I am very excited to be have been asked by another (very special) blogger to be a part of a blog tour. Catherine Dougherty is a New Hampshire author who has written two books and is on her third. I was thrilled to do a book review for her early this year for her novel In Polyester Pajamas.
Though I have been very busy this summer with lots of projects, I was happy to do this blog tour not only because Cathy asked me and it is only four easy questions, but because I get to introduce some amazing writers as well.
Please take a moment to check out Cathy’s blog here, then read along and check out the other bloggers’ sites. You won’t be disappointed.
So here we go…
- What am I working on?
Currently, I am working on a couple of projects. I am working on my second mystery/suspense about a woman whose mother has schizophrenia but can see connections between what appears to be random suicides. Her mother insists that her daughter has the insight to help the detective unravel clues to the serial killer, but finding connections to the victims is proving difficult.
My first novel, Hidden From Grace, is about a young woman who is almost killed in an attempt on her life. When her and her friend start digging into her past, she finds she may be connected to a politician and a conservative PAC fund both of whom may consider her a threat to his “Family Values” campaign. The detective on the case follows the clues left by the shooter and realizes that the killer may come back to finish the job.
On top of these two projects, I am working with my critique partners and writer cohorts in writing our ‘Travel Blog’ for New Hampshire Writers’ Project’s: “Writers’ Night Out.” We have been to three different WNO’s so far and will be doing a write up for each for NHWP. We plan to visit three more in the coming months and will be doing an additional write up on those.
While I have not been writing as much as I would like for my blog, I have been trying to post here and there. There are so many topics on my mind lately that it’s been hard to try and remain focused on just one. Plus summer is a busy time of year up here in the northeast. Summer doesn’t last that long and we northerners try to take advantage of the warm weather and long days.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I think everyone’s work is slightly different. As a member of the Sisters in Crime New England chapter, I see lots of New England writers who write cozy mysteries with New England themes. I want my mysteries to have a little more edge to them. Not necessary the non-stop action of some thrillers but enough suspense and mystery to keep the reader engaged.
I also want to create engaging characters that people can both love and hate. I want my protagonists to be believable and likable, but I also want people to feel a little empathy for my antagonists. After all, we aren’t born bad. There is usually something that happens in our life that sends us down the wrong path.
- Why do I write what I do?
I love writing mystery. It’s like working on a puzzle and piece-by-piece the whole picture is revealed. Just when you think you know what the picture is going to be, it turns out to be something completely different.
I also want to entertain and tell compelling stories that make you think. I love to learn new things, and writing mystery has allowed me to learn about police procedures, criminal investigation, forensics and poisons. It has also taught me patience and perseverance.
I also like being in charge of the lives of imaginary people. I determine who lives and who dies, who is redeemed and who gets caught. It’s very therapeutic.
- How does my writing process work?
In writing mystery and suspense, there is a predetermined process one takes. I usually start with the ending. Then I hop back to the beginning. I keep notes on each scene so I know which clues I have provided along the way and which ones I still need to reveal.
If I get stuck along the way, I use the Snowflake method to create characters with more depth. I try to write backstories and really get to know each character in my book, both the good and the bad.
For ideas and inspiration, I look both near and far. I read the news daily and try to pull from some of the situations around us. Real life can provide us with some interesting moral dilemmas. Sometimes, in trying to be better than the bad guy, we become just like them. Before we know it, we are willing to commit crimes in the name of justice.
I also really try to pull from the people both in my past and present. Anyone who has gone through life has been in the presence of both good and bad. Who are these people? Why do they act the way they do? What motivates them? The everyday people around us are a great starting point for fictional characters. I look for habits, or ticks, or odd personality traits that could be accentuated in a fictional character.
Now I would like to take a moment to introduce a few great bloggers who I follow. All are New Hampshire writers and all have unique perspectives.
Sara Cremeno grew up in New Hampshire, embracing the chill of winter through alpine ski racing and fireplaces with books. Her passion for reading and writing swelled when she began reading each perfectly described passage that brought readers into the fictitious world of wizards and magic. It was through these formative years that Sara began writing her own short stories and honing her literary talents.
As would be expected her passion for writing has catapulted her into the young adult genre. She just finished her first YA manuscript and is working on the final edits before submissions.
Sara owns a business to help her fellow authors succeed by writing truly thoughtful and thought provoking reviews of their literary works. When she isn’t reading, writing or revising Sara likes to decorate her new home that she shares with her husband Scott and their German Shepherd Otto.
I often remind myself, “I’m a lucky girl!” I am at a fascinating time in life where I’ve slowed down, cut down and committed to a life-long dream. Writing, photography, riding, kayaking, creating, reading are no longer hobbies. I will now live my life to the best of my abilities and cause no harm along the way. It’s not conventional wisdom, an oxymoron itself, but wisdom nonetheless.
My hope is that you will find solace, humor, or just a kindred spirit through my writing.
Martha Schaefer is the author of Therapeutic Misadventures, a memoir in letters that transcends time. Her blog of the same name is featured on Freshly Pressed from WordPress and is followed widely. She resides on the back side of a very small mountain in New Hampshire with her Shar Peis, cats, horse and the local wildlife. Find her at marthaschaefer.com