I managed nearly 600 words on a just-for-fun project yesterday, which is pretty good considering the massive case of spring fever I had. I seem to have my seasons backward. I get the seasonal depression in the summer, and I get the spring fever that has me wanting to be outside having fun in the fall. Today it's kind of cloudy, which signals writing time for me, so maybe I'll be able to focus and work.
In the meantime, I've got another Girlfriends Cyber Circuit guest, Linda Gerber, author of Death by Latte, which is described as a modern romantic mystery/suspense in the tradition of Victoria Holt (and that means it's probably right up my alley). Aphra Connolly has been living a quiet existence on her father’s secluded island resort, until Seth Mulo turns up and steals her heart… and provides information that leads her to find her mom in Seattle. But the reunion isn’t quite what she expected. Aphra’s mom, Natalie, doesn’t seem happy to see Aphra, and Natalie’s boyfriend, Joe, insists that Aphra go home. Even worse, Seth shows up, only to ask her to return the ring he had given her that summer. At least Natalie’s good-looking neighbor is sympathetic. But when Joe is found dead at a nearby coffee shop, Aphra discovers her whole trip to Seattle has been based on a lie. And now someone just might be trying to kill her. . . .
Now, the interview:
What inspired you to write this book?
Beyond being contracted to write the next book in the series (a real motivator!) I found while writing the first book, DEATH BY BIKINI, that my main character Aphra has some real holes in her life that she wants filled. One of those holes is understanding why her mom chose her career over her daughter. Aphra needed some answers and in DEATH BY LATTE she moves one step closer to getting them.
Describe your creative process.
At heart I'm more of a pantser than a plotter but because I've sold the past few books on proposal, I've had to learn to outline in order to hand in a cohesive synopsis. This doesn't mean I never deviate from the outline. I do! It just means that a lot more creative process is happening on the front end these days. Characters still elbow their way in or change their minds about what they were going to do and new plot lines pop up while others fall away completely, but do have a better idea of where I'm headed if I outline first.
I try not to revise as I go because for me that's self-defeating and really slows me down. A few years back I sat in a workshop by Jenny Crusie where she challenged attendees, "Don't look down!" In other words, keep going, don't lose your momentum by self-editing and second-guessing. Just let the creative energy flow and let the story out. Then you can edit. (This was before her book by the same name with Bob Mayer. She must have really liked the phrase!) I started following her advice and found that for me, this was a much more effective way to work. YMMV.
Do you have any writing habits or rituals?
I have to have plenty of Diet Coke available, even in the early morning. And although I love music for setting the mood, I can't have it playing while I'm writing because I always have to sing along, and that can be a wee bit distracting.
How much, if anything, do you have in common with your heroine?
Aphra and I both have dark hair. And we both really like Seth. But she's a lot gutsier than I am.
Who was your favorite mystery sleuth as a young reader -- or did you have one?
I had an entire collection of Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon!
(Let's hear it for Trixie! She far too often gets left in the shadow of that Nancy chick.)
If a latte can be deadly, what's your preferred form of caffeine delivery?
Diet Coke. (See above...)
Chocolate: dark or milk?
Is there even a question? Dark!
What are you working on now?
I just completed the final edits on the next book in the series, DEATH BY DENIM (May '09) and am working on a stand-alone paranormal that will hit the shelves Summer '10.
Is there anything else you'd like to say about this book or the process of writing it?
Sure! I'd like to give a shout out to the Seattle area RWA whose members were very generous with their time and graciously answered every question I could throw at them. I owe them big time.
Linda's also holding a cyber launch party on her blog, starting today. Here's a video about it. And, you can buy the book from Amazon.