My favorite authors are British, and include Agatha Christie, Dick Francis, PD James, and MC Beaton. My favorite American writer is Rex Stout. I'm drawn to amateur sleuths who are eccentric and have endearing personality flaws.
Describe your desk
My desk is my king-sized bed. I usually pull out loose-leaf books of compiled information (cruise schedules, menus, character descriptions, song lyrics, etc.) from under my bed and stack them on my husband's side. I prop my laptop on my knees (with a pillow underneath), and I play old Midsomer Murder episodes on my bedroom TV. I really like to hear British accents while I write.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My next book, The Singing Sleuth Meets his Matches, is going to take place on a singles' cruise. I learned a lot about online dating after my husband passed away two years ago. The dating scene, especially for people in their 50's and 60's, can be rewarding, frightening, and even dangerous. I hope to let my readers know (within my mystery) what kind of people should be avoided and those that should be given a second look. I found and married a very special man who I met on Christian Mingle
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love all aspects of writing. Before I start writing, I do quite a bit of research. For my latest book, I read books and articles about online dating, single cruises, romance scams, personality types, dating/mating quizes, addictions, etc. With that material at hand, I launch into actual writing. I think I feel the best when the words just flow or an elusive word comes to mind. I usually write straight through, from start to finish. The third step in my writing process is the proofreading portion. Although, it can sometimes take me 3 or 4 months to complete, I find it relaxing and enjoyable. The words are all there. I just need to make sure that the sentences are rhythmic and concise. .
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Coffee, my husband's smile, the view from my bedroom window, and a to-do list.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Before I retired, I worked at a major bank and mortgage company. Now, I belong to a knitting and crochet circle at my church and volunteer at a neighborhood hospital. I know it sounds terribly boring and "old fashion." I guess it's one of the reasons that I love researching, writing, and watching murder mysteries. There's nothing like assigning dark secrets and unhappy pasts to innocent people from everyday life. When I'm not studying people, I bake desserts, plan vacations, and try to enjoy each moment of my life.
What is your writing process?
I think cozy murder mysteries are the easiest books to write. They make sense. There's a killer, a victim, six or seven suspects who had a reason to want the victim dead, a weapon of some kind, and a charming or eccentric sleuth to solve the crime. Before I start to write, I pick a setting, develope my characters, and give each a motive to kill and access to the murder weapon. Since my hero "sings" in every chapter, and uses those lyrics to help him decipher clues, it's necessary for me to have plenty of music on hand. Those song lyrics have also helped me to go in more creative directions than I had intended. I write in order from beginning to end, but I have been known to let my characters take over from time to time.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
In my teens, I read every Agatha Christie book. But, I fell in love with murder mysteries at a much earlier age. When I was seven or eight, I used to watch old movies on TV with my father (who was a school principal). On Saturday mornings, one channel in New York City showed Sherlock Holmes movies with Basil Rathbone as Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson. My favorite movie was the Hound of the Baskervilles, and I remember to this day the lonliness of the moor and the howl of the hound. There was something so calming about Sherlock's logic and his clear British accent. When I grew older, I also learned to value the "happy" and just endings of murder mysteries.
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