Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Release Day Interview

I'd like to welcome Deirdre Verne to the blog today. Deirdre writes the Sketch in Crime Mystery series. Drawing Conclusions is the first book in the series and today is its release day!

Kathy: I think almost everyone is familiar with dumpster diving...and perhaps a large number of people have dived themselves, or at picked up a piece of furniture or other item someone left at the curb as trash. However, I don't think as many people are aware of freegans. Freegans could be referred to as extreme dumpster divers-going through garbage removing items to reuse-including food! How did you learn about freegans?

DV: Five years ago The New York Times Magazine ran a fabulous story about a group of spirited, young Freegans. All I could think about was how fast could I write a story featuring this lifestyle. The Freegans in the article impressed me with their resourceful ways and clever approach to life. It felt like a group that was constantly searching for a solution and that fit nicely with characters in a mystery series.

Kathy: I think a lot of people are interested in reducing their carbon footprint and treating the earth better. But, as Kermit said, "It's not easy being green". What are some easy tips for a greener lifestyle?

DV: As much as I like to research and write about eco-friendly living, I’m hardly the poster-child for this movement. However, after taking a tour of my local recycling facility, I realized how much garbage my family was producing. My goal now is to simply use less of everything, but if I had to pick one thing it would be our excessive use of water bottles. I’ve become a big fan of water fountains.

Kathy: CeCe is skilled at drawing and sketching. Are you artistic?

DV: I’m not artistic, however, my family is both artistic and musical, and I was feeling left out. Interestingly, I am good at remembering faces and that is the skill I wanted to impart on my main character, CeCe Prentice. I may not be able to sketch like CeCe, but I am good at remembering people’s facial features.

Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?

DV: When my oldest son was two, he contracted a horrible virus and I was up every night by his bedside. A friend handed me the first three Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich and I was hooked.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?

DV: My books are considered soft-boiled mysteries that appeal to cozy readers. I don’t write in other genres, but I do have a popular college blog where I unravel the mystery of the student/teacher relationship.

Kathy: Tell us about your series.

DV: CeCe Prentice is an offbeat artist, living off-the-grid when her twin brother is found murdered. Her artistic ability proves to be invaluable as she assists the police with a series of sketches that reveal an answer much closer to home than expected.

Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?

DV: I absolutely have a favorite character and his name is Charlie Knudsen. Years ago, I had friend whose older brother was plucked off the beaches of Martha’s Vineyard to try out for a modeling job as the Marlboro Man. He landed on the horse and into the print ad, and let’s just say that memory stuck.

Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?

DV: I wanted to create a modern, female character reminiscent of Nelson DeMille’s John Corey. In fact, my query letter to agents read “she wouldn’t mind sharing a beer with John Corey, as long as the bottle was recycled.”

Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?

DV: I wanted a challenge and I wanted to feel like I had completed something. Little did I know that the literary process is extremely slow moving. In hindsight, I should have tried running marathons.

Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?

DV: First, I’d like one seat at the table to be given to an illustrator as opposed to an author and that artist would be Hilary Knight. I can’t tell you how many hours I sat analyzing the simple line drawings in Eloise. I loved the character’s charm and defiance and I see that in my own protagonist, CeCe Prentice.

Next, I’d invite Ira Levin, Susan Isaacs and Lois Lowry. Ira Levin was great at making the reader feel like the world was against them. Susan Isaacs made me laugh and Lois Lowry made me feel hope.

Kathy: What are you currently reading?

DV: I just finished The House Girl by Tara Conklin and Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld. I thoroughly enjoyed both books.

Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?

DV: I collect antique, hand-painted dinner and luncheon size plates. I have a huge collection and I recently had a china cabinet built using glass windows I had salvaged from a turn-of-the-century Victorian tear down.

Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.

DV: Lately I’ve had a craving for brussel sprouts. I’m sure I’m lacking an important vitamin. I balance the healthy stuff with Oreos and coffee ice cream. In a last ditch effort to save my waistline; I’ll grab a handful of Craisins for my sweet tooth.

Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?

DV: I recently finished the second manuscript in the Sketch in Crime series and I’m currently working on the third.

Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?

DV: Interviewing people is a highlight for me and I’m no longer embarrassed to ask lots of questions. I’m either the worst or the best guest at a cocktail party, but I’m not sure which one.

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