LAURIE STEVENS – Battles AI in Her Latest Novel

Laurie Stevens is the author of the Gabriel McRay thriller series. Her books have won twelve awards, including Kirkus Review’s “Best of” and a Random House Editors’ Book of the Month. International Thriller Writers says she’s “cracked the code” regarding writing psychological suspense, while Suspense Magazine claims she’s the “leader of the pack.”

Laurie’s short stories have appeared in many anthologies and magazines, and she co-edited the Sisters in Crime anthology Fatally Haunted. Laurie’s newest novel, THE RETURN (just released in January), pits human consciousness against artificial intelligence.

ELEVATOR PITCH: Completely reliant on automation and artificial intelligence to run their lives, human beings struggle to survive when a war destroys all the power grids across the globe. Pitting human consciousness against AI, The Return is a timely, suspenseful story of human survival, coming-of-age love, and the true power unleashed when our human hearts connect.

Do you write in more than one genre? When I completed the Gabriel McRay psychological suspense series, I thought I was strictly a crime fiction writer. Then, I began researching the tech that’s upcoming (yikes!) and got the idea for The Return, which is not only a sci-fi/fantasy but a Young Adult crossover. Quite a change!

Was it difficult to change genres? Changing genres blew me out of my comfort zone, for sure. I’m working on a psychological suspense stand-alone novel right now, and writing it feels like a visit with an old friend. That said, I really enjoyed exploring the sci-fi and fantasy elements of the new book. I never intended The Return to be YA, but my editor was once a middle-grade English teacher and said, ‘Do you realize you’ve hit all the hallmarks of a YA novel? I would recommend this to my students!”

Your Gabriel McRay novels featured a male detective, and The Return also features a young male protagonist. What’s the most challenging thing about writing characters from the opposite sex? When I first wrote the character of Gabriel McRay, I asked my husband if he hated shaving every day and other things like that, but then Gabriel sort of took over and began writing himself. A creative writing class at UCLA dissected my second book, Deep into Dusk, and most of the students enjoyed the “role reversals,” where Gabriel has a feminine side and his medical examiner girlfriend, Dr. Ming Li, has a masculine side. I swear I didn’t try to switch them up. Aiden Baylor, the protagonist from The Return, is a young man facing the challenges many young men face. Having a son made my job easier, but placing this young man in a future world created its own set of challenges. Teen crushes may never change, but how a kid 75 years from now pursues his interests is another story.

What kind of research did you do? To build a world dependent entirely on automation and tech, I spoke with tech professionals, got my subscription to Wired and other tech magazines, and read fiction books like Blake Crouch’s Upgrade and non-fiction such as The Fourth Age by Byran Reese. In the book The Digital World “Unplugs,” I had to research how people once lived off the land. I don’t mind. I am a research junkie. It’s my favorite part of the writing process.

Tell us a little about your new book. Well, you might have gathered a little info from the previous paragraph. Here’s the logline: Completely reliant on automation and artificial intelligence to manage their lives, human beings learn to survive, bond, and unlock the power of their minds when a war destroys all the power grids across the globe.

Believe it or not, I based the story on a question inspired by the biblical story of Adam and Eve and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Why would God kick Adam and Eve out of Eden because they gained wisdom and awareness? What’s so bad about knowledge? I explore a possible answer in this book.

Do you have any advice for new writers? An acquisitions editor from a publishing house once asked me if I had any vampire manuscripts lying around or perhaps a story about wizards at a boarding school (you can imagine about what year this took place). I said, “No, I have a manuscript about a traumatized Los Angeles male detective, and every case he works triggers a key point in his psychological recovery.” That went over like a lead balloon with this editor. My advice is, you have to make a choice. If being published means the world to you, and an editor asks if you have a vampire manuscript, go home and write one.

If the message in your heart is of utmost importance to you, write it and hope it resonates with the gatekeepers or better yet – the readers.

