Monday, June 27, 2011

Guest Author: Interview with Traci Hilton

1. Tell us about your current work

Eminent Domain, the sequel to Foreclosed: A Mitzy Neuhaus Mystery. was just released in April. It continues the story of Mitzy, her real estate office, her fiery relationship with Alonzo Miramontes and the trouble and the Victorian mansion, which is more work than they were bargaining for. In Eminent Domain, Mitzy has to contend with the Feds, the City Council and just possibly the mafia (again!) And of course, she has to figure out if her business sense and her Christian values go together or not. (You know, is it okay to send the FBI a pod of toilets when they really want the antique furniture?)

2. How did you come up with the idea to write this book?

I love cozy mysteries and really wanted to create an amateur detective that hadn’t been overdone. As a Realtor she has access to all sorts of private property and every new job is a new cast of characters. It seemed a natural fit.

3. How long have you been writing?

Probably since I first learned my ABC’s. I’ve been writing novels since 2008 and before that was an award winning playwright.

4. Is this the first book you ever wrote, or do you have more (published or unpublished) that you wrote before?

Foreclosed, the first Mitzy Neuhaus Mystery, is the first novel I’ve completed. But I’ve got four or five that didn’t hatch, so to speak.

5. Describe your writing process.

I scratch ideas on any paper I can find. Then I organize them, outline them to make sure there is enough there for a proper novel, and then I get to it. Eventually I story board it to make sure the story is actually in order.. Then I send it off to every writer’s best friend, my amazing editor.

6. Who are some of your literary influences? P.G. Wodehouse for his overthetop, lighthearted humor. Agatha Christie for her tightly written, perfect mysteries. And Neil Simon, the king of dialogue.

7. What kind of books do you read, and is it different from what you write?

I read tons of cozy mysteries, like the Jane Austen series by Stephanie Barron. I also love lengthy family sagas like And Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santmier. Another favorite was Life of Pi. I just love really well written, meaty books.

8. Where do you come up with your characters? Do you base them on people you've seen or met?

Inspiration can come from anywhere! But I do see parts of my family, myself, and my friends in my characters. One of my favorite characters in the Mitzy series is Ben the graphic designer. He’s a namby pamby kind of gadget geek. I’ve known so many of those guys over the years. Ben is my homage to their absurdity.

9. Do the names of your characters reflect anything or mean anything in particular? Is there a reason behind the names you choose?

Well, Neuhaus/new house…it just seemed perfect. A great moment for me was when a real Realtor named Neuhaus who had read my books contacted me on Facebook. Otherwise, I go for names that are legit to the era and age of the person and just “sound” right to me.

10. Is this part of a series, and if so, when will the next book be available?

Yes, yes it is. The third installment, tentatively called Death Buys a Condo will be available this winter.

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