if you keep your focus.

I also think taste plays a large role in any of the arts. I suppose we can all look at a select group and say, Yes, those are great writers, but even then, I don’t know. I’d be hard-pressed not to include Graham Greene on that list or Ivo Andric or Joan Didion, and some folks can’t stand any of them. Is there something that ties all the greats together? Maybe it’s that, if they ever wavered, they never gave up entirely. Even Kafka. If Kafka (by my lights in the top three of all time) could muscle through it, then anyone can.

Did you miss Part 1? Click here

Part 3 of this Interview will return on September 28th.
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   August: Mega best selling author, Susan Mallery. September: Jonathan Rabb.  October: Alretha Thomas. November: Joe English. December: Molly Gloss. Coming this winter: Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)

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Interview with Writer, Jonathan Rabb

TS. I stumbled upon Jonathan Rabb, a local, fellow author and transplant, quite by accident. I found his take on writing fascinating and asked that he share it with my readers.

 Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing?  Or tell us about your ‘dream’ work space.

JR. I have a study in the house, which many of my old friends say uncannily resembles my old one-room apartment back in New York before I got married. It’s bookcases everywhere, maps, and an entire shelf devoted to my kids’ artwork. When the writing is going well, it’s hard to find a path from the door to the desk. I like to keep the blinds drawn, with a single overhead soft light. And the desk is an architect’s desk – a flat space with no drawers.

As it turns out, it is my dream workspace.

Q. Do you have any special rituals or quirks when you sit down to write? (a neat work space, sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.)

JR. My ritual (now) starts with the kids getting up, breakfast, the dog out for walk, carpool (on my days), and then a mug of hot water at the side of my computer, which I refill throughout the day. I usually dive in at about 8:30 and, if I remember to eat lunch, a break at 1, then on again until about 3. And then the kids come home. If I’m deep into a book, then I’m in the study at all hours. Those last three weeks are tough on everyone.

Q. Could you tell us something about yourself that we might not already know?

The Whiffenpoofs

JR. I sang in a group called the Whiffenpoofs in college (the oldest cappella singing group in the country). I also soloed with the NY Pops at Carnegie Hall.

Q. Do you have a set time each day (or night) to write?

JR.  As I said, usually in at 8:30, out at around 3. But that shifts the closer I get to the end of a book. That’s when I need to be with the characters, and I need to know how the whole thing will find its way to a conclusion. Not necessarily a resolution but a stopping point. I can’t step away from it for too long when I’m at that point.

Q. What’s your best advice to other writers for overcoming procrastination?

JR. Writing is all about making choices. They don’t have to be big ones (or at least appear to be big ones at the moment), so make one. Writer’s block and procrastination are really just about being overwhelmed by the infinite number of choices you could make. That can freeze you. So choose. It might be the wrong choice, but at least you’ll be writing. And nothing is ever completely wrong.

It’s the old NY Lottery motto: you have to be in it to win it.

Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters?

JR. For me, place is always a central character, so I usually start there. Then I have to find the people to interact with that character, and that’s when idiosyncrasies and cadences begin to make themselves known. But the best part of creating characters is when they surprise you. That’s when you know you’ve created someone real.

Q. What first inspired you to write?

JR. I was an academic at Columbia in political theory, and I needed an escape. So I came up with an idea for a thriller, in which the main character is a young academic at Columbia in political theory….who saves the world. That was great for my ego and sent me to the computer every day to see how the character would make good on that promise. It turned out to be my first novel, The Overseer.

Q. What comes first to you? The Characters or the Situation?

JR. Hard to say. I think both are crucial – at least according to Stephen King – but I’m not sure I can distinguish them from one another as completely as I’d need to in order to prioritize one over the other. The characters reflect the demands of their situation; the situation shifts to meet the needs of the characters. I suppose the answer shifts from situation to situation and character to character.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

JR. Yes. My wife often has to call me to remind me to have lunch. Those are the great days.

