As you know, Mother’s Day in the US is around the corner, and one of my author friends, Tamara Ferguson, told me about an initiative she was taking part in. A wonderful collection of books to commemorate mother’s everywhere, and for a very good cause. So I knew you’d like to know about it. Better still, rather than just talk about the collection, she gave me the opportunity of getting to know some of the writers. And today, it’s the turn of a writer I know from several groups but I hadn’t had a chance to catch up in my blog. And now I know she’ll have to visit again…
Mother’s day Magic…
Every mother’s heart holds a bit of magic…her children’s love. Enchantment awaits in a dozen brand new, previously unpublished-stories, written by #1 bestselling and/or multi-award winning authors from across the globe. Whether it’s a captivating tale of romance or fiction fashioned from loving memories, these poignant stories are sure to touch your heart.
10% of proceeds from this anthology will go to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society toward research.
Barnes and Noble
AN INTERVIEW WITH Anna Celeste Burke Bestselling and Award-Winning Author
One of the Authors FROM MOTHER’S DAY MAGIC
Bestselling author of the Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery series and the Corsario Cove mystery series; Prequel to the Jessica Huntington Series Voted a TOP 50 Indie Book worth reading in 2015
The Story I’ve Contributed Is Maddie’s Project
Laura’s mother, Maddie, led a life bursting at the seams, filled with family and a million projects. May changed everything. More than a decade later, Laura reflects on Maddie’s biggest project, and how it changed all their lives. Maddie Powers was a warrior—an imperfect hero, but a hero, nevertheless.
What Was The Inspiration For Your Mother’s Day Magic Story?
Maddie’s Project is an offshoot of the forthcoming book in the Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery series. That book is about Beverly Windsor, A DEAD MOTHER. Like all the books in the series A DEAD HUSBAND, A DEAD SISTER, and A DEAD DAUGHTER the murder mystery centers on social relationships, family dynamics, and women’s issues—not just whodunit but why. In A DEAD MOTHER, Beverly Windsor’s death has Jessica and her friend Laura pondering the mysteries surrounding their own mothers, both of whom have been challenged to face cancer and responded in very different ways. In the past year we’ve lost a lot of interesting people to cancer and several people in my life have dealt with cancer, so some of my inspiration is more personal.
How much research was involved in writing your story? How did you go about it?
Writing fiction requires odd kinds of research. I knew I needed to check various sites on the Internet to make sure I was using correct terms for medical issues related to cancer treatment now, and in the past. The timelines for the mothers in this story are 20 years apart and a good deal has happened. What surprised me was how often in the first draft of the story I used references to technology, movies, or video games that weren’t around twenty years ago. That was the mid-1990s so I’m not talking ancient history, but when I checked out those elements of my story, I had to make a lot changes. For example, in my first draft Laura asked her mother about using “earbuds” with her “iPod” to help her relax. In the mid-90s there was no iPod [released 2001] and earbuds were introduced along with the iPod, so no earbuds, either.
How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something completely unexpected?
Laura, one of the characters in Maddie’s Project, is always a surprise to me. On the surface, she’s one of the least quirky members of Jessica’s sleuthing friends—the cat pack, as they refer to themselves. Laura is often willing to confront Jessica, to make an observation about her friend that is telling, or to reveal a side to herself that isn’t as staid and dependable as she seems to be. All of the characters in the books have changed in unexpected ways over the course of the series. Short answer: YES!
Do you miss spending time with your characters when you finish writing this story?
Yes. Especially Maddie Powers who is a new character. I would love to write more about her.
What writer has been your biggest inspiration?
I have so many favorites among authors who write about mystery and women’s issues, it’s hard to pick one as my biggest inspiration. Agatha Christie is an important source of inspiration for anyone who writes in the cozy mystery genre. Other authors with women sleuths are also inspirations, like Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski, Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Milhone, Jonnie Jacob’s Kali O’Brien and Rebecca Forster’s Josie Bates. Janet Evanovich has inspired my interest to add humor and the romance into my mystery stories—not just the Jessica Huntington series but my new series of cozy mysteries in Corsario Cove. There are so many writers in my circle of friends, like you, Tamara, Dianne Harman, and others who inspire by fighting the good fight every day trying to juggle the demands of writing and reaching readers.
What non-writer had the most influence on your life And why?
My first love was science, so a lot of the early influences were scientists. That included women like Marie Curie and Margaret Mead. There have been a lot of women who mentored and supported me when I decided to go into social science.
How important is the choosing of character names to you? Have you ever decided on a name and then changed it because it wasn’t right for the character?
Names are important for many reasons. In Jessica Huntington’s case, for example, the Huntington name is one that resonates with old wealth in California. That’s important since it’s part of her backstory and it’s key to the character arc that she’s traveling as the series unfolds. Poor, slightly spoiled, rich girl with a shopping addiction comes to grips with the fact that money can’t buy happiness. A name for a character also has to fit in with all the other characters, of course, so there aren’t two characters with the same or names so similar they make it difficult for readers to keep them straight.
Do you allow others to read your work in progress, or do you keep it a secret until you’ve finished your first draft?
I have several people who read first drafts, usually once that draft is complete or nearly complete. I also have beta readers who read proof copies.
What inspired you to write your first book?
My first fiction book was a horror story called DayRunner—remember those? In the book, a woman becomes consumed with, and then by, the scheduler she carries around with her. It begins to take over, putting darker and deadlier items on her “to do” list. I found fiction writing was a great way to counter the constraints imposed by the writing I was doing as a professor and social scientist. Writing fiction, where I could just make stuff up, was wildly entertaining!
What might we be surprised to know about you?
I married a rock musician, but I once considered a career as an opera singer.
I’m glad to have had the chance to tell Maddie’s story. She’s a great mom under very difficult circumstances—a warrior and a hero in an everyday sort of way. Here’s to all the women who have to do the same!
About the author:
Life is an extravaganza! Figuring out how to hang tough and make the most of the wild ride is the challenge. On my way to Oahu, to join the rock musician and high school drop-out I had married in Tijuana, I was nabbed as a runaway. Eventually, the police let me go, but the rock band broke up. Our next stop: Disney World, where we ‘worked for the Mouse’ as chefs, courtesy of Walt Disney World University Chef’s School training. More education landed us in academia at The Ohio State University. For decades, I researched, wrote, and taught a number of gloriously nerdy topics. Retired now, I’m still married to the same, sweet, guy and live with him near Palm Springs, California. I write mysteries set in sunny California! The Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery series, set here in the Coachella Valley, the Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery Series set in California’s Central Coast, and The Georgie Shaw Cozy Mystery series set in the OC. Coming soon, The Misadventures of Betsy Stark that also take place, here, in the Coachella Valley.
LINKS RE ANNA CELESTE BURKE
JOIN ME AT…
FACEBOOK AUTHOR PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/annacelesteburke
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: http://amzn.to/1YKls8I
Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery Series, Books 1-3 @ http://amzn.to/1YKlqxu
Love a Foot Above the Ground, Prequel to Jessica Huntington Series @ http://smarturl.it/loveabove
Cowabunga Christmas! Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery 1 @ http://smarturl.it/cove1
Thanks so much to Anna Celeste Burke for talking about her contribution to Mother’s Day Magic, thank to Tamara Ferguson for this opportunity, and you know what to do, like, share, comment and of course, CLICK!