Alison Bruce will be awarding an ebook copy of Deadly Season to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
- 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.
Have you seen the movie Romancing the Stone? There’s a part where the central character is called a hopeless romantic. “Hopeful romantic,” she replies.
That’s me, a hopeful romantic. I identified as a writer when I was in my teens and no matter what else I had to do to make a living, I’ve held onto that identity. There have been times when that made me look like Don Quixote tilting at windmills.
Fortunately, I also have a strong practical streak to balance the dreamer in me. When my cousin, a professional management coach at the time, ask me what I was writing, I said “What do you want written.” That was the start of my freelance writing and editing career.
Similarly, when a colleague of mine asked if I had any completed novels, I said “I have a western, a mystery and a paranormal suspense. Which one do you want to see?”
What seemed to be tilting at windmills turned out to be groundwork for getting published.
- Sometimes an author begins writing a story before they are aware of its genre. Did you choose your genre, or did it choose you?
When it comes to genres, I’m fickle. As a reader I go on author and/or genre benders. One month I may be reading all things western, the next I might be working my way through a new author’s series. I’m not quite as bad when I write, but there’s a reason why my published books include one historical western romance, one Civil War romantic suspense, two detective mysteries, and amateur sleuth mystery and now a paranormal suspense. Usually I know what I’m writing when I write it.3. The plot thickens, or does it? Which one are you, a pantser or a plotter?
Yes. Both. I usually plan out the broad strokes of plot in my head before I starting to write. When I do start writing, I fly by the seat of my pants when I can. Since there is usually a mystery involved in my books, I have to do a certain amount of planning to make sure I drop the clues in the right places.
It just occurred to me I drive the same way. I figure out where I’m going but don’t worry about the exact route until I get lost or bogged down in traffic. Then it’s time to pull over and check the map.
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?
One fear? I’ve included many of my own fears and anxieties.
There are plenty of things that can be researched but basic emotions like fear, love and hate need to come from within to ring true. The source of the emotion can be changed, but the emotion itself needs to come from experience.
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?
That is an ongoing battle. Somethings are easier than others. For instance, my kids are very understanding. Not only do they let me work to meet my deadlines, they remind me I have to work to meet my deadline when I feel like slacking off. They also help me slack off when time permits.
6. Switch positions with one of your main characters in a scene. What is the outcome, disaster or divine intervention?
I’m generally wiser than my characters, but not always. My characters are generally younger and fitter than I am. I suspect it would be a disaster or, at the very least a medical emergency.
7. Where is your favorite place to write? Add that one comfort food that you can’t do without.
Is coffee a food? My favorite place to write is in a coffee shop. When I am having trouble getting down to work, I pack up my laptop and go to a café with plugs (my laptop doesn’t hold a charge the way it used to). The place doesn’t need to provide Wi-Fi. I don’t log in so I won’t get distracted by email messages. If I’m have a really tough time focusing, I go old school and take my pen and a yellow pad out with me.
8. Writing inspirations?
Boredom is a great source of inspiration. I’m not one of those people who can just think about nothing while doing the dishes or waiting in line. One of my books, A Bodyguard to Remember, was plotted it out in the dead times at the corner. (I’m a crossing guard, not a street walker.) The opening was inspired by my desire for new flooring in the living room.
Ghost Writer started off as a nightmare about being trapped under water. Thanks to lucid dreaming, I was able to turn the nightmare into a romantic adventure. Most of the dream made no sense, but it provided the seed from which the novel grew.
9. You are introduced to your favorite author. Who is it, and what is that one burning question you must ask them?
Two of my favorite authors, Georgette Heyer and Terry Pratchett, are dead. My burning question would be “Are you ghosts or am I hallucinating?”
One of my favorite living authors, Melodie Campbell, is alive and well and we have lunch regularly. The burning question for her would be, “Shall we do Funky Thai again or do you want to go somewhere else?”
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.
This one drives my kids nuts. I will stop and talk to almost anyone for the sake of research. I’ve embarrassed them in front of police officers, tinkers, tailors and an artillery sergeant in the Canadian Army. Most of my friends are either authors or understand writerly ways. My kids understand as well, but I know they’d rather I kept my questions to times when they aren’t around.
by Alison Bruce
GENRE: Paranormal Suspense
She has to deal with two kinds of spooks: spies and ghosts.
But which one is trying to kill her?
Jen Kirby has seen ghosts since she was a teen, but she can’t talk to them or help them cross over. And, after a violent death in the family, she doesn’t want to see them anymore.
In her role as ghostwriter, Jen joins a Canadian Arctic expedition to document and help solve a forty-year-old mystery involving an American submarine station lost during the Cold War. The trouble is, there are people—living and dead—who don’t want the story told, and they’ll do anything to stop her.
Now Jen is haunted by ghosts she can’t avoid or handle alone. That means confiding in the one man she doesn’t want to dismiss her as “crazy.” But can he help? Or is he part of the problem?
My name is Jen Kirby. I have several things going for me including great hair, nice eyes and an ability to turn experts’ research into readable prose.
I have a few weaknesses. I enjoy chocolate too much. I hate enclosed spaces. And I prefer to experience open bodies of water from a distance. One sailing trip with my cousins made me swear off boats for life. So, you’ll understand how much I wanted the job when I said I’d go to the Arctic Ocean to look for a sunken underwater base.
The offer came from Dr. Dora Leland, a forensic psychiatrist and my good friend. Dora is a professor at the University of Toronto, a consultant to various law enforcement agencies and author of seven books which I have ghostwritten with her. Her idea of a vacation is volunteering her skills to researchers who would never have thought they needed a forensic psychiatrist on their team, let alone afford one.
Her latest project was helping out a team who were bent on raising US Navy’s Arctic Station Alpha and finding out what happened to its crew. AFFA, which stood for “Answers For Families of Alpha” not the Hell’s Angels motto “Angels Forever, Forever Angels,” included now grown children of the crew. Other family members contributed funds or in kind services. But it was Dora and her agents that made the expedition possible.
As the only team member who wasn’t paired off, Dora anticipated needing a buddy to play cards with of an evening. She sold the deal by offering me co-author credit on the book we were going to write.
It was an offer I couldn’t refuse.
Alison Bruce writes history, mystery and suspense. Her books combine clever mysteries, well-researched backgrounds and a touch of romance. Her protagonists are marked by their strength of character, sense of humor and the ability to adapt (sooner or later) to new situations. Four of her novels have been finalists for genre awards.
Copywriter, editor and graphic designer since 1992, Alison has also been a comic book store manager, small press publisher and web designer. Currently she is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada.
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