About the Author
A Carol Award and two-time Christy Award-finalist, Joanne Bischof writes deeply layered fiction that tugs at the reader’s heartstrings. She was honored to receive the SDCWG Novel of the Year Award in 2014 and in 2015 was named Author of the Year by the Mount Hermon Writer’s conference. Her 2014 novella This Quiet Sky broke precedent as the first self-released title to final for the Christy Awards. She lives in the mountains of Southern California with her husband and their three children.
The Interview: The Lady and the Lionheart
1. How did you decide on a title for your novel?
Originally I just called the story Lionheart but as my agent and I were putting together a proposal, I gave it a new title, one that seemed fitting for a historical romance. But that new title just wasn’t right. My agent suggested we keep trying and she was right. After a few days of back and forth ideas, I threw out The Lady and the Lion Tamer. It was close, and certainly intriguing, but it was missing something—the heart of the story—which isn’t Charlie’s occupation, but his very spirit. That’s when The Lady and the Lionheart fell into place…just the perfect fit.
2. How did you decide to write this novel in the Victorian-era vs another era?
I adore the Victorian-era and when this story came to me, mixed with its vintage circus elements and all the quirks and mysteries that entailed, I started to peruse a lot of old fashioned Victorian circus photos and fashions. The time frame, culture, and even way of dress all play a key role in the plot, so setting the scene as 1890 really served the story well.
3. Can you tell us a bit about the "behind the scenes" to writing the novel?
I’d love to! The story idea came like a freight train and I wrote it very quickly. Because of that, there wasn’t time to research all the aspects that would be needed before writing. But I also couldn’t stop the story from coming—aching to be put onto paper, so in some ways it was like flying blind. I ordered all the books I would need but by the time most of them arrived, the story was already 50,000 words strong after just two weeks. It meant that I used a lot of place holders or sort of “guessed” as to what would work in any particular spot, particularly having to do with the historic circus. Online research was my biggest help in those days as it gave a clear and concise direction which helped that initial foundation to be pretty stable. But when all the books arrived, I was able to devour those and incorporate nips and tucks into the manuscript to enrichen the story and keep things as accurate as possible. I spent the next two years polishing the novel, which lent a lot of time to continually find new research books and I ended up making little changes all the way up to the end—sort of like the sharpening a spear—giving it a finer, and finer tip until it was perfect.
4. What was the hardest part about writing this novel? Easiest part?
The hardest part was chapter 27 when Charlie is faced with a great temptation. It’s such a complicated scene that by the time I wrote it, I sent it along to my agent as the very first piece of the story she saw. I was incredibly nervous as to what she would think because it tells a complex part of the story and I didn’t know if it would be too much for Christian readers. It turned out that my agent wrote right back saying that she read the whole chapter with her jaw dropped and wanted to know what I thought about us using that exact chapter to present the story to publishers. I was so surprised and honored. More importantly, her faith in that scene and the story as a whole gave me a fresh wave of strength to press on toward the end.
The easiest part? That would definitely be writing a book starring Charlie Lionheart. For those of you who’ve read the book, you understand. :) He is by far my favorite character and while I love all the characters I get to write about, there will never be another one quite like him.
5. If The Lady and the Lionheart was made into a movie, what actor/actress would you want to play the leads?
Ah, great question! I confess that I don’t know of any actors or actresses that come to mind for this. I have faces in mind, which I have pinned to the Pinterest board. But as far as acting talent, that’s a great question! I’d love to know if any readers who’ve read the books have any ideas come to mind!
6. What do you want your readers to take away from reading The Lady and the Lionheart?
My greatest hope is for them to walk away with the Gospel fresh on their minds. That through reading Charlie’s story, they would think on a hero that’s a million times more remarkable than he is – Jesus Christ. Through this story of Charlie’s love and sacrifice, my prayer is that readers will feel afresh what Christ did for them on the cross. How He came to set His children free and give them new life.