How do our readers contact you?
You can always see my books at https://lauriestevensbooks.com
To get in touch with me, laurie@lauriestevensbooks.com

THE RETURN is available at:
Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/The-Return-Amazon
Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-return-laurie-stevens/1144524026?ean=9798223883234
Kobo https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-return-250
Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-return/id6474872190
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1497892

Thanks for having me as a guest blogger. It’s been fun!
Laurie

2 Comments

  1. Michael A. Black

    Congratulations on your success, Laurie. You sound like you’ve got some great ideas and books. Your interview was an inspiration. Now I’m going to bow the dust off that unhappy vampire masquerading as a wizard at that boarding school for exceptional youths. 😉 Best of luck to you.

    Reply
  2. Marie Sutro

    Wow!! Sounds like a fantastic story!

    Reply

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KASSANDRA LAMB – The Bittersweet Task of Letting Go of Old Friends (i.e., Characters)

In her youth, Kassandra Lamb had two great passions—psychology and writing. Advised that writers need day jobs—and being partial to eating—she studied psychology. Her career as a psychotherapist and college professor taught her much about the dark side of human nature but also much about resilience, perseverance, and the healing power of laughter. Now retired, she spends most of her time in an alternate universe populated by her fictional characters. The portal to this universe (aka her computer) is located in North Central Florida, where her husband and dog catch occasional glimpses of her.

 

Should auld acquaintance be forgot

The last year has been eventful for Marcia and her husband, Will. They’ve successfully launched their private investigation agency and completed their family with an adorable but creatively energetic baby girl. They’re about to ring in the New Year with friends and neighbors, but there’s something more than champagne bubbling in Mayfair, Florida.

The octogenarian matriarch of the town is always looking for ways to boost the community’s economy. Her latest scheme is the addition of a row of shops along Main Street. But a few of her new tenants have something more nefarious in mind than simply selling their wares.

When old hostilities set off New Year’s fireworks, a shopkeeper ends up dead, and two friends of Marcia’s are prime suspects. Determined to clear them, Marcia and Will—with Buddy’s help, of course—set out to uncover the real Grim Reaper.

I’m ending a mystery series this month for the second time in my writing career. And letting go of old friends, i.e., the series’ characters, is not any easier this time around.

There are lots of good reasons for ending a series, one of them being that the main character(s) have reached the culmination of their character arc. They start out with flaws, issues, neuroses to overcome, and over the course of the series, they mature and grow.

When it gets to the point where those issues are mostly resolved, their arc is complete, and it’s time to let go.

I’m happy for my main characters, Marcia and her husband. Their lives are going well, and they have an adorable baby girl now. I’m happy they will get to enjoy the fruits of their labor. (And I’m excited about the new series I’m starting.)

But on the other hand, it feels like good friends—or maybe grown children would be a better analogy—are moving to the other side of the world. It’s not just that they are going away, but I won’t be keeping in touch with them. I won’t know what’s happening in their lives. No phone calls, no emails, no texts!

And it’s not just the main characters I will miss. These stories were set in a small fictitional Florida town called Mayfair, a town I have grown to love as much as Marcia does.

I’m going to miss all the quirky neighbors—the octogenarian town matriarch who wears brightly colored muumuus and flip-flops, and the regal Black woman, a retired schoolteacher, who lives next door and who always has a pitcher of iced tea in her fridge and some sound advice to offer.

And even more secondary characters—the matriarch’s niece, sweet Susanna Mayfair, who shares Marcia’s love of horses, and her son Dexter, not the brightest bulb in the package but a truly loveable guy. And Marcia’s friends, the Mayfair diner’s owner Jess, and Marcia’s fellow service dog trainer, Carla, and her best friend, Becky. Oh, and Marcia’s mom and her new stepfather.

Most of these characters have also grown and changed over the course of the 13-book series. And I feel like they are my friends and neighbors too.

