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Archive for April, 2014

An interesting blog tour is currently circulating and involves asking authors to give insight into their writing process. When I was tagged, I did a little inward groan and thought, “Uh-uh, who has the time?” followed quickly by “Oh, alright, it should be easy for me, because I don’t have a process.” So, I agreed to do it.

Thanks to the lovely and talented Linda Boulanger (the fabulous book cover designer for many authors, myself included) who tagged me to participate in the tour, you’ll get to learn a little more about my…uh…writing process.

The tour involves answering 4 questions. Here goes:

1. What am I working on?

The Blackest Night FINAL FRONT EBOOK 04132014 copyMy current works in progress include The Blackest Night, which is a paranormal thriller due out this month, and a new mystery/thriller called Easy Target (title subject to change). Easy Target is the sequel to No Alibi and is set in San Francisco, featuring homicide detective John Doucette. I can’t post more about it – I’m only a chapter in.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

While whodunits, thrillers, mysteries, and suspense may follow certain rules or a formula – plot driven, character driven etc – writers in this genre definitely have their own style. Some thrillers include romantic elements; others are dark and more sinister. I write on the darker side. My characters are always flawed and not always likeable. An amusing critique I once received called one of my works a ‘violence fest’. While they’re not meant for kids, the books only include moderate language and violence, nothing graphic. Romance does not feature heavily (and more often not at all) in my work.

3. Why do I write what I write?

Quite simply, it’s what I like to read, so it seems natural I should write it. Even though it’s fiction, I like to probe into and investigate the psychology behind the darkest of my characters. What makes them do what they do? I’m more interested in that than in the crimes they commit. Trying to understand the depths of some evil is disturbing, yet it’s fascinating to look into how the mind works.

4. How does my writing process work?

Ahem…process?

My method is different for each book. I might begin with a title or a general idea of the main plot, but I never outline and often I don’t know the ending until I get there. Inspiration for my stories comes from many places: conversations, my past, the pasts of other people I know, news. When I sit down to write, I write whatever comes into my head at that time. Editing is my favorite part of the ‘process’ as it’s my chance to clean it all up. A trick I learned at the first writing conference I attended was to keep a bio on each character, which I do. It’s especially helpful when writing a sequel and saves countless hours of hunting through former works for consistency. I usually have only one project on the go at any time. My head is filled with too many things to keep more than one story straight.

The tour concludes with tagging fellow authors to share the method of their madness, so I will hand over to the following:

Gayle Carline

Gayle and I go back a little way and have attended a number of book signings and festivals together. Among other things, she writes humorous mysteries featuring amateur sleuth Peri Minneopa. I’ve read most of her work and love the way she mixes funny with serious.

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Book Review

I’m always on the lookout for mysteries and thrillers by readers I haven’t yet tried. For my birthday in February, I received a copy of Linwood Barclays Fear The Worst. Linwood Barclay is a new author for me, so I was anxious to get started on the book. The premise was intriguing.

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The story starts with a good hook. Tim Blake had a fight with his daughter and now she is missing. As he tries to find her, the intrigue deepens as everything he believed he knew about her appears to be false. What follows is Tim’s unyielding effort to unscramble the lies from the truth and find her.

After the promising start, however, the story began to slow and loosen its grip on my interest.

The characters are unremarkable. Tim Blake is a divorced Dad and a used car salesman. His ex-wife lives with her new boyfriend, another car dealer, and his teenage son. Tim Blake has to work with his daughter’s employers, her friends – some of whom exhibit questionable behavior, his ex-wife and her new boyfriend to get at the hidden truths. Everyone could be hiding something.

The plot line is rather linear and somewhat predictable, and the few surprise elements thrown in might stretch the readers credulity. When the police make little effort to assist, suspicion is cast on them, too, until the whole thing eventually becomes a little too far-fetched and unrealistic, plus the denouement is somewhat unsatisfactory.

This is not an edge-of-your-seat thriller by any means, however, it was sufficiently interesting to finish and to find out where Sydney Blake is.

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