WWK Blogger Paula Gail Benson has two short stories running in Kings River Life Magazine this weekend, "Pelican Spring" and "The Mama Factor." Both are Mother's Day short stories. You can read them by going to: http://kingsriverlife.com/category/kings-river-reviewers/terrific-tales/
Linda Rodriguez is a finalist in two categories for the International Latino Book Awards (given out at BEA the end of May)--one for Every Last Secret and one for editing Woven Voices: 3 Generations of Puertorriquena Poets Look at Their American Lives (with Gloria Vando, Anika Paris, and Anita Velez-Mitchell). Congratulations, Linda!
The second SinC Guppy anthology, Fish Nets, has been released by Wildside Press. WWK authors, Gloria Alden, Warren Bull, Kara Cerise and E. B. Davis have short stories in this volume, which can be bought at Wildside Press, the usual retailers and will be available at the Malice Domestic Conference. Look for "the story behind the stories" on May 1 here!
Upcoming Salad Bowl Saturdays include authors Carolyn Mulford on 5/25 and Liz Mugavero on 6/1. If you are interested in being a guest blogger, send a message to Jim Jackson at email@example.com.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
An Interview with Michele Drier
Dee Gatrell (DHG)
DHG: Tell us a little about yourself, Michele. What part of the US do you live in? Children, pets, grands?
MD: I live in California. That’s a pat answer, because right now, I live in the Central Valley (summer heat!), but through the years I’ve lived in all parts of California from Humboldt County (redwood forests, rugged seacoasts, 40 inches of rain a year) to Riverside (SoCal, Palm Springs, Mojave Desert, Disneyland, 12 inches of rain a year); from San Francisco (summer fog) to the Sierra foothills (winter snow).
The first member of my family to arrive here came to San Francisco from St. John’s, New Brunswick in 1849, and another ancestor, from Long Island, arrived in 1850. I have a great-great-grandmother who crossed the Isthmus of Panama by mule in 1852. I think the adventuring spirit was finished though, because most of us have never left, but we sure moved a lot!
I have one daughter who is a Neonatal Intensive Care RN (I’m very proud of her!), two granddaughters and, currently only one aged, lame cat. As all my animals over the years have been, Djinn was a rescue and was injured before I met him.
DHG: When did you start writing?
MD: I guess I’ve been writing, in one form or another, all of my adult life. I’ve been a newspaper reporter, had short stories published in college anthologies, wrote more grants than I can remember, have written white papers, policy statements, newsletters and annual reports. As many reporters do, I’d always thought about writing a novel. In my case, it just took about ...let’s just say a LOT of years to do it.
DHG: You just published your first book. Please tell us about Edited for Death. How did you get the idea? Are you an art or history fan?
MD: I’m both an art AND history fan! I’ve dragged friends and relatives through more cathedrals, castles and museums than they ever wanted to see. These two passions helped me mold the story in Edited for Death. Newspaper editor Amy Hobbes thinks she sees a way to write a book when California’s senior Senator dies, and she discovers he was born and raised in a small, nearby town. The quest into the Senator’s life and his family leads Amy to a secret that’s been kept for more than 60 years and now has ended three people’s lives.
DHG: Who published your book and where can it be bought?
MD: Edited for Death is published by Mainly Murder Press in trade paperback and is available at their website, at Amazon and at Barnes & Noble or ordered from your favorite bookstore.
DHG: How many books have your written? Can you tell us a little bit about them? Which genres?
MD: Although Edited for Death is the first book I wrote, I published my second book, SNAP: The World Unfold in e-book formats this past summer.
Unlike “Edited,” a traditional mystery, “SNAP” is a flight of fancy...a vampire romance! It was an interesting challenge to write in two different genres. With “Edited,” although fiction, the plot, characters, settings have to be plausible. If the sun is low in the sky behind the Golden Gate Bridge, it dang well has to be setting!
With “SNAP,” although the sun still sets in the west, the whole premise is vampires...and though there may be plenty of people who want to believe in them, well, they haven’t been proven. There’s more latitude in writing a story that’s totally fantasy.
DHG: What is your favorite genre to read? What genre do you favor when writing?
MD: Probably mystery. I like a good tale that introduces interesting characters and keeps bringing up new plot possibilities, and characters who have a range of emotions and experiences. I prefer traditional mysteries, with complex threads. I love P.D. James, Elizabeth George, Kate Atkinson. If I never read another psycho thriller with a sociopath leaving women’s body parts all over the landscape, that would be fine. As a woman and a feminist, I also don’t like reading about “woman as victim”.
On the other hand, I love action! Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, Daniel Silva...bring ‘em on!
DHG: How many rewrites do you do on your stories?
MD: Oh, wow! Wholesale rewrites, probably two. Piecemeal, it can be several. I start a story by sitting down and writing Chapter One, and each time I come back to it (hopefully, every day, but lately, less than that) I read the last 10 pages or so already written. That can set me off on a different tangent, so those last 10 pages may get sliced to pieces. I’ve cut chunks out and moved then to another chapter; written a prologue and turned it into Chapter Four. “Edited” began life as a third-person, past tense novel. It’s now (and should have been from the beginning) a first-person, present tense.
DHG: Are you a pantser or a plotter?
MD: Oh, definitely a pantser! From the previous answer, you can see there are some drawbacks to that way of writing, but I don’t know how to do it any other way. In school, I was the one who always wrote the paper and then went back and outlined it. I never mastered how to make an outline first.
My characters will surprise me by acting in a way that I wouldn’t have thought about, or get into a situation that reveals hidden traits I didn’t know about. It’s a fun, but sometimes frustrating, ride!
DHG: Other than writing, what other career path have you taken?
MD: I’ve had two distinct and separate careers over the years. First was in the media, and I spent years as a reporter and editor. I was in and out of the business twice. Being in print media today is very, very sad. A newspaper was always expected to make money, but in today’s cutthroat advertising milieu, and the push-back to make more and more profit, telling a good story or covering an interesting event has fallen by the wayside.
I guess I’ve always liked a challenge, and writing for publication in today’s environment sure fits that bill!
DHG: Thank you, Michele. Here’s hoping your books sell lots of lots!
MD: Thank you Dee, and thanks to the Writers Who Kill, for giving me this opportunity to share!