About the Author
Krysten Lindsay Hager writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends...Forever?, Next Door to a Star, Landry in Like, and Competing with the Star (The Star Series: Book 2). Her work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Bellbrook Times, and on Living Dayton.
1. How did you get started as an author? What or whom inspired you?
I’ve been writing stories when I was a kid and began attending writing conferences in college. I was particularly inspired by some of my favorite young adult and middle grade writers like: Judy Blume and Ann M. Martin.
2. How many novels have you written and in what genres?
I have published five so far: True Colors, Best Friends…Forever?, Landry in Like, Next Door to a Star, and Competing with the Star. I write for several genres: young adult, middle grade, new adult, and women’s fiction.
3. How do you choose the names for the characters in your stories?
Landry was the name of one of my mom’s students and she thought it was cute. What’s funny was she told me Landry’s best friend was named Krysten. The last name, Albright, was because of Madeline Albright and the middle name, Lilyanne, is a combo of my grandma’s name (Lillian) and my mother’s middle name (Anne). Some of the names came from looking at the baby announcements in the Flint Journal newspaper like India, Ashanti, Devon and I picked the name Peyton because it is a friend’s daughter’s name. I also hold contests where I use names of winners or their kids in the stories. You can find me putting in family names and friend names as brands, stores, or restaurants.
4. What is your current WIP (Work in Progress)?
I’m working on the 4th book in the Landry’s True Colors Series as well as a YA novel called, Dating the It Boy about a girl dating a senator’s very popular son.
5. If you could choose someone famous to star in one of your books made to a movie, who would you choose and for which character? (Possibly share a link to an image of this famous star).
If any of the Landry’s True Colors Series books was made into a movie then I would want Ross Lynch to play Vladi Yagudin. China Anne McClain could play Ashanti, I picture Victoria Justice as Yasmin McCarty, Ciara Bravo as Thalia, and I go back and forth on who I’d have play Landry.
6. What inspired the idea for True Colors?
The idea came back when I was in the 6th grade and wanted to write a book about a group of best friends. However, when I got older I realized the story would be more interesting if one of the friends (Landry) also felt like she was on the outside looking in and questioning if she had to conform to be in the group versus being herself. I think a lot of us go through that in our teen years.
7. What other hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
I love to read, explore new areas, watch movies and documentaries, and go shopping! I can spend hours wandering in a bookstore, too.
About the Author
Cindy Vincent, M.A. Ed., is the award-winning author of the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Capers, a mystery series for kids and cat-lovers that features the adventures of two black cat detectives. And yes, as she is often asked, Cindy used her own black cats, Buckley and Bogey, as the inspiration for the series, since they seem to run surveillance on her house each and every night. Cindy is also the creator of the Mysteries by Vincent murder mystery party games and the Daisy Diamond Detective Series games for girls, along with the Daisy Diamond Detective novels, which are a spin-off from the games. She lives in Houston, TX with her husband and an assortment of fantastic felines. Cindy is a self-professed “Christmas-a-holic,” and usually starts planning and preparing in March for her ever-expanding, “extreme” Christmas lights display every year . . .
1. What does your writing process look like?
Ha! My first reaction to this question would be, “It does not look pretty!” (Of course, that’s a more literal answer . . .) I can’t even tell you how many late night hours I’ve spent sitting at the computer in my pajamas, with bags under my eyes and hair sticking out like Medusa . . . In fact, I had gum surgery during the time when I was writing The Case of the Crafty Christmas Crooks. The surgery left bruises on my cheeks and made my face swell up like a chipmunk for two weeks, but I still had to keep typing away to meet my deadline. Years ago, someone told me they thought writing was such a glamorous profession. Let me tell you, I have yet to see all that glamour . . . J
In any case, to answer what you’re really asking here, my writing process depends on starting small, sometimes with just a concept, and then I constantly build on that. I might pump out a few “starter chapters,” just to let me build some more on my theme and develop the characters better. Then I toss those chapters, return to my original concept, develop it some more, and go back to building again until I’ve got what feels right to me. I especially love plotting, and I can spend hours figuring out how I want a plotline to go, so that it comes full circle. I also believe a lot of my process depends on Divine Intervention, because many times, it seems like ideas pop into my head from out of nowhere, and I feel blessed beyond measure.
