Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Author Q&A with Meredith Cole, author of "Posed For Murder"

Meredith Cole directed feature films and wrote screenplays before writing mysteries. She won the St. Martin's/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery competition in 2007. Her book, "Posed For Murder," was published by St. Martin's Minotaur in February 2009, and her short story “Exercise is Murder” was in the June 2008 Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. She is a member of the Mystery Writers of America NY board, and she blogs at www.thedebutanteball.com

What's your book about?
Lydia McKenzie, an art photographer who recreates historic murder scenes, finally has a show in a Brooklyn gallery. But when someone starts killing her models just like her photographs, she has to catch the killer before she becomes the next victim.

How did you get your start in writing?
I started out writing screenplays and directing films. But when my son was born, I knew that I wouldn't be going back on the set anytime soon. I started to write a mystery novel set in my neighborhood (Williamsburg, Brooklyn). In my first manuscript, I did almost everything wrong. I had tons of backstory, and the action really didn't really start until page 65. But I loved the characters. So I wrote another book with the same heroine and most of the same characters. But this time the stakes were much higher, and the story was a lot scarier.

What does your writing routine look like?
I take my son to school, go for a swim, and then come back and sit down at my laptop to write. If I'm under deadline, I sometimes get up early (before my family) and write for an hour or so. And I'll sometimes write after my son is in bed.

Tell us some writers whose work you admire.
I really enjoy reading Ruth Rendell, Laurie King, Rex Stout, Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Jane Austen, Rumer Godden and so many others. I'm a voracious reader, and I panic if my TBR pile gets too small.

What are you working on next?
I just finished the second book in my series with Lydia McKenzie, "Dead In The Water." Lydia has begun taking portraits of prostitutes when one of them ends up dead--a floater in the East River.

What made you decide to write this novel?
I love my neighborhood and thought it made an interesting setting for a murder mystery. My husband is an artist, so I know a lot about the art community. I enjoyed writing in the mystery genre, and thought it was interesting to have a sleuth who was a photographer. I liked the idea of looking through a lens to find clues.

What challenges did you face with this book?
I wrote the book in a year, and then began to look around for an agent. When I had no luck, I entered the manuscript in the St. Martin's/Malice Domestic Best Traditional First Mystery competition. The prize is publication, so I was thrilled to win.

What advice would you have for other writers/would-be writers?
Write every day, read as much as you can, and be patient. Success does not come overnight (no matter how many stories you've heard). Get a writing group if you can, and listen carefully to criticism. When you get the opportunity to show someone your work, you want to be ready with your best stuff. And writing good stuff takes a lot of time and revisions.

EDITOR'S NOTE: J. Louise Larson, blogmistress for The Writing Porch, interviews published authors. To be considered, email her at jackielarsonwrites (at) gmail (dot) com. Larson's work has been published in a number of newspapers and magazines, including the Dallas Morning News and Entrepreneur Magazine. She is the managing editor of the Ennis Journal and a contributor at the Waxahachie Daily Light, and she has received the top award for series writing in Texas, the Texas APME, as well as a silver from the Parenting Publications of America. She co-authored a nonfiction career guide for FabJob Publishing in 2006, and is seeking representation for her new novel, 'At High Tide.'

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