Sisters In Crime Blog Hop

As I told you in my last post, I Swear To Tell The Truth, I recently joined Sisters In Crime. The mission of Sisters in Crime: to promote the professional development and advancement of women crime writers to achieve equality in the industry…

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They are a great organization. Anyone interested in signing up can go to: SistersInCrime.org, or click on the link. They have a lot to offer writers at any stage in their career– the traditional, the self-published, the not-yet or soon-to-be published author, as well as the newbie writer. Sisters In Crime call newbie writers “Guppies”, which I think is adorable.  However, the guppies have an entire section dedicated to helping them improve their craft. Amazing, right?  Sisters In Crime are co-hosting The New England Crime Bake this year with Mystery Writers of America. It should be a great time.

I could go on and on. I can’t say enough about this organization. Clearly, I am a proud member.

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For the month of September, the Sisters In Crime are doing a blog hop. Once I joined I was invited to take part.  Here’s how it works. Pick one or more of the following questions and answer to the best of your ability. I did them all.

  • Which authors have inspired you?
  • Which male authors write great women characters? Which female authors write great male characters?
  • If someone said “Nothing against women writers, but all of my favorite crime fiction authors happen to be men,” how would you respond?
  • What’s the best part of the writing process for you? What’s the most challenging?
  • Do you listen to music while writing? What’s on your playlist?
  • What books are on your nightstand right now?
  • If you were to mentor a new writer, what would you tell her about the writing business?

Which authors have inspired you?

Jeez, I could go on and on with this one. For brevity I’ll choose only two. I’d have to say Katia Lief first inspired me to really look at the world differently. If any of you have ever read her books, you know exactly what I’m talking about. She has a way of describing the tiniest of details, making them come alive on the page. I would classify her as a literary commercial writer. That rare combination of both elegance and character/plot driven. She’s amazing.

Even though I will always have a soft spot for Katia Lief, Karin Slaughter is my new favorite. The way she spins a tale is awe-inspiring. Her debut novel “Blindsighted” is a great read. However, she had a strange habit that irked me. In dialogue she did this: “I had a great time,” she offered. And then, “Did you?” It was the “And then” that bothered me. It was distracting. However, in the next book she dropped that habit. I guess I wasn’t the only one it bothered. I’m reading “TripTych” now– and devouring it! She’s so good. Truly. If you haven’t read her books yet, I highly recommend them.

Which male authors write great women characters? Which female authors write great male characters?

Honestly, the first part of this question is tough for me. I never realized it before, but I mainly read women authors. Well, maybe that isn’t fair. I should say, the men authors I read concentrate mainly on male characters.  Therefore, I’ll answer it this way. Male authors I love are:  Michael Connelly, James Patterson, Roy Johansen, Stephen King, to name a few.  Female authors I love are: Sandra Brown, Lisa Gardner, Nora Roberts and her pen name, J.D. Robb, Iris Johansen, Katia Lief, Karin Slaughter, and on and on and on…

If someone said, “Nothing against women writers, but all of my favorite crime fiction authors happen to be men,” how would you respond?

If you haven’t read my post entitled “Don’t Torpedo Your Career. Act Professional” click to read. Sticking with my “words of wisdom” I’d flash a tight smile and move on. Seriously, what can you say? You probably won’t change their mind, so there is no point arguing with them. I guess you could respond with, “No offense taken,” but that isn’t even necessary. Best not to waste your breath, in my opinion. Then go home, base a character on them and make them die a horrible death.

“Oh, my, is she serious?” a stranger says, reading this post, a hand over her heart.

I’ll never tell. *wink*

What’s the best part of the writing process for you? What’s the most challenging?

The best part of the writing process for me is when an idea starts to take shape and I can’t type fast enough to get it down. I love when the story evolves into something great. It’s one of the things that is so exciting about being a pantser. That feeling of not knowing where the story is going to take me.

Once I am done with my first draft I go back and make sure I’ve written a cohesive story, structurally sound (I love that part), filling in plot holes, making sure clues are placed correctly, ensuring the beginning lures my reader in and the ending is not a disappointment. I often pick at my stories long after I have “finished” editing. I can’t help it. There is always a better word that occurs to me later, or a smoother way to say something. That is why I try to stay away from my stories when they are “done”, so I don’t edit them to death. There comes a time when you have to say “enough” and move on. That probably is my biggest challenge… walking away.

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Do you listen to music while you write? What’s on your playlist?

This is easy. No. I love music too much. I’d get caught up in the song and never be able to focus. Most likely I’d feel the need to belt it out, and that would be very distracting to anyone. Believe me. You haven’t heard me sing. And never will, I might add.

What books are on your nightstand right now?

I have a few. “TripTych” by Karin Slaughter, as I already mentioned. “The Turkey Farm – Behind The Smile” by Cheryl Archer and Jennifer Keefe. This is an interesting read. It is a self-published, non-fiction novel. A true story about one of the authors– they don’t tell you which one– who witnessed her mother’s murder when she was a child. She grew up on a turkey farm in Rumney, New Hampshire. Rumney is about fifteen minutes from where I live, so I was immediately interested. Besides, a friend recommended it to me. I’m honored by recommendations. To me, they are magical gifts passed from one person to another. If someone thinks enough of me to recommend a good book, and not a shameless plug, I will always at least read the sample chapters.

Amazingly enough this book is very expensive. You don’t normally come across self-published works priced at $62.26. Or any book for that matter. So, for now, I’m reading the sample chapters while I wait for a used paperback from Amazon. Why would I pay $62.26 when I can get one in perfect condition AND signed by the authors for $10., right?

I’ve also started “Flawless” by Jan Moran. I told you about Jan in my post, Stamp of Approval (part one). Jan is a member of Prose & Cons, the authors blog I am fortunate enough to belong to. I am the co-administrator and a contributor. Jan Moran is a beautiful writer and a great storyteller. And, I might add, an awesome person. With all of her success she stays grounded and down to earth. A true inspiration to us all.

If you were a mentor to a new writer, what would you tell her about the writing business?

Work hard, write every day, always try to learn new things about the craft, take constructive criticism without getting defensive. And the most important advice: never give up. Perseverance really will pay off.

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Well, folks, that’s it for me. I will now pass the torch to a talented author, Susan K. Nicholls. Susan K. Nicholls is the author of the upcoming Richard Noggin novels in the Naked Eye Series. She lives with her husband, a rocket scientist, in Central Florida where her family owns and operates one of the oldest and largest nudist resorts in the country. The location inspires the series setting. A thirty year veteran nurse, her experiences in psychiatry, forensics and emergency room nursing facilitate in the crafting of characters, plotting complex scenarios, and coping with all the voices in her head. She enjoys people watching, the colors found in the sunset, and an occasional margarita.

If you’d like to answer any of the questions leave them in the comment section below. By the way, I changed comments’ setting. You no longer have to register to comment.

Tags: www.sistersincrime.org/BlogHop

Twitter: #SinCBlogHop

4 Comments

  1. Duh, Sue, would they enroll me if I joined as Janie Yeoman? I remember the scandal when the winner of a Romantic Novelist award was revealed to be an ex-brigadier, heavily mustached. After all, men know as much about bodice-ripping as women do. (Maybe more, if truth be told. Which it never is…)

  2. Thanks Sue! I can’t listen to music when I write crime fiction. Seems to be related to the genre. I’m a panster until about halfway through, then I have to outline and plot out details or I will lose myself. That requires all of my un-distracted concentration and focus. I am happy to bear the torch 😀

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