But I’m leaving them and Mayfair behind. I won’t be able to stroll down its streets again—the fictitious Black Lab Buddy on his leash—waving at folks or stopping to gossip.

Yes, it’s time to let Marcia and her crew have some peace and quiet. No more murderers or other culprits will be coming their way, making life scary and difficult in their little town. I’m happy for them.

But I’m sure gonna miss all those good folks!

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:
WEBSITE: https://kassandralamb.com
BLOG: https://misteriopress.com
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/kassandralambauthor
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/kasslamb/
PINTEREST: https://www.pinterest.com/kassandralamb/
BOOKBUB PROFILE: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/kassandra-lamb
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: http://www.amazon.com/Kassandra-Lamb/e/B006NB5WAI/

BUY LINKS:
AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BRNSP9CM
APPLE: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id6445299219
KOBO: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/auld-lang-mayfair
NOOK: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/auld-lang-mayfair-kassandra-lamb/1142910606?ean=2940166853714

 

6 Comments

  1. Kassandra Lamb

    Thank you so much, George, for having me as a guest.

    Reply
    • George Cramer

      Glad you were able to stop by and share your story with us.

      Reply
  2. Pamela Ruth Meyer

    I enjoyed this emotion-evoking and fun post, Kassandra. Thanks. Your explanation for why you choose to stop writing a series is clear and logical. What do you think of series that don’t seem to quit even after the couple is married with children and happy? For instance, Victoria Thompson’s Gaslight Mysteries Series or some TV shows like Bones. So many still enjoy them–maybe insert here that I still enjoy them–and they have many readers/viewers. Do you think that in these cases, the characters are still growing and changing?

    Reply
    • Kassandra Lamb

      I do think that series are sometimes extended beyond their natural end. Sometimes I can’t help wondering if it’s because the author and/or publisher wants to keep making money off a successful series, so they keep it going when they probably shouldn’t.

      TV shows perhaps fall into a different category. I’m a huge Law and Order, Special Victims fan, and they’re going on their twenty-something season, and it still seems fresh to me…but they’ve had a lot of characters come and go. Those new characters can develop and change, and Olivia Benson and Fin provide the continuity (and they’ve changed as well over the years).

      Reply
  3. Kassandra Lamb

    I always leave the door ever so slightly ajar, Michael. I might very well write another novella or two down the road.

    Reply
  4. Michael A. Black

    Parting is such sweet sorrow… But don’t close the door completely. Maybe, down he road, you’ll find your way back to Mayfair again. Good luck.

    Reply

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DONNA SCHLACHTER – Squeaky-Clean Historical and Contemporary Suspense

A hybrid author, Donna writes squeaky-clean historical and contemporary suspense. She has been published more than 50 times in books; is a member of several writer’s groups; facilitates a critique group; teaches writing classes; ghostwrites; edits; and judges in writing contests. She loves history and research, traveling extensively for both, and is an avid oil painter.

 

A Mommy By Christmas: – A community care center, a calico cat, and Christmas—can a single middle-aged woman bring a town together in time to celebrate the King’s birthday? Can a widowed father find a reason to join in? And can the pair see God at work in their lives?

Do you write in more than one genre? I write both contemporary and historical mysteries, usually sprinkled with romance.

Where do you write? What, if any, distractions do you allow? I usually write at my desk in my basement office, but at least two days a week, I write away from home. Distractions are many when you work from home: cats, laundry, meals, and my hubby across the desk from me.

Tell us about your writing process: I usually start with a short synopsis. Sometimes I write this by hand rather than on the computer. Then I schedule out the chapters to write and what day that will be. I try not to write on the weekends, but if I get behind…well, suffice it to say, the entire household knows when I fall behind.

