Please welcome Lynetter Sowell author of A Suspicion of Strawberries to my blog.
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I've been married for over 13 years, and I live with my husband and two kids in Texas. For over 10 years, I've worked in the medical transcription field, and that's what helps pay the bills right now. Like all good writers, I love to read. But I also enjoy traveling, spending time with my family, and I'm trying to grow plants in our front yard that I don't end up killing.
2. How did you know you wanted to be a writer, have you always had the desire or did it come later?
I learned I could write while I was in elementary school. It came naturally and quite unexpectedly. Sure, my first efforts in fourth grade sort of copied the Nancy Drew mysteries, but one story was good enough to take first place in a county film festival for elementary school students. After that I would get in trouble writing stories and passing them around class. During high school and college, writing for fun took a definite back seat until my late 20's. But I always, always read voraciously.
3. If you were not a writer what would you like to be?
Oh, that's easy. I'd love to have a shop and decorate cakes--here in the US, we have a channel called the Food Network, and one of our family's favorite shows is Ace of Cakes, about a wild 'n crazy cake shop owner in Baltimore, Maryland.
4. How did you come up with the concept of this cozy mystery?
I found the setting for my series Scents of Murder when we visited my husband’s family in Tennessee about three years ago. The small town flavor and quirky characters sprang from the small town nestled along the Tennessee River. Then when I visited All Lathered Up, a soap store in Salado, Texas, I knew I’d found my heroine’s specialty. As Andromeda Clark changes over the course of three books, so does her business—but the fruit theme runs throughout. Andi Clark isn’t much of a cook, but she does learn how to can preserves in book two. I had to give Andi time to grow, and really find out what she hoped and feared, and find her flaws, too. She’s empathetic and can put herself in people’s shoes. But sometimes she’s wrong, and that doesn’t help her sleuthing.
5. How do you come up with the characters for your books and are they modeled on people you know?
I don't deliberately model characters after people I know, but human nature fascinates me, why we do the things we do. As far as how I come up with characters, maybe fellow writers will understand this, but characters sort of introduce themselves to me in a mental flash. I'll get a short "movie" that plays in my head of a character, doing something, or saying something, or feeling something. And so I'll say, "Why? Who is this? What's going on?" Sometimes it takes a while to get to know them.
6. I have to ask how did you come up with Andi's name its so unusual?
I once worked with a schoolteacher who has a daughter named Andromeda. I thought it was a really unique name, and had to fit a unique character. So I filed that away under "Must have a character with this name one day." When my heroine showed up, the name fit her.
7. I enjoyed watching Andi grew as the story unfold and makediscoveries about herself, was this something you planned when you firststarted writing the story?
As an author, I really want my characters to grow and discover things about themselves that need changing. I also know it's something a writer can't force. But we can deliberately place our characters in situations where they must grow, or they'll fail. Even after my first draft of the book, I still needed to go back through and ask Andi, "Why? What are you so afraid of?" I think characters fall flat when we don't ask them enough questions and we don't know why they're the way they are. I know I've experienced that in the past when a character just doesn't work for me.
8. Can you tell us about any upcoming projects?
In July, I finished writing Andi's third book, The Perils of Peaches, and said goodbye to Greenburg, Tennessee. Currently I'm working on a historical novel set in Newport, Rhode Island, during the Gilded Age of the Vanderbilts and the Astors. That era has always fascinated me, and I'm thrilled to switch gears like this and write a book in that time period. All That Glitters releases in late 2009 from Heartsong Presents. I have another book series proposed, but that's with an editor right now and I'd be thrilled to get the green light on that project. That series is set in western Massachusetts, where most of my family lives in the New England area.
9. How can readers find you on the net?
My web site is at http://www.lynettesowell.com/, or you can find me at my blog
10. Do you have any final thoughts for us?
If you're a writer, never give up on your efforts. Make sure you finish what you write, read a lot, and be teachable. If you're a reader and you've read a book that's really touched you, don't feel shy about sending a note or e-mail to the author. It really means a lot to an author to hear from a reader who enjoys their book. Writing is a solitary affair, and in some ways writers and readers share the experience of a story together, but most of the time we don't connect.
Lynette is offering one reader a chance to win A Suspicion of Strawberries to enter leave an way to be contacted and entries close Tuesday Sept 16th Midnight.