24 October 2011

Please welcome Astraea Press author Meg Mims,

Hi Meg,
Thank you for visiting The Heart of Romance Blog.

Hi Sherry! You’re welcome!

Please will you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’ve been writing for 15 years, off and on, in fiction and nonfiction. I’m a watercolour/acrylic/collage artist also.

How did your debut novel, Double Crossing evolve?
I had foot surgery after an extended period of not writing, so I decided to get “back in the game” by writing a complete novel again. I took part of an old romance manuscript, overhauled, researched and turned it into a suspense, and had a solid first draft. Then I wrote a traditional mystery for the Writing Popular Fiction M.A. program at Pennsylvania’s Seton Hill University. Those two years helped me realize my strengths and weaknesses as a writer. I revised Double Crossing in early 2010 and entered several RWA contests to test it out. In nearly every one, it reached the finals and placed 2nd, 3rd or 4th. I knew from the positive comments DC was ready to submit. However, traditional Christian romance publishers thought the Inspirational elements weren’t enough, and DC was “too clean” for other publishers. I submitted to Astraea Press and received an offer in less than a week.

Are you a pantser or plotter?
Plotter. I stopped being a pantser long ago, when I’d start writing and then end up wandering in the middle or near the dark moment, without a clue what to write next. Now I plan the story and character arcs out in detail. Or as much as I can.

How long did it take you to write Double Crossing?
First draft—three months. Revisions—two. Tweaking—probably a few weeks.

How would your heroine describe you?
SLOW!! Lol. Lily kept hammering me to write her story the way SHE wanted it told, in first person, and quit researching so much. And one key scene (that she failed to tell me about) didn’t come until the very end of revisions. So we had our troubles, all right.

If you were introduced to your hero at a party, what do you think his first words to you would be?
Ha! If he’d even get in, given his lack of manners and dust-coated boots and clothing. He’s a man of few words, too. He’d probably say, “I clean up good. Trust me.”

What is your favourite flower and why?
I love irises, purple because they’re so delicate. And zinnias of every colour. Impatiens, same reason. Bellflowers. Black-eyed Susan and white Shasta daisies. Foxglove, peonies, tea roses, marigolds, you name it. I want a well-tended English flower garden—but instead mine is straggly and weedy and a mess. Sigh. But I love flowers because I love to paint them.

Where is your favourite place in the world (If you say ‘home, please maintain your own security)
Mackinac Island. I love the history of the place, the serenity of no cars, the horse and buggies, bicycles, the lovely houses and hotels, especially the Grand Hotel. But if I ever visit Ireland, I might change my mind.

Do you base your characters on people you know? If so do you tell them?
No. I may use first names of people I know, but my characters evolve into their own personalities once I research their backgrounds in full—from education to family and features to the best/worst days of their lives.

Research, how much do you do for your books, and do you ever get distracted by it?
Absolutely! I love putting in historical details—and since I’ve researched so much since my college days, I can usually remember what I’ve read before and expand on it for whatever I might need. The train history for Double Crossing was fascinating, and I always got side-tracked (sorry for the pun!) into something not useable. But maybe some day...

How important is humour in your writing?
If it comes, I put it in. You can’t force it. I don’t deliberately try to write it, and I’m surprised if people find things funny in my writing.

Do you control your characters, or do they control you?
I’m in control now. When I first started writing, that wasn’t the case. One minor character took over a manuscript, and I eventually realized he was equal to the heroine. I still need to finish the revisions to that one.

If you could afford any car in the world, what would it be?
I’d want ‘The Leslie Special’ used in the Great Race movie. :-D

Is there any information you’d like to put out there, I have not covered? If so, please put it here :-)
I’m a cookie freak—Christmas cookies of all kinds, Pecan Sandies, jam-filled thumbprints and Linzer cookies, date bars, oatmeal-cranberry-chocolate chip, and shortbread with dark chocolate drizzles. Call it a cookie, I’ll try it. I love putting food details in my books too.

Please will you tell us about Double Crossing? (Blurb and Excerpt + whatever else you wish to say about it.)
A murder arranged as a suicide … a missing deed … and a bereft daughter whose sheltered world is shattered.

August, 1869: Lily Granville is stunned by her father’s murder. Only one other person knows about a valuable California gold mine deed — both are now missing. Lily heads west on the newly opened transcontinental railroad, determined to track the killer. She soon realizes she is no longer the hunter but the prey.

As things progress from bad to worse, Lily is uncertain who to trust—the China-bound missionary who wants to marry her, or the wandering Texan who offers to protect her … for a price. Will Lily survive the journey and unexpected betrayal?

The first chapter excerpt is on my book’s website - http://www.double-crossing.com/?page_id=226

Please will you tell us where we can find your book?
B&N - http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/double-crossing-meg-mims/1104769443?ean=2940013174597&itm=14&usri=double%2bcrossing

Where can we find you?http://www.megmims.com


Patricia Kiyono said...

Mackinac Island and Ireland are both wonderful! They're both full of history (a plus for us, right?) and they're both beautiful in warmer weather. Mackinac is closer for us, of course.

Enjoyed reading this! Can't wait for Double or Nothing!

Iris Blobel said...

Great interview ladies!! And Meg, I'm sure you will LOOOOVE Ireland ... it's beyond beautiful! That's why my books are mostly set there. .... AND I like Irises too :-)

Meg said...

Thanks, Patty and Iris and Sherry! Youse guys are the bestest! ;-D