Thursday, August 4, 2016

Have you ever wondered what your favorite authors are doing when they aren't writing those wonderful cozy mysteries that we love so much?

Do they have other jobs, hobbies, hidden talents?

Now you can find out!

Today's special guest author is 

Camille Minichino

aka Margaret Grace/Jean Flowers/Ada Madison

So, what is one of the things 
Camille does when she's not writing?

When I’m Not Writing...

I'm still writing. Not only do my characters follow me around, but my three main pursuits—physics, writing, and miniatures, are all tied together. They're all about making models.
Physics, the most academic of my lifelong pursuits, deals with descriptions of the universe, expressed in equations and manipulated in engineering.
Writing fiction is another way of modeling our world, played through characters and their personal stories.
Making miniatures models our physical environment on a scale that allows us to rearrange it at will.
So, it seems I know how to do only one thing: make models. Here are some examples of how they're connected.
1. Integrating physics with miniatures. For scale: the white table is the plastic piece that keeps the cover of the pizza box from the cheese!

2. Integrating physics with writing: My first series was the Periodic Table Mysteries, featuring a retired physicist. I'm continuing this series in short stories, the latest (#11) being The Sodium Arrow.

3. Integrating my new Postmistress series with miniatures. Tiny packages waiting to be shipped.

4. Integrating writing/reading with making miniatures

5. Integrating writing with miniatures. The marker gives a sense of scale; the vase is a (real) bullet casing.

The Process
On my workbench is a room box, newly crafted, waiting to be furnished. On my computer is my latest novel, newly crafted, waiting to be furnished.

Adding a descriptive passage to emphasize a point in a scene is like dropping that tiny string of pearls onto m'lady's dresser in the Victorian dollhouse mansion. Cutting a paragraph from a chapter in a novel translates into removing a too-large scatter rug that overpowers the rest of the kitchen furnishings in a modern dollhouse.

I change a verb for a more powerful statement; I change the draperies in the dollhouse dining room for the same reason.

For a miniature scene or room box, after I choose the colors and assemble the pieces, I leave it on my workbench for a while, living with it, looking at it from different angles over the course of a week or so, to be sure all the elements fit together nicely. Only when a particular design has stood the test of time, do I glue all the parts in place.

I do the same for my novels, leaving each chapter or day's work to sit for a while. When I come back later, I see the flaws. I notice phrases or sentences or plot elements that don't work well together, and make the changes. Only then do I consider it "finished" and metaphorically glue it in place.

I have the most fun when I can combine my two favorite crafts, making miniature scenes and writing mystery novels. At writing conferences and meetings I donate miniature scenes for charity auctions, often including miniature replicas of books that are featured on the panels.

In each case—making a miniature scene or writing a novel—I'm creating a model of reality, a fictional world where things can be easier and often make more sense than in the life-size world.

Both endeavors also involve cheating!

When I put a roof on a dollhouse I don't have to worry about the materials really being weatherproof. Dollhouse admirers assume all will be well if it rains. When I move my characters about in a novel, I'm not concerned about filling their cars with gas or giving them a rest stop on a long journey. Readers assume the mundane things are being taken care of.

In the world of dollhouses, there's no laundry to do, and a houseful of carpeting can be changed in a matter of minutes. In my mystery novels, the good guys always win and justice is always served.

What could be more satisfying?

I never knew the world of miniatures could be so fascinating! And using them to go along with your writing is brilliant! 

Thank you for sharing with us, Camille. 

You can thank Camille too by leaving a comment.

Another great way to say thanks is reading and reviewing Camille's books.


as Camille Minichino

Book One                                     Book Eight


as Margaret Grace

Book One                                       Book Nine 
                                                        Available 9/9/16


as Jean Flowers

Book One                                         Book Two
                                                           Available 9/6/16


as Ada Madison

Book One                                Book Four

You can't go wrong with any of these great series by Camille Minichino 
no matter the name she writes under!

However, my personal favorite series is her Postmistress Mysteries written as Jean Flowers. 
Book two is out this September. Pre-order it now, and get yourself a copy of the first book while you're there! 

As always, please leave a comment and 
let me know what you think!

Follow my blog by 
clicking on the link in the 
upper right hand corner of this page.


  1. That's so amazing! What great pictures of her creations.

  2. Thanks, Lisa and Camille. Great post! I really enjoyed it.

  3. Loved the pictures of what she's made and a very interesting thought process. Thanks for sharing with us.

  4. I swear Lisa has more pictures of me and my *stuff* than I do! Thanks Lisa and thanks to her readers for visiting today!

  5. Camille, I loved everything about your post. And loved your comparisons of physics, writing, and miniatures.

    It was especially interesting for me because I have a Victorian dollhouse (unfinished) and many miniatures. :)

  6. Making miniatures takes a lot of talent and patience. The pics that were shared are beautiful.