Today, a friend I met in Omaha at the first EPICON is on for an interview. I remember the great restaurant she and her husband took me to while I was waiting to go to the airport for my plane. I've seen her several times since then and read a few of her books. Enjoyed them.
. For you which comes first, the characters or the plot? Because I write two series, the main characters I already have. For my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, when I'm thinking about what I want to write about, first, I usually consider who is going to be a murder victim, why more than one person would like to see this person dead and that these people had the opportunity to do the deed. Of course this is all entwined with the plot.
2. How do you create your characters?
I being thinking what the character looks like, what he or she does, the kinds of things that motivate him or her, character traits--and of course I write that all down so I don't forget as the book progresses.
3. When writing do you plan or do you go with the flow? Really, kind of a combination of both. After I've figured out pretty much what I think the story is going to be about and who the other characters besides Tempe, Hutch and others who live in Bear Creek and Indians who've already appeared in the previous books, I usually start working on the computer. But as ideas pop into my head, I'll write notes down on paper so I don't forget. I also jot down clues and things I need to resolve as the story unfolds. I don't outline though, it might be easier if I did, but I've never worked with an outline.
4. How much research do you do and how do you go about it? How much research I do depends upon the book. I did quite a bit for Kindred Spirits because there was so much about the Tolowa people that I didn't know. When I'm writing about mystical Native American things, I do research quite a bit.
Of course I use the Internet a lot for research, but I also have a lot of Native American books that I consult. For Kindred Spirits, my primary source was a Tolowa woman who was also the inspiration for two characters in the book.
5. How do you select goals and reasons your characters want to accomplish these goals.
In Kindred Spirits, of course Tempe's goal is to find out who murdered the woman found in the aftermath of the forest fire. That's why she goes to both Crescent City and Santa Barbara. Another important goal was repairing her damaged relationship with her husband, Hutch.
6. What is your latest release? Tell us a bit about it.
Of course I've told you a few things about Kindred Spirits in the answers of the last questions.
There is a two year gap between Judgment Fire and Kindred Spirits. During that gap a casino was built on the Bear Creek Reservation--something Tempe was happy about because it changed the Indians lives but her husband fought against because of what gambling can do to people.
7. What's on your backlist? Kindred Spirits is the eighth novel in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, this is the order for the books:
Calling the Dead
8. Do you write just one genre or do you do more than one? If so, what?
Right now I'm just writing mysteries, but I do have two series going. Besides the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series I also right the Rocky Bluff P.D. series. The latest is Smell of Death, the previous ones are Final Respects, Bad Tidings and Fringe Benefits. I have a new publisher for the one that is coming next, No Sanctuary.
9. What are you working on now? I'm finishing up the next Deputy Tempe Crabtree series. But I have to confess, that I have a lot of promotion going on for Kindred Spirits that's taking up a lot of my time.
Besides doing things on the Internet, I just returned from the WOW Writers Conference where I gave two workshops. I have something every weekend until the second week of December.