I’ve had some concerns by readers who are primarily print readers that the coverage at Dear Author has been too focused on ebooks. When I asked the readers what they were interested in seeing, they responded that they would like to know more about print debut authors. We developed a little questionnaire and every Wednesday at 10:00 AM CST (as long as we have content) we’ll post the questionnaire answers along with links to the author’s site and a buy link to her book. I hope this helps people discovery new books. Now, on to the answers.
Name of debut release: The Haunting of Maddy Clare
Release date: 03/06/2012
2 sentence summary: In 1920’s England, a girl working for a temp agency is assigned to be assistant to a ghost hunter. When they investigate the ghost of a dead servant named Maddy Clare, they get more than they bargained for.
Genre: Gothic, romance, mystery, historical, paranormal
Characters: Sarah Piper is a shy, lonely temp who is swept up in her very first ghost hunting case. Alistair Gellis is a young, rich, eccentric World War I vet who is obsessed with ghosts. Matthew Ryder is Alistair’s assistant – dark, damaged, and haunted by his war experiences.
What makes this story different: It’s a mix of genres. It’s a gothic ghost story, set in the 1920’s, with a romance and a mystery in it as well. The ghost story is the chilling, old-fashioned kind and it’s blended equally with the other elements.
Is this a series?:
Why you wrote this book: I love ghost stories, but most pure ghost stories don’t have a romance plot. I love old-school gothics and wanted to read one that was creepy and scary and romantic at the same time. I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted to read, so I wrote it myself!
Why is this your first published book? How many did you write before? I wrote two full manuscripts and half of a third before this one. The first two were rejected everywhere. I was halfway through my third manuscript and really struggling with it when the idea for this book came to me and wouldn’t let go.
As for why it was published, I think that the top reason was that after two and a half manuscripts, I found a voice that really worked for me. Once I settled into my voice, the writing flowed more easily and got noticed by first an agent, then an editor.
What’s your writing process? I have a day job so currently my writing process is “any way I can, at any time I can scrounge.” I usually start a manuscript longhand in a spiral notebook, because it’s easiest to carry everywhere and never runs low on batteries. Commuter trains, lunch breaks, whatever it takes. Once I have a good handle on what the book will be, I sit down at a computer and type.
When I’m on deadline, it consumes all of my evenings and weekends. I haven’t watched television in well over a year!
Your next published book. An Inquiry into Love and Death, NAL, March 2013
The last book you read that you loved. Just one? Oh gosh. Dark Road to Darjeeling, by Deanna Raybourn. Can’t Buy Me Love, by Molly O’Keefe. And yes, I just cheated.
The last book you read for research. Aside from dry World War I texts? The Pursuit of Love, by Nancy Mitford. Anything about or by the Mitfords is not only great research for the early twentieth-century era, but incredibly entertaining as well.
The romance book character you most identify with. Any Mary Stewart heroine ever. If I had to pick a favorite, possibly Nicola Ferris in the Moon-Spinners or Vanessa March in Airs Above the Ground.
You can check out more about Simone St. James and her books at http://www.simonestjames.com