What are you currently working on? I am working on a historical mystery, the second in my Mail-Order Romance series, released on December 31st. You can find the preorder here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BLZMWNTD

Do you base any of your characters on real people? I love to base my characters on people I know. I’ve learned that folks love to see themselves in print. Sometimes I use their real names—after asking their permission, of course. A Mommy By Christmas has several examples of real people: the veterinarian is named after a friend; the couple that helps my heroine with the dinner are real names of a dear couple; and the veterinarian’s last name is the surname of dear friends whose son died tragically last year.

Do you have any advice for new writers? Never quit. Let the stories flow. Trust God to get them into the hands of those who need to read them.

Groups I’m connected with:
American Christian Fiction Writers
Writers on the Rock,
Pikes Peak Writers,
Christian Women Writers,
Faith, Hope, and Love Christian Writers,
Christian Authors Network

How do our readers contact you?
www.DonnaSchlachter.com Stay connected so you learn about new releases, preorders, and presales, and check out featured authors, book reviews, and a little corner of peace. Plus: Receive a free ebook simply for signing up for our free newsletter!

www.DonnaSchlachter.com/blog

1 Comment

  1. Michael A. Black

    It sounds like you accomplish more in a week than most of do in six months, Donna. Glad to hear you’re knocking out those squeaky-clean mysteries. Best of luck to you.

    Reply

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B. LYNN GOODWIN – Some Thoughts About the How and Why of Writing

B. Lynn Goodwin wrote two award-winning books, a YA called Talent, and a memoir titled Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62, plus author interviews, and book reviews, for WriterAdvice, www.writeradvice.com and Story Circle Network. She writes flash pieces, is an editor and blogger for the San Francisco Writers Conference, and loves helping writers improve.

Some people say that writing restores sanity—not that I’ve ever been insane—but when life’s detritus makes me think crazy thoughts, I use journaling to figure out what’s bothering me. Combine that with fictitious people, made up from bits and pieces of my life, and some high stakes and seemingly insurmountable issues, and I have stories to play with.

I’ve had the privilege of being connected with several groups, from the California Writers Club to Story Circle Network, to Amherst Writers and Artists, to the International Women’s Writing Group (IWWG). In 1997 I wanted to learn from “real” writers, who I defined as published writers. I wanted to ask them questions and give them a reason to share their work, so I published their interviews in a new e-zine I invented before blogs existed. It still exists today, is called Writer Advice, www.writeradvice.com, and it has expanded a great deal over the years.

In addition to keeping Writer Advice going and offering a Manuscript Consultation Service there, I’ve published three books, won some awards, have a fourth book coming out in 2023, and am drafting a fifth one.

My writing process keeps evolving. Most of my stories are character-based. Characters face obstacles, and as soon as they’re resolved, new ones appear. They change as their stories evolve. They also change as I edit over and over, striving for perfection, even though I’ll never achieve it.

My writing process for Writer Advice involves a lot of reading, reviewing, interviewing, researching, and sharing materials so readers have many resources in one place. Being an editor for others helps me find additional flaws to look for in my own work. I usually tell authors what I love and what trips me up. I often suggest edits to make sentences flow better. Because I was raised by an English teacher and taught English and drama in high school and college, correcting grammar and word choice are second nature to me. Of course, the final decision on every suggestion rests with the author.

Disrupted, the YA that will be out in 2023 has subplots. We deal with the impact of an earthquake, a best friend leaving town, a new boy who’s alternately evasive and flirty, a missing father, and the narrator’s need to find a new place to perform the show she’s stage managing. The plots and relationships intensify as opening night gets closer. For this book, the demands of the rehearsal schedule and life weave the elements together.

The future will be whatever it is supposed to be. I plan to keep writing, reading, reviewing, editing, and looking for the right publishers. The future may also include some Op-Eds, and I hope there’ll be more and more Flash Fiction and Flash Memoir in it.

I just completed an interview with a flash writer named Francine Witte, who said it takes a writer a long time to find her voice. I agree. Journalists do it quicker than fiction writers. So do certain non-fiction writers who spend as much time researching as they do writing. Of course, their voice is heavily influenced by the facts and their point of view. There’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes I think it would be easier. So maybe my future will involve more writing where the story comes from life as I see it. My crystal ball is being repaired, so I just can’t be sure.

