Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Interview with Donis Casey Day 2

Welcome to day 2 of our interview with Donis Casey, author of the Alafair Tucker Mysteries.

Donis is giving away a copy of her new novel Hell with the Lid Blown Off: An Alafair Tucker Mystery to anyone who leaves a comment answering one of these questions:

Alafair Tucker has eight daughters. Four of them are spoken for. Name any son-in-law or fiance`. --OR-- Six of the Alafair Tucker books take place around her home outside of Boynton, OK. In the other two novels Alafair travels to another city. What is the title of one of the travel novels, or what city does she travel to?  Answers can be found by reading the book pages on my website.

Donis, what are you working on now?

I'm working on the eighth Alafair Tucker Mystery. The series began in 1912 and each book moves forward in time as Alafair raises her large brood and one by one the children take their places in the world. In the eighth book, we have reached 1917, and the onset of World War I. Alafair has been trying to ignore the implications of the war that has been going on in Europe for the previous three years, but now the United States has gotten into it, and Alafair has one son of draft age and one son who may be a bit too young, but is itching to fight. Whether she likes it or not, the great events of the world have landed on her doorstep.

A reader once asked me this question, and I thought it was a good one. Is there ever a time when you feel like your work is truly finished and complete?


But it does get done. I don't know how.

Here's how I write:  I usually start out with a juicy idea for a murder. For a couple of days thereafter, I ponder on what interesting and unlikely person may have committed this murder. Then I think about the setting and which characters will be involved. I do some research on what was happening in that place at that time, which always gives me some really interesting story elements.

Then I sit down at the computer and go, go, go. I never end up where I thought I would. I never go in the direction I planned. The story goes where it will and the characters behave however they darn well please. I have been known to be reading on the screen the words that my flying fingers are typing and exclaim, "holy moley!", because I had no idea that was going to happen before it did. Sometimes I get lost and am unable to figure out where I'm going or how I got there. Often I get horribly stuck. But I keep typing, even if I'm spending days typing nothing but hogswollop, because suddenly I realize that the hogswollop has given way to deathless prose, and I pound my forehead on the desk, because I don't have a clue how I did it. And then one day I come to the end, and lo and behold, I have a first draft.

At this point, I usually show the book to my husband, Don, whose opinion I trust. He is very good to point out glaring errors. If he offers an opinion that I don't necessarily agree with, I feel comfortable blowing him off (though I admit I rarely do.) Then I go over the book about a dozen times and move this section from here to there, and change this word to that, and have this character do this instead of that and remove this guy altogether. Finally, I simply must send the MS to my editor, and besides, I can't stand to look at it any more. I make whatever changes she suggests, because she is very good and by this point I have completely lost any objectivity about the thing whatsoever.

Then, eight to ten months later, the book comes out. I look at it with fresh eyes and say, "damn, this isn't bad!" Once again, everything turns out all right.

Describe your workspace. (Include a photo if you’d like.)

I work in my office, an open room off of our living room. Here is the chair and desk.
Here is a photo of me at the desk, all gussied up for the picture.
Here is what I really look like while working on a novel (photo-Workspace3)

Describe your dream workspace.

High on a cliff in a many-windowed atelier facing Lake Cuomo in northern Italy. Next door to George Cloony's place.

If you could be a character from your favorite historical novel, who would you be?

Brother Cadfael. A Benedictine monk and ex-soldier who has led an exciting and eventful life but now has found his perfect calling. He is content, wise, busy, and useful.

What is the biggest misconception the general public has about authors?

No one who hasn't tried it seems to understand how really difficult it is, or how time-consuming.

What is the biggest misconception beginning writers have about being published?

How much time, money, and effort most authors have to put into the promotion and marketing of their work, whether they signed with a traditional house or are self-published. I’ve heard some aspiring authors say, "if I could just get this one book published, I’d be happy."  But let me tell you, once that one book does get published, it’s very hard not to get sucked into the vortex. Writing a book is incredibly hard work. If you manage to get your book published, well, by gum, you want as many people as possible to read it. It’s insidious.

What would you like readers to gain from reading your book(s)?

I never set out to deliver a message or make a statement when I write.  I just want to tell a ripping yarn and engage the reader in the lives of these people I've come to love. I believe that once a book is out of the author's hands, it is no longer hers, it's the reader's. However, I'm often taken aback by the meaning readers see in these stories and how touched they often say they are. I didn't realize how deep I am!

Thanks for joining us here on Favorite PASTimes. Any final words for readers or writers?

The Alafair Tucker series is entirely different from anything I had ever written before.  All the books and stories I had written before Alafair had to do with cool people, usually unmarried, childless professionals, often scientists, always intellectuals, mostly messed up and angst ridden.
But the time I found Alafair Tucker I couldn’t care less about cool. If there is a less-hip subject that the life of woman in her 40s who lives with her husband and ten children on a  horse farm outside of Boynton, OK, in the 1910s I don't know what it is. But for the first time in my fiction writing career, I had immediate success with Alafair’s first novel, The Old Buzzard Had It Coming. Why it couldn’t have happened when I was young and thin and beautiful I don’t know, but I suppose we come to our authentic place in our own time.
Remember to leave a comment to win a copy of Donis' latest novel. Answer this question:
Alafair Tucker has eight daughters. Four of them are spoken for. Name any son-in-law or fiance`. --OR-- Six of the Alafair Tucker books take place around her home outside of Boynton, OK. In the other two novels Alafair travels to another city. What is the title of one of the travel novels, or what city does she travel to?  Answers can be found by reading the book pages on my website.


traveler said...

Bill. Laura's Fiance. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

NagaRaj Raj said...

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