A Movable Feast

Many thanks to fellow mystery writer Erin Hart for introducing me to this blog tour. I’ve always enjoyed and respected Erin’s work, a series of mysteries buried deep in Ireland. Her newest, the fourth Nora Gavin/Cormac Maguire novel, is THE BOOK OF KILLOWEN. Check out her website for a peek at this latest good read.

What am I working on?

After the release in June of my third mystery, WHO BOMBED THE TRAIN?, I’m letting the writing portion of my brain lie fallow for a while. Warm weather months in Minnesota are few and far between. I don’t want to miss them. Besides, my daughter is getting married in July. It’s a special time. I want to be fully present.

Which is not to say that the theme of the next Skeeter Hughes mystery isn’t rattling around in the back of my mind. It’s likely I’ll begin putting thoughts to paper (electrons to the screen?) in the fall.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

A flexible schedule is one of the perks of my job as a writer of fiction. Another is that I can choose my own niche in the mystery genre. I’ve chosen a newspaper reporter as a protagonist. That’s not all that unusual, especially given all the out-of-work news reporters turned authors. By my reporter is different from other women sleuths because she has a life that complicates her work. And work that complicates her life.

 As a mother of two daughters and wife of an often-absent husband, Skeeter Hughes faces the conflict that so many women face today. When she’s at work she worries about what she’s missing at home. When she’s at home she fears her work, which is important to her, is suffering. I’ve heard from many readers who appreciate Skeeter’s never-ending juggling act and use it to take lessons, for good or bad, to apply to their own lives.

Why do I write what I do?

I was first paid for my reporting when I was the 16-year-old correspondent from my high school for the local suburban newspaper. (Ten cents a column inch.) I have journalism in my blood, probably even entwined somewhere in my DNA. When the St. Paul Pioneer Press refused to pay for my car, which was firebombed while I covered a riot, it decided to get a new gig. Writing about a reporter is my way to stay in journalism without all the attendant indignities.

I write mysteries because that’s what I like to read. I enjoy the puzzle, the exercise of putting all the pieces together. However, I don’t write a lot of gory details (ok, maybe few, but not a lot) because I don’t like to read that stuff.

How does your writing process work?

Process is a bit high falutin’ for what I do. Plus, I’ve done it differently for each of my three books. In the first one, WHERE’S BILLIE?, I had no idea how it was going to evolve. I just sat down each day and let my fingers do their thing on the keyboard. For the second, WHOSE HAND?, I knew the solution to the mystery when I began to write. The tricky part was getting from the beginning to the ending. It’s that middle that always gets me. For my most recent mystery, WHO BOMBED THE TRAIN?, I was far more organized. I worked with a computer program called Scrivener, which I highly recommend. The program provides many ways to organize your work, including virtual three-by-five index cards that can be moved on a virtual bulletin board.

People sometimes ask me how I organize my writing time. On a perfect day, I have breakfast and a thorough read of the newspapers then slide into my chair at the Mac by 10 a.m. Steaming coffee at my side, I work feverishly until about 2 p.m. when I realize I’m hungry. But that’s a perfect day. We all know there’s no such thing as perfection.  I seldom work on weekends.

Next week, on Monday, June 23, the blog tour will move to E. Kelly Keady, an attorney who received an Independent Publisher Honorable Mention for best Mystery/Suspense/Thriller and a Reviewer’s Choice for Midwest Book Review for The Cross of St. Maro.  

            Publisher's Weekly called his  second mystery,  The Fall of St. Sebastian  “….a fast-moving suspense yarn that reads like a good season of the TV show 24." Check out his website