- How much of a similarity in genre-style do you think your novel is to an Agatha Christie murder mystery or to Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes? Who is your favourite mystery-genre author?
The similarity between my novel and an Agatha Christie is the setting: early 1930’s, rural England. There, it ends. My mystery is a cozy mystery...the authors you mentioned are a little more hardboiled. My favorite mystery writer is Dorothy L. Sayers. :)
- Out of all the characters from Anon, Sir, Anon which one do you connect with and love the most?
I really do love Farnham. He is a duck. I like people who pretend to be contrary.
- Have you ever met any people in real life that have inspired you with any of the characters we read about in Anon, Sir, Anon?
Mmmmmm not this book. I wrote the first draft so quickly, there really wasn’t time to bother with shoving in people I know and properly masking them. ;)
- In the case of Anon, Sir, Anon, are some of the moral or philosophical themes/questions you feel the novel addresses, and were there any philosophic books that helped influence the heart of this tale?
It pretty effectively addresses the sanctity of life, how to fall in love, and the formation of unlikely friendships. I can’t think of any philosophic book that exactly imprinted itself on mine in a sizeable way. I’m made up of all the books I’ve read and they wiggle into the story somehow, I’d bet. But not specifically.
- In one word each, how would you describe each of the main characters of Anon, Sir, Anon?
- As you wrote this novel were there aspects of the story that took you by surprise?
Mainly, how I was ever going to make the threads connect.
- Do you outline your books or do you prefer to begin writing and let the plot sort itself out?
I much prefer letting the plot sort itself out. It works best that way, I feel.
- How do you think the main characters of Anon, Sir, Anon (Vivi and Farnham) would react if he or she were introduced to you?
Farnham would probably actually like me. Vivi would take me quietly, mull me over, and then like me. Jimmy Fields would politely like me but not go wild over me. Dr. Breen would like me because he likes everyone, but then he would probably end up liking me quite a lot just for myself. Michael Maynor would disdain me. I am not his type.
- Can you tell us what are your current favourite movie(s), TV show(s), and/or book(s)? (Stress is on the current!)
The clean episodes of White Collar (IMDB has a great guide), Once Upon A Time S3, The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Barrows.
- Having been already self-published “Fly Away Home”, as well as having your novella “The Windy Side of Care” published in an anthology through a traditional route, what are some of the benefits you’ve experienced in self-publishing, and what have been its special pains?
Benefits-wise, I am in charge. If I have done it, it is done. If I have not done it, it is not done. The especial pains are that I am in charge of publicity so if I’m not picketing for it, no one is. This is why excited readers are my favorite thing in the world.
- Can you tell us a little about the lovely cover-design of “Anon, Sir, Anon” and how it came about (designer, etc)? It’s beautiful, and so charmingly fitting its genre as a cosy British mystery!
My designer was a gift to me from Heaven above and she is known to most as Rachel Rossano of Rossano Designs. I know her as St. Rachel. I threw my ungainly and vague desires and she quickly assembled this amazing cover. It’s a hit.
- Was there any one moment when you were hit with an urgent need to invest your time to this particular work? What kept you going through the tough parts?
I didn’t want to lose track of the threads of thought running through the book, so really what kept me going was my doggedness in keeping up my thousand-word-a-day regime. It really works, I’m telling you.
- Can you tell us a bit about the new writing project(s) you’re currently working on now? Please do tell!
When I’m not working as a nanny, prepping ASA for publication, blogging, or planning my brother’s wedding, I have begun work on Scotch’d The Snakes. It’s the second Vivi & Farnham mystery, so if you like the people of Anon, Sir, Anon. There’s more coming.
- Could you be persuaded to share three excerpts from Anon, Sir, Anon or some of your other works with us, please?
How about I compromise and give you a peek at the second Vivi and Farnham book instead? This bit is from Scotch’d The Snakes:
There had been no fire, for it was April, and a clammy-fingered one at that. Hence, there was no light of which to speak and Vivi groped her way along the wainscoting till her free hand caught at the fireplace mantel.
She raised her candle, feeling strangely like a lighthouse keeper. “Uncle?”
Again, no answer. His winged, high-back chair stood empty, like a throne won at dice.
“If this is a childish prank, Farnham, you can stop playing right now. You've rummaged me and Allen out of our rooms so it's only fair you make a peep.”
A mumble, a groan, and a scuttling among papers from the corner library wherein he kept his precious books.
“Farnham, you beast!”
She cleared his footstool which was overturned and looked to be the reason for the crash, and came upon the great Orville Farnham in a case of rumpled glory. The candle showed the man, clad as usual in soft cardigan and tailored pants. Nothing amiss, hair neatly combed. This candid picture of habitual neatness back-slid as she gained a better view: Farnham sat on the floor, crumpled in the corner of two cases. He was mumbling. A tumblement of hard-backed volumes marked the path of the human missile launched, no doubt, by the combination of darkness and ottoman. Flanking him, like well-meaning fairy-dust around an unhappy Pan, lay a sprinkling of shattered glass. There would be no flights to Neverland tonight. His elbow, Vivi saw, had gone right through the glass front of the book case. It was probably cut to bits.
