Friday, December 13, 2013
SCHMOOZING WITH VICTORIA ABBOTT!
1. Who has influenced you the most in your writing career?
From MJ: Three big influences: first, my writing group, now the Ladies Killing Circle. From them I learned that you have to take advice and fix your work. Second, the authors I enjoyed reading, specifically those who wrote mysteries with humour. They taught me that it could be done and done with style. Third, Sue Grafton, who once gave a very inspiring talk to unpublished writers. She said many things, but she told us how long it took her to get published and how she kept at it although it took seven years for her to sell her first book! As I’d been writing for seven years, this was welcome news.
From Victoria: MJ is definitely my biggest influence, everything she has learned on her own journey, she passed on to me, patiently, I might add. My second biggest influence would have to be Janet Evanovich and her way of creating deliciously flawed characters.
2. What are you working on now?
We are working on The Wolfe Widow, the third in the book collector mystery series. The Rex Stout books and the wonderful characters of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin will work their way into the story. Sure is fun to reread all these classics for research. These are books that stand the test of time.
3. In what ways is your main protagonist like you? If at all?
From Vic: I would happily wander the isles of a Flea Market any day of the week, just like Jordan. I’m a vintage fashion lover. The thrill of finding something great is something Jordan and I could bond over definitely.
From MJ: I think I’d love to have Jordan’s job, maybe not her boss though. Like Jordan, I enjoy the lure of the Golden Age of Detection. Good thing, because we are rereading them all.
For the record, neither Victoria nor I own a set of lock picks.
4. Are you character driven or plot driven?
We are fascinated by characters and probably read for character too. However, we value plot and work hard to make sure that works. But if the characters don’t ‘sing’, for us there’s no music in the book.
5. Are you a pantser or a plotter?
We’re very pansty, but we know we should be more plotsy. With two people writing a book, it’s extremely hard to keep it together if you don’t both see it going in the same direction. In fact, sometimes … but that’s a story for another day.
6. What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?
That there is much joy in the classics of the mystery tradition and that the relationships with family and friends are actually the most interesting part of a book. And finally, that humour is always worthwhile.
7. Where do you see yourself as a writer in 10 years?
Besides having more naps? Well, MJ would like to try her hand at a play and a PI novel and has a few books left in her other series that need to be written. Vic would love to keep on painting the night away but wouldn’t mind dabbling in a screen play or novel of her own.
8. What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?
Vic watches Coronation Street...don’t judge her!
MJ thinks that with all this social media, people know she knits, loves dogs and reads in bed.
9. What do you like to read for pleasure?
Oddly enough, mysteries. We read a lot of them! We like all types of mysteries from those dark Scandinavians to funny cozies. We read tons of Canadians and, of course, we love all our friends’ books. We have to be careful not to read books that will influence our current project too much.
10. Give us a summary of your latest book in a Tweet.
Stolen Sayers first editions, a body in the backyard, romance in the air: Jordan Bingham seeks answers and finds danger. Do you smell fire?
You can keep up with their characters on the thirtieth of the month over at www.killercharacters.com and their culinary adventures at www.mysteryloverskitchen.com or by signing up for their newsletter at www.victoria-abbott.com or www.maryjanemaffini.com