 

My interview with Jonathan continues September 21st. Don’t miss it! 
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   August: Mega best selling author, Susan Mallery. September: Jonathan Rabb.  October: Alretha Thomas. November: Joe English. December: Molly Gloss. Coming this winter: Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)

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Interview with filmaker turned author, K. M. Ecke

 K. M. Ecke: Hailing  from  the  original  birthplace  of  the  atomic   bomb,    Los  Alamos,  NM,    K.M.  Ecke  is  an  organic,   free-­range,  preservative-­free,  philosopher-­poet  using   universal  truth  to  battle  cultural  insanity.  Ecke,  which   is  German  for  ‘corner’,  is  the  child  of  a  physicist  and   musician  and    grew  up  at  the  corner  of  creativity  and   logic.

 

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing? Or tell us about your ‘dream’ work space.

KME. My dream work space is a plexiglass shed/dome that allows a ton of natural light. It would be in a massive backyard with a view of the mountains, and I’d have a standing desk or something where I could change positions.

Q. Do you have any special rituals when you sit down to write? (a neat work space, sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.)

KME. I keep my phone off and my wi-fi turned off. Anything that can district me, will distract me so I need to get out of the digitally addictive world to focus.

Canadian Rockies

Q. Could you tell us something about yourself that we might not already know?

KME. I’m an Eagle Scout.

Q. Do you have a set time each day (or night) to write?

KME. I’d like to be more consistent about this, but it definitely varies depending on my schedule.
Ideally I like to write between 11-5

Q. What’s your best advice to other writers for overcoming procrastination?

KME. Think about the fact that any day you wake up could be your last. If, by procrastinating, you died before you were able to get your project out into the world—this would be a true artistic tragedy. It’s better to die after you’ve made the work, because at least you left something behind.

Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters?

 KME. I pull from real life, my imagination, and my own study of the world. Sometimes I’ll read a news article and then imagine what it would be like to be the perpetrator or the victim. This helps me widen my own psychological frame of reference.

Q. What first inspired you to write your stories?

KME. I can’t not create.

Q. What comes first to you? The Characters or the Situation?

KME. Situation.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

KME. Yes, I have the ability to completely tune the world out when I’m creating.

Q. Who or what is your “Muse” at the moment?

KME. New life experiences.

Q. Do you have a new book coming out soon? If so tell us about it.

KME. Yes, I’m working on a selection of essays about environmental philosophy.

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

KME. I started writing poetry and lyrics in college, and I’ve been writing down story ideas since then. It’s been about 10 years at this point.

Q. How long after that were you published?

A. 10 years.

Q. What makes a writer great?

KME. The ability to distill the world into a story.

Q. and the all-important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like for you?

KME. A ton of $#@!ing work

Q. How has your life experiences influenced your writing?

KME. Quite a bit, but I think imagination is more important than personal experience for storytelling.

Q. Have you or do you want to write in another genre`?

EKE. I want to write in all genres, that’s partly my problem.

Note to Self: (a life lesson you’ve learned.)

KME. Be sure your co-collaborators have similar life goals and take time to figure that out.

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!  April: International adventurer, writer, Tal Gur.  June: Manning Wolfe. July K.M. Ecke. August: Susan Mallery. Coming this winter: Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)

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Interview with legal Thriller writer, Manning Wolfe (part 2)

Q. Do you have a new book coming out soon? If so tell us about it.

MW. Next month, (July) Green Fees, the third legal thriller in the series will be published. It’s about a Russian money lender who uses an evil enforcer to extract repayment of illegal loans. Of course, Merit Bridges works to extricate a young golf pro from the Russian’s grip.

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

MW. I’ve always taken writing seriously.

Q. How long after that were you published?

MW. I’ve had professional material published for years. As for fiction, the Merit Bridges Legal Thriller Series began in 2016.

Q. What makes a writer great?

MW. It’s hard to describe, but when I feel a certain emotion or tone as I write it, readers tend to feel it when they read it.

Q. and the all-important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like for you?

A Night at the Ballet

MW. I carried a mini bottle of champagne around for a year thinking I was going to finish the book any day. Finally, I got to pop it!

