Blair will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
1. Woohoo! You are a published author. Describe a strong character trait you possess, good or bad, and how it helped you become a published author. I believe in myself. I believe I write interesting stories, peopled with believable characters. This belief sustained me through two years of rejections of my first novel, The Memory of Roses. I knew I would eventually find a publisher or an agent, and I did.
2. Sometimes an author begins writing a story before they are aware of its genre. Did you choose your genre, or did it choose you? I have sort of slipped gradually into my genre. I write romantic suspense. I’m aware of that now. I wasn’t aware of it when I wrote my first book, but even that one, had elements of suspense. Now, with Romantic Road, and with my work in progress, “Where Lemons Bloom”, I am firmly grounded in the genre.
3. The plot thickens, or does it? Which one are you, a pantser or a plotter? I am very much a plotter. I work with a chapter by chapter outline. But every once in a while one of my characters just refuses to follow the plan. I change the outline when that happens.
4. Fear 101: As writers it is our duty to make our characters face their fears. Have you ever included one of your own fears in a storyline? Of course. How can anyone write well about something they haven’t experienced or feared experiencing? In the opening lines of my work in progress, “Where Lemons Bloom”, a character is drowning. I swim. I love swimming in the ocean. I fear drowning. I’ve been tumbled more than once by an unexpected wave.
5. Fear 102: Yes, deadlines are terrifying. Have you conquered the juggling act between writing and the rest of your life? What do you do when it feels like the balls are dropping all around you? I run a B&B summers. Talk about my time! But I write afternoons. I’ve become a past master of stopping mid-sentence when I have to, and picking up again later. Life does interfere.
6. Switch positions with one of your main characters in a scene. What is the outcome, disaster or divine intervention? If I were Ian in “The Memory of Roses”, the whole plot would have changed. I’d have stayed with Maria and to hell with my cold, unfeeling wife.
And there wouldn’t have been a novel.
7. Where is your favorite place to write? Add that one comfort food that you can’t do without. In Canada, it’s in my comfy recliner with a lap board. In the winter I retreat to my home on the tiny Caribbean island of St. Eustatius. There I write on the veranda, where I can see the sea and watch the birds at their feeder. In Canada I drink hot apple cider. In the Caribbean, pineapple juice (occasionally with rum).
8. Writing inspirations? Places. Interesting wonderful places always seem to suggest stories to me.
- Corfu – We were there for eighteen days. The story came to me almost completely before we left. “The Memory of Roses”.
- The Romantische Strasse in Germany, “Romantic Road”.
- The Amalfi Coast of Italy, my work in progress, “Where Lemons Bloom”.
I’m in a place and my mind says “What if…”
9. You are introduced to your favorite author. Who is it, and what is that one burning question you must ask them? The hardest part of this question for me is “favorite author”. I have too many. It depends upon what kind of book. Let’s say I choose detective fiction. The author would be Donna Leon. And my burning question would be “How have you managed to create and sustain one brilliant character through-out19 books?”
I wish I could manage even a three book series. I think in complete stories. I’d like to write series but can’t seem to do so.
10. I’ve gone mad – why don’t you come with me? Some people just don’t understand us writers. Name a quirky, writer-thing you do that friends wish you didn’t. I carry a notebook with me at all times. I write down snippets of conversations I overhear on buses and in restaurants. I try to write dialects and unusual accents down. I talk to waiters and hotel clerks and anyone else I can get to talk to me when traveling and make notes as they talk to me. It drives my traveling companions mad. But it’s all grist for the mill.
by Blair McDowell
When Lacy Telchev buries her husband she finds herself in treacherous waters. Igor, much older than Lacy, had secrets. Suddenly Lacy is being chased across Europe by men who believe she can lead them to those secrets. Evading her pursuers with the aid of a chance acquaintance, the handsome and mysterious Max Petersen, Lacy travels across Germany, Austria and Hungary, to a shattering discovery in Budapest.
Along the way, she meets three women from Igor’s past. As Igor’s story unfolds through them, Lacy is less and less certain who her husband really was. Who can Lacy trust? Will she survive to find out?
They were leaving the hotel when Lacy grabbed Max’s arm. “Stop!”
“There’s a man waiting at the station.”
Max looked at him. “The one in the raincoat?” “He’s one of the men who threatened me back in the Berkshires that night. And then again in Wurzburg.”
“Are you sure?”
“What’s he doing here?” Lacy’s voice rose on a note of hysteria. “How did they find me? Why are they doing this to me?”
As Max studied him, the man was joined by his partner.
“You’re with me, Lacy. I won’t let anything bad happen to you. You must believe me. These people have no authority here. Now, let’s just go take the train down the mountain. We’ll lose them when we get off, I promise you.”
“Didn’t you say it was possible to hike down?” “Yes, but…”
“Please, Max. I don’t want to be anywhere near them. I don’t want them to see me.”
Blair McDowell wrote her first short story when she was eleven and has never ceased writing since, although only recently has she been able to return to her first love, writing fiction. During her early years, she taught in universities in the United States, Canada and Australia, and wrote several highly successful books in her field.
Her research has taken her to many interesting places. She has lived in Europe, Australia, the United States and the Caribbean and Canada, and spent considerable time in still other places, Iceland, the Far East, and the Torres Strait Islands off the coast of New Guinea. Now she travels for pleasure. Portugal, Greece and Italy are favorite haunts.
Her books are set in places she knows and loves and are peopled with characters drawn from her experiences of those places. The Memory of Roses takes readers to the Greek Island of Corfu, where a young woman finds her future while searching for her father’s past. In Delighting in Your Company, the reader is transported to a small island in the Caribbean, with a heroine who finds herself in the unenviable position of falling in love with a ghost. The setting for Sonata is the city of Vancouver, with its vibrant multicultural population and its rich musical life, and the heroine is a musician who finds herself in unexpected danger.
In her most recent release, Romantic Road, Lacy Telchev, is pursued along Germany’s famous Romantische Strausse as she follows clues left by her late husband in order to solve a mystery that she doesn’t understand, while being chased by dangerous and cunning adversaries.
She hopes her readers will enjoy reading these books as much as she enjoyed writing them.
Blair is a member of the Romance Writers of America, Romance Writers of America (Greater Vancouver Chapter), the Romance Writers of America (Women’s Fiction), and The Writers’ Union of Canada.
Contact, Website, etc.
Visit my Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/BlairMcDowellWriter
Visit me at Twitter https://twitter.com/mcdowell_blair