Interviews by Catherine Chant

What They Say

“Geniuses can be scintillating and geniuses can be somber, but it’s that inescapable sorrowful depth that shines through—originality.”
—Jack Kerouac

 

 

Catherine Chant

Catherine Chant is the author of a young time travel series available at Amazon.com and other online retailers, and two installments in the Vampire Diaries franchise via Amazon’s Kindle Worlds. She teaches several online classes for writers throughout the year, and her popular workshop GROW A BOOK: TURNING YOUR STORY IDEA INTO A WORKABLE PLOT is now available as an eBook, exclusively at Amazon.com.

Grow a Book by Catherine Chant

For more information about Catherine, her books and her workshops, please visit her website at http://www.CatherineChant.com or find her on social media at http://www.Facebook.com/CatherineChantNovels and http://www.Twitter.com/@Catherine_Chant

 

Spotlight

 

 

October 2017

Interview with Romantic Comedy/Romantic Suspense Author Cindy Procter-King


Romantic / Romantic Comedy / Romantic Suspense Author Cindy Procter-King

 

What inspired you to write mystery books?

I call PICTURE IMPERFECT, my single title romantic mystery, a “sassy suspense,” because it contains elements of both suspense and mystery while also focusing on family and romantic relationships. It’s a bit of a genre bender. Think Jennifer Crusie’s early single titles or some of Stephanie Bond’s “sexy mystery” novels. I can’t really say I was inspired to write a mystery, exactly. I felt called to tell this particular story, and it happened to involve a mystery. The first line popped into my head—“If Ursula Scott had to look at one more naked man, she’d scream”—and from there I figured out who she was, what she was doing, and, oh, look, there’s a mystery. But I didn’t set out to write a mystery, per se.

When you start a new mystery, do you plot it all out from the start (all the clues and red herrings) or does the story evolve as you write it?

I wrote most of the beginning and ending scenes for PICTURE IMPERFECT during NaNoWriMo one year (the only year I’ve done NaNoWriMo) and then set aside the manuscript while working on a different book that had been requested by an editor. The plot percolated while my brain struggled with who I thought the villain was and who it actually was. In the end, the red herrings remained the red herrings, and the villain remained the villain, but I truly discovered the villain during the writing of the full. Anything else was a guess (on my part – what if it’s this person, what if it’s that person?). This book has 7 point of view characters, and not all of them are heroic, despite that they might not be the actual villain. It kept things interesting for me as a writer.

Do you prefer to write mystery series books or stand-alones?

PICTURE IMPERFECT was conceived as a stand-alone but has series potential. The seeds of a second story featuring Ursula and Gabe progressing in their relationship while solving another mystery are planted in my brain. I am a slow writer, and PICTURE IMPERFECT has been my longest and most complicated book by far. I have made the decision to focus on shorter novels for a while but I would never say never when it comes to developing series. I also have a cozy mystery series in mind, but in my case it’s a matter of too many ideas for series and needing to focus. Also, characterization is of utmost importance to me. I wouldn’t discount a series of sibling-related romances with an over-arcing mystery as a subplot throughout, but for the sake of my readers I need to focus on one subgenre for a few books. The voice and depth of characterization remains consistent across books, whether they are romantic comedy, small-town romance, or sassy suspense.

What’s the most interesting or unusual research you’ve done for a book you’re writing?

Definitely the most challenging research so far has been for PICTURE IMPERFECT. I had to do a ton of research because I hadn’t written a storyline with a mystery before, or a former-cop hero on his way to becoming a PI. Initially, I wrote the first few chapters without realizing some of the intricacies of a cop or PI becoming involved with a suspect. Originally, Gabe in PICTURE IMPERFECT was already a PI, and I had to backtrack and brainstorm a new scenario where he was no longer a cop but not yet a PI in Washington state. This placed him in a sort of limbo that gave me more leeway as an author for the romance. But following his heart versus doing a job for his uncle is a real struggle for Gabe in the story even if he isn’t a cop once he moves back to Seattle from LA. Add on that his father’s murder years earlier is a cold case during most of the current story… That scenario required further research. Every time I began a new scene, I needed more research. I loved learning so much! I am a bit of a research hound. I took classes and joined the crimescenewriters yahoo group. A close writing friend has a retired-cop husband, and she was very helpful as a resource.

Who were your literary heroes growing up?

I learned to read on Dr. Seuss books, so family legend runs, when I was 4, before I went to school (no Kindergarten where I grew up back in the 60s, and I was born in January so was 6 1/2 when I entered school, and we only had 2 TV channels. What other choice did I have but to learn to read what was available?). I know Dr. Seuss doesn’t have anything to do with writing mysteries but I hold those books dear in my heart. I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder, and I loved children’s mystery books, but I can no longer recall which series. I do remember my older sister, a friend, and I created a group we called The Thrilling Three, and we endeavored to solve mysteries. Alas, those mysteries were only in our imaginations! Although there was a cave in a rattlesnake-and-cactus-infested hillside involved (real cave, real snakes, real tiny cacti).

