The Magnificent Seven. That’s what jumped to mind when I realized this is the seventh issue of the newsletter. My efforts continue to share a little bit about the writing process each month, along with news on current projects or new releases and have a quick chat with another author. Of course, there must be music. Otherwise, what’s the point?
Conducting research is an essential part to creating a good story. I don’t know everything. Never claimed to. What’s been helpful for me is understanding the different ways to conduct research. Nowadays anyone can use a search engine on the computer and gather information. That’s something I’ll use often to grab a quick detail that fits in with the story.
There’s also the library. I’ve utilized public and college libraries and their knowledgeable staff to help sift through the countless reams of data. A tip of the hat to those dedicated librarians.
But my favorite method comes from finding and interviewing someone with expertise that’s pertinent to my project. Sometimes it’s a referral. Often it’s someone I’ve met during the course of my days in a different capacity. Years ago I met Lee, a scientist with the Michigan State Police crime lab. She became a great source of information and even connected me with others in the lab to get answers about weapons, lifting fingerprints from waterlogged corpses and more.
One of the most memorable interviews was Holly, a young lady who worked out frequently at the same gym I went to. She even taught many aerobics classes. While working on “Vanishing Act”, Book Two in the Jamie Richmond series, I wanted some details on different classes. Holly agreed to meet for coffee and fill me in. For the most part, it was just a friendly conversation, until Holly mentioned a new type of class she was teaching: pole dancing. She explained how it’s a great form of exercise and it was gaining in popularity at the time. I was floored. Of course, that ended up in the book.
Asking questions can lead you to first-hand information. And that’s a lot more interesting than trudging through a lot of internet sites.
Work in Progress
In addition to working on the latest Chene mystery, I’ve been spending some time promoting. It’s all part of the business of writing. In addition to my efforts with social media posts, I was able to schedule two interviews with radio podcasts. One will be on Impact Radio from Detroit and the other will be on The Writer’s Podcast out of Australia. As soon as these air, I’ll post links on the blog and social media.
One of the contributing authors to the “Magic & Mischief” anthology is VK Tritschler. I enjoyed her story “Vital Impetus” so much that I couldn’t wait to bring her to your attention.
Where are you from?
I am a
Kiwiadian (as my brother once labelled us) as my parents are from Canada and
New Zealand giving us citizenship for both. I was raised largely in New
Zealand, with frequent visits to our Canadian relations until my teenage years
where I started my love of independent travel with a trip to Germany. After
high school I tripped the world for about six years, and now I am residing in
What’s your ‘someday’ or dream
vacation spot and why?
I have so many I could fill a book with them. My favourite thing in the world is to travel somewhere and get to know it as the locals know it. There is something magical about getting insiders tips on the best places nearby and they never disappoint me.
What’s your favorite thing to do for
Long walks on a beach are a fan favourite for Australia. In New Zealand it would be fishing with my Dad, or finding a walking track through the forest. But nothing says to me relaxation like a warm fire, a book to read, and a nice wine to sip.
How long have you been writing?
In the writing world I am a relative new-comer. I started my first ever novel five years ago, and since then I was hooked. When we moved to Australia I joined the local writing group, who are both an amazing set of authors and an amazing support group, and the rest (as they say) is history. Despite the hectic world of managing my life and my writing, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Is there a particular genre that you write? Or more than one? What led you to there?
There is a
little secret I must admit here – I want to be a version of Nora Roberts. Not
because of her writing style or technique (although I have read and enjoyed
many of her books), but rather because she is an author who writes what she
wants, when she wants and in whatever genre she wants. I want to be that.
Inspiration for me isn’t a niche market, it’s a field of opportunities. I want
to be able to explore them all.
What authors had an impact on you growing up and as an adult?
I have gone
from classical tones to modern twists and back again throughout my life. I
loved Jane Austen for her romance, Charles Dickens for his descriptions, Nick
Hornby for his dark humor, Maeve Blanchey for her lyrical tales and Charlene
Harris for her excitement. Together they make for a great read every time.
What have you learned the most from
being in the writing business?
To believe in myself, dedicate my time appropriately to the amount of results I expect to get and never give up. It’s too easy to get distracted, saddened, upset or angry along the writing process. Focus, attention and tenacity become the largest part of an author’s toolkit and a key to being a successful writer. You can’t become a world class ballerina without getting some blisters, and you can’t become a world class writer without getting some bad reviews. But the results can become beautiful.
Tell us about your latest work:
My latest book is The Risky Business of Romance, set right here in South Australia.
Disillusioned and suffering severe anxiety from the Christchurch earthquakes, Samantha Morgan is on the hunt for a rich husband and a quiet life to save her sanity. She moves to Port Victor a town with the highest per capita millionaires, in the sweeping South Australian countryside. There she meets Max who doesn't meet her strict criteria, and she is torn between her attraction for him and her goals for herself.
Max is enjoying farming and keeping a low profile in his small town and has no intention of taking over the family's expansive business ventures. But when his parents hire the beautiful but complicated Samantha to uncover a potential fraudster, he might be the only one who can rescue her. With Samantha getting kidnapped time is running out.
This story was inspired partly by my own experience as someone who went through the Christchurch earthquakes, but also as a new person to this region it gave me a chance to describe what it was like to move here and an outsider’s view on the local community in a fun and exciting way. I wanted to give back to the wonderful people here for their acceptance of us into their world and their lives and this seemed like a fun way to do that.
Describe how this method works best for you. Outline or ‘seat of the pants’?
by the book on this one I’m afraid. I always have more than one book I am
writing at the same time, I hardly ever plot them out, and I can go from
writing zero words a week to ten thousand depending on my mood. Is it the
easiest way to write? Absolutely not. But I do love a good adventure story and
my writing is just another adventure for me.
Do you have a favorite scene you’ve written? What makes it special?
I love the scene where Samantha and Max head off to a secluded beach together for a picnic. When we first moved here, our family would have Sunday Explorers Day each weekend where we would pack up the car with some food and go to find a new beach to explore. With hundreds of them within a short drive, each with fabulous things such as swimming holes, golden beaches, dolphins and crystal clear water it seemed like heaven to us. It’s still one of my favourite past-times five years later!
You can find out more about VK on the links below.
I can’t work in silence. It’s not my style. Whether, writing, driving or preparing for the classes I teach, music is always playing.
Lately John Mellencamp has been on the rotation a lot. A member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, his catalog of hits are always entertaining.
Here’s my top five from Mellencamp.
Cherry Bomb https://youtu.be/KF0gsbQKhD8
Hurts So Good https://youtu.be/g_9rnnkRX0g
Authority Song https://youtu.be/wsEwK69LXjQ
Small Town https://youtu.be/gsj6FxNckKY
Pink Houses https://youtu.be/bB4FD5VkHak