Today, my returning guest is author, Julie Eberhart Painter. Julie is discussing her most recent release, Kill Fee
AUTHOR: Julie Eberhart Painter
BOOK TITLE: Kill Fee
PUBLISHER: Champagne Books
BUY LINK: champagnebooks.com, amazon.com, Kindle store, and other e-tailers.
Please tell us about yourself?
Thank you for contacting me and inviting me to share my news. I was born in the heart of Yankee values, Eastern Pennsylvania, outside Philadelphia. I’ve been reeducated in the South since 1979, Atlanta, and 1987 when my husband was hired away to the Daytona Beach area.
Looking on life as research for the next book describes me well. I’m always taking notes. For many years duplicate bridge was my passion, and writing was an avocation. My husband and I started playing against Life-Masters in 1964 in Chicago. By 1972, I had become a Certified Director for the American Contract Bridge League and ran my own sanctioned game. My main character in Kill Fee directs her Uncle’s game on her day off.
When I began to write more and play less, I found I was leaving my best lines at the bridge table. I didn’t quit, but playing now is a luxury. Writing Kill Fee combined my passion for cards with my concern for the environment around our beaches. I’ve invented a few environmental magazines in this book to carry the theme, hence the title, Kill Fee, the payoff to the author for an aborted piece of previously purchased work.
Tell us your latest news?
Kill Fee is out this month! That was as much fun to edit as it was to write – can’t say that about every book. But in this book the characters are vivid, and I get to relive some funny and poignant moments. There have been deaths at the bridge table.
Two more of my romantic suspense books are out there up for adoption. One is about the South that I’ve come to appreciate and understand better
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Looking back after seven published books, I’d still have to say that it happened when I took the plunge and signed my first contract to publish a piece for an anthology. My mentor read the contract over and handed it back to me with these words: “Now you are a professional.”
I’d been listening to a Country Western song in the car while our local PBS station had yet another fund drive. The message was” Life’s not tried, it’s merely survived when you’re standing outside the fire…” Those words were a gift.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The book is not heavy on message, but issues like trust, greed, ambition, love, and fun weigh into the plot. My old bridge players are fun.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? (Has anyone ever realized it?)
I always write what I know, but with time and distance, I have pretty well shuffled and re dealt. The only two people to recognize themselves, and they were greatly disguised, were my husband’s boss, and my best friend in Atlanta. She was thrilled to be cast as Penny in Kill Fee. The boss, in my first novel, not so much!
What books have influenced your life most?
I loved my classic children’s poetry books: A Child’s Garden of Verses, by Robert Louis Stevenson, (We’ve visited his home, Vailima, which means running water, in Samoa), and the Mother Goose jingles. I wrote poetry as a kid. My favorite prose book of all time was Alice Through the Looking Glass, not Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll. My favorite character is seldom remembered and was not featured in the movies. He was the knight who kept falling off his horse into his helmet. He’d get up, brush off his armor and say, “It’s my own invention.” He was unstoppable and loved life. He was also a positive influence on Alice – and me. Never give up.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
My best teacher was Robert Walker, a horror writer, but I’ve had many along the way. Tim O’Brein, best known for The Things They Carried, gave very good advice when I met him at a conference. He warned, “When you get to the end, stop.”
What book are you reading now? What do you like, or not, about it?
I’m about four books away from a memorable book I really liked and could relate to: Pete Hamill’s Tabloid City, a murder in the heart of the novel makes it suspenseful, but it’s about the demise of print newspapers. Journalism was my goal in college. Here in Central Florida, I’ve been active in touring, critiquing and writing for the Orlando Sentinel and the Daytona Beach News-Journal. I still have a world travel column in a senior tabloid, published for Halifax Hospital. Another passion of ours was seeing the world. We are very grateful to have visited Antarctica before it began to change so drastically.
What are your current projects?
I’ve become a new reviewer for Coffee Time Romance and More. This requires a little speed reading and following a format for the review. My other current goals/projects are to get my next two novels published. I’m contributing a blog monthly to The Writers Vineyard. I really love doing that.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Nothing. I really love this book.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I make a sincere effort not to get caught up in the hyperbole of language. It’s tempting. English is the richest language. We have stolen our words from every culture and made them our own. English is lively and always changing. There are many wonderful words to use, but clarity is essential. Writers are communicators, storytellers and creators of inner fantasy. We, with our paper children, take our readers on a journey they might have missed without our works.
Do you ever have problems with writers block? If so how do you get through it?
I’m not very sympathetic about writer’s block. If you are a disciplined writer, you write through it until the dead layers of the onion fall off and you have a new, glowing heart. Once you have mastered that, the piece begins to write itself.
What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?
Cook, swim, play bridge, watch TV, visit friends. I have a lot of friends who respect my writing time, so I call them or initiate a visit. I lunch with some very old people who are a real inspiration.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I discover new writers every day. I read all the reality genres. I don’t read fantasy. I gave up fairy tales for legends years ago.
