Please welcome Jane Gorman as today’s guest author. She is a fellow member of the Guppy Chapter of the Sisters in Crime and describes herself as lively, thoughtful, imaginative, careful, and happy. She says her writing is grounded, engaging, intriguing, and deceptively optimistic. Without further ado, here are her eight chosen questions and answers.
Describe your most productive writing venue. What makes it best for you?
I write best when I’m outside. Usually, that’s just sitting in my backyard. In warm months, it might be sitting at the beach watching the ocean, or near a mountain lake. In my dream world, it would be a balcony looking out over the Spanish coast. I love being outdoors, closing my eyes and feeling the wind on my skin, the scent of grass or flowers or sand or salt. And more than anything, I’m inspired by water.
What is your most productive time of the day (and do you need caffeine)?
My most productive time – sometimes my only productive time – is the morning. And I definitely need caffeine! My brain kicks in early. If I sit down to a keyboard first thing in the morning, I can write a days’ worth of words in just a couple of hours. If I try to do the same thing in the afternoon, it takes easily twice as long.
How many books do you read in a typical month? Do you read in your genre while you are writing? What’s your most recent “great” book?
I read anywhere from four to six books a month. I may read three books one weekend, but none the next – when I’m in the middle of writing I have to limit myself, just because of the time. I read both in and out of my genre when I’m writing. I love to go back and reread those classic mysteries that inspired me, to remind myself what I love about those books. And I like to read new, fresh authors in other genres as well, particularly science fiction, just to keep from getting too sucked into my own writing. There’s a big world of books out there!
Name three not well-known authors you would recommend and tell us what you like about their writing.
I hate to say they’re not well-known, since I’m sure a lot of readers will recognize the names. But they’re not on the New York Times bestselling lists yet – yet – so I think they qualify: J.J. Marsh, Mark Pryor, and Martin Walker. I’m drawn to these authors because of the richness of their characters, the way they develop and invite you into their settings, and the engaging story lines that let me try to figure out whodunit even as I lose myself in the story.
What motivates you to write?
I’ve always loved writing. I’ve pursued that interest throughout my career, though it wasn’t until a few years ago I turned to fiction. The thing is, I communicate best through stories. Whenever I try to explain a situation to someone, I inevitably find myself saying things like, “imagine if…” I think at some point I started saying that to myself, whenever I read an interesting story in the news or learned a historical fact I didn’t know before. Imagine if that person hadn’t gone to that town… had picked up that call … hadn’t wandered down that street…
The most challenging area for me as a writer:
Describing people physically. It seems like it should be simple. You use a few words and explain what someone looks like. Not so! A person’s appearance isn’t defined by what we see on the outside. It’s deeply affected by so much more – his or her attitude, expressions, personality. Capturing a character’s true appearance is always one of my greatest challenges. I find myself staring at strangers on the street, coming up with expressions or turns of phrase that capture the sense I get of them. No one has punched me yet, so I think I’m not too obvious!
How did you develop the idea for your most recent work?
My most recent book is set in my home town of Philadelphia, in an area I know well. Too well, really. The idea grew out of the characters that I imagined walking through this part of town. Not the real people I know, but wild, over the top characters who play on the best and worst that Philly has to offer. The setting gave birth to the characters who in turn produced the story.
What motivates your protagonist (if not a series, then use the protagonist of your most recent novel)? What influenced who they are today?
Guilt and legacy. Philadelphia Detective Adam Kaminski is driven by a sense of responsibility for his family and guilt over the people he feels he’s let down. He is constantly striving to make the world better, to make up for the mistake he thinks he’s made.
For more information about Jane and her books, check out her website at http://janegorman.com find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/janegormanauthor on Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.com/gorman0188/ or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Thejanegorman.
Here’s a bit of a blurb for A Blind Eye:
It was a quiet death, a young woman falling into the frigid waters of Warsaw’s Wisła River. The police accept it as suicide, the pressures of a political internship too much to handle. Her father knows it was murder. Philadelphia Detective Adam Kaminski, visiting Poland on an official delegation, gets drawn into the investigation over the objections of his superiors back home. For the dead girl was family, her father a cousin Adam had only just met, and Adam was raised to put family first.
Adam begins uncovering clues that lead him inexorably into an investigation of the close-knit community of Polish politics and the legacy of the Secret Police. But the past isn’t always black and white, as Adam is forced to accept as he learns more about the killer and about his own family legacy. Murder can only beget murder, driven by even deeper secrets.