2. How long does it typically take you to write a novel?
This varies greatly, and it really depends on what else I have going on in my life at the time. For instance, when I ran a full-time business, I was somewhat limited on writing time. But typically it takes me about six months to write a Buckley and Bogey book or a middle-grade novel. Grown-up novels are a different ballgame, and can take up to a year to write. I love those times when I can fully immerse myself in a novel and write without interruption. That’s when I can really burn rubber on the keyboard.
3. What is your current WIP (work in progress)? What can you tell us about this project?
Actually, I have a couple different projects going right now. I just finished up with the first book in a new mystery series for grown-ups, the Tracy Truworth, Apprentice P.I., 1940s Homefront Mysteries, due out this fall. The first title in the series is called Bad Day for a Bombshell, and it’s a historical cozy mystery novel, with equal emphasis on both history and mystery. (And a smidgeon of romance added in.) Yet even though it’s set in WWII, (which is a serious subject), this book is written with a bit of levity in spots, to keep it true to the cozy mystery genre. I’ll start working on book number two in the series soon. Right now I’m in the process of developing the plotline.
Then, I also have another Buckley and Bogey book outlined. This one is using our newest family member, a calico kitten named Amelia, as the inspiration. And believe me, every day she gives me more and more material to write about! I always have so much fun writing the boys’ books!
4. Where is your favorite place to write? Do you have a specific place or can you write anywhere?
I do most of my writing in my home office, which I painted a gorgeous shade of green. Then I hung drapes with a black background and large, bright quirky flowers. I write on a desk from the late 1930s, and I also have several other pieces of antique furniture in my room. Across from me, on the other side of the room, sits a Murder, She Wrote style typewriter and my copy of the Maltese Falcon. (The statuette, not the book.) And of course, I always like to have my cats nearby. They tend to occupy the chair and settee in my office, and one usually hangs out on a perch and another sleeps on my lap.
When I’m not writing in my office, I take my laptop out to my back deck, which is at the far end of my yard and located in the middle of a cluster of trees. Several of them are ancient pines, with some huge oak, elm, and cottonwoods in the mix. The branches create a canopy over the deck, and it’s an absolutely heavenly place to write. But only when it’s not 100º out, a typical summer day here in Houston.
5. How did you decide to write mystery books with cats as the main characters?
My real life cats, Buckley and Bogey, were the inspiration for this book and the series. We had adopted Bogey from a local animal shelter when he was a kitten, and he joined our household of three much older female cats. Of course, Bogey wanted to play 24/7, but the older girls had no intention of playing with him. And Bogey, having come from a litter of five boys, liked to wrestle and roughhouse. We soon realized that Bogey needed a brother. So we adopted Buckley from another animal rescue agency, and the two boys have been best friends and inseparable ever since.
As they seemed to explore our house together every night, we joked about them "running surveillance" to make sure the place was secure. That's when the idea hit me — Buckley and Bogey Cat Detectives.
The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. Especially when I realized how very different the boys were. While they're both black cats with gold eyes, Bogey is sleek and wiry, whereas Buckley is huge and fluffy. Bogey is laid back and fearless, and Buckley is anxious about pretty much everything. Bogey is the expert and Buckley is the rookie. Together their personalities play off each other beautifully, much like Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Or Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe. Only at a children's level, and well, at a really adorable level, as both boys are such a joy, and happy to cuddle and purr at a moment's notice. So, with cats usually sleeping near my keyboard, I started writing their cat capers. Book four was released just last year and I’ve got book number five outlined. Funny, but here I thought I was doing something nice by rescuing a couple of homeless cats, and I ended up being the one with the most blessings . . .
