Monday, June 25, 2012

Guest Post & #Giveaway: Linda Lael Miller, author of Big Sky Country

“I have my reasons,” Joslyn said. “I’m counting on you to trust me, Kendra—at least for the next few months. When I can explain, I will.”
“People have been getting mysterious checks in the mail lately,” Kendra said speculatively, “from some big law firm in Denver. And I know you sold your software company…”

Joslyn bolted to her feet, hurried over to the square foot of counter space where the coffee machine stood, turned on the water in the sink and hurriedly rinsed the two plain mugs she’d purchased the day before. “I sold the company,” she admitted, feeling a wrench of loss as she said the words, even though it had been a done deal for weeks now. “But I don’t see what that has to do with people getting unexpected checks.”

“The recipients of the checks have one thing in common,” Kendra persisted. She hadn’t gotten where she was by being slow on the uptake. “They’d all invested in your stepfather’s—business.”

How do you continue to find inspiration after writing so many novels?

That’s a very good question. The answer, I suppose, is that I’m always and forever reading and shamelessly eavesdropping on other people’s conversations. Everything is grist for my mill, so to speak. I might read about a situation and think, “what if--?” and then I’m off and running. My Clare and Tony mysteries, commonly called the Look Books, are a good example—I used to see this guy on TV all the time, when I lived down in Arizona, a lawyer advertising for business. His hair was slicked back and his suit was fancy and I remember thinking he was the ultimate ambulance-chaser, with a clear message: no matter what awful thing you’ve done, we can get you off. I knew that attitude was bound to really tick off, say, a homicide detective, who would have a vested interested in seeing the culprit sent to prison. Voila! Clare Westbrook was my defense attorney heroine, and she was involved with Tony Sonterra, a homicide detective, of course. I’ve been writing for a long time, and I use many techniques to prime the pump—mixed media art is my hobby, and I find that I get some of my best ideas when I’m snipping, gluing, painting, etc. I keep an art journal and make artist trading cards. Trips are always good, too—a change of scene and environment is very stimulating. I need a lot of visual stimulation, I find. I spent a lot of time just looking at things, and imagining things that could happen. I spent a lot of time in Europe, years ago, and oddly enough that was what clued me in that I needed to focus on westerns, since that’s basically my life. You know the old saw, write about what you know.

{June 25 - July 9, 2012}
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