Wednesday, December 19, 2012

whoopee...A Blog Hop!

I'm shamelessly enthusiastic when it comes to talking about writing, so I was more than happy to participate when my friend, the novelist K.D. Mason, invited me take part in a kind of pass-the-potato question and answer session, otherwise known as a Blog Hop. So here goes!

What is the title of your book? Matinicus—An Island Mystery, published in May of this year. This is the first in my Maine Island Mystery Series. Its sequel and the second book of the series, Reese’s Leap, will be released in March, 2013. All the books in the series are set on islands off the Maine coast.

Where did the idea come from for the book? I’m a sailor and the Island Mysteries grew out of my love of the Maine coast and its rugged, often remote, out-island communities. The culture of the island of Matinicus, itself, is particularly unique, with a sort of Wild West-meets-beeper-generation lifestyle that intrigues most mainlanders. I knew I had to write a novel about it the first time I visited the place, and the more I learned, the more fascinated I became.  This was maybe ten years ago.  I was sailing off the coast of Maine and pulled into the harbor on a whim.  The first thing I saw when I went walking was a couple of grinning kids drag-racing along the dusty road paralleling the harbor—no doors on either car, one of the hoods tied down with a length of lobster warp.  And I mean kids—not more than ten years old. I started getting glimmers of a plot almost immediately.

The idea for Reese’s Leap also grew out of personal experience. I’m one of a group of women who vacation together for a week each summer on a remote, very rustic, 200-acre island off the coast of Maine. No men (sorry guys). A few years ago we were fogged in for several days—couldn’t have left if we wanted to—and it occurred to me that it would make a terrific setting for a murder mystery. The series' main character is the reluctant sleuth and university botanist, Dr. Gil Hodges, who Cruising World Magazine calls “The best male protagonist to come along since Lee Child’s Jack Reacher.” He's the kind of guy you love and hate at the same time—drinks too much, is constantly drawn to women of a psychotic bent, yet he’s funny and self-effacing. He also knows his faults and couldn't care less.

What genre does your book fall under? All of the books in the series are crime-based mystery/thrillers.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Gil is constantly told he’s a dead ringer for a younger Jeff Bridges, so with enough make-up JB might work. Jake Gyllenhaal (Source CodeBrokeback Mountain) and Peter Krause (Six Feet Under, Parenthood) would be great choices, as well. As for the rest of the Matinicus cast,  I’d would love to see Taylor Swift take on the role of Tiffany. Brad Pitt would make a terrific Cash. Not sure about Kirtley, the femme fatale of the book. She’s a lithe, long-limbed and totally uninhibited brunette...anyone out there have ideas for me?

Reese's Leap? Hmmm. How about Nicole Kidman as the wild-child Brit, and Anne Hathaway as Nora—a dead ringer for the love of Gil's life, a woman he once deeply and irrevocably wronged.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  Steeped in Maine island history and lore, Matinicus is one part ghost story and two parts murder mystery—an intricate weaving of the early 19th century and the modern day that follows some pretty gritty characters through two centuries of island life, lust and vigilante justice—with a twist of an ending that’ll knock your socks off! Still working on one for Reese's Leap...

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Two years for Matinicus, about the same for its sequel, though for me a “first draft” is one I feel comfortable submitting to my beta-readers, so it’s pretty polished.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? That’s a hard one, since the setting and the character of Gil are kind of unique (or so I’m told.) If you’ve read Charlie Huston, Gil is a lot like the self-deprecating character of Hank Thompson in the series that includes Six Bad Things, Caught Stealing and A Dangerous Man. And like Hank, Gil becomes more jaded and dark as the series progresses. With some 20 reviews posted on Amazon, Matinicus has consistently gained five star reviews. Editorial reviews have also been stunning. I think this speaks to the book’s originality and the quality of the writing.

Reese's Leap pits one man and five resourceful women against a killer on a remote island where they're forced to think outside of the box in hopes of outsmarting a pretty ingenious "baddy." Not all of them make it off alive the island alive, so consider yourselves forewarned! Pre-pub reviews are great; fingers crossed on this one!

And how about tagging a few awesome authors you think readers will LOVE…

Katherine Mayfield:
D.V. Berkom: 
Jeff Foltz: 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Those Post Partum Manuscript Blues

Afraid I've been a bad corespondent of late, having been holed up in my writer's woodshed the last 6 weeks or so while I finalized the edits to Reese's Leap—the second book in my Island Mystery series due out in March of 2013. Everything else left to go to hell in a hand basket, I'm afraid. Well, I'm happy to report the manuscript is finally finished and has been shipped off to my copy editor. Thought I'd be elated but I'm feeling kind of down. I miss my characters already—Gil (with all his excesses and obsessions), Duggan (Gil's best friend whom I've just introduced in this book but plan to bring along into book three) Pete (not much to like there, I'm afraid, but oh, don't we love to hate him), and the lovely Island Women with whom Gil and Duggan find themselves stranded on remote Mistake Island during a week of unrelenting fog. Still, it's nothing that throwing myself into some major marketing work won't cure, not to mention there's always book three to gt started on!

Be sure to check back on December 19th, when I'll be part of a Blog Hop, answering some intriguing  questions about the Maine Island Mystery Series and giving you my tips for some great authors to follow!