Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Interview with author Louise Crawford



 Today, my guest is Louise Crawford talking about her shapeshifter novel, BAD MOON RISING.

1)     Tell me a little about your book.
BAD MOON RISING is the third Murry/Kidman paranormal suspense novel in the series. Beverly Hills Detective Art Murry is hurting after his lover leaves to recover from an assault by a killer Murry ultimately shot, but not soon enough.  His partner, Billy Kidman and his opera-singing brother, Lance, take him on a getaway cruise to relax—but run into a murderous werewolf instead.  While the ships is docked in New Orleans, Billy’s arrested for the murder of a fellow passenger he’d hooked up with, and Murry must clear his partner.  The dangers Murry, his lover, his brother, and Billy, all face on the way to finding the truth are nothing compared to what they must face when they all arrive in Jamaica and have to deal with something beyond belief and extremely deadly for them all.

I think reviewers often do a better job of telling about my books than I do, because they’re reading it for the first time, and I’ve read it hundreds of times in the revision process.  So, check out Bitten by Books, or Amazon, or my website for reviews!

2)     What gave you the idea for this particular story?
Talking to a woman from Jamaica and learning about shapeshifting lore from her, inspired the werewolf parts of the story.  Talking to a woman who visited New Orleans and had an “experience” with the Voodoo Priestess inspired Murry’s interactions with Marie Laveau.  The rest of the New Orleans cast showed up as I began to write!

3)     Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
I’m a part-time writer.   Mon. – Thurs. I work as a behavioral educator for The Hernried Center for Medical Weight Loss, teaching class on weight management and lifestyle behavior change. I usually write on Fri.-Sun.

4)     When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
When a friend asked me if I wanted to write a spy novel together for fun.  This was almost thirty years ago.  I’d always been a voracious reader, and had read a ton of spy novels, as well as fantasy, science fiction, and romance.  I kept writing, even when I was going to school for my B.S. in Accounting, and later when I did my Master’s in Psychology.  After my daughter was born, I read the entire mystery section at the library and realized that I loved mysteries and suspense.

5)     What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
  I hope they might find some insight into themselves from the predicaments my characters find themselves in, and that they might have fun learning about something new.  I learned a lot from the research I did into Voodoo, for BEVERLY HILLS VOODOO, as well as the research I did about serial killers for FORTUNE COOKIE KARMA, and the research into Jamaica and New Orleans for BAD MOON RISING.  If I find the topic interesting and curiosity provoking, then I believe my readers will too, especially in a fast-paced suspense novel.  I also hope they enjoy the humor along with the “scares.”

6)     Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
I’ve written in all genres over the years and I prefer suspense or fantasy, which is why I like the supernatural element in the Murry/Kidman novels.   Suspense challenges me to come up with plot twists and turns that will keep a reader flipping the pages.  Fantasy challenges me to make the supernatural believable in the book, through my characters reactions to what’s happening.

7)     What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
The toughest part of being a writer is getting over the blank page and what to put on it.  I may have a great idea, but that is not a well thought-out plot with developed characters.  It takes me a long time to get to know the characters and what drives them—which means a lot of rewrites before I’m done with a book.

8)     Is there anything in your story based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
I think I covered that above, but the interaction with the Voodoo Priestess is based on an account told to me by someone I know, who is a little like the character in MEDIUM, in that she has always had the ability to see ghosts.  The shapeshifting lore is based on a chance meeting with someone from Jamaica who talked about how fathers and sons pass this information down from generation to generation.  My challenge was in fleshing out the information and characters to make it work for BAD MOON RISING.

9)     How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
Murry’s male, so that’s different.  But he’s introspective, trusts his intuition, and solves cases through that inner trusting.  Trust has always been an issue for me, so I admire this about him.  Murry’s father was abusive (not that I go into that much in any of the books), but we share that history.

10)  What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
I read books on Jamaica and New Orleans, rented travel videos, and had friends take photos when they visited both places, then used the photos to set my scenes.

11)  Do writing violent or highly sexual scenes bother you? Why or why not?
Yes to both.  But if I’m tense writing a scene and later reading it for the hundredth time, that means the reader will be, too.  And that is the point—fear tension or sexual tension.  My suspense novels don’t have highly sexual scenes, but the fantasy novels I’ve written do—since they’re fantasy romance.

12)  What about your book makes it special?
The characters, the paranormal suspense elements, and the situations as well as the settings.

13)  What is your marketing plan?
Since I work most of the time as a behavioral educator, my marketing plan has been to do what I can.  Like this interview, or having a web page (lfcrawford.com), speaking to groups and/or signing books.  I try to do at least one promotional event per month after a book comes out.  I mail out postcards or bookmarks to libraries, so they know about the book.  In the past I’ve done radio interviews, even a short TV spot with other writers, so as opportunities come up, I do what I can.

14)  Where can people learn more about you and your work?
On my website: www.lfcrawford.com or checking out publisher’s websites, like www.hardshell.com or newconceptspublishing.com or  5 Star Publishing, or Mundania Press.

15)  Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?
Write what you enjoy reading!  Study the craft of writing, don’t think you “know” everything.  A great book is Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain.  He gives great examples of “show don’t tell” which new writers often struggle with.  Heck, I still struggle with this in my first drafts.  They’re more like outlines, telling the story, and then I go back and start fleshing everything out and “showing” the story through my revisions.




Bad Moon Rising

An unpleasant tingling sensation traveled up Murry’s arm as he looked into the eyes of the woman in the portrait—the voodoo priestess, Marie Laveau.  He was sure no one stiffed her and got away with it.

For a moment the coffee shop lights dimmed.  The room grew dark and smoky though it didn’t smell of smoke.  From where Murry sat, Jean Gallan’s face disappeared in the darkness and a sense of unhurried, unpanicked timelessness settled over him.  Laveau’s face suddenly shimmered above the vague outline of her body.  She glided toward him.  “A favor for a favor,” she whispered.

Behind her, as though seeing through a doorway into another room, he saw Mary Éclair, curled on a bed, eyes open and listless, felt her despair and loss.  It was like a crushing tide, burying her so deep she’d never make it to the light again.

Murry knew Laveau was offering to heal Éclair.  But was it a price he could afford?



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