Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Next Best Thing

Sharon Wildwind

Thanks so much to Texas mystery writer, Bill Crider, for tagging me last Wednesday in The Next Best Thing go-around. I was supposed to answer these questions tomorrow, on Wednesday, but Bill, sweet guy that he is, said I could do it a day early, so that’s what I’m doing.

Here are the questions he passed on to me to answer:

What is the working title of your next book?
Carrying the Blood

Where did the idea come from for the book?
One night as I sat in a folk club listening to a musician-friend perform, I noticed how much of the audience was my age, that is to say we remember the great folk scare of the late fifties and early sixties. My involvement with the folk music world has waxed and wained over time, but what about creating characters who have been heavily involved for a long time? The live music world is a small family and eventually family secrets come out. That could lead to murder, couldn’t it?

What genre does your book fall under?
Amateur sleuth with a touch of romance.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I watch very few movies, and what I do see comes from Britain, this is a tough one. So I decided to go with two people no longer with us, and one British actress, still very much alive.

Jay-Jay is absolutely Waylon Jennings: big, tall, gravely voice, and likely needs a haircut. For Sid I wanted an extreme contrast, a quiet man who always sink into the background. How about Don Hebert, who was Mr. Wizard on Watch Mr. Wizard? Rosemary Harris, the wonderful British actress who plays Peter Parker’s aunt, would make a terrific Robbie. As you can guess, all three of my main characters are of an age to also remember the great folk scare.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Robbie Breland believes that great music matters more than backstage shenanigans, but when a young musician dies it’s the backstage goings-on that point to murder.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Wherever I can get the best deal.

How long did it take you to write a first draft of the manuscript?
Six months, and counting.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I’m fond of both Earlene Fowler’s Benni Harper series and Margaret Maron's Deborah Knott series. In my wildest fantasies I’d love to write to their level, so that’s what I’m aiming for.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The most immediate inspiration was a British Columbia performer named Tom Lewis who was on stage when the idea of the book came to me. And a dear friend, no longer with us, named Tex K├Ânig. And a whole lot of time listening to music at summer folk festivals in Edmonton, Vancouver, Winnipeg, and Calgary.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Robbie thought she’d gotten over Jay-Jay decades ago when she divorced him and married Sid. Now she’s not sure where her heart lies.

What I was supposed to do now is tag five other writers, who would answer these same questions next week on their blog. I’ve always had a problem with chain-type thingys, so what I would prefer is for you to leave a comment with the name of some of your favorite mystery-related blogs. Bet we get more than five.

Quote for the week
Once upon a time, wasn’t singing a part of everyday life as much as talking, physical exercise, and religion? Our distant ancestors, wherever they were in this world, sang while pounding grain, paddling canoes, or walking long journeys. Can we begin to make our lives once more all of a piece? Finding the right songs and singing them over and over is a way to start. And when one person taps out a beat, while another leads into the melody, or when three people discover a harmony they never knew existed, or a crowd joins in on a chorus as though to raise the ceiling a few feet higher, then they also know there is hope for the world.
~Pete Seeger, musician, songwriter, and activist


Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Sharon, why "scare"? Did you think a hootenanny was some kind of Maurice Sendak monster? And did you know that Pete Seeger has been nominated more than once for the Nobel Peace Prize? He'd be a far more appropriate recipient than the EU!

Anonymous said...

I think it was called a scare partly as a joke and partly to mock the people who thought that folk music could replace their beloved rock-and-roll.

Seeger has always been one of my heros.