Here are the answers I provided to bloggers during the virtual book tour I took after the mystery was published last October. They asked on why I write and the journey I’ve been on as a writer. I’m sure my experiences reflect those of many others.
I’m going on a virtual book tour in November via Partners in Crime. They tell me I won’t have to leave the house, just let my fingers do the talking as I answer questions and make pronouncements online about the mystery. Some nice people who blog about mysteries will post what I say, read the book (glad it’s not too many pages), and let their readers know what they think. This is my kind of tour; no travel, no unattended book signings.
I love real bookstores, and there are some nice ones here in Santa Barbara. Two of them have agreed to stock my book. I have a few more to approach but one a month is the limit of my courage.
Friend Chuck from Denver found a list of all the mystery bookstores in the States (and the world!), including the Northwest’s Seattle Mystery Bookshop and Olympia’s Whodunit? Books. Seattle’s Episcopal Bookstore isn’t on that list, but they have a plump mystery section. As my character Lucy thinks, why is it that Episcopalians and other Catholics write most of the churcy mysteries?
I started reading mysteries at age ten with Agatha Christie and Rex Stout, my Mom’s favorites. It was more about the far away locales and characters who grew orchids and wore bowler hats than the plot. I never once figured out who did it. After that, lots of fiction but no mystery until the past fifteen years. My brother and I have traded off buying Tony Hillerman, Dick Francis, “The Cat Who”‘ mysteries, Jonathon Kellerman, and Sue Grafton the minute they were released in what used to be known as “hardcover.” Sadly only Jonathon and Sue are still alive. These later favorites also operate in interesting locales and associate with interesting characters, but also let us know that community is important, as is trying to follow the Golden Rule.
On my own, I’ve read Jane Langton. Her novel Divine Inspiration showed me that a church building could be a character. And then Father Tim, in the Mitford Series by Jan Karon. Not technically mysteries, but structured much the same. They taught me that fictional clergy people could be balding, insecure at times, and a little clumsy. Of course I already knew this, being married to my own clergy person. Even more community, funny, interesting characters, and overt spirituality. Then the Reverend Clare Ferguson series by Julia Spencer-Fleming . Another small community on the East Coast with the amazing name of Millers Kill, interesting characters, spirituality, and topical themes, but faster paced, with chills, thrills and an illicit love affair. My recent favorite is Louise Penney’s Inspector Gamache Series, set in Canada, involving an even smaller community and astute commentary on the characters’ interior lives. None of my favorites are set on the unchurched west coast, my editor Jennifer pointed. out. I still very rarely figure out who did it, and that’s been the hardest part of writing Death in the Memorial Garden.
No more mysteries that I remember until fairly recently.