If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

July Interviews

7/1 Lena Gregory, Scone Cold Killer
7/8 Jessica Baker, Murder on the Flying Scotsman
7/15 TG Wolff, Driving Reign
7/22 Leslie Budewitz, The Solace of Bay Leaves
7/29 Cynthia Kuhn, The Study of Secrets

Saturday Guest Bloggers

7/11 Mark Dressler
7/18 James McCrone

WWK Bloggers:

7/4 Valerie Burns
7/25 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!

Look Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.

Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

An Interview with Gloria Alden

Daylilies for Emily’s Garden surprises the reader from the start because Catherine’s promising romantic relationship that started in the first book of the series transitions between books, a clever technique. Gloria also surprises the reader with an example of natural perversion, which fascinated me, and I couldn’t help but wonder what Darwin’s thoughts would be on that particularity.  E. B. Davis

Fate forces Catherine Jewell, Gloria Alden’s main character, to survive after the death of her family. But, like an assassin, death follows Catherine, and in this second installment of Gloria’s series she again faces a killer.

Before we start, Gloria, give us a synopsis of Daylilies for Emily’s Garden.

In this book Catherine is restoring the gardens of the reclusive Emily Llewellyn, an Emily Dickinson scholar. Emily suffers from dementia and has taken on the persona of Emily Dickinson. She dresses in white and only communicates through her secretary/companion, Charles McKee so Catherine never actually meets her, but does get a poem from her. Catherine’s excitement over this job dims a little when she discovers a body. Meanwhile, there’s an environmental issue with a new bypass coming around town threatening wetlands. An environmental activist, Bruce Twohill, arrives in town to try to save the wetlands. Some consider him a savior, but Police Chief John MacDougal is suspicious of him. Especially when another dead body is discovered and some wonder if it is connected in some way to the first body.

Are theme gardens a big deal in the world of gardening?

Yes, I think so. I know my family and I have been visiting gardens on all our vacations and there’s always many visitors strolling through them even though almost all of them have an admission fee. It’s been a major problem for me because I keep trying to emulate some of these gardens without all the paid and volunteer gardeners these gardens have. I haven’t attempted any Japanese gardens, though.

Are gardeners by definition environmentalists?

Not necessarily. Some will go to any length to keep their gardens pest free, while others, like me, tend use chemical free solutions where possible. For instance, in my yearly battle against Japanese beetles, I go around with a jar of water knocking them off the plant or rose into a jar of water below. If they feel motion, they automatically fall trying to get to the ground.  I used to add soap or vinegar to the water, but found it wasn’t necessary. Plus, it’s better for my five hens this way.

Tell us about the perversity of the female praying mantis.

Isn’t that a cool fact! I discovered it when I was teaching a unit on insects, arachnids and other creepy crawlies to my third grade class. It was a lengthy unit and the kids brought in all sorts of insects. Anyway, for those readers who don’t know about the female praying mantis, which looks like a space alien, while she’s mating with a male, she turns her head and eats him as he’s performing his male duty. She starts with the head and works her way down while he keeps on following his male urges. Since I’ve never actually watched this, I’m not sure how far she eats down his body before he dies. The world of nature is a fascinating world.

Development and government contracts complicate your plot. Do you envision Portage Falls growing or will its gardeners cull growth?

What’s really cool about creating a fictious town set in a real area is I can do anything I want with it. So no, Portage Falls will not turn into a larger town with box stores. Of course, that does make more murders problematic so I’ll probably have to spread them a little farther afield at times. That being said, the third book I’m editing now has three murders, all members of the local garden club.

A mentally challenged young man gives clues to Catherine and helps her. What grade did you teach, and did you teach special education?

I taught third grade and never special education, but my youngest daughter took care of adult mentally challenged women in a group home while working her way through college. She often brought some of them home for a visit, two even at Christmas. Once she rented a cabin near a state park where I was camping with family, and took three of her girls/women there. They would visit with us for a few hours. It was quite an experience and often funny since they were totally out of their element.

Statisticians tell us that violence occurs more often during the summer months. The heat plays a character role in this book. How does it affect your plot?

