Recently I read a fantastic mystery novel titled STILL LIFE by D.B. Kennison. Kennison is a fellow Samhain author and I really enjoyed this book. It had my stomach in knots the entire time, plus there was some super swoony scenes. D. B. Kennison interviewed me for her site, and was gracious enough to turn her own questions back on herself and answer them for me. Check it out!
What do you think people would be the most surprised to learn about you?
Most surprised? Probably that I'm a cosmetologist/aesthetician by trade. That's right, I do hair, nails, and facials for a living. I've worked a variety of jobs over the years and this one is special. I have the ability to make someone's day, to make them feel better, and provide a little bit of balance to their hectic lives. The fact that I get awesome writing material is just a bonus!
Jewelry by D.B. Kennison
Art by D.B. Kennison
What do you enjoy most in your free time?
I'm one of those people, lucky or not can be infinitely debated, who can't shut off my creative side. It's like a disorder. If I'm not writing, then I'm painting, sculpting, jewelry-making, wood working, landscaping, decorating...ugh! You get the picture. When our daughter was little, I even painted her room to look like the outdoors, incorporating doors into a castle and giving her a cat. She loved it.
Other than a computer, what modern convenience could you never live without?
I guess it would be my Kindle. I was dragged to the e-reader world kicking and screaming, while clutching my favorite paper books in a death grip. I like the printed page, the smell and feel of them. I like dog-earring them, making notes in the margins and highlighting favorite passages. (sniff) Then I realized you can pretty much do the same thing electronically with Kindle features. They don't smell and they feel differently, but it's easier to read in bed (no annoying bedside lamp to keep hubby awake).
Every author has a process—what works for them when they write. What does your writing process look like from first scribbles to finished manuscript?
Well, it's changed a lot since I started writing. It began as longhand scribbles in notebooks. Then sheets of sticky notes outlining chapters, which led to actual writing in Word. It was a pain in the butt to learn any kind of efficiency in plotting. Now I use a computer program that has all of these features and more, that enable me to move around a manuscript easily. God Bless Scrivener.
What is your all time favorite book and why?
It's hard to pick just one. But the one I come back to time and again, never tiring of it, is Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. It's kind of an odd choice. I tend to gravitate to mysteries with a dark bent, which is anything but this Highland historical. I guess that's a testament to great writing.
Project research, love it or hate it?
Love it! I swear, I could set everything in life aside and just learn new stuff. As a writer research is a necessity, for me it can be an obsession with one Google search snowballing into a dozen!
Is there a specific author who inspires you?
One of my all time favorites is Tami Hoag. She started out as a romance novelist and now writes more mainstream mystery/suspense/thrillers. She is booked as the guest speaker for this years Writer's Police Academy. I'm attending and will probably embarrass myself when I ask her to sign a book for me.
How did you come up with the title for your debut book?
It was an exercise in frustration. I bet I had a dozen different names as I was writing the book. When it was done I Googled art terms and knew the moment I saw it, STILL LIFE, was it.
How long did it take you to write STILL LIFE?
A long time! It was a learning process because I didn't know the first darned thing about writing a book when I started. Let alone one that anyone would want to read, God forbid pay for. I began in late 2008, writing on and off with big gaps (sometimes as long as a year) where I'd take online writing courses, then begin again.
Tell us a little about the book.
It's a mystery set in small town Wisconsin. Randi Lassiter is a reluctant P.I. who gets pulled into a murder investigation and steps on the toes of the detective in charge. Despite butting heads, they are attracted to each other, which adds a flirty element to the story. The mystery centers around an artist community and some quirky suspects. Readers tell me they love the inclusion of familiar places across our state. It was fun to write this genre-blend of romance, mystery, suspense, and comedy.
What has been the most exciting aspect to releasing your first novel?
It has forced me to get over my introverted ways. I am not a mingler, a socializer, a gadabout. I'm more of geeky hermit, content to not be the center of attention. All of that kind of flies out the window when you put a book out there. Now I'm trying to be present everywhere. I'm not just selling my book, I'm selling myself. (Oh, that didn't quite come out right * wink)
What has been the most detrimental?
Finding time to write. Now that I'm addicted to this new found creative outlet I can't shut off the voices in my head. I've got at least a dozen story ideas and no time to write them. I'm terribly undisciplined when it comes to the practice of writing. Fixing that is my next goal.
What other projects are you working on?
Well, book 2 in the Randi Lassiter series is done and through the first round of edits. However, one of my editor's comments started a discussion that perhaps it could be a better story/series if tweaked. Tweak my ass! It has become a full on re-write. But, I agree with him. It will be worth it, the result being a stronger, more character driven story in the end. The bonus is that it's making me a better writer. I'm also working on a stand alone thriller that explores the darker elements of mind control applications. Creepy good fun. LOL.
Thanks D.B. Kennison for stopping by today! I can't wait to read more about Randi, and that thriller sounds super creepy!
Check out STILL LIFE and D.B. Kennison at her website, on Facebook, and on Twitter. You can read her interview with me at https://whispersintheair.com/2016/07/01/meet-the-author-austen-fan-and-avenger-geek-melanie-stanford/.