1. Ms. Frasier, thank you for this opportunity to be interviewed for my blog. Your thriller, STAY DEAD, came out on April 22. Tell us a bit more about this book.
The best description is right from the book blurb:
Homicide detective Elise Sandburg is traumatized after her run-in with a madman the press has dubbed “The Organ Thief.” As Elise takes refuge in her deceased aunt Anastasia’s abandoned plantation to investigate and recover from her ordeal, she begins to question everything—from her dangerous line of work to her complex relationship with her handsome, tortured partner, David Gould. But with a madman on the loose, and her mother’s claims to still hear from Aunt Anastasia, she may have more immediate problems on her hands. In Elise’s world, where cold hard crime mixes with the local Gullah culture, nothing is ever what it seems, and no one is above suspicion—not even the dead.
2. Where did the inspiration for this story come from?
This book is the second in a series, so the foundation already existed. The first book focused quite a bit on David Gould, Elise Sandburg’s unstable partner in Play Dead. I wanted the second book to focus on Elise. The emotional side of it deals with Elise, the mother of a teenage daughter, questioning the choices she’s made in her life, especially the choice to become a homicide detective.
3. Why do you write? Why thrillers?
Writing is the only thing I’m kind of good at. That’s the honest truth. I’m a fan of almost every genre out there, and have written in almost every genre. I don’t know if I actually have a favorite because for me it’s all about character.
4. What are your writing habits? Outline or not?
Synopsis, but no outline.
5. What kind of research did you do for STAY DEAD?
Very little. That’s mainly because the foundation was already set with the first book. The first book took a lot of research and travel. The second book…Well, I did fall back on some notes from the first book.
6. What is the single most important thing you have learned during the writing process of crafting a novel?
People will disagree with me here, but I’ve been writing for over thirty years and I’ve discovered that the majority of readers want a traditional plot when it comes to genre fiction. This is especially important in crime fiction. Stay Dead doesn’t have a traditional crime-fiction plot, so I’m not expecting it to be a blockbuster. However, I do hope it does well. And it would actually be great if it proves my traditional plot theory wrong.
7. A word of advice for new writers?
Oh, wow. I can think of so many things. Learn story structure. Don’t insist that your story has conflict when it doesn’t. Establish that conflict early. Know the difference between internal and external conflict. Don’t make readers work too hard to figure out what’s going on. They’ll put your story aside and never pick it up again. Don’t think you’re creating mystery by withholding information the reader needs. You’re only creating irritation. Don’t let your backstory overshadow the present story. I’ll shut up. 🙂
8. What are your thoughts on the latest publishing industry developments, mainly the rise of the self-publishing? Did you ever consider it or might you consider it in the future?
I’ve been self-publishing pretty heavily for several years, so… 🙂 I’m what is called a hybrid author, someone who published traditionally and as an indie. I enjoy both. Self-publishing has really taught me to be diligent about my craft. With traditional, you’re always thinking the manuscript is going to come back for a revision anyway, so no sense in getting every word right to begin with. My thinking as changed in how I edit my own material no matter where it’s going.
9. What are your favorite pastimes?
Truthfully, with self-publishing there is no pastime. That’s the big downside of being a hybrid.
10. What is your next book going to be about?
My agent used to say, “The readers have spoken.” There’s a lot of truth to that. I’m going to let readers decide. Once April hits and Stay Dead comes out I’ll have a handle on whether readers want another book in the Dead series. While waiting, I’ve self-published three other books.