6. Are you a full time or part time writer?
A few years ago, after losing a friend to cancer, I decided it was time to shut down my murder mystery party game business of 20 years and chase a new dream. Or rather, I should probably say, an old dream. That of writing books as a full-time author. I was 55 at the time, and decided, if not now, then when? And while yes, the change took some adjusting, I’m really glad I did it. Now I write full time and then some. I’m especially happy to be doing this as I’m watching so many of my friends slow down with their jobs, and not feel a sense of purpose anymore. Yet many successful authors keep writing well into their twilight years. So, while I’m watching my peer group get ready for retirement, I’m just getting started again and looking forward to some fabulous new goals. I absolutely love it!
7. How do find or make time to write?
Having run a business for nearly twenty years (writing and selling murder mystery party games), I learned to be self-motivated. (Business owners don’t have a choice if they want to be successful.) But now that I’m a full-time writer, I treat my writing as though it were my job and my business. I get up early and hit the computer. I have a daily page count in my head that I aim for every day, and if I go past that, I’m overjoyed. I have deadlines, just like any other job, and I make sure I hit them! Once you begin to treat your writing like it was a business and a top priority, it’s much easier to make sure you “get yourself to work.”
Besides all that, writing is such a joy to me that it’s automatically a high priority in my life. As far as I’m concerned, writing is right up there with breathing, eating, and sleeping. I feel miserable when I’m away from my latest project. In fact, when I’m not writing, I’m usually thinking about writing. Thank God I have been blessed with a husband who truly backs me and appreciates my work. In fact, as a lifelong avid reader, his critiques are absolutely invaluable to me!
8. What inspired the story idea for The Case of the Crafty Christmas Crooks?
Let me just start by saying, I am a Christmas fanatic. And I do mean, fanatic! I LOVE absolutely everything about the season — the carols, the traditional TV shows, the lights and decorations, and, most especially, the true meaning of Christmas. I usually start decorating about mid-October, and I put up three Christmas trees each year. Our house often wins the best yard or best lights award, since we go all out with our yard decorations, complete with music and computer programs. Plus, I usually host a couple of Christmas parties, and try to bring as many people in to enjoy the decorations as well.
So, being a Christmas fanatic, I always knew I’d write a Christmas-themed book. (And in fact, the first book in my new 1940s series is also set during the Christmas season.) But the idea of The Case of the Crafty Christmas Crooks fully jelled in my mind after Buckley's first Christmas with us. He was both fascinated and nervous as the tree and decorations came out of storage and went up around the house. Bogey, who'd already been through one Christmas at our house, seemed to take the lead and show Buckley around the trees and decorations. It was as though he was explaining it all to his little brother and telling him not to be afraid, that Christmas was "the best." I knew right then that I had to write a Christmas book as one of their mysteries.
About the Author
Dana Mentink lives in California, where the weather is golden and the cheese is divine. Dana is an American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year finalist for romantic suspense and an award winner in the Pacific Northwest Writers Literary Contest. Her suspense novel, Betrayal in the Badlands, earned a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third and fourth grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with her husband, two daughters, a dog with social anxiety problems, a chubby box turtle, and a feisty parakeet.
1. What did you want to be when you grew up? Did becoming a writer ever cross your mind?
Well, actually I wanted to be a circus clown. No joke. They even have a clown college and everything. I became an elementary school teacher, which does let me exercise my clowning around from time to time. I've always found joy in writing, but I didn't consider making a profession out of it until I was a grown up! I am so blessed to be able to write and teach (and clown around!)
2. How did you decide that you wanted dogs to be main characters in your novels?
I sort of fell into that. Here at Mentink Manor we've had a crazy assortment of critters and dogs have added so much joy and zaniness to our lives. My agent told me Harvest House was looking for a lighthearted, dog-themed series and I said, "I'm your gal!"