Having said that, here’s my advice to new writers:

  1. Find your voice or voices.
  2. Write daily—at least five days a week.
  3. Edit freely.
  4. If you break grammar rules, have a reason for it.
  5. Write what you want to write.
  6. Share what you write with supportive fellow authors.
  7. Be aware that there is a difference between advice and judging.
  8. Keep looking at the world and the people in it with fresh ideas.
  9. Fill your life with light and love.
  10. When you need new topics, go to Writer Advice’s Writing Advice page and scroll down to find new prompts. Pick one and see where it takes you. Always remember that no one can tell your story but you.

Thank you, George, for the opportunity to share my experience and ideas with your readers. I appreciate it.

 

 

 

5 Comments

  1. Marisa

    Hi Lynn!

    I can completely relate to this:

    “… when life’s detritus makes me think crazy thoughts, I use journaling to figure out what’s bothering me.”

    I’ve always found writing to be a great way to escape the trials and tribulations of life or as a way to examine them in a safe setting, without the pressure of others around. I also get a huge kick out of writing, even when it’s hard, and it’s fun to do something one loves.

    I love your list, too. It has some great advice on it. Looking forward to checking out your website! 🙂

    Reply
  2. Michael A. Black

    This is full of some great advice for writers, Lynn. Thanks for sharing your tips and best of luck on your new book. Thanks, too, for all you do for other writers.

    Reply
  3. Bruce Lewis

    This is an inspiring piece from B. LG. I especially liked her thought about combining bits of life with fiction. My books are full of such bits. It’s so much fun. Kudos for all she does for writers. Lots of good advice. Nice interview, George.

    Reply

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MARISA FIFE – Registered Nurse / Medical Editor / Public Health Writer

MARISA FIFE holds a BS in Pre-Veterinary & Animal Science from the University of Massachusetts and a BSN in Nursing from Johns Hopkins University. Her work experiences have led her from monitoring songbirds for biological surveys to rehabilitating wildlife to caring for Oncology patients on bone marrow transplant floors.

Her first fiction short story, The Woman in Brown, was published in 2022.

The Woman in Brown is a historical suspense short story set in America in the 1930s about two damaged people on the run trying to escape the clutches of a cold-blooded killer.

Do you write in more than one genre? I like exploring many genres, my favorites being mystery, suspense, fantasy, romance, and westerns. I also love a good horror-comedy. I also enjoy writing for different audiences, such as adults and children. Everything’s fun to explore, really.

What are you currently working on? A quirky contemporary fantasy/mystery novel and a historical mystery novella. Then revisions, revisions, revisions on my 2022 writing projects.

Who’s your favorite author? Laurie R. King, author of the Mary Russell series, the first of which is The Beekeeper’s Apprentice. I’ve been hooked on this series since I was a teen and can’t recommend it enough.

Do you outline, or are you a pantser? I do a little of both as needed. When I first start writing a story, the planning stage involves a lot of brainstorming and organic free writing. I add in structure with an outline, but I’m not afraid to switch up that outline as needed, depending on how the story is proceeding. This allows me freedom while also keeping my feet on the ground.

What kind of research do you do? If I’m writing about a real-world place, I try to go there and take in how it is and what perceptions I have while I’m in it. Then most of my research moves online. I review newspapers and magazines and try to keep to verified historical sources when seeking facts about a particular time or place. If it’s a story set in contemporary times, I’ll watch news clips from the last few years to see what’s going on in that area or read first-hand accounts from people who live in that location if they are available.

If it’s not a real-world place, I base my fantasy settings on a mashup of actual places in the world or someplace made up that pops into my mind based on my experiences. Movies are also a fun place to find possible fantasy settings, characters, and storylines. Lastly, I read a few current books in whatever genre that I’m writing in to get a feel for what’s trending out there and why it trends.

