I’ve been tagged! A new friend of mine, Debra Borys, author of the mystery-suspense novel PAINTED BLACK, tagged me at the end of her “Next Big Thing” post, and being tagged is an invitation for me to carry on the tradition. Here’s how it works. I answer 10 interview questions about my WIP–Work In Progress–and at the end of it tag five other writers. Now, I know what you’re thinking, it sounds a bit like chain mail. It’s not! (I always break those). It’s all good will and mutual support and no one has to accept the invitation unless they want to. It’s simply a great way to give readers a sneak peek into books being written at this very moment. I like to think of it as a small cog in the machine of “discoverabability.” That’s my new favorite word: discoverablilty. It’s what authors and publishers try to give their books so readers can find them. It’s a mysterious word though, fairly easy to say, very tough to do.
Here are the questions and my answers:
- What is the working title of your book? A CAPACITY FOR MURDER, the Third Professor Bradshaw Mystery.
- Where did the idea come from for the book? An article in a 1905 evening edition of the Seattle Daily Times. I can’t write specifically about the article without giving away too much of the plot. This idea evolved to become a subplot when another newspaper headline filled a specific character requirement and took over the story. Again, I can’t say more without giving away the whodunit!
- What genre does your book fall under? Historical mystery.
- Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? As I’ve often said, if PBS or the BBC puts the Professor Bradshaw series on film, I will be delighted with their choice of casting, I’m sure.
- What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Uhh — I haven’t distilled it that small yet. Here’s the short description: Healing Sands Sanitarium, northwest of Hoquiam, Washington, sits on the sandy doorstep of the Pacific Ocean. Famed for its restorative rest-cure, fermented diets, and Dr. Hornsby’s electrotherapeutics, no one has ever died at Healing Sands. Until now. When Professor Bradshaw is summoned to investigate, he knows this was no accident, but his only clue to foul play is as insubstantial as smoke—to anyone other than an electrical engineer. Suspects are limited to a handful whose lives—and lies—must be exhumed and examined. A sinister tale emerges as deep undercurrents turn personal, provoking Bradshaw to make a decision about the woman he loves. And then an everyday object provides the key, alerting Bradshaw that one among them is a walking dead man, and another possesses the capacity for murder.
- Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Represented by my dear literary agent, Jill Grosjean, and published by the best mystery house on the planet, Poisoned Pen Press.
- How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? About 8 months for the first draft, a couple more for the second, and heading into a full year to bring it to the polished state. My deadline is November 30 for publication May 2013.
- What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? That’s always a tough question for me. It’s so hard to know, as the author, where Professor Bradshaw, and this book in particular, fits in the array of mysteries. It’s historical but with a modern fast-pacing, with science but character-driven. How about I don’t answer this question directly, but rather say that in researching I read T.C. Boyle’s THE ROAD TO WELLVILLE (which lampoons Kellogg’s famous Battle Creek Sanitarium) and Gregg Olsen’s STARVATION HEIGHTS (which details the true story an early 20th century doctor who starved many patients to death) and found them both fascinating.
- Who or What inspired you to write this book? This book was greatly inspired by readers who have taken the time to email me to say they enjoyed the first two in the series and are eager for more. Seriously. That’s a wonderful feeling.
- What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? As with the first books in the series, fact followed fiction. I love it when that happens. I decided to set the book on Washington’s North Beach because my family and I love to camp there. So I plunked my sanitarium on the beach, and low-and-behold, when I began to dig into the history of the area, learned there were once two sanitariums there! One at Iron Springs, where there is now a lovely resort, and the other at Moclips. By the way, if you’re in the area, I highly recommend stopping in at the Museum of the North Beach. Tell Kelly I said hello!
(A small note for those of you who read my post last month: There hasn’t been much in the news lately about Richard Bach, which I take to be a good sign. The last report said he was still hospitalized, improving, and slowly recovering from head injuries.)