3. How frequently do you hear from your fans/readers? Do you have any funny stories involving a fan/reader?
I have a p.o. Box address on my website where people can actually send me letters. I get the best mail from darling people who love to share about their lives. I've heard a lot about people's dogs, for sure! I do have one sweet lady who writes me detailed letters describing all the errors she finds in my books. It cracks me up because it seems to bring her great joy to disagree with me on grammar matters.
4. What inspired the idea for Fetching Sweetness?
I just always had this idea about what it would be like to travel on an R.V. adventure collecting dogs along the way. Such great opportunities for humor, tears and general merriment.
5. What hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
I'm a big gardener but really the garden grows in spite of me, not because I have any particular talent. I love to cook and someday...someday, mind you, I am going to learn how to play the ukulele!
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About the Author
Kim Karras writes contemporary fiction for adults and teens. Follow her at kimkarras.blogspot.com for notes on life, writing, and motherhood..
1. How did you get started as an author? What or whom inspired you?
I don’t ever remember not feeling an affinity to language and stories. I vividly remember being in second grade and staying up late into the night to read The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White. Around the same time, I had a brief but prolific stint as a poet, yielding a collection of poems that my dad compiled in a three-ring binder, complete with my school picture on the cover. My paternal grandparents had that binder on their piano for years, an act of kindness which initially thrilled me and, as I aged, became increasingly embarrassing.
2. When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I took my first stab at writing a novel shortly after I had my first child. I was twenty-seven and living in Indiana. I started a blog to keep in touch with my family in Utah and rediscovered how much I enjoyed writing and being creative.
3. What authors inspire your writing?
Oh, wow, I don’t know which authors inspire my writing, but I know which authors inspire me. I am in awe of John Steinbeck, George Elliot, Joan Didion, and J.D. Salinger. One of my favorite parts of motherhood is revisiting the classic writers that enchanted me as a child: Laura Ingalls Wilder and Roald Dahl and L.M. Montgomery.
4. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did becoming a writer ever cross your mind?
I’ve harbored some nebulous goal to become a writer since childhood, but for a long time I didn’t think it was a realistic aspiration. I majored in English in college, primarily because I enjoyed being asked the question, “What do you do with an English degree?” Let’s just say, I can shrug with the best of them.
5. What writing projects are you currently woring on? What can you tell us about this project?
Currently, I am working on a sequel to Accidentally Me, although “working” is a generous term. As I full-time mother, I have to fight for writing time, and right now I am losing that battle. I love contemporary fiction, and have an idea for a middle-grade family story that I hope to make time for…someday.
6. What inspired the idea for Accidentally Me?
Although Sabrina, the main character, is not based on my sister, she did work at the zoo and she did have a stalker – a real one. I remember thinking, after she told my family about her unwanted admirer, wouldn’t that be a great thing to lie about to get attention? And wouldn’t that make a fun story? But what would motivate a person to need that kind of attention? Shortly after, I saw a bumper sticker that read “Drive Carefully – 90% of People are Caused by Accidents.” Eureka! I wrote a draft of the first chapter that night.
7. What other hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
I wish I had something really exotic or mildly jaw-dropping to say here. But, alas… I am kind of your typical, Honda Odyssey driving mom. I run. I garden. I read. I dream of island beaches and a world without laundry. And sometimes, when the mood strikes, I write.
About the Author
Cindy Vincent, M.A. Ed., is the award-winning author of the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Capers, a mystery series for kids and cat-lovers that features the adventures of two black cat detectives. And yes, as she is often asked, Cindy used her own black cats, Buckley and Bogey, as the inspiration for the series, since they seem to run surveillance on her house each and every night. Cindy is also the creator of the Mysteries by Vincent murder mystery party games and the Daisy Diamond Detective Series games for girls, along with the Daisy Diamond Detective novels, which are a spin-off from the games. She lives in Houston, TX with her husband and an assortment of fantastic felines. Cindy is a self-professed “Christmas-a-holic,” and usually starts planning and preparing in March for her ever-expanding, “extreme” Christmas lights display every year . . . She is also looking forward to the release of the first book in her new Tracy Truworth, Apprentice P.I., 1940s Homefront Mystery series, which is due out in the Fall of 2016.