You would think so because the weather is very hot in this book and that does cause tempers to fray. However, there were other things that brought about the two murders. In this case, fear of exposure and wanting to preserve one’s comfortable world is probably the main factor.

Catherine’s been through too much to compromise her values to become a “yes” woman to John MacDougal, her romantic interest, who must come to grips with his mother’s relationship with a man—a younger man. Can parent and child ever be friends or does that natural relationship always interfere?

I’m not sure. I think it’s possible, but there’s always that wanting to protect one’s child or one’s parent. The fine line is not giving too much unwanted advice, I think.  Also, there is an age difference that creates some boundaries. We have different memories and different life experiences. Sometimes it’s much easier to relate to someone in one’s own age group. Some of those “Remember when comments” one can only say to someone the same age. 

Is the mayor gay? Or do you believe in “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy?

Interesting question and one I’ve never thought about. She could be. It wouldn’t matter to me if she was. I might explore that in a future book. Anyway, I really do like her. I could always add a homophobic person she has to deal with. A nice twist and future plot there.

Have you planned Catherine’s character arc for the series?

So far only that eventually she and John will get together, but I haven’t figured quite how to do that with John’s teenage son around. Kind of tough on the privacy part and may be hard on Josh, too. She will have some other personal issues to deal with, too, but that’s down the road. Maybe it will happen in the November book since I’m going by months. I do have plot ideas for quite a few more books.

You’ve written a YA mystery, The Sherlock Holmes Detective Club. Please tell us about your book, and if you will continue writing YA as well as your adult mysteries?

Actually, it’s a middle-grade book, and one I had a lot of fun writing. Twice spaced out seven years apart, I brought a suitcase into my classroom and claimed I’d found it on my back steps and didn’t want to open it without witnesses. The students went through the belongings, but there was no identification found. So I put an ad in the lost and found (or so I said) and got three replies. It could only have been one – Alice Van Brocken, an elderly woman. I returned the suitcase to this fictitious person and later we got a letter thanking us with her tale of witnessing a jewel robbery. The police wouldn’t believe her because she was an elderly woman. So she watched the apartment where the thieves were staying. When they left she found a clue and was taking off to Columbus, Ohio on their trail. From then on the kids wrote letters to her and she sent long letters telling of all her adventures – often dangerous ones – as she followed Spike and Bugsy around the country.

The letters from the students are real with only a few modifications, and I narrowed the students in the book down to twelve and not the over forty students total for this writing experience. But those twelve are based on actual students. I changed their names, but used their letters with a few changes occasionally. The letters from Alice Van Broken were my pieces of fiction mailed to friends and family around the country so they came postmarked and unopened from Boston, NYC, Washington D.C. and on until she’s responsible for their arrest. She’s a feisty woman, who knows karate. The kids gave her advice and tell her what’s going on in the classroom. In the last week of school she actually came to visit, thanks to my sister and the fact kids don’t have a real idea of age. Anyone older than their parents is old. It was a great writing experience for my kids. I never told them Alice wasn’t real any more than I’d tell them Santa wasn’t real. 

Are you planning to hike again with your siblings this summer for vacation? 

Unfortunately, I’m not camping or hiking with them this summer, although we may take a short camping trip in September. This summer I’m heading to California to help my youngest daughter move up to the Seattle area. We will be camping and hiking for a few days with my Washington sister and her husband while there, but no long camping and hiking trips with multiple siblings this year.

Gloria’s books are available at Amazon and at Smashwords. 


Jim Jackson said...


One of the things I enjoyed about meeting you at Malice was how easily your enthusiasm for your subject was illustrated by your infectiouis smile.

I am in the midst of reading The Blue Rose. It is going slowly only because we have two of our grandkids visiting and so lots of my time is being taken up doing things with them.

Writing is suffering a little and reading a lot!

~ Jim

Gloria Alden said...

Thank you, Jim. Enjoy those grandkids. There are times when family needs to take precedence over anything else. For instance, today with my massive "things to do" list, a cousin from out of town called last night and wants to get her cousins and the one remaining aunt and uncle together for lunch at a restaurant, and, of course, I'm going.

