Today we have the great pleasure of welcoming author Peggy Edelheit to Marcia’s Book Talk. Peggy, author of the Samantha Jamison mystery book series, answers questions which she is often asked about being an author. Peggy’s observations are acute, helpful, and very entertaining to read, and I am sure you will find these extremely interesting. Let us now let Peggy take us into her writing world…
Questions I’m frequently asked on being an Author.
What is your specific genre?
Peggy: I write a mystery series. My protagonist is Samantha Jamison, an author, who solves mysteries with her crew.
Although I did write a French Memoir called The Riviera Is Burning. It is a true story about me and my family fleeing fire from our home in France. It is told in the first person. So you only see it playing out from my point of view. It was a frightening experience I wanted to share with my readers. Trust me, what we experience stays with us and affects how react and think in the future, which is a premise I base my 10th mystery on.
How do you deal with writer’s block?
Peggy: Don’t let it stop you! Try to write everyday, even when the words are not flowing. That to me is important. Keep things moving along, no matter what. I just keep plugging away. I don’t set hours or have a rigid schedule other than writing each day. Of course I may delete a lot of it, but feel it’s important not to give up. I will consider anything, even swapping dialogue to do a change up for an unexpected twist, providing the chemistry works. Many times it does!
What’s the best thing about being an Author?
Peggy: I get to start each book with a blank slate, making something out of nothing by writing whatever flows from my fingertips. I thoroughly enjoy my characters constantly vying for my attention, telling me what they should say and do. They have become so familiar to me, they’re like family. Several times I’ve had to yell, “Stop! I can’t write fast enough to get what you are all saying.” Sometimes it gets ugly and we have disagreements. That’s when I have put my foot down. After all, I’m the author, right?
What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
Peggy: Make a commitment. Become very familiar with the genre you’re interested in. Read and learn from the styles of other authors, but most importantly, create your own style. Make your own footprint. Have confidence and don’t ever stop believing in yourself. Surround yourself with things that motivate you to write. Your writing space is (your) space no matter how big or small. Network with other authors of all genres. There is a wonderful community of talented people out there that you can learn from. They can give you valuable advice and guide you in the writing process. Read some of their blogs. Learn from their mistakes and advice. Only you can make it happen. Once you’ve made that plunge and are ready to publish, get a good EDITOR! I cannot stress that enough. A good Editor will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear!
What inspires you?
Peggy: Many times what happens to me in real life experiences or places that I’ve been to, inspire me to write a particular mystery. Each of my mysteries takes place in locales that I am extremely familiar with, which keeps the details and storyline accurate and true. I just throw in my crew and let them have fun with it, even at the expense of Samantha, my protagonist, who is constantly riding that learning curve of life.
Where did you get the idea for your 9th mystery in your series, Too Close For Comfort?
Peggy: After researching my last mystery, #8, The Lush Life, I fell down a set of 150 year old Victorian steps, breaking and fracturing my right leg, which led to a wheelchair, crutches and physical therapy. Well, it was while I was in my second round of therapy for back damage from being in a wheelchair for so long, that I got to thinking. What if someone were to approach me while I was in therapy, dragging me into an unexpected mystery from my past? Thus, Too Close For Comfort #9 was born. That Vertigo attack in that one actually happened to me, including my ER visit. I just wasn’t poisoned by a cookie, and as they say, the (rest) was history. (Forgive that pun)
Your series is always evolving. What are you currently working on?
Peggy: Starting with The Puzzle, which is the first in my series, I explain how Samantha starts solving mysteries by trying to find out who killed her husband and how she meets her sleuthing crew. With each mystery, you follow their escapades and sleuthing capabilities, or in Sam’s case some humbling blunders along the way. I am currently working on my 10th mystery in my series, Saving Sindia, a striking departure for Sam. I am in the homestretch. This time Samantha takes a timeout for some self-perspective and the reader learns more about her on a more personal level. She solves this mystery while recalling some of her past and discovers we are who we are for specific reasons. It shapes how we think and react.
Any last words of advice?
Don’t take your life for granted. Make the most of it!
Life is one big mystery. I’m still trying to solve it…chuckle
Peggy Edelheit Links