Welcome to WWK, Janet. Willow’s property becomes the source of conflict in the small, quaint town. Could you explain your hook, conflict and setting to our readers?
Janet: Thanks for inviting me! It’s good to be here.
The village of Elderberry Bay was declining until Willow’s best friend and her best friend’s three (!) mothers opened fabric, yarn, notions, and quilting stores, and Elderberry Bay earned its nickname of Threadville. Willow’s machine embroidery boutique is the latest Threadville shop. While Willow’s friends may feel that they rescued the village, some of the old-timers may not be entirely pleased by busloads of women arriving every day and energizing the once sleepy village.
Elderberry Bay is on the (fictitious) Elderberry River, which empties into Lake Erie. While Willow and others love the peaceful nature trail along the river, the village’s zoning commissioner wants to open the trail to motorized vehicles. He also plans to bulldoze the cottage that Willow plans to renovate and rent to tourists. She doesn’t really mean the dire threat she makes, but when he ends up dead in her back yard, her livelihood hangs by a thread . . .
Your characters are three dimensional because they have history, relationships and life conflicts. Have you written their futures as well?
Janet: I will put them into situations, and their personalities will determine how they’ll react. I’ve turned in the second book and have started writing the third, so I do know what their near future holds—more adventures. Their decisions and actions often surprise me.
Willow has two dogs. Are they based on your own pets?
Janet: Yes, they are, and they have similar histories of being found in Ohio when they were scared little 4-month-old puppies, and being kept in a very nice rescue facility until someone wanted both of them. They’re brother and sister. Their devotion to each other is strong and very touching.
What is the publishing date and title of the sequel to Dire Threads?
Janet: It’s scheduled for June, 2012. Berkley books come out the first Tuesday of the month, so that would be June 5. Not that I’m counting down, or anything . . . I’m calling it Threaded for Trouble, but Berkley may have a better idea.
Is this your first published book?
Janet: Yes, and it’s very exciting! I’ve had short stories and short humorous essays published and read on nationally broadcast programs on CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) radio. Three of those essays were in an anthology, Dear Sad Goat.
How did BookEnds LLC become your literary agency?
Janet: It was a miracle! My friend and critique partner, Krista Davis, told her editor that I lived near a cozy village on Lake Erie and did machine embroidery, and the editor said she’d like to see a proposal. A proposal! This threw me, because I was determined to write an entire manuscript before attempting to sell it. I sent the proposal on a Thursday and had my offer of representation on Monday—yep, four days. Three weeks later, I had an offer for three books from Berkley. One agent, one publisher, less than a month. A miracle. Then I had to settle down and write the book—a very scary prospect. But it turned out to be lots of fun.
What is the editing process like at Berkley Prime Crime Mystery and how long did it take from submission to release?
Janet: The editing process was like a free writing course. My editor spotted areas that needed strengthening. She was very patient and understanding, and we sent the revised manuscript (a digital file, all done by email) back and forth until we were both happy with it. Then they sent the revised digital file to a copy editor who was fantastic, and even pointed out a couple of inconsistencies that we had missed (I had a state trooper sitting on slush-covered steps, which wasn’t very nice to him—I very kindly allowed him to brush the slush off, probably with his bare hands, and sit on a wet step. Luckily, he was a real trooper about it all
I got to look at the manuscript again as a PDF file when it was camera-ready, and found a few more bloopers and typos. The entire process took almost two years because they gave me a year to write it, then they needed a year to edit and produce the cover (which I think is beautiful) and put it into their catalogue, list it for pre-orders, send out their sales team and a barrel of review copies, and I’m not sure what else. Waiting was hard, and even when I had the book in my hands, I could hardly believe it I wasn’t dreaming.
Are you an embroiderer? How do you feel about machine-based embroidery? Those machines are darn expensive, aren’t they?
Janet: Machine embroidery is a really fun hobby. I sort of fell into it by buying a machine to which I could add an embroidery attachment, someday. Someday happened very quickly. It’s like a big toy. I’m very impressed by hand embroidery, but probably lack the patience. Yes, some of those machines can be expensive, but if you visit a sewing store that sells them, they’ll happily demonstrate them (at least Willow will!) Some folks call them killer sewing machines. Threaded for Trouble gives those words a whole new meaning . . .
Do you have any advice for new novelists?
Janet: Do you have hours?
Would you self-publish?
Access Janet’s website, The Threadville Mysteries, to learn more about this author and her books and view great pictures of her dogs! She can be found on Facebook as Janet Bolin-Author and on Twitter as @JanetBolin. This was a fun interview, Janet. Thanks for coming to WWK, and when your sequel is release, please come back.