Kara Cerise said...

Congratulations on publishing your second book in the series, Gloria. I’m glad to hear that Catherine eventually gets together with John MacDougal.

Did the talented family member who designed The Blue Rose cover also create the Daylilies for Emily's Garden cover?

Good luck completing everything on your enormous "things to do" list!

Gloria Alden said...

Thanks, Kara. Yes, she did and she is actually the woman in white going into the house. I told her I'd buy her a white dress and hat for the picture so she sent me numerous pictures - none appropriate since the character of Emily in the book is an older woman with dementia, who now thinks she's Emily Dickinson. She wouldn't be wearing a short white dress with spaghetti straps on the top. :-) Eventually, she found something at a thrift shop and wrapped a white sheet or towel or something around her waist to make it look like a long dress. I think it worked.

Kristen also designed the middle-grade book. That type of art is more in her line of work since she designs art work for an on-line school for kids.

Thanks for the good luck wishes. Know of any gardeners willing to work for peanuts or free????

Linda Rodriguez said...

Congratulations on publishing your second novel, Gloria! I'm looking forward to reading it. And what a gorgeous cover!

Mazel tov and best of luck! I'm glad you'll have a chance to celebrate with your cousins and other relatives today. Have a great time.

Warren Bull said...

I'm glad your writing is going well. What a neat idea for a middle grade novel. Thanks for sharing.

Paula Gail Benson said...

Gloria, you are truly inspiring. I love how you bring so much of your own experience and teaching skills to your work. Your covers are so inviting. They set the stage and draw your readers in to your fascinating stories. Best wishes for your continuing success.

Shari Randall said...

Just bought Daylillies from Emily's Garden - can't wait to read it. This sounds right up my alley - plus the day lily is one of my favorite flowers.
My garden is minuscule but I have enlisted the help of a friend's son to do weeding. He's such a dear - he told me I pay him too much and tried to give the money back! That just makes me want to pay him more.
Best wishes for all your travels this summer.

Gloria Alden said...

Thanks you, Warren. However, in the spring and summer months I'm constantly trying to juggle yard and garden work with the writing.

Thank you, Paula. I'm sure you bring your life experiences to your writing, too, I just have a lot more years than you. :-)

I hope you do like it, Shari. I love Daylilies, too, and have some still in pots from those I divided and am trying to think of places to put them. The good news for me is they started to bloom earlier this year so I won't miss them when I have to leave for ten days later this month.

Anonymous said...

I'm in the midst of reading Daylilies for Emily's Garden. After meeting some of the characters in The Blue Rose, it's like visiting old friends. I'm throughly enjoying it, and I'm only allowing myself to read a chapter a night so I can have it longer.

Aside from her expertise with the gardening aspect, Gloria brings a great depth to her characters. They are well-rounded and memorable, and it's easy to slip into thinking they are real people, not characters in a book. She's adept at creating believable situations and tying them all in together so the whole thing makes sense and is a very satisfying read.

I hope there will be mmore Catherine books forthcoming!

Patg said...

Very nice interview, Gloria.

E. B. Davis said...

Sorry I was on the road yesterday and helped to pack a rental truck my son is driving to Georgia on Friday to attend grad school. It was a hot and sweaty day!

I've enjoyed reading both your mysteries, Gloria. I enjoyed your YA book and was surprised to find out that you actually invented such a letter with your class. I'd say you must have been an inventive and fun teacher to have. My hat is off for you!

Gloria Alden said...

I've been quite frustrated because I was offline since Weds. afternoon - still am, but it's to be fixed tomorrow and now I'm at my daughter, Sue's home trying to catch up with online stuff.

Thank you, KM, for those kind words. I just finished your third book and loved it.

Thanks for stopping by, Pat.

E.B. thank you for interviewing me. What a trip that must have been especially with hot weather.
I'm glad you enjoyed my books. It helped creating something like that because I so thoroughly loved teaching especially when I could be creative and not have to follow some rules that I felt were totally useless in inspiring kids.I hope you found the middle-grade book as funny as I did.