**AUTHOR PEEK** Interview with Author, Sparkle Abbey
Before we get started talking about your writing, tell us a little about yourself, where you’re from, what you do for a living (if you’re not a fulltime writer) what hobbies you have, etc. Whatever you’d like to share.
One of us (Anita) is originally from California and the other (ML) is a native of Madison County (made famous by the “Bridges of Madison County” book), but now we both live in Iowa. We work full-time in addition to writing. Anita works for a staffing company in operations and marketing, and ML works for the City of Des Moines IT department.
As you might imagine we have little time (okay, no time at all) for hobbies. We both love to travel and if there were time would see more of the world, but for now we’re kept busy with our day jobs, writing, and our wonderful, super-cute grandchildren. We have pictures – just ask us!
1. How did you get started writing?
Like many writers, we started writing out of a love of reading. We’d both been writing separately for a long time before we started co-writing this series. We were in the same critique group together and were both working on mysteries. If you’re interested in how we ended up doing a pet related series, we tell about how a tip from an agent sparked the idea in this short video clip:
2. What genre(s) do you write in and why?
We write in the mystery genre, specifically the cozy mysteries, because that’s what we love to read. We grew up on Nancy Drew & Trixie Belden books and moved on more serious mysteries. We love the cozy genre because it combines the puzzle inherent to a whodunit, but without graphic violence on the page. It also allows us to incorporate humor into the stories. Writing mysteries is such a wonderful study of the human condition under pressure and humor is often how we all deal with the tough things that happen in life. Humor is definitely how we both deal with our crazy schedules.
3. What is your favorite part of writing?
Typing “The End?”
No seriously, there are a couple of favorite parts. We get together to plot the books before we start writing and that’s a very fun part! Everything is new and the possibilities are endless. And the fun with co-writing is that truly two brains are always better than one. We also love the revision process, because that’s when you get to polish the words and craft the sentences to make sure you’ve conveyed to the reader the story that was in your head. A lot of the time, the best lines of dialogue come days, or even weeks, after we’ve written the original scene.
4. What is your least favorite part of writing?
That would have to be the first draft. It’s so hard to get down on paper what’s in your head. Everyone’s process is different and there are many writers that absolutely love the first draft. But that would not be us.
5. Where do you get the ideas for your stories?
Story ideas are everywhere! If you’re an observer, there’s a story idea at every turn. Whether it’s the conversation you overhear or the couple in the next booth at the restaurant that doesn’t seem to go together (that last scenario happened just last week), or even the obituary that tells of a life well-lived, sparks of ideas are everywhere.
6. What is your typical day like?
Oh my, do you really want to know about a typical day? It starts early and goes late. LOL We both work 8-5 day jobs that aren’t always done by 5:00 PM. So, we often meet for lunch to catch up on things we need to work together on. After work is writing time and also the time we have a chance to catch up with readers, friends, and fellow writers via email, Facebook, or Twitter. Most weekends find us doing book events of some sort. We love to meet readers and enjoy doing book talks or library events. Then there’s family time in there as well, and you have to do laundry sometime…or so we’ve heard. It’s crazy busy and a lot of fun. Publishing is a dream come true and we are having a ball!
7. What is most difficult for you to write? Characters, conflict or emotions? Why?
We love characters and emotion. To us, everything in a story is driven by the story people. Conflict is essential to great storytelling, but sometimes more difficult to get on the page. In real life, we’re both peacemakers so we have to remember to keep the conflict escalating when we write.
8. Tell us about your next book & when is it being published?
The next book is Yip/Tuck and it will be out next month. In it Melinda Langston and her pampered pooch, Missy are back. It involves a plastic surgeon, a double life, drag queens…oh, and murder.
Links to Sparkle Abbey’s website, blog, books, etc.
BE SURE TO COME BACK to read more about Sparkle Abbey and their novel, KITTY KITTY BANG BANG, on Wednesday’s Karen’s Killer Book Bench!
**SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Sparkle Abbey will give away copies of their new book, KITTY KITTY BANG BANG, to THREE of their lucky readers who comment on either their Monday Interview or Wednesday Book Bench blogs!! Winner will be randomly selected and announced Monday, April 29, 2013. Thanks, Sparkle Abbey, for sharing your stories with us!