At the moment, I’m doing the final (I hope) edit on my new noir novel, “The Deputy”. Aside from reviewing my work on a daily basis throughout the writing process, I’ve learned that the final edit for me is to edit the “final” print galley on the screen, and then print it out and go over the entire book line by line. It constantly amazes me to see how many quotation marks are missing or misplaced. That goes for commas and periods as well. I always find other words repeated or missing or misspelled in ways Spell Check doesn’t catch, i.e. as and at, for example. I know even the Big Publishers often turn out books with boo-boos in them, and in the end, my only consolation is that if the reader finds something in one of my books, that wonderful reader will blame the publisher, not the author.
How does my work differ from others in its genre? I can’t say it differs greatly. Primarily I write mysteries and nearly all mysteries require at least one murder. Not many readers are going to wade through 70,000 words to find out who stole Aunt Minnie’s gold-plated wedding ring. Mr. Wodehouse could get away with plots like that, but he was one of a kind.
I do try to couch my mysteries in a way that I hope will entertain. Some feature real detectives, and other amateurs, but in every case, one or two persons become involved in a murder case and usually find their own lives in danger before they get out of it. I write noir novels too, and really, that’s what I find most satisfying. I call a novel noir when normally honest average people get caught up in some dark scheme that ends in tragedy. James Cain is a good example of noir. The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity, etc. That’s always been one of my favorite genres to read.
I wish I could tell you I sit down at four every morning and write for four hours without even taking a bathroom break, but unfortunately I’ve never been very well organized. My writing, like most of my life experience, is pretty spontaneous. I may go for days without writing a word. I think, “This is it. I’m all through.” Then I’ll be taking a little break on my patio lounge chair and just as I’m about to doze off, something begins working and I find myself “writing” a conversation and seeing people moving about. Sometimes I actually cuss a little because I know I have to get up and get to the computer.
I had just finished The Morgenstern Murder and my mind was a complete blank. I was finishing the editing on it and without trying, I found myself seeing a new book forming. I started trying to lay it out a little (I’ve never been able to carefully plot out an entire book. Usually I do know who the murderer is but that’s about all.) I was going to call it The Handyman. But once I got started, the handyman began to take a back seat to a deputy sheriff in the little town of Ashley. In fact, I got so interested in the deputy that the handyman had to take a supporting role and the book just rolled out before me. I couldn’t possibly have done it any better with a strict outline. Like any interested reader, each day I couldn’t wait to get to the computer to see what was going to happen next.
Now I’m back to wondering if I’ll ever get another book going. I do have one I started, but it’s sort of in limbo — for the moment anyway.
I want to thank K. Nowinsky for contacting me about this blog tour. Her thoughtful reviews and pages on Google + and Facebook are always interesting and enlightening.