Fully Exposed – Day 14

Posted by on April 14, 2014

116436101733007Sunday run down — Mass, the After-Party, The Death Beat at the newspaper.

I don’t even bother posting goals or results on this day, but I have something else.

I’ve been tagged by my partner in this Fully Exposed project, Matthew Clemens, in what he affectionately calls “the Blog Hoppy Thing.” My job was to answer some questions and tag two other authors. I’ve tagged Alex Segura and Bryon Quertermous, who will answer these same questions on their blogs Monday, April 21st.


What are you working on?

For the first time, I have several writing projects going at once. I’m doing copyedits on Blessed are the Dead (June 10) and also doing big picture revisions from my stellar editor on book two in the Gabriella Giovanni series, Blessed are the Meek (July 8). The work on BAM is due May 1st and once I return the manuscript to my editor at HarperCollins, I will go back to a YA mystery that is near and dear to my heart. I’m about halfway through and can’t wait to get back to it.

I was just about to give up on the idea of ever writing another YA mystery when I got my first feedback from my writer’s group this month. They loved it. One member said he thought it was the best thing I’d written so far.

(PS Here is a sneak peek at the first two chapters of Blessed are the Dead.)

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

This series I’m writing is first person, present tense. I know first-person is common in mystery novels, but present tense not so much. I don’t know why but when I sat down to write, this is how it came out. I like the sense of immediacy about the present tense, I suppose.

Other than that, I’m not sure. Like Matthew Clemens said in his blog hoppy thingie answer to this question, I’d almost rather someone else look at my writing in this critical way because I’m not quite sure how to answer this.

Why do you write what you do?

My first novel, Blessed are the Dead, was inspired by my dealings with a serial killer on the San Francisco crime beat. I’d covered missing kid cases before, but the little girl connected to this man (this monster) touched my heart like no other. So many daughters ripped from their families arms. It is heartbreaking, so I wrote Blessed are the Dead to purge this guy out of my head, but also to honor all the other girls whose stories I put in the paper and whose names and faces will always be a part of me.

How does your writing process work?

I typically get an idea and then roughly sketch it out using notecards. I start with the opening scene, the midpoint, and the climax usually and then use notecards to fill in some key scenes along the way. However, in the second book of my Gabriella Giovanni mystery series, Blessed are the Meek, I had written up a synopsis for book two earlier s when it came time to write that book, it pretty much wrote itself. I know some people feel constricted by a synopsis or outline, but I use them as a loose structure, knowing that I have the ability to change anything any time I want.

Thanks to Matthew for tagging me. Here are the two writers I’ve tagged.

Alex Segura

I can’t wait to meet Alex in person because online he is the kindest, most gracious person. I LOVE his fantastic novel, SILENT CITY, and absolutely devoured it — it has a super cool vibe and mood and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. I loved and admired the book so much in fact I asked Alex if he wouldn’t mind taking a look at Blessed are the Dead. He was a prince about it and then gave me a fantastic blurb. HERE!

Alex Segura is a novelist, comic book writer and musician. He is the author of the Miami noir novel SILENT CITY from Codorus Press and the best-selling and critically acclaimed ARCHIE MEETS KISS storyline and graphic novel. Alex also performs regularly in New York as part of the indie rock group Faulkner Detectives. He lives in New York with his wife and two cats. He is a Miami native.

Bryon Quertermous

I haven’t met Bryon yet, but for some crazy reason feel like he’s my brother or cousin or something. Maybe because we are both parents of super fiesty kids and both are trodding the same publishing path, with our debut books (both mysteries) coming out close to the same time this summer. I also begged Bryon to sit with me at the debut author’s table at Bouchercon because I’m a big, baby wimp. I cannot wait to read his book with the kick ass title, MURDER BOY. Can’t wait.

Bryon Quertermous was born and raised in Michigan. His short stories have appeared in Plots With Guns, Thuglit, and Crime Factory among others, and in the anthologies Hardcore Hardboiled, The Year’s Finest Crime and Mystery Stories, and Uncage Me. In 2003 he was shortlisted for the Debut Dagger Award from the UK Crime Writers Association.

He currently lives outside of Detroit with his wife and two kids and is the commissioning editor for Angry Robot’s crime fiction imprint Exhibit A Books. His first novel, Murder Boy, will be published by Polis Books in 2014.

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5 Responses to Fully Exposed – Day 14

  1. Kristi

    Cool. Thanks for saying that because I feel like it is very self-indulgent and am hoping not to bore everyone. But like you, I’m a junkie for process and behind the scenes stuff as well. I ask some of these questions in my standard writer interviews on this blog, which reminds me I need to send you an email!

  2. Bryon Quertermous

    I have really loved this series, Kristi. I’m such a process and behind-the-scenes geek that stuff like this is like catnip to me. It is weird how much we feel like family already, isn’t it? I went through a period when I was absolutely obsessed with present tense. Every short story I wrote for about two years was present tense and it worked great. When I tried it in a novel (MURDER BOY was at times written in both 3rd person present tense and 1st person present tense) I could never make it work though. I still love the intimacy of it though.

  3. Matthew Clemens

    I love first person present tense for exactly the reasons you expressed. The dinosaur hive brain says it’s a gimmick, but I don’t buy into that. I’ve seen a couple of others who have gone this route, and personally, I like it. The only bestseller I can think of that has done really well, though, is PRESUMED INNOCENT, which HAD to be fisrt person present tense for the plot to work. Off to read your first two chapters. My turn for a happy dance.