Thursday, June 04, 2009

Special Guest Blogger: Nancy Famolari!

I have a special guest to my blog this week, author Nancy Famolari!

Please tell me about yourself.
I live on a farm in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania with my husband, five horses, two dogs and six white cats. We have four sons, all married, and six grandchildren. Unfortunately we don't see them often since they all live quite far away and the farm keeps us busy.

Our favorite activity is riding our horses. We have three Paso Finos and one Morgan gelding that we use for riding. Paso Finos are gaited horses, very smooth. They came to the Americas with the Spanish conquistadors. We are absolutely in love with this breed of horses. Since we're not young, it's nice to have a smooth ride, and they're exceptionally intelligent. They actually keep us out of trouble on the trail.

What would you say is the most difficult thing about writing?
I'd say the most important thing about writing and the most difficult is rewriting. It's important because when you go over the story not only do you remove errors, but you add depth to your characters. The evolution of your characters is probably the hardest because when you change something you have to make it consistent throughout the rest of the novel.

Is it easy for you to divide your writing time between short and long fiction and different genres? And what make you decide which one you'll write next?
It's not easy for me to divide my writing time. When I'm working on a novel, and that is my preferred mode, I like to stay focused on the story and characters. I have written and published both flash fiction and traditional short stories, but novels are my first love. I think this has something to do with the fact that I don't read short fiction. When I read, it's either novels or book length non-fiction. I write both mainstream romance and mystery novels. I have to admit my favorite is the mystery novel.

What is your process in writing a mystery? Do you write advance plot points, etc?
When I write a mystery, I have a general idea of the plot. For me, the most important part is knowing the ending. Since I know 'who done it,' I can lay out red herrings and make sure that I've covered my tracks on the villain. I write the book the first time through, concentrating on the plot, then I rewrite and flesh out the characters, add more clues and generally clean it up.

What gives you the inspiration to write, where do the ideas come from?
My ideas come from watching people and, of course, gossiping about why certain things happen to people. I live in a small town. Many of my characters and situations are amplifications of things that happen here.

Who are your favourite authors and why?
My favorite authors are mystery writers: Dorothy Sayers and Elizabeth George. I love the intricate plots. I'm also fascinated by English mysteries. I love the setting. I also like the puzzle driven quality rather than police procedurals, or books about violent crimes.

What do you have coming up next?
I just finished editing, Lake House, the second book in my Montbleu Murder series. The first book will be available from Red Rose Publishing in 2009. I'm hopeful they'll like the second book also. Lake House is a little different because it has a strong paranormal element.
Excerpt from Summer's Story:

"If you think I'll stay in your house after you killed my father, Ned Granger, you're crazy." Summer Langston folded her arms across her chest and glared.
"I think that's a bit of an overstatement." Ned shoved his hands into his jeans pockets and rocked back on the heels of his English leather boots.
"Well, I don't. When you told him he couldn't work with the yearlings anymore, it broke his heart. You might as well have shot him."
"I'm sorry, Summer."
For a long moment the house was still, the ticking of the kitchen clock sounded like a blacksmith's hammer striking a metal shoe. Summer couldn't believe things had gone so wrong. The move to Golden Oaks had seemed like the answer to a prayer. A wonderful old house to live in, top ranked yearlings to train, and a chance to try the breeding experiments Sam had always dreamed of doing.
Ned broke the silence. "I know you blame me, but frankly, Sam's drinking was way out of control. I had to do what I thought was right for the farm. I hoped he'd take it as a sign and get some help."
"He could have gotten treatment and stayed on. He loved those horses. They were his whole life." Summer wanted to grab the tall man in front of her, flail her fists at his broad chest until he felt the same pain she did.
"Be fair, Summer. Candyman got colic and nearly died when he got into the grain bin. Sam left the stall door open. I couldn't put any more horses at risk."
"Maybe Sam didn't leave the door open. Maybe Candyman got it open."
"Summer, face facts, your father may have been the best Standardbred trainer I ever worked with, but he was an alcoholic. He was drunk most of the time this fall. You should know. You were running the stable."
Summer stared at the green fields beyond the farmhouse window dotted with prize winning Standardbred horses. Ned worked hard to make his farm one of the best. She didn't want to believe her father had decided to drink himself to death and put the reputation of the farm at risk. Someone else had to be responsible. Ned was responsible. She was responsible. They could have done more. She felt tears welling behind her eyes.
Ned stepped closer. "I didn't ask him to leave. I did make it clear that he couldn't work with the horses until he got into a treatment program." He lifted his arms as though he might try to comfort her. "I thought you knew."
Summer moved so the oak table separated them. She couldn't bear to have Ned touch her. He'd let Sam down; he'd let her down. "You could have tried harder."
"I'm sorry you feel that way, Summer. I did the best I could." Ned reached for the white Stetson he'd tossed on the table.
Outside, an engine roared, a door slammed, and a heavy tromp of boots crossed the wooden porch. The old oak door swung wide and a tall, broad shouldered man with curly, dark brown hair strode into the room. "Thought I might find you here."
Summer fought down the frisson of excitement Davis always generated in her. "Where else would I be? I live here." Sadly she let her eyes drift around the familiar room. "At least I live here for the moment."
"That's good enough." The dark man crossed the floor in two steps and put his arms around her slight figure. "I came as soon as I heard."
Against her better judgment, Summer relaxed into his embrace. It felt good to have someone hold her. "I'm glad you came."
"I know it hurts. I loved the old guy, too."
They stood silently for a moment. Then Davis released her, and said, "So what got your temper up? I could hear you yelling all the way across the yard."
"You couldn't possibly have heard. You just got here."
Davis grinned. "That's better. Well, maybe I only heard you from the porch, but when I see those red cheeks, I know someone's gettin' cussed."
Summer stamped her foot. "I wasn't cussing."
Davis looked at Ned standing stiffly beside the table. "That right?"
"I wouldn't call it cussing exactly."
Summer opened her mouth, but Davis beat her to it. "All right, Irish, just tell me what's going on."
Ned said, "I offered my sympathy and told her she didn't have to rush to move." His brilliant blue gaze rested on Summer. "I'd be happy to help any way I can. I – I'd like to make it up to you in some way."
Davis put a protective arm around her shoulders, but she moved away. "I think Summer's got friends who can take care of her."
"I'm sure she does. Are you planning to have her move in with you?"
"If she wants to."Summer shook off the heavy arm. "I'm not moving in with anyone. I'll find my own place."
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