Q. How has your life experiences influenced your writing?

MW. I’ve practiced law for many years and use the legal aspects as well as my knowledge of people and their proclivities in my writing.

Q. Have you or do you want to write in another genre`?

MW. Yes, I expect to publish a memoir at some point.

Note to Self: (a life lesson you’ve learned.)

MW. I have witnessed many times that a good person can do a bad thing and change their lives and those around them forever. Those good people deserve a second chance, and in my stories, they often get that chance.   As above, my main character, Merit Bridges talks to me about a situation. That said, all my stories are based on real life legal dilemmas that happened in my law firm. Of course, I take the facts only so far and then explode them into a thriller.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

MW. Often, but I am usually writing from a dual perspective. I can be the writer and the reader at the same time. That way, I can gauge what my audience may enjoy about the story I’m telling.

Did you miss the first part of this writer’s perspective? Click here 
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   April: International adventurer, writer, Tal Gur.  June: Manning Wolfe. Coming this winter: Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick) !

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Interview with author, Larry D. Sweazy (conclusion)

Larry with wife, Rose

   Q. Do you have a new book coming out soon? If so tell us about it.

 LS. Yes, See Also Proof, the third book in the Marjorie Trumaine Mystery series releases May 1, 2018. Marjorie is mourning the loss of her husband. It’s winter in North Dakota. Cold. Snowy. A neighbor’s fourteen year-old disabled daughter disappears, and Marjorie joins the search. I think it’s my most personal Marjorie book to date.

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

LS. I wrote poetry and short stories in high school, and beyond, but I was close to thirty when I started sending out short stories to be published. I sold my first short story in 1993 to a little magazine called Hardboiled for five bucks. That was a great day.

Q. How long after that were you published?

Kassi and Sunny meet a new friend

LS. I realized early on that if I wanted to really make it as writer that I needed to write novels. It took me a long time. I published my first novel in 2009. It was the seventh novel I’d written. I promised myself that I would write ten novels. If I didn’t get published by then, I could quit with my head held up high, knowing that I’d given the dream to be a writer everything I had. Luckily, I didn’t have to quit. Not that I would have anyway…

Q. What makes a writer great?

LS. Always being a student.

Q. and the all-important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like for you?

LS. A year of butt in the chair. Write, revise, walk the dogs a lot, revise more, rewrite more. Let it go when it’s ready, and not until. Writing is a job. I show up every day and write a thousand words, or revise a thousand words a day, or rewrite a thousand words a day, no matter what. I wrote the day of my mother’s funeral. On Christmas. On my birthday. At midnight, and every hour in between. Writing a book is an obsession. If it’s not that way for the writer, then how could the story be and obsession for the reader?

Q. How has your life experiences influenced your writing?

LS. Here’s the thing I learned early on: Life’s not fair. You’ve got a choice to learn from a bad experience or to be bitter about it. One or the other is going to dictate the direction your life takes, how you handle the bad days and the great days. Publishing is a tough business. Being bitter just kills the spirit and the desire to make a go of it, especially when it looks like things are never going to work out…Don’t be bitter no matter what. That will destroy your dreams faster than anything.

Q. Have you or do you want to write in another genre`?

LS. I write westerns and mysteries at the moment. I’m not married to any genre, really. I think the story determines the genre, not the other way around.

Q. Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

LS. I know every day that I’m a lucky guy when I sit down to write. I’ve published fourteen novels, and spent half my life as a published writer all because readers have read my work and liked it. I’m humbled and grateful.

 

Did you miss part 1 or 2: Click here 

SEE ALSO PROOF will be released for sale May 1st. 
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    January: Sue Grafton ~ In Memory  March: Mystery (and Western) writer, Larry D. Sweazy.  April: in60Learning ~ A unique, non-fiction mini-book read in 60 minutes.
                        
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Larry D. Sweazy, Author….Interview (part 2)

Q. What first inspired you to write your stories?

LS. As a kid I played with Hot Wheels cars like a lot of little boys. I liked making up stories about where the cars were going and why. It started there. On the floor as a six year old boy, under the feet of adults, listening to their stories, and to the voices in my head.

