1.) What can you tell us about your new book?
My novella, Bargain Paradise, is a humorous tale of an obsessive gardener and her neglected husband. It’s a story for gardeners and others who wonder at the obsessive qualities the activity inspires.
2.) How do you think your book differs from others in the same genre?
I’ve never read anything like Bargain Paradise. It’s a crazy story that has elements of truth I believe many readers will enjoy.
3.) What do you draw most of your inspiration from?
As it has been said, truth is stranger than fiction. I find my inspiration in life and the unusual people and situations I encounter.
4.) How much of yourself do you put into your characters? Do you spread bits of yourself through multiple figures or pile it all into one character?
I try to avoid that. It’s usually advantageous to create characters readers can relate to. The majority of people would find themselves scratching their head over a character based on me.
5.) What kind of research did you do in preparing your manuscript? How important do you think it is to follow that research?
Bargain Paradise is a classic example of ‘write what you know’. Because of my own horticultural experience, I didn’t need to venture far for information.
6.) What do you hope readers take away from the experience of reading your book?
First of all, I hope they enjoy the humor in the story and that it brings laughter to their day. The other elements: finding one’s bliss without abandoning one’s spouse and the appreciation of differences…if they serve to improve a relationship, I’ll be delighted.
7.) What experience will you take away from writing this book?
I started writing Bargain Paradise shortly after joining the Cincinnati Writers Project (CWP), a group of experienced, published authors who I hoped would improve my work. It began as a short story, what is now the first chapter. They asked for more, they wanted explanations, and they gradually taught me how readers see what I write and how to write a more interesting story. By putting this short novella through the process of creating my first e-book, I’m using it as a training tool once more.
8.) How did it feel to have the power of creation in your hands?
The ‘power of creation’ is the primary appeal of gardening, whether planting flowers or vegetables. One works hand-in-hand with unseen forces creating life from dry seeds. What could be more amazing or more fun? Writing is like that, as well. Seeing a story develop from a seed idea and branch out into something beautiful, or totally unexpected…that is what brings authors to their desks day after day.
9.) Who are the authors who have influenced your style most?
Haywood Smith is an author who has a knack for humor and a Shakespearian grasp of humanity. I admire her work and though I wrote Bargain before encountering one of her books, I measure my humorous writing against her lofty yardstick.
I also have a deep rooted love of mysteries going back to The Hardy Boys of my youth and the tales of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers. My understanding of the construction of that type of story is a result of the dozens of mystery novels I’ve read over the years.
10.) What’s next?
I’m working on a cold case murder mystery titled Death by Cold Steel. It was inspired by a true story that has haunted me since I purchased a home near railroad tracks back in the 80’s. A neighbor there told me about a young man who grew up in my house and died on those tracks. She said the family was certain he was murdered, but it was ruled a suicide…and thereby hangs a tale.