The hook should be memorable, poetic and lead the reader into the story. Greg Isles does that well as does Scott Turow. I’m looking forward to Kathryn Sockett’s next book. She wrote The Help.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
My only quandary was how much bridge is too much? My bridge buddies wanted a bridge book, but my critique partners recognized that bridge like any job is background and atmosphere. I had actually mapped out the room the players use in Kill Fee’s Righthouse Towers. It was only a guide for my use because the first murder takes place there.
Writing any book requires time and patience. Packed sentences and synopsis-like paragraphs are tempting for the impatient beginner. As we get better, we focus. We must get that POV camera inside our character’s head, turn it out so we know what he sees. She must think and act as herself. The character’s voice should be unique and clear. We need fewer dialogue tags if we do that well. A little body language goes a long way to define the speaker. An example is in my Kill Fee excerpt.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep writing. Soon you’ll learn what the trash can is for, but you’ll learn. And that’s okay.
Any special appearances or events coming up that you want to mention?
Along with this interview in October,
October 7, thewritersvineyard.com a blog about birthing Kill Fee.
October 10, Interviewed by Raine Delight
October 17, I interviewed by Ann Lory
Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?
Champagne Books published Kill Fee and two of my other books, Mortal Coil and Tangled Web. I met one of their authors, Jim Woods, in 2008 on a cruise ship in the South Pacific. You just never know.
How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. - please share your public links.
Google keeps up with me if you check by my full name, Julie Eberhart Painter. I’m on Facebook under that name hyphenated. Twitter: @JulieEPainter, LinkedIn and Branchedout. Every first Monday I’m blogging on thewritersvineyard.com, but we’re having a book giveaway contest every Monday until November 28. My giveaway is September 26. I’ll be on The Vineyard October 7th, and every month again starting December 5th. I have seven flash fiction stories on www.bewilderingstories.com
That night after the murder two couples from the Righthouse Towers bridge game abuzz with speculations:
“My goodness, I haven't seen that much excitement over bridge in a coon's age.” Marge opened the refrigerator and brought out the Brie. Every evening the McNish sisters had cheese and crackers along with “a little fortification” before taking the elevator down to the dining room.
“I hope they don't have Cordon bleu again tonight. I’m so tired of that; it’s dry as an old saddle.” Marge handed Maybelle her martini with two olives, placed her Scotch and Perrier on the coffee table, and went outside into the hallway to retrieve the local newsletter.
“I guess Conrad's obit won't be in the paper until tomorrow.”
“Maybelle, the man's not cold yet. What are you thinking?”
“I just can't wait to see how much money he left her, you know, the niece.”
“Mph, that cute little Miss Penny Olsen?”
“She was his only relative.”
“She's young; she can use the money,” Marge said.
“Were we ever that young?”
“Once, but I’ve forgotten.” Marge laughed. “Conrad had so many wives to support over the years, he probably didn’t have much money left.”
“She won’t get a cent if she murdered him—”
“Maybelle! Mind your tongue. The man was eighty. He just gave out.”
“He has looked puny lately. Are you ready for another drink, dear?”
“You know I am.”
~ * ~
The Richards let themselves into their apartment and closed the door with a gentle click. “Justin, sweet, are you all right? I've never known you to pick up the wrong hand before.”
“I'm fine, darling. At least I was until our friend, Conrad, fell on his sword.”
“Keeling over at the bridge table is hardly in the same category as falling on one's sword,” Jenny said.
“He was such a nice man, though a little too friendly—”
“Not a faithful old shoe like you, dear heart.” Jenny handed Justin the paper and patted his arm.
“Guess old Conrad never met the right lady. He always seemed unsatisfied, 'cept for his relationship with his niece. She could do no wrong in his eyes.”
Jenny smiled, obviously thinking of their children, “Yes, as far as he was concerned the sun rose and set on that girl.”
“Poor Penny,” Jenny said. “She'll miss him.”
“Maybe. But if he leaves her money, she'll miss him less.”
“You little devil.” Jenny brushed his cheek with her fingers as she walked to the kitchen to make dinner.
~ * ~
Where can people learn more about you and your work?
Check out my Web site: www.books-jepainter.com and also look at my many Google pages under my full name, Julie Eberhart Painter. My flash fiction appears on www.bewilderingstories.com. The Web sites listed below contain my short blogs, interviews, flash fiction and controversial essays from the Orlando Sentinel. Also, my publisher’s Web site, www.champagnebooks.com, has more information. In October of 2011, they will release the Kill Fee, a less emotional more murderous book, staring an Indian Hill Mynah Bird named Bilgewater who was raised in a bar on the docks and has the vocabulary to go with it.
Read more about Julie and see her short pieces on the following:
Mortal Coil, in paperback
Tangled Web, New in paperback
Kill Fee, October 2011