CH. The next book in the Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries, ETCHED IN TEARS, releases on November 28, 2017. It’s available for pre-order now. Here’s the back-cover copy:
When a famous glass artist is found murdered at his own exhibit, deadly secrets are put on display, and it’s up to glass shop owner Savannah Webb to
see through a killer’s cover. . . Celebrated glass artist Dennis Lansing is returning to St. Petersburg, Florida, for an exhibit at the world-renowned Salvador Dali Museum. His unique style of embedding document images in his art is at the vanguard of contemporary glass-work. But as Savannah’s first boyfriend and a former apprentice to her father, Dennis’s return home has her reflecting on the past–a trip down memory lane that takes a dark turn when Dennis is found murdered at the museum with an old reference letter from her father in his pocket. A search through her father’s records sheds new light on Dennis’s history, but it seems his present life wasn’t so transparent either. Now, with a gallery of suspects to consider, it’s up to Savannah to figure out who fits the mold of a murderer.
Q. When did you begin to write seriously?
CH. The first step I took to establish writing as my new career was in April of 2005. I attended the Malice Domestic Conference. It is an annual fan convention in the metropolitan DC area that celebrates the traditional mystery, books best typified by the works of Agatha Christie. I found my tribe! The authors were friendly, sociable, and helpful to aspiring writers. I never looked back from that conference.
Q. How long after that were you published?
CH. My first book was released in September of 2015. A mere decade was all it took from my first writing attempts to holding my first book in my hands. I’m now on my second contract with Kensington Books and that means that there will be at least six books in the Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery Series.
Q. What makes a writer great?
CH. A great writer provides a great reading experience. I continuously aim to improve my writing skills by taking classes, workshops, and participating in critique groups.
Q. ……and the all important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like for you?
CH. The first thing I decide is where the body will be found, who will find it and what is the cause of death. After that, I begin sketching out the main events that eventually expands into a synopsis of about 12-14 single-spaced pages. This gets submitted to my publisher as part of my contract. Next, I break up the synopsis into a scene-by-scene outline that I document in an Excel spreadsheet. Each scene is a chapter in my manuscript, so I spend some time noting the time that will pass, the location of the scene and the point of view character for each chapter.
At this point, I am usually itching to start the first draft. From this point on, I update the spreadsheet as I go. Even though I am a confirmed outliner, I leave creative room while I’m writing to take advantage of those flashes of inspiration that occur while I’m laying down that first draft. After I type ‘THE END’ and enjoy a glass of bubbly, I immediately start a revision pass from the notes I written during the first draft. Then I share the beginning chapters with my in-person critique group and start another round of revisions. Then I send the manuscript to my literary agent as well as an independent editor for a development edit.
When I’ve received their comments, I revise for at least three more passes and then it goes to my editor at Kensington. She will also have great suggestions for making the story stronger and I incorporate them. The next step is to work with a copy editor to make sure that there are no technical errors or plot inconsistencies. I’m forever leaving someone in the next room and then they magically appear in a conversation. The last step is when I received the hard copy galley images for a final check. This is where I use a ruler to check every single line of print in the book. There’s no turning back after that – in a few months I’ll be holding it in my hands.
Q. How has your life experiences influenced your writing?
CH. The Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries are set in St. Petersburg, Florida. I’ve lived here since 1975 and am considered nearly-native. The arts are a big part of the culture of this city as well as outdoor cafés and magnificent museums. Many residents live, work and entertain themselves by walking the charming streets of the waterfront downtown area. I’ve also been working in the glass arts with my husband for over twenty years. He’s the craftsman. I am the designer. We have a small glass studio in a building behind our house. I have a workbench of my own for my jewelry making efforts. I’m also in the middle of creating a lampshade. These skills are the basis of my character’s teaching efforts in her shop.
Q. Have you or do you want to write in another genre`?
CH. I’m working on a proposal for a historical novel series. In 1954, Harriet Buchanan graduates with a PhD in Physics from Georgia Tech. However, the only job she can get in her hometown of Marietta, GA is secretary for the Simulator Training department at Global Aircraft Corporation. She doesn’t merely type technical reports – she understands and corrects them. Christine uncovers a fatal flaw in an engine algorithm, but her boss doesn’t believe her. She pairs up with test pilot Andy Anderson to prove her theory to prevent a crash of the C-130 aircraft on its first flight. Hopefully, the series will find a publishing home soon – I can’t wait to write about Harriet’s challenges.
Q. Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?
CH. You can reach me at my website: www.cherylhollon.com also on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/cherylhollonwriter
The best writing advice I’ve ever been given: Finish the book!
Did you miss Part 1 of this Interview?
MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with best-selling AUTHORS! Did you miss the past few months? June: Mehreen Ahmed. July: Janet Macleod Trotter, author of Tea Planter’s Daughter and in August we say ‘hello’ to Cheryl Hollon.
Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!