The Next Big Thing


Author Jenny Herrera tagged me in her The Next Big Thing post. The idea comes from She Writes and is meant to help female authors promote their WIPs (Works in Progress). As per the rules, what follows are my answers to ten interview questions about my WIP. At the end, I’ll tag five other writers to carry the banner.

What is the working title of your book?

A Season for Killing Blondes

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Eight years ago, I was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer. While receiving my treatments, I started reading murder mysteries. I must have read at least two a week for the entire ten months.  I started to think about writing a murder mystery based in my hometown of Sudbury, Ontario. I considered the following scenario: What if a 50something woman wins a nineteen million dollar lottery and returns to her hometown. While reinventing herself as a career counselor for boomers,  the woman encounters a number of obstacles, among them four dead blondes neatly arranged in dumpsters near her favorite haunts.

What genre does your book fall under?

It’s a cozy.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Since most of the characters are boomers, I would prefer to use actors in that particular age group. Lorraine Bracco would make a great Gilda Greco, the protagonist of the novel. For her love interest, I would go with Pierce Brosnan.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

It is a season for killing blondes and a brunette lottery winner never has an alibi when dead bodies turn up in dumpsters near her favorite haunts.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I would prefer the traditional route but am open to all options.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I started the novel eight years ago and took almost a year to finish it. This past January, I revisited the manuscript and rewrote it in first person. I added another sub-plot and more characters.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Cozies written by Denise Swanson (Murder of a Small Town Honey, Murder of a Sleeping Beauty, Murder of a Smart Cookie) and Mary Jane Maffini (Organize Your Corpses, The Cluttered Corpse, Death has a Messy Desk).

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

As I was going through my own difficult season, I started thinking about other people’s rough patches. I combined that with my new interest in reading murder mysteries and came up with a plot for A Season for Killing Blondes.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Not too many cozies are based in Northern Ontario. Also, the combination of fiftysomething Italian women, their mothers, their men, food and four dead blondes is an interesting one. I have included eight dessert recipes.

Now, it’s my turn to tag some follow authors:

Cindy Carroll | Linda Johnston | Jordanna East | Beth Verde | Patricia Anderson


Is Your Writing Muse in a Snit?

When Guelph writer Linda Johnston informed everyone on her Twitter feed that she had written 17,000 words in three weeks, we all congratulated her and wanted to know the secret of her success. I enjoyed following her tweets regarding this sudden burst of creativity.

June 26

My writing muse has returned from her snit and is in full swing. She has fused me to the computer.

July 13

My muse dictates how much I write. I just do her bidding.

I imagined one of the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne visiting Linda each morning, taking her hand and guiding her to the computer. There, she remains offering words of encouragement until Linda produces her daily quota. Later, I discovered that Linda received inspiration from a more concrete source: Sarah Domet’s book, 90 Days to Your Novel.

Patricia Anderson, another Guelph writer, found a muse that enables her to write prolifically and enjoy a vacation at the same time. At the end of June, she sets off for her trailer in Algonquin Park where she spends the summer working on her novel (without distractions).

While researching several famous writers, I discovered some unusual muses.

Alexander Dumas color coordinated his paper. He used blue paper for novels, yellow paper for poetry and rose-colored pages for nonfiction.

Mark Twain and Truman Capote write lying down.

Ernest Hemingway sharpened dozens of pencils before starting to write.

Willa Cather read the Bible before writing each day.

Before picking up his pen, John Donne liked to lie in an open coffin. (I wonder about this one!)

In my case, I like to stick to my morning ritual of easing into the writing. After breakfast, I linger over coffee as I check my emails, Twitter and other social media. Once I finish drinking  two cups of coffee, I start writing. When I hit a writer’s block, I follow Julia Cameron‘s advice from her inspirational books—The Artist’s Way, Walking In the Wind, The Prosperous Heart—and get myself back on track. I  enjoy the morning pages, twenty-minute walks and artist’s dates.

Any other muses out there? I’d love to hear about the eccentric ones.