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

February Interview Schedule:

Keenan Powell 2/6, Hemlock Needle

A. R. Kennedy 2/13, Saving Ferris

Shari Randall 2/20, Drawn and Buttered

V. M. Burns 2/27, The Puppy Who Knew Too Much

Saturday Guest Bloggers: 2/2 Marilyn Meredith, 2/9 Chloe Sunstone

WWK Satuday Bloggers: 2/16 Margaret S. Hamilton, 2/23 Kait Carson

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

We are especially proud of two WWK bloggers:

Congratulations to Shari Randall for her nomination for the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Her book, Curses, Boiled Again was published by St. Martin's last year. Read the interviewabout the book here. Yay, Shari!

The Malice Domestic conference participants have nominated Annette Dashofy for an Agatha Award for her Zoe Chambers mystery Cry Wolf, published in 2018 by Henery Press. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Annette about Cry Wolf here. Will four nominations be the charm?

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: http://a.co/d/jdSBKdM

Grace Topping signed a three-book contract with Henery Press for her Laura Bishop Home Staging series. Congratulations, Grace!

KM Rockwood's new short story, "Map to Oblivion," has been included the anthology Shhhh...Murder! edited by Andrew MacRae and published by Darkhouse Books. It was released on Sept. 12.

Warren Bull also has a story in Shhh...Murder! Look for "Elsinore Noir," Warren's short story, in this anthology.

Shari Randall's third Lobster Shack Mystery, Drawn and Buttered, was published February 26, 2019. Available for sale.


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

An Interview With Janet Bolin, Writing as Ginger Bolton

by Grace Topping

The world of mystery writers is filled with kind and supportive people, and Janet Bolin/Ginger Bolton is definitely one of them. Several years ago, new to crime writing, I posted a question on the listserv of the Sisters in Crime Guppy Chapter. Janet Bolin, author of the Threadville mystery series, personally contacted me with helpful information, and we began an online friendship. Later, when I met her at a Malice Domestic Conference, she took me under her wing, introduced me to attendees, and showed me the ropes. I never forgot her kindness. So I was quite pleased to read recently that Janet, writing as Ginger Bolton, was coming out with a new mystery series, the Deputy Donut mysteries. Again, she generously shared information about her new series and about her career. The first book in her series, Survival of the Fritters by Ginger Bolton, will be released January 30, 2018.

Welcome, Janet/Ginger, to Writers Who Kill.                                                     Grace Topping

Survival of the Fritters

Emily Westhill runs the best donut shop in Fallingbrook, Wisconsin, alongside her retired police chief father-in-law and her tabby Deputy Donut. But after murder claims a favorite customer, Emily can’t rely on a sidekick to solve the crime—or stay alive.

In Survival of the Fritters, Emily Westhill is a widow. What does having her widowed offer your storyline?

Thank you, Grace, for inviting me to Writers Who Kill.

In Survival of the Fritters, three years have passed since Emily was widowed at the age of twenty-six. Attempting to solve mysteries helps her cope with her grief. She doesn’t want to imagine dating again, but as time passes, that might change.

In both your Deputy Donut series and the Threadville series you emphasize women helping women and the importance of friendship. What does friendship give your characters?

Many people live far from their families and have friends who almost take the place of family, especially around holidays. In both of my series, the main characters rely on friends for social life. Then when murder enters the story, they have friends with whom to discuss, and maybe even search out, clues. Emily has friends in law enforcement, and she tries not to snoop in ways that would worry them. She does not always succeed.

You’ve created a number of wonderful characters. Which of your characters do you identify with most?

I identify most with my main characters, Willow and Emily, although they’re not like me or like each other. But I have to know them well to understand how they’ll react when I throw them into various predicaments. I’m not always nice to them.

What do you find is the greatest challenge of writing a series? Is it easier or harder starting the next book in a series?

Starting a new book is always a challenge. There’s this blank screen . . . However, for the first book in a series, the main character’s entire world has to be constructed carefully in order for as-yet-unthought-of plots to fit into that world. In subsequent books, knowing the regular characters and their world helps speed up the writing. On the other hand, what I’ve written in earlier books can place restrictions on plots in later books, so some rethinking and re-rethinking may be necessary.

What do you start with (character, victim, motive)?

First, I have to pin down the motive for the crime, which means developing both the villain and the victim simultaneously.

You have a number of very plausible red herrings in Survival of the Fritters. I suspected everybody in the book, and you still managed to surprise me. Do you plot your books carefully, or do you just write by the seat of your pants?

When I first started writing mysteries and suspense, I wrote by the seat of my pants. And then I revised my plots so much that writing one novel could take years. Now, with deadlines, I work out the plot in a very long synopsis before I start writing. (Okay, I admit that I usually start writing the first chapter or so, mainly to get into the story, before I finish the synopsis.) Then, after my editor approves the synopsis, I know where I’m going, and the writing can be relatively fast. My editor and I both understand that I might deviate from my original plan.

What has been the biggest change you’ve seen in publishing since you introduced the Threadville series? How has it affected you as a writer?

It seems to me that the number of cozy series keeps growing, so there’s more competition. But competition is not necessarily a bad thing.

In recent years you’ve made a number of changes, including changing publishers and now using a pen name. Tell us about some of those changes?

New series, new characters, new agent, new publisher, new name . . . I’ve gone from writing a crafty series to writing a culinary series. My main purpose is to entertain, so I hope that’s what I’m doing!

What do you know now that you wish you had learned earlier in your writing career?

I wish I’d figured out sooner that I should be writing cozies. They’re such fun!

