Interview Questions for “Shadow of Death”
What was it like studying English Literature?
Studying English Literature was like opening a gift box, a view of a world unknown to me before. The Brontes, Mary Shelley, Daphne du Mauier, Agatha Christie, Mary Stewart and so many other wonderful English women authors inspired me to want to be an author.
Should fiction authors consider getting a degree in Creative Writing like you did?
Everyone approaches the craft of writing in their own unique way. I should think writing comes more from “the doing” not just through academics. I’m glad I have my Ph.D. in Creative Writing, but I’ve learned so much more since then! I think it’s the process that’s most important.
You mentioned being a teacher and an art gallery owner. How have these career paths shaped your writing?
I love teaching. If I’ve imparted ideas that have encouraged others to write or just read great literature then I’ve been a successful teacher. I love Art. Maybe I should say I’m “in love” with Art, with every style from Classical to Post “Post” Modern, and every technique that artists have created.
How has living in Louisiana inspired your mysteries?
I search out and read mystery novels set in the British Isles, Ireland and other places in the world. Most of them offer atmosphere and images along with a plot that really appeals to me. When I decided to write mystery novels I wanted to create good stories, but also portray some of that wonderful eerie landscape I’ve enjoyed reading. Louisiana is that place and its sense of place and history inspires my stories.
Why is mystery your favorite genre?
Perhaps it’s because I like the puzzle of a whodunit. I also like entering a new place, seeing it for the first time, rooting for my protagonist to win the game, and ultimately her own personal stuggle.
When did you first begin to write?
I wrote my first story at the age of eight and I hope to still be writing at eighty-eight!
What advice would you give to writers struggling to find inspiration?
I tell my students all writing is personal. Search for inspiration everywhere but most often what you write about has a connection to your subjective self. Meditation helps.
I noticed your novel, Shadow of Death, is set during 1940 and in Louisiana. Why choose that particular time period?
I’ve been fascinated for years with the leper colony near Carville, Louisiana; the only hospital of its kind in America. In 1940 they were getting close to finding a cure for such a dreaded disease. That time frame, I decided, was important and would add texture to my story.
How would you describe your protagonist, Catherine Lyle?
She has just turned thirty and is a troubled woman. Her life has been filled with death and sorrow. She’s become a recluse in New Orleans, living in her own shadow world, buried beneath guilt and loneliness.
How many books have you written besides Shadow of Death?
One. “The Returning”
Will there be more mystery novels to come?
Yes. Catherine Lyle’s story isn’t finished.
How would you describe your writing using only three words?
Setting, Character, Plot.
Where can readers find you and your books online?
Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other e-book outlets.