What is the best book you have ever read? Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I think it holds a warning to humankind that is still relevant today in our age of ground-breaking scientific and technological innovation.

Groups I belong to:
Mystery Writers of America
Sisters in Crime
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

How do our readers contact you?
Readers may contact me at www.marisafife.com.
My short story, The Woman in Brown, is available on Amazon as an ebook, audiobook, and paperback here.

6 Comments

  1. Pamela Ruth Meyer

    Marisa, it came as no surprise to me that you ‘explore’ so many genres in your writing after reading your bio. You have ‘explored’ so many professional careers in your professional life! This post was great fun to read. Are you thinking of expanding the WOMAN IN BROWN to novel length?

    Reply
    • Marisa

      Hi Pamela,

      Thank you for your kind words! And yes, I was thinking of doing a story with the same characters following THE WOMAN IN BROWN, or it could be a full novel. I will think about that! 🙂

      Reply
  2. Michael A. Black

    It sounds like you have a lot of really cool ideas about subjects to write about. Bless you for caring for the ill and for the injured animals. I’ll have to check out the Woman in Brown. Good luck.

    Reply
    • Marisa

      Hi Michael,

      Thank you so much! I’ve been very fortunate to be able to work in these fields. I hope you enjoy the story 🙂

      Reply
  3. Karen A Phillips

    What a fascinating career Marisa Fife has had! And her book “The Woman In Brown” sounds equally fascinating. I will add it to my TBR list.

    Reply
    • Marisa

      Hi Karen,

      It has been fascinating! Thank you very much, and I hope you enjoy the story. 🙂

      Reply

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BARBARA EMODI – Cozy Mysteries from Nova Scotia

 Barbara Emodi writes sewing and craft-related cozy mysteries based in Nova Scotia, Canada, where she lives. She travels frequently and writes in the winter in Austin, Texas, and Berkeley, California.

For many years Barbara led a double life. Publicly she was a journalist, radio commentator, government strategist, and public relations professor. In her private life, she wrote and sewed for herself and her family, immediate and extended. She has published two books about garment construction.
Often when Barbara sewed, she thought of the people she’d met and the stories she could tell and of the things she knew and the things she suspected. As a result, she now writes mysteries for people who make things on the premise that those who create can investigate. A sewing pattern, a knitting stitch, a missing person, a dead body––to her mind, understanding them all requires the same skill set. Crafting for Murder is the first in a series.

Crafting for Murder – Seamstress, crafter, and empty-nester Valerie Rankin has plans to open a crafter’s co-op that will put Gasper’s Cove, Nova Scotia, on the tourist guide map. But one month before the opening day photo shoot, she still has to pin down a venue, patch up the family business, iron out corruption in town council, and unravel why anyone who tries to help her ends up dead. It’s a lot, even for a woman who’s used to making something out of nothing. But with the help of her Golden Retriever, an ex-con who loves cats, and a community of first, second, and third cousins, she just might pull it off.

Crafting for Murder will be released on February 25, 2023, and will be available through all the usual outlets and on pre-order here.

My responses to some interesting questions:

What brought you to writing? I’ve written for a living, journalism, and things like that, my whole life. But that’s calling-a-cab-writing. You know you have a job and a word count. You write it, and you file it. But then I ended up working for a public figure who needed a column written for the newspaper at home. He asked me to write it. I remember one afternoon typing out, “My father was a coal miner…” with tears on my face, and then I thought, “Hang on, Barbara, your father was a pharmacist.” This gave me the idea I could write fiction.

