As promised yesterday, fellow mystery author Meg Mims is visiting my blog today. To read her bio and see her photo, please page down to yesterday's post. Also, Meg is running a contest for a free ebook version of her recent release, Double Crossing, the cover art for which appears above. Meg will select the winner tomorrow evening from among those who leave a comment today or tomorrow and will announce the name in a comment on this post.
The book contains a murder arranged as a suicide ... a missing deed ... and a bereft daughter whose sheltered world is shattered. August, 1869: Lily Granville is stunned by her father's murder. Only one other person knows about a valuable California gold mine deed -- both are now missing. Lily heads west on the newly opened transcontinental railroad, determined to track the killer. She soon realizes she is no longer the hunter but the prey. As things progress from bad to worse, Lily is uncertain who to trust--the China-bound missionary who wants to marry her, or the wandering Texan who offers to protect her ... for a price. Will Lily survive the journey and unexpected betrayal?
Sounds like an exciting read! Below are Meg's answers to my interview questions.
1. Who or what inspired you to start writing and when did you start?
I started writing "fan fic" before it was called that -- used TV westerns or Trixie Belden characters to tweak what I'd seen on TV or in books. Finally figured out I ought to write something fresh/original.... like 30 years later.
2. How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?
For my full-length historical novels, I do an outline and pretty much plot it all out. For my short contemporary novellas, I have an idea for characters, a premise and then I let the story happen. Somehow, it works.
3. In the age-old question of character versus plot, which one do you think is most important in a murder mystery and which one do you emphasize in your writing? Why?
BOTH. Here's why -- if plot is the book's "engine" then a character must "turn it on" and "steer" ... so basically, one cannot move forward without the other. I'm more focused on the heroine/hero remaining heroic, and making the villain equal to them, and justice being served in the end. To me, those are the most important factors. Plus the twist.
4. What advice do you have to offer to an aspiring author?
Study the craft of writing. Read whole mystery series to discover the characters' arc over a book vs. a series and how each plot develops and is resolved. Never, ever, ever give up writing. Write every day.
5. Now here’s a zinger. Tell us something about yourself that you have not revealed in another interview yet. Something as simple as your favorite TV show or food will do.
I love watching Cupcake Wars. Primarily because I LOVE cake. And seeing the creativity (victories and failures) plus all that time/effort involved, it's sort of similar to writing a book and hoping it sells. I would *never* do that. I can barely bake 24 cupcakes from a plain mix. LOL
6. What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?
I'm working on a western short story for the Western Fictioneers Wolf Creek anthology coming this Christmas, plus my own Christmas contemporary romance novella, Santa Claws -- about a cat this time, not a rescue dog as in Santa Paws. And my writing partner and I just sold our cozy mystery series, featuring Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins, to St. Martin's Press that will debut in 2014. We're plotting the second book now, and my agent hopes to sell my Lighthouse Mystery series as well.
Thanks, Meg. Now, who has a comment or question for Meg Mims? Good luck in the contest!