I am Canadian and discovered literary fiction around age 13/14, so Margaret Atwood has always topped my list (Alias Grace is a historical mystery), and I have read everything John Irving since The World According to Garp. I didn’t read a lot of genre fiction from 13 to well after graduating from university. I’ve had a lot of catching up to do but have my favorites now. Jennifer Crusie (publish again soon, please!), Stephanie Bond, Susan Elizabeth Phillips (who sometimes includes mystery or suspense elements in her stories). For more straight-on romantic suspense, I like Melinda Leigh, Kendra Elliot, and Loreth Anne White (a fellow Canadian).

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block, and if so, how do you overcome it?

I actually do not suffer from writer’s block and pretty much don’t acknowledge its existence (that might give it power). I suffer from Slow as a Snail. Ideas really need to ferment in my mind. This is not a lovely trait to possess in today’s crowded marketplace, but I believe writers need to remain true to their own creative processes. To respect the restrictions of a personal process. Fighting a process usually doesn’t get a writer anywhere—other than making them more frustrated. And perhaps prompting them to give up. I don’t believe in giving up. I believe in persevering. And in self-trust.

Over the years, I have developed somewhat of a So What? philosophy. So what if I can feel my brain working on a plot point but my muse isn’t ready to let me in on the secret? Just work with what I have. Just keep going, revising, researching. Layer back in later. Just do it. Trust that the plot point will come. Emailing the plot point to a friend to brainstorm is a surefire way to prompt my muse into coming up with a solution (which further brainstorming with friend then refines).

So what if I walk around in a state of anxiety for two days while my muse does its thing? If I acknowledge that my muse is working, then the answer will pop into my mind when I least expect it (usually while driving, when I can’t write it down). I am not at the mercy of my muse, but I do give her jobs to do and sometimes that means taking time. A favorite trick learned years ago is to visualize your muse or even a hand passing you a piece of paper with the plot issue written on it. Then tell your muse or subconscious, or whatever you want to call it, to untangle the plot knot. It’s amazing how often you’ll wake up a day or two later with the answer suddenly “known.”

Basically, I slap on blinders and just move, ever so slowly, forward. And then I thank the creative forces of the universe whenever a knot becomes unstuck! I physically look up and say thanks. Not that I’m superstitious or anything, but it works.

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Picture Imperfect by Cindy Procter-King

PICTURE IMPERFECT – A Sassy Suspense

Just when she thought she had her life on autofocus...

Photographer Ursula Scott is six short months from buying her boss’s studio and helping her family knock down a massive debt. She can put up with his hairball antics for that long, right?

Right?

But, oh, he makes life difficult. She can barely restrain herself when he hogs credit for her assignments, and now half-naked weirdos are responding to his ad for her first magazine photo spread. On top of that, someone is sabotaging the studio. Worse, she discovers her sexy apprentice is a former cop practicing his newbie PI skills on the case—and she’s a suspect!

Suddenly, Ursula’s dreams and hard work seem about to go up in smoke. In more ways than one.

Well, not on her watch.

When Gabe McKenzie moves home following the shooting that kyboshed his career, he doesn’t expect to get sucked into finding the culprit wreaking havoc at his uncle’s photography studio. He certainly doesn’t expect to fall for Ursula Scott, a long-legged brunette with a definite motive and a desire to play Nancy Drew. Even as he clears her, the sabotage escalates into a bizarre stalking, placing Ursula...and Gabe's hopes for their future...in danger.

If only he can convince her to stop snooping around and let him do his job as a PI, before an unknown menace threatens not only her dreams—but her life.

 

 

About the Author

Cindy Procter-King writes sassy suspense, rollicking romantic comedy, and heartwarming hometown romance. To sum it up, feel-good fiction. A Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart finalist, Cindy’s mission in life is to see her surname spelled properly—with an E. That’s P-r-o-c-t-E-r. Never, under any circumstances, should you spell it with two O’s (shudder).

Cindy’s novels and short fiction are available as eBooks from retailers all over the world, as well as in trade paperback, library hardcover, large print, some foreign editions, and audiobooks.

Cindy lives in beautiful British Columbia with her family, a cat obsessed with dripping tap water, and Allie McBeagle.

LINKS:

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/rVQxb
Website: http://www.cindyprocter-king.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/cindyprocterkingauthor
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cindypk
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Email: cindy@cindyprocter-king.com