He blinked at her with a content look on his face. “'What to him from England?'”
“The Game? Really, Farnham?”
No response came, save a look of abstracted mischief in his eyes. “'Scorn and defiance, slight regard, contempt, and anything that may not misbecome the mighty sender, doth he prize you at.'”
There was no illness, no emergency of any sort, and Vivi watched her temper lumber to its feet. Now that she saw no reason to have wandered the draughty passages of Whistlecreig on this rescue-mission, she could afford some anger.
Farnham passed a hand over his eyes. “Scorn and defiance...regard...contempt.”
“Well, bravo, Mr. Farnham!” Vivi rolled her eyes and applauded slowly.
Farnham blinked again and gave a foolish smile. “You see, it's rather good. Rather a perfect insult: 'scorn and defiance, slight—”
“Scorn and defiance, you!” Vivi hauled her uncle upright and tore the volume from his hand. “Why on earth did you go pitching into your bookcase in the middle of the night?”
“Oh.” Farnham peered about him. “Well, you see, I had a quotation buffeting my inner man and I could not for the life of me remember who had said it. Never had that trouble before and you know how slight things will worry one. Began to fear I was losing my touch. Just as I'd got it settled it was Henry IV, I began to think it was V and I had to know.” He looked about at the mess, at Vivi, and at Allen, who had lit the candle-tree and stood at the fireplace like a benign ghost. “What,” he said, staring at Allen again, “Is Allen doing in his pajamas?”
“What time is it?”
“Half-past three, by the clock under the spreading chestnut tree where the village blacksmith stands.”
“That's good.” Farnham chuckled and shook his head. “Half-past three...well, Allen, I propose you dress yourself appropriately and get a jump-start on the morning. Oh, but it's a bang fine day.”
“And you, Vivi, you ought to not parade yourself in your negligee. Not that there's anyone here to see you, but you never can tell. I've heard many a story of young girls surprising burglars in their nightclothes. Unseemly. You never can tell.” He shook a finger at her and cracked his spine.
Vivi looked down at her old-fashioned cotton nightgown and thought of the high collar that practically suffocated her if she dared to so much as yawn. If this was the best she could do at scandal, she made a pathetic Modern Woman. She made a mental note to order a real negligee from Avenue Montaigne. Never-mind that such a thing would cost a birthright. It would scandalize Farnham, and that was enough for her, at present.
- What would you most like your readers to take away with them from reading Anon, Sir, Anon, besides the pure entertaining pleasure of it?
The idea that murder is not to be accepted as a plot device to be used without leaving carnage behind. There are consequences, and people pay them.
- In ending, do you have any special words of advice or something you would like to share with fellow young writers?
As cliche as it sounds, don’t try to be anyone else. You know deep, deep down what your gift is. The longer you write, the more you write, the better you will be able to see it. Trust me.
I hope you enjoyed reading this interview, and that you had a chance to enter the giveaway. Because believe it or not, the Rafflecopter has landed and I will announce the winner at the end of this post. But I have two last stops in the Anon, Sir, Anon party to show you. The first is where I sit down and peg out for Rachelle Rea what my days look like and how I manage to shove writing into the cracks of life. It's rather humorous and I want to know if you can relate, so head over and let me know what you think. Also, I will be stopping by the immensely popular (and deservedly so) Mirriam Neal's blog for an interview at some point today, and you'll want to read that and say hello to that most vibrant of young ladies. :)
And now you want to know who won the giveaway. Well, I struggled for some time over whether to leave the option open to readers from abroad, and this time I said yes. It might be expensive, but it was a price I was willing to pay just because I was feeling expansive. My wallet might complain, but I am very happy to let you know that the winner of the Cozy Quagmire Party Pack is actually a little ironic, considering the topic of this post...
Joy, if you'd message me your home address, I will get your package to you fairly soon. Too bad it's summertime down-under. The Coziness will rather fail, I think. A huge thank you to everyone who worked together to make this thing a success. We had well over 600 entries and you were lovely about entering for a chance for this party pack. Thanks. If you aren't Joy Chalaby and thus didn't win a copy of Anon, Sir, Anon, you know where to find it. Amazon & so forth.
And last but not least, I want to take a moment to recognize the fact that it is Veteran's Day. I want to thank all the men and women who have served in the past and those who are serving now. I have several friends in the military, several friends whose fathers are in the military, and I grew up in the Tidewater area of Virginia which houses many of the largest military bases in the country. I have seen these men and women and respect the work they have done and the sacrifices they make to keep us safe. Thanks. You guys are heroes.