1. What do you have in store for this novel? Will it be a stand alone? Will it be in a series?
Bad Day for a Bombshell is the first in my new series, the Tracy Truworth, Apprentice P.I., 1940s Homefront Mysteries. It is a historical cozy mystery novel, with equal emphasis on both history and mystery. (And a smidgeon of romance added in.) Yet even though WWII is certainly a serious subject, this book is written with a bit of levity in spots, in keeping it true to the cozy mystery genre. As with my other mystery series, the Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Capers, these books will be stand alone.
The back of the book jacket reads as follows:
December 5th, 1941. Sometime Houston socialite, Tracy Truworth, is always on the lookout for something suspicious, especially after growing up with her nose in the latest Katie McClue mystery novel, a series featuring a twenty-something female detective and her constant feats of derring do. And for Tracy, escaping reality through reading couldn’t come at a better time, since her own life isn’t exactly going along like she’d hoped, considering her overbearing mother insists that Tracy marry Michael — a lawyer likely to be a U.S. Senator someday — in a wedding rivaling royalty. Yet everything changes for Tracy when she spots a bleach-blonde bombshell on the train home from Dallas after a shopping trip to Neiman Marcus. Because something certainly seems amiss with the blonde, given the way she covertly tries to snare men into her lair, and considering she ceases all flirtations when a Humphrey Bogart lookalike suddenly appears . . . complete with a mysterious package wrapped up in newspaper and twine.
But days later, Japan bombs Pearl Harbor and a few days after that, Germany declares war against the U.S. Rightly so, President Roosevelt returns the favor. And soon Tracy finds herself caught up in the War, just like the rest of the nation. But it’s her curiosity that leads her on a collision course with a killer, and she arrives at the bombshell’s apartment only moments after the blonde is murdered. Though Tracy is accused of the crime at first, she soon finds herself working as an Apprentice P.I., under the tutelage of a real private investigator. Soon, they’re hot on the trail of the bombshell’s murderer. From singing at the hottest nightclub around, the Polynesian Room, to a car chase in her 1940 Packard, Tracy’s investigation takes her far from her blue-blood upbringing. It isn’t long before she finds the War is hitting a lot closer to home than she ever imagined . . . And danger isn’t much farther than her doorstep . . .
2. What is the hardest part about being a writer? The easiest?
Ha! For me, the hardest part about being a writer lies in trying to coordinate my creative, writing life, with what is probably considered a normal/regular nine-to-five, sunup-to-sundown kind of world. Because, when I’m burning rubber on the keyboard and deep into whatever book I happen to be working on, I lose all track of the hours and any sort of schedule. Were it not for the others in my household who want to eat on time and need to be in bed at a certain time, I would probably grab a snack here and there, and a nap or a few hours of sleep, and then just keep on going. Because creativity doesn’t seem to work according to any timetables. Inspiration has a bad habit of waking a person up at night, and the right scenes and the right characters often come into a person’s head just as everyone else wants to go to bed. It’s wonderful and annoying all at the same time. But let’s face it, if a writer wants to have a marriage, and a family, and friends, well, there has to be some compromise between the “regular” world and the creative world.
As for the easiest part of being a writer, I would say that it’s simply the joy of writing in and of itself. There’s just nothing quite like the opportunity to create something out of absolutely nothing. It’s such a privilege to be able to invent an entire world, along with characters, and then create their storyline, too. As Einstein once said, “Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
3. How do you break out of a “writer’s block” shell?
Years ago, when I worked as a magazine editor, and then later, when I wrote murder mystery party games for my own company, I learned that meeting a deadline was important to one’s continued employment . . . meaning, if you don’t meet your deadline, you probably won’t be working anymore. So I knew I couldn’t afford to have writer’s block.