Do you have subplots? If so, how do you weave them into the novel’s arc? I write cozy mysteries. I chose this genre because I feel completely unqualified to write about sex or violence. In a cozy mystery, characters are extremely important. The readers tend to be folks who are interested in people they can identify with. It seems to me as a writer that if you get too linear with crime-clues-solving the mystery, the story can get very procedural and factual—hard to slip in character development in a steady way. So, I use subplots as little side stories that give space to show who the characters are. Also, let’s face it, even cozies involve bad stuff like death and betrayal, etc. I think that can get tiring for someone sitting down with a cup of tea looking for a diversion, so I also like to use subplots to build platforms, generally using humor as a resting place for the reader every now from the action. The subplots involve secondary characters, and these are percolating alongside stories that surface about every 4-7 chapters. I also like two subplots, one that is funny and one that has the main character struggling, and we hope, eventually, overcoming a weakness or vulnerability.

Do you base any of your characters on real people? I don’t think I could write if I didn’t. In fact, to get into the story, I generally have someone in mind when I develop a character. I keep myself from being sued by using the traits of several people mixed up into one. My siblings like to read what I write because they can pick up mannerisms and expressions and know where I got them. I did describe one living room, however, as “decorated in the style of furniture from dead relatives combined with impeccable housekeeping …” Remind me not to give my across-the-street neighbor a copy of the book.

Do you outline, or are you a pantser? Ha, ha, ha. By disposition, I have a mind like a squirrel cage, so I make multiple cards with what I think are great details or ideas and then try to fit them into some kind of plot line. I work hard at it, and it wears me out to plot, and I hate it. But I try because I know it’s not easy to get somewhere if you don’t know where you’re going. So, I have an elaborate plot all written out before I start. I never look at it or refer to it again. At halfway, I realize I am writing a totally unrelated story, so I stop and make a whole new plot to fit. I guess I am a pantser who creates a workable plot in the middle of the book. It’s a system that wastes the maximum amount of time.

Where do you place your settings—real or fictional locations? Real, completely real; only the names have been changed. I write about small communities in Nova Scotia, which are by definition stranger than fiction anyway, so they are the perfect setting for my writing. Interestingly, the most accurate parts are the ones people not from here might query. I had one editor tell me that she couldn’t stand the fact that everyone in my book was related, “and yet another cousin appears….” I read her email on the way out the door to the wedding of my niece to my son-in-law’s nephew. I had no idea what she was talking about.

Looking to the future, what’s in store for you? I started late in the game but couldn’t have written fiction earlier as I consider my life up to now just gathering material. That said, all I want to do now is get it into as many books as I can.

Do you have any advice for new writers? Although fiction is pretend, it must come from an authentic place. Be as authentic as possible; don’t try to be, or sound, like someone else. You might think the real you isn’t all that interesting, but the real always is. When you can access that, you are in the zone. Trust your subconscious. Sometimes stuff is thrown up from somewhere onto the page when you are in the zone you hardly recognize, except for the fact it just sounds right, and like you. Don’t try too hard or labor too much. Go for the glide.

Groups I belong to:

Sisters in Crime

Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter

Readers can learn more about me at my website https://babsemodi.com and sign up for my newsletter there too.

I love to hear from readers, and they can contact me directly at babsemodi@gmail.com

3 Comments

  1. Pamela Ruth Meyer

    I loved this interview. Thank you, George and Barbara.
    Barbara’s sense of humor is delightful, and I laughed into my morning coffee more than once reading this. I’m heading off to buy the book… if for nothing more than to find out how a golden retriever can be an ex-con. So intriguing!
    All the Best,
    Pamela Ruth

    Reply
  2. Donnell Ann Bell

    Oh, from one mind like a squirrel cage to another, I loved this interview, Barbara. I created a character of a woman I met years ago. She wore a full-length mink coat with tennis shoes. Had to use it. Inspiration strikes at the most interesting of time.

    Reply
  3. Michael A. Black

    Nice interview, guys. I love the idea of a seamstress solving murders. MY mother did a lot of sewing and was also a talented artist. I think there are a lot of similarities to crafting a garment and writing a novel. Good luck and keep stitching out those plots.

    Reply

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