Q. What comes first to you? The Characters or the Situation?

LS. Characters. Always.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

LS. Yes. Those are the good days. When the world and time disappears. I hope the writing does the same thing for readers.

Q. Who or what is your “Muse” at the moment?

LS. My muse has always been my desire to become a better writer.

Q. Tell us about writing westerns.

LS. I have always loved westerns. I grew in the 1960s and there were a lot westerns on television. Bonanza, The Wild, Wild West, The Rifleman,

cowboy larry 1968

etc. And we could only get three channels on our little black and white TV in small town in Indiana. Add in that I grew up in a house without a father, those cowboys became my heroes, the good guys who stood up to the bad guys, and showed me who the bad guys were. I needed that. I learned a lot from those westerns.
Time went by, and westerns kind of fell out of favor. Detective stories took over. I grew up and went about my life. After I started writing seriously, an editor asked me to write a mystery short story with a modern-day Texas Ranger as the main character. I’d published in the small press, and this was my first chance to publish professionally in an anthology, Texas Rangers, to be published by Berkley (Penguin Random House). The editor, the venerable Ed Gorman, liked the story, “The Promotion,” and bought it. What I didn’t know was that story was going to be published in a western anthology, not a mystery anthology. And then the magic happened. My first professionally published short story went on to win the WWA (Western Writers of America) Spur Award that year. I was floored. I went to the convention in Spokane, Washington and met a lot of great writers; Elmer Kelton, Don Coldsmith,

Larry is part of ‘and others’

Robert Conley, and Loren Estleman to name a few. Westerns felt like home. I knew the stories and the characters, so I started writing westerns in hopes of getting one published. Three years later, my agent, who I met at that first WWA convention, sold the first two books in the Josiah Wolfe, Texas Ranger series. I went on to write six books in that series, and I’m happy to say the series is still gaining readers today, almost ten years after the first book, The Rattlesnake Season, was published.

The demise of the western has long been forecast, but I don’t believe it. Westerns are mortality tales, crime stories, and the only all-American genre we have. Westerns are like jazz, an American contribution to world of literature. Hollywood still makes westerns and they seem surprised when one of them draws a big audience. But I’m not surprised. Western characters are our people. We know their struggles of their stories. All readers ask is that westerns are authentic and honest. And that’s the kind of novels, and stories in general, that I try to write.

The conclusion to this Interview with Larry will appear March 16th.

Did you miss Part 1? Click here 
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    January: Sue Grafton ~ In Memory.  March: Mystery (and Western) writer, Larry D. Sweazy.  April: in60Learning ~ A unique, non-fiction mini-book read in 60 minutes.
                                                                                   
                                        
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Interview with Western & Mystery Writer, Larry D. Sweazy

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing? Or tell us about your ‘dream’ work space.

LS. I have a dedicated office that I’ve worked in for the last seventeen years. It has a desk, books, and comfy places for my dogs (two Rhodesian ridgebacks) to hang out with me. For years, though, I had a little desk in the bedroom, and wrote wherever I could. I’m not sure a space creates any magic, but it can’t hurt to be surrounded by books and dogs…

Q. Do you have any special rituals when you sit down to write? (a neat work space, sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.)

LS. No, not really. I usually grab a cup of coffee, sit down, and start writing where I left off the day before. That’s boring, but it’s the truth.

Q. Could you tell us something about yourself that we might not already know?

LS. I’ve nearly died twice in my life…third time is a charm has me a little worried.

Q. Do you have a set time each day (or night) to write?

LS. I usually write in the morning, first thing. I try to stay as close to the dream state as I can. But when I’m really in a story, I’ll write whenever I get a chance.

Q. What’s your best advice to other writers for overcoming procrastination?

Kassi and Sunny

LS. Just write the story. Don’t worry about agents, or publishing, or getting famous. Just write. You can’t edit a blank page. Quit coming up with excuses. If your dream is to be a writer, then sit down and write only the story that you can write. If what you write sucks, edit it, or delete it, then keep on writing. Writing is a craft. You have to be willing to put in the time into reading and writing over everything else.

Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters?

LS. Characters are everything for me. I usually get a glimpse of them at the start of a story, and my curiosity drives me to find out more about them. Most of my characters are wounded in some way, looking for a way to prevail over their current circumstances. Marjorie Trumaine, the main character in my amateur sleuth mystery series, is a North Dakota farm wife with a quadriplegic husband. She’s trying her best not to lose the farm, and the local extension agent encourages her to take a correspondence course in back-of-the-book indexing to make extra money. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) used to offer courses like this to farmers to generate extra income. Anyway, Marjorie’s well read, so when a murder happens close by, the sheriff asks her for help. But she still has to figure out how to run the farm and take care of her husband. She has a lot of challenges to overcome. I also wrote a stand-alone a few years ago about an aging Texas Ranger who gets into a shoot-out with Bonnie and Clyde and loses his right arm. That novel, A Thousand Falling Crows, concerns the character’s fight to go on living regardless of the difficulty of his new circumstance. What a character goes through and how they come out of it shows who they are as far as I’m concerned. We all have our battles. Characters that have something to fight for are a big draw to me.

Don’t miss Part 2 of this fascinating Interview March 9th

Marjorie Trumaine’s latest mystery, SEE ALSO PROOF will be released May 1st.
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    January: Sue Grafton ~ In Memory
March: Mystery (and Western) writer, Larry D. Sweazy.  April: in60Learning ~ A unique, non-fiction mini-book read in 60 minutes.
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

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Sue Grafton ~ Interview ~ In Memory

           writers, best selling authors, best sellers, fiction for women  ~~   In Memory ~~      An Interview with Mystery Writer, Sue Grafton  (Part 1)

                      Author,  John D. McDonald died suddenly back in 1986 and took Travis McGee with him.  I owned and had read every book of McDonald’s…..Now what was I supposed to do??  I didn’t read many mysteries (back then) but I was especially fond of Travis and his bear-of-a-man friend, Meyer.   So back in the eighties, (when you shopped at a real bookstore), I looked through the aisles for someone worthy of replacing John McDonald.   There I found “A is for Alibi” with the formidable and quirky, Kinsey Milhone.  I’ve been reading Sue Grafton ever since. 

Now, with Sue’s passing, we have to say goodbye to another great writer who gave us Kinsey Milhone and so many hours of entertainment in reading. In August, 2013, Sue gave me an interview and I thought, as a way of sharing it with my readers, I would post it again in loving memory.  We will miss you, Sue!  TS
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this entry from Sue’s journals;

Dear Shadow . . . Self . . . and Right Brain, Doing everything I can here to make life possible. I’ve abandoned the old story . . . cleaned out my computer . . . sorted and tossed and filed away old notes and articles. Now I need help in launching myself again. Please speak to me. Please let me know where the new book is coming from. I really need your assistance and I’m hoping you’ll spark something so I can get to work.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Love & kisses,

Sue

Response from Shadow Self:   How about an old-fashioned unsolved murder case?  Parents are angry because nothing’s been done.    Case is old & cold, with no new leads coming in.
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Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing?

best sellers, Sue Grafton,

Sue Grafton’s work space

SG. I have an office in both my homes; Montecito, California and Louisville Kentucky.  The two are different in terms of size and style but I can’t tell you that I’m more productive in one than in the other.  I like lots of light.  I like tidiness.  I like space.  I like quiet.  When I’m working my desk is usually a mess, but I do make an effort from time to time to restore order. The creative process is messy enough. I don’t need to look at chaos as well.

Q. Do you have any special rituals when you sit down to write? (sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.)

SG.  Often I do a short stint of self-hypnosis which helps quiet the chatter in my head and helps me focus and concentrate.  I learned the technique from a book on the subject that I got at a book store and it’s been a wonderful way to keep ‘centered’ if you’ll forgive the term.

