Today, Norm Goldman Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com is once again please to talk with Gwen Freeman author ofMurder…Suicide…Whatever: A Fifi Cutter Mystery and her latest novel Crazy Fool Kills Five.
Good day Gwen and thanks for once again participating in our interview.
Gwen, did you find writing Crazy Fool Kills Five easier or more difficult to write than your first novel Murder…Suicide…Whatever: A Fifi Cutter Mystery?
It was so much easier. I had to write Murder…Suicide…Whatever… two times before I could even get Capital Crime to look at it, and once again before they would accept it. I made so many rookie mistakes. But I was the lucky beneficiary of the generosity of certain more experienced writers, who pointed out my bloopers with an artfully tactful directness. I began to re-read my favourite mysteries with an eye toward what I was being told about my own writing, and then even to read crappy ones, to learn what made them crappy. The problem is that now I can’t read purely for pleasure any more.I constantly analyze and edit in my mind.
Is your work improvisational or do you have a set plan?
I’d have to say both. I started off with a set plan, an outline that was fairly detailed and contained the core of the plot. But then I ran my outline through the blender andhad to piece it all back together again. If I was writing a “straight” mystery, I could stick to the outline, but with a humorous mystery, you have to chase the comic potential.
Do you feel that writers, regardless of genre owe something to readers, if not, why not, if so, why and what would that be?
Absolutely writers owe something to the reader.We owe the reader our honest best effort to produce what we promised. You have taken someone’s time, the most precious non-renewable resource. If you promise entertainment,as I do, you should provide it. And greater writers promise even greater things: insight, spiritual truth, aesthetic joy, a deeper understanding of the human condition. Glad I’m not making any of those promises!
Where did you get your information and ideas for Crazy Fool Kills Five?
Very loosely based on the germs of ideas that come from my job and life.For example, all women have known and half-hated a Violet Fang, beautiful, exquisitely dressed, rich, confident. Grrr. And the lawsuit at the heart of the book was sort of like one I handled for one insurance carrier against another insurance carrier, the Brunswick and ICARUS of the book. The drunken judge I encountered on a different case, and, frankly, some judges don’t even need a tot of gin in the morning to be arbitrary and unpleasant.Of course, as a lawyer, you always honor the robe, even if you don’t honor the cretin wearing it.
Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?
Never. I think about the books all the time: during those periods of insomnia at three o’clock in the morning, in traffic, waiting in court for my case to be called, on line in the grocery store. I have so little time to actually write, that when I am fortunate enough to be sitting down at my computer, the stored-upideas just pour out. The trick is then to go back and be ruthless enough to cut out the dreck.
What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing? What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
A good writer must have an ear for language, by which I mean a sensitivity to the nuance of word, a phrase, the “truth” of a line. A good writer just has to have a great imagination. You can re-cycle other people’s ideas for only so long. A good imagination involves absorbing what is going on in your world, selecting out a likely little bit of what you have the perceived, and then taking that little bit, tossing it up in the air and seeing how many different ways it can come back down. But these two attributes are a matter of innate ability, akin to a singer’s ability to hit the high note and sing on key, or a dancer’s sense of balance and rhythm.You can learn the mechanics, but you cannot conjure up that keenness of ear or the flat-out ability to make stuff up.
Has your environment and/or upbringing influenced your writing?
Certainly my upbringing has made me think what I think and feel what I feel. We were “different” from everyone else in my Virginia suburb: my parents were non-church going civil rights advocates, who decorated their little ranch house in hot pink and orange, and thrived on spirited debate around the dinner table, with no one too young to have an opinion shouted down. As a kid, this is your normal. But as you get older, you perceive that the rest of the world belongs to well- defined groups that you don’t belong to. This seeps in. Gradually, you define yourself as an outsider, looking in.You can succumb to free floating anxiety, develop a hair trigger, or find it all very funny.With Fifi, a feisty, alienated, sardonic, biracial woman, I get all three.
How long does it take you to write your novels, including research, writing and editing time?
The first one took three years to write, the second one and half. I truly believe that if I didn’t have this pesky day job I could do one in nine months. But then where would I get my material?
Are you working on any books/projects that you would like to share with us? (We would love to hear all about them!)
I am on my way to Tel Aviv next week to take some depositions in a medical product liability case, a bloody long plane trip there and back, with no one to talk to, so I plan to outline Fifi III.I have some ideas: a corrupt entertainment industry executive screws over a middle aged woman who now has nothing to lose and is ready for her close up with martyrdom. A little more romance for poor Fifi. And, who knows, maybe a medical product liability case might factor in…
To read Norm's Review of Crazy Fool Kills Five CLICK HERE
Click Imges Below To Find Our More About Gwen Freeman or To Purchase Her Books From Amazon (Note: May Not Work With All Browsers)
Crazy Fool Kills Five: A Fifi Cutter Mystery
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A Conversation With Gwen Freeman Author of Murder…Suicide… Whatever: A Fifi Cutter Mystery
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