Hello all. Long time no blog! I've been packing and moving for the past month. Finally in the new house, but still living out of boxes. Also, my Internet hasn't been hooked up, so a shout to my sister who is letting me "borrow" her Internet. Now on to the fun!
Author Beth Groundwater stopped by for a visit. Her new book A BASKET OF TROUBLE, #3 in the A Claire Hanover Mystery, releases Friday, November 8!
Beth Groundwater Interview
LKBR: You have two series out. The Claire Hanover Mysteries and the RM Outdoor Adventures Mysteries. How do they differ?
BG: The Claire Hanover gift basket designer mysteries are craft cozy mysteries featuring an amateur sleuth in her late forties who lives in Colorado Springs, CO, has a home-based gift basket business, and has a husband and two grown children. The RM Outdoor Adventures mysteries are adventurous soft-boiled mysteries featuring a semi-professional sleuth: river ranger and whitewater rafting guide Mandy Tanner. She lives in Salida, CO, is single and has a boyfriend and a dog. Even though the series are very different, they both feature scenes set in the outdoors of my beautiful home state of Colorado.
LKBR: How much of your personality goes into your characters?
BG: I'm sure it's true for every author that some of their personality goes into all of their characters, even the villains, and it's true for me. You draw on your own emotional experiences when writing about how characters react to things in their lives. In Mandy Tanner's case, I rely on some of my feelings and reactions to happenings in my life when I was in my twenties, and in Claire Hanover's case, I do so for happenings that occurred later in my life. In neither case, however, are the characters exactly like me. I've given them both more emotional baggage than I have, for instance, to make them more "interesting." Also, I consider both of them to be braver than I am, but I feel I'm smarter than they are, because I can write them out of the fixes they get themselves into.
LKBR: The Claire Hanover books really appeal to me. Where did you get the idea about the gift baskets?
BG: I wanted to write a mystery series, since I was, and still am, an avid mystery reader. And, at the time that I was thinking about writing the first book in the series, A Real Basket Case, craft cozy mysteries were very popular with readers. Not being very good with my hands, I cast about for a craft I could personally do, because I knew I would want to delve into researching the craft as much as possible. Then I realized that I already made gift baskets for friends, relatives, and charity events, and I could use that. I augmented what I already knew with knowledge gained from interviews with owners of gift basket businesses, reading trade publications and blogs aimed at gift basket businesses, reading how-to books, scanning the websites of gift basket businesses, etc.
LKBR: A Basket Of Trouble comes out November of this year. Do you have any other books in the works?
BG: This has been a very busy year for me, with two book releases in one year, the third book in each of my series. Fatal Descent, the third in my RM Outdoor Adventures series, was released in May. I will have a busy schedule of appearances, both in-person and on-line, through the end of the year to promote the release of A Basket Of Trouble, then I hope to take a breather for a bit. I have a number of things on my to-do list, including releasing a collection of my short stories and making all of my books available in a downloadable audio format. Hopefully, I can get some of those things done before diving into another book manuscript.
LKBR: If you made up a gift basket of your favorite things, what would you fill it with?
BG: I have a few articles on my website, including two related to gift baskets: "Tips for Making Perfect Gift Baskets" and "Recipe for a Mystery Lover's Gift Basket." The second article is close to what I would want in my gift basket, except I would include some mystery novels written by authors other than me and more chocolate. As far as I'm concerned you can't ever have too much chocolate, especially dark chocolate! Here's a link to the articles:
LKBR: What is you favorite thing about writing? Your least favorite?
GB: I divide writing a novel-length manuscript into three phases: 1) pre-planning where I do research, profile characters, and outline the book, 2) writing the rough draft, and 3) editing where I make multiple passes through the manuscript looking for character inconsistencies, plot logic problems, and other issues and resolve them. I enjoy the first and third phases more than the middle phase, because in phase 2 I have to put myself on a strict production schedule of 20-25 pages a week to produce the rough draft on time. When I'm "in the zone" and the characters are interacting with each other and I'm just a secretary recording the dialogue and action, then I absolutely love it. That doesn't always happen, though, and I still have to put my butt in the chair and write those pages even when coming up with the words is like pulling teeth. By far, the aspect I like the least about writing, though, is having to promote my work. The one part of promotion I do enjoy is talking one-on-one with readers at appearances, book club visits, or via email.
LKBR: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
GB: I love to talk to book clubs who choose one of my books to read and discuss. I will visit either in-person if the club meets near to where I live in Breckenridge, CO, or via speakerphone, Skype, or other teleconferencing technology otherwise. Just contact me at my website to set up a visit! Here's where you can find me on-line:
My website: http://bethgroundwater.com/
My blog: http://bethgroundwater.blogspot.com/
My Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/beth.groundwater
My Goodreads page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/471598.Beth_Groundwater