Q. What is your mode of writing? (long hand? Pencil? Computer? Etc.)

SG. A computer, of course. Which I claim has greatly improved my skills.  In the ‘olden’ days of white out and cutting and pasting, I got hung up on whether the page ‘looked right’. I hated adding anything that forced me to repaginate because I didn’t like all the extra work.  If I deleted 11 lines, I got so I could exactly replace the missing lines with something that would work as well so that I didn’t have to retype everything.  To my way of thinking, this is not the key to writing well. On a computer I can and do write every line over and over until it suits me.  The tinkering is infinite.  I when a line is right and when it’s not, I revise and refine and cut and amend until it sounds right to my inner ear.

Q. Do you have a set time each day to write or do you write only when you are feeling creative?

SG. I’m usually at my desk at 8:00.  I check emails and make a brief visit to my Face Book page where I chat with readers.  I never feel truly creative.  I work until lunch time when I take a short break.  go back until mid-afternoon when I usually take a walk with one of a number of friends.  I work seven days a week because it’s easier to stay connected to the writing.  In completing “W” I worked double-sessions, returning to my desk after dinner.  I cut out our social life.  I nixed all the walks which I found interrupted the work too often.  I didn’t run errands.  I didn’t stop to get my hair cut.

Part 2 of this Interview  Click here

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    December: British writer, J.G. Dow.  January: In Memory, Sue Grafton.
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

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This Author/Blogger has tried her hand at true crime mysteries with great success. There are now eight in the series

Book #7

Interview (part 2) with British Author, J. G. Dow

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

JG. I suppose you can get lost to the extent that you forget what time it is and write for longer than planned. Sometimes you really get caught up in things and laugh at an idea you’ve had or get annoyed at a character for doing a certain thing and so yes, you do get lost in it if you’re properly invested in the book. This is all good I suppose, as you care about what you are coming up with.

Q. Who or what is your “Muse” at the moment?

JG. I don’t really have a muse as such but I like lots of different writers like Bukowski, Hemingway, Salinger and Brautigan for instance and so they inspire me to try and improve all the time I suppose and keep at it!

Q. Do you have a new book coming out soon? If so tell us about it.

JG.I have a sequel to Jane of Manchester out now which is called Jane Once More and it furthers the adventures of Jane as well as developing her life and those of her friends as well and I’m also writing a fantasy type thing but that’s a long way off being finished!

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

JG. In my late twenties I think when I started to write poetry and entered a few competitions (I didn’t win any) That’s when it all got started as far as I can recall.

Q. How long after that were you published?

JG. I am self-published and that is only something I’ve done in recent years. I haven’t been picked up by the traditional publishers.

Q. What makes a writer great?

JG. The ability to have his/her own unique voice and to be able to effect a writer in a way that moves them in some way whether that be laughter or the shedding of a few tears or something else. As long as you can provoke something from people and hopefully tell a good tale along the way.

me and my Mum at Christmas

Q. and the all-important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like for you?

JG. It’s all just a matter of bashing away at the keyboard or typewriter until it’s all done and you are happy with the completed work. It creeps up on you and then one day…wow, I finished it!

Q. How has your life experiences influenced your writing?

JG. Living in Manchester gave me a feel for that particular city and so I could write about it confidently, knowing bars and restaurants etc. Reading helps you know how to write I think and just the process of getting older and learning from mistakes colours what you do quite significantly. All experience helps!

Q. Have you or do you want to write in another genre`?

JG. I have done some science fiction and fantasy type stuff so I do write in a few different genres and I am enjoying writing in the chick-lit/humour genre as well.

at a friend’s home in Yorkshire

Q. Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

JG. I can juggle a bit but I don’t think it will serve me well anywhere down the line! I can’t think of anything else really so I suppose I’ll end there!

 

Did you miss Part 1? Click here

Purchase J.G.Dow’s books

 

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?   October’s author was Donna Kauffman. November: Rita Avaud a Najm. December: English mystery writer, J.G. Dow. 
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

To receive my posts sign up for my blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 
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