0. Yes, I’m cheating by starting at zero. Be that as it may, you describe your work as blanc, as opposed to noir. Could you explain that?
First off, thanks so much for inviting me to WWK. It's a great blog for mystery lovers of all kinds. As you mentioned, I came up with the name Blanc to describe the type of mysteries I write in the Lora Weaver series. Most of us are familiar with Noir Mysteries--dark, moody suspense stories usually with male, hard-boiled leads who fall for femme fatales who lure them in with their lustful ways. Well, I thought it was about time we had a term for light, upbeat mysteries with soft-boiled female leads who fall for hot men who lure them in with their lustful ways. And I immediately thought Blanc Mysteries. Blanc is French for white, the obvious complement to Noir, and has the right fun, bright feel for my series. Plus, I like the way Blanc sounds :)
1. Lora Weaver, your main character, is a risk-taker, which leads to various problems. Do you admire that trait?
I admire Lora's kind of risk-taking because it involves a combination of common sense and faith that good will win out. Fear has become such a fixture in our society that it's easy to give it too much power in our lives and lets it stop us from going after what we want. But truth is, it's a choice. Sensible caution is smart, but overwhelming fear is debilitating. I think there's room for optimism, and that's what Lora's risk-taking is all about. Sure, it has its pitfalls now and then, but ultimately it's what makes her succeed.
2. Lora is honest with herself, but not necessarily to her significant other. Do you think most relationships have duplicity?
Great question. In real life, I think good relationships depend on honest communication and duplicity undercuts that. But even in Lora's world, I wouldn't consider her occasional withholding duplicity exactly. She is honest in sharing her feelings with her mate, but she's also been trained as a social worker to follow a code of confidentiality in her work which limits any sharing of that part of her life. And when it comes to her new profession, that habit follows her and she exercises it in a way that makes sense to her.
3. How does Lora’s problem lead to her employment?
Lora's a New Yorker who moves to Montreal and runs into a snag getting a job in her field as a social worker because fluency in French is one accessory she didn't pack. Unfortunately for her, French is required for most social service jobs serving the public. So she takes a job with her best friend's PI agency until she can get her French up to snuff, but she has a lack of aptitude for languages that thwarts her plan. This aspect of her personality was actually inspired by my mother, who despite living in Montreal for a good chunk of her adult life and taking years of French lessons, still struggles and has yet to even pronounce Québec properly. But she keeps trying, and we love that :)
4. Her employers are admirable for different reasons. What attracts Lora to them?
Lora's employed by Laurent and Camille Caron, a French brother and sister team. Laurent is an ex-cop with a healthy dose of ethics and a body sculpted by years of hockey. Camille's a trained investigator with a martial-arts attitude and a fierce protective streak. Both value family and have as serious a commitment to play as they have to work. And Lora finds it all attractive and more than a little intriguing. So long as one of their admirable qualities doesn't trip up her plans, that is.
5. As a former social worker, Lora’s priorities aren’t always in her employers’ interests. How does Lora fulfill both her and her employers’ priorities?
To Lora, PI work IS social work. And since righting social injustice is part of her DNA, she makes that her priority, stopping just short of doing anything that would jeopardize the agency's standing. Then she hopes it sits well with her employers. It doesn't always work out that way, but that's part of the fun.
6. Lora enjoys her cozy life with her beau, cat and dog, but she likes her work. What is it about Lora that draws her to the wild side?
Lora wouldn't see herself as attracted to the wild side. Her determination to help sometimes causes a blind spot to putting herself in danger, but she'd consider that as all in the line of duty.
7. When and why did you start writing (mysteries)?
I can't remember a time when I wasn't into reading and writing. Everything about storytelling appeals to me, and I enjoy a wide range of stories. But mysteries in particular were always big in my house when I was growing up--in books and on TV. I especially liked series like Nancy Drew, The Three Investigators, or Ellery Queen because I loved connecting to characters that kept coming back.
The idea for the Lora Weaver mysteries came to me probably about ten years ago, and I wrote the first one not long after. The first draft that is. It went through a few rounds of rewrites before it was ready to publish. My stories are character driven, but I also love working with the plot structure of mysteries. And while mysteries can shed light on social issues, for me at their heart they're a celebration of the triumph of good.
8. What factors made you decide to self-publish?
I didn't originally set out to self-publish, but the idea grew on me. My hubby and a good friend of mine had been pushing for it for a while, and then one day it just clicked. It was the freedom that cinched it. I write to put a little joy out into the world, and indie publishing offers an accessible route to distribution without having to meet quotas. I like that I can offer readers some fun entertainment at an affordable price and control marketing. If readers discover Lora and enjoy reading her adventures, that's enough for me.
9. How do your characters keep fit with all the chocolate and pastry eating, and will a future book feature a dentist or a fitness trainer?
Well, Camille does martial arts, so that helps. And Lora has tried yoga. As for a dentist or fitness trainer popping up in later books, I'm keeping my options open on that. But, really, a little dark chocolate and baguette now and then is healthy, right?
10. Have you completed the next book?
I'm editing the second book in the series now. Then it goes into production for final edits, proofreading, cover design, and formatting. The story is about Lora's first foray into undercover work, and it's been really fun to write.
Beach. With a comfy chaise, a well-stocked e-reader, and a cooler full of tasty snacks and green tea.