What’s your favorite part of writing? Your least favorite?

My favorite part is the actual writing. I like writing the first draft, but I might actually prefer revising and editing. My least favorite part is promoting on social media. It’s easy to get sidetracked.

I’m a big fan of recorded books. Any plans for your books to be distributed in audio format?

I’m glad you asked! The audio version of Survival of the Fritters is coming out soon and can already be preordered. Emily Durante is narrating it. I love it that she and my character have the same first name.

Who do you enjoy reading when you have time? Which writer has influenced you the most?

I read cozies, of course, and other mysteries and suspense. Right now, I’m re-reading some of Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances, which I hadn’t looked at for a long time, and I’m enjoying the humor. My other all-time favorites, the writers I return to again and again, are Mary Stewart, Elizabeth Peters, Madeleine Brent, and Daphne Du Maurier. I like both the gothic and humorous touches, along with intriguing description and depth of characterization. And then there’s that illusive quality known as “voice.” I don’t know how to describe it, but if you’ve read even one of Sue Grafton’s novels, you’ll see what voice should be. Kinsey Millhone has one of the strongest voices around. Alas, though, the alphabet ends in Y, and Sue Grafton will be sorely missed, along with the other authors I named above.

You spend a lot of time writing about donuts. Does this put you off donuts, or does it tempt you to sample even more?

I keep wanting to sample more—people (including me) dream up so many variations!

Writing is such an isolated activity. How do you stay connected to others?

The Internet is both a boon and a bane, but it is one way of staying connected. I also meet in person with other writers (we all seem to like eating, surprise, surprise), and occasionally, I spend time with non-writing friends and family <g>. And sometimes (uh-oh), I think my characters are real . . .

How is it going having to balance writing and promoting your books? Do you enjoy the promotion aspects?

Writing is my main priority, but I like doing these blog interviews, and I like visiting groups to read excerpts and talk about books and writing.

I understand that you took a break in your writing career and did some acting in community theater. Tell us about that side of your life? Has it tempted you to become a playwright?

I joined an improv group to help with ideas, characters, and dialogue. Oh, and mainly to have fun. Next thing I knew, I was acting in a couple of comedies. It was hilarious! Readers of my Threadville series will probably not be surprised to hear that I like creating and wearing costumes. Hearing an audience laugh at my antics is a real high. However, theater is time-consuming, so with manuscripts due every nine months, I stopped participating in it.

I’m not in the least tempted to become a playwright. It’s a totally different sort of writing and doesn’t interest me at all. Strange, huh.

Now that you’ve published several books, what advice do you have for unpublished writers?

Read, read, read. Revise, revise, revise. And if you’re interested in writing crime fiction or non-fiction, join the Guppies chapter of Sisters in Crime. Participate in a critique group. And then, probably most important—persist, persist, persist.

I really enjoyed your Threadville series. Any hope that we’ll see more books in that series?

Thank you. I’ll never say never, but right now, I’m immersed in my Deputy Donut series. Besides, I would almost feel terrible if I dragged the citizens of Threadville through yet another murder investigation. But I do miss them, so I wouldn’t feel completely rotten about reentering their lives and presenting them with more problems. Cue wicked laughter . . .

What’s next for Emily Westhill and the Deputy Donut mysteries?

Emily is going to run into trouble at a wedding reception in Goodbye Cruller World, which comes out in August 2018 and is available for pre-order now. And I’m working on the third manuscript. That book will probably come out in 2019.

Standing in a bookstore, what book couldn’t you resist recommending to a nearby stranger?

I would recommend the first book that I truly could not tear myself away from—Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier.

Thank you, Janet/Ginger.

Look for Survival of the Fritters by Ginger Bolton at your favorite bookstore starting January 30. Survival of the Fritters and its sequel, Goodbye Cruller World, are available for pre-order online now at any of the following sites:



Kait said...

Deputy Donut. I'm roaring here. That is so funny. I love your voice, Janet. It is unique and now that I know about the improv, it makes sense - you must have been great at it. Looking forward to getting to know the Deputy.

Margaret Turkevich said...

Deputy Donut? I'm hungry already. Congratulations on your new book.

Shari Randall said...

I will definitely be on the lookout for Deputy Donut. I really related to what you said about not being nice to your characters - I feel the same way sometimes . Thank you for stopping by WWK!

Grace Topping said...

Thank you, Janet, for being with us at Writers Who Kill. I hope we'll see you at a future Malice Domestic conference.

Ginger Bolton said...

Thank you for inviting me! Malice Domestic 2018, here we come...

Kaye George said...

Thanks, Grace, Janet, and Ginger, for the post. I'm a bit sad about your truncated theater career since I never got to see you on stage. The series sounds good, although I might gain quite a bit of weight reading about those delicious donuts. I love the name Deputy Donut--it's perfect! Good luck with the new series.

KM Rockwood said...

I love the titles! And Deputy Donut's name! They bode well for books that I think I would like and will have to try.

Gloria Alden said...

I can't wait to read a series with the name Deputy Donut in it. I sense that not only will it
be a good mystery but have humor in it, too.

Ginger Bolton said...

It's just as well that not many people saw me on stage! And I hope there's recognizable humor in the Deputy Donut Mystery Series. Humor is such a subjective thing...

holdenj said...

I am looking forward to the new series!

Marilyn Levinson said...

Loved reading this interview involving two of my writer friends. Janet/Ginger is truly a funny person. Like Kaye, I wish I could have seen one of those acting productions. Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to reading Ginger's first book!