That’s when I called on my Psychology background and took a look at something called Pavlov’s Dog and Classical Conditioning. For those you who ever took Psychology 101, you probably remember that a Nobel-Prize winning guy named Ivan Pavlov taught his dog to salivate by merely ringing a bell. But first he taught the dog to associate food (which made him salivate) with the sound of a bell ringing. So I thought, why couldn’t the same or similar principle be used when it came to writing? I decided to give it a try. I started by playing classical music every time I was really in the zone with my writing and my fingers were flying on the keyboard. In fact, I played the same song during these times. Then, whenever I was feeling a bit sluggish in my creative processes, I tried the technique in reverse. I played the music, which I now associated with excellent writing moments. For me, the trick worked and I was able to write like I normally would. I had learned to associate that particular music with writing.
4. Who are some of your favorite authors?
Oh, my goodness . . . how much time do you have? I have so many “favorite authors” that I wouldn’t have time to list them all here . . . probably like most writers. But if I had to pin it down, well, of course, the name Agatha Christie immediately springs to mind. I love her inventiveness, and her ability to surprise readers with that all-important twist at the end of the mystery. She must have been the Queen of the unexpected ending! But my absolute, all-time favorite author is Dorothy Cannell. She had me hooked at her very first book, The Thin Woman, and then onto The Widow’s Club and How to Murder the Man of Your Dreams. Her work has such fabulous tongue-in-cheek humor, and I’m always laughing when I’m reading along. She also creates characters that are fantastically well developed, so much so that I feel like I know them. In fact, if I’m having a bad day, I pull one of her books from my shelf and read away. It’s like visiting a favorite old friend, and it always cheers me up.
5. What kind of research did you do for this novel? What did your writing process look like?
Like they say, when it comes to writing a historical novel, the research is half the fun. And as a fan of WWII history, I’ve amassed an amazing collection of books, papers, and other downloads that pertain to WWII and the 1940s in general. (In fact, I hope I don’t have any visitors for a while, since all this stuff is taking up a big chunk of my guest room at the moment. Ha!) Then, before writing this book, I dove in and devoured nearly all these books. But I also visited the fantastic National WWII Museum in New Orleans, as well as watched tons of old movies and documentary videos. I attended old car shows, so I could see exactly what kind of car my character might drive. And, so that I could “walk a mile in her shoes,” so to speak, I actually wore dresses nearly every day for a month (since women rarely wore pants back in the 1940s) as I went to work in my home office to write this book. That was a learning experience in itself, since, well, a girl operates a little differently with a dress on. And now, oddly enough, I actually found that I prefer to wear a dress or a skirt, since frankly, they’re pretty comfortable!
6. What inspired the idea for Bad Day for a Bombshell?
Quite frankly, this book was inevitable. I’ve long been a fan of the old mysteries, those that were actually written in the 1930s and 40s. Top that off with a love of vintage clothing (I’ve been a collector for a couple of decades), and a love of swing dance and big band music . . . and well, I just knew that someday I’d write a 1940s/WWII mystery novel. I’m surprised that it took me this long to get to it, but I had too many other projects going before this one. (So many books to write, so little time . . .) As for the specifics of the plotline, amazingly, I started out with one plotline, but the more I got into the story itself and the more I got to know my characters, well, the more I realized my first plotline just wasn’t the right one for this book. Not only that, but the first time I wrote my lead character, Tracy Truworth, I gave her the profession of being a newspaper reporter, kind of a Brenda Starr-type character. Yet the more I developed my heroine, the more I saw that she needed a different occupation to suit her personality. So I gave her the goal of being a Private Investigator instead, with her starting out as an Apprentice P.I. So I veered off the original plan and let the story go in a completely different direction. I have to say, I’m very glad I did. It’s a much better fit, especially for a mystery series.
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