Meow! My guest today is author Janet Bolin!
Janet Bolin learned to sew before she could thread a needle. In addition to sewing, Janet’s hobbies include reading, writing, knitting, and using software and sewing and embroidery machines to create original embroidery designs. In breaks between her more sedentary hobbies, Janet walks her dogs, who are strangely similar to the dogs in the Threadville Mystery Series, near Lake Erie.
- Tell us a little about your background – how did you get into writing?
I played around with writing all through my growing-up years. As an adult, I managed to publish short stories and humorous personal essays, but I always wanted to write a novel. Then I found something valuable and had a tough time returning it to its owner, and I wondered if something drastic had happened to her. It turned out that she was fine, but I had already begun creating a character in a similar situation who very definitely was not okay. That manuscript was a suspense story, and will most likely never see the light of day, but it got me hooked on writing crime fiction.
- Tell us about your latest release.SEVEN THREADLY SINS. How did the concept for this series come about?
Willow agreed to make and model outfits for a charity fashion show. She never expected that the fashion designer would provide her with designs that were ugly, unflattering, and just plain silly. She also never expected that the same designer would accuse her of committing a “threadly” sin simply because she had followed his instructions and modeled the atrocious garments. And most of all, she did not expect that designer to keel over next to her at the after-show reception. She is not too surprised, though, when the police try to pin the man’s murder on her. Attempting to sew up the case, Willow attends a fashion design course and agrees to take part in a play. Meanwhile, could a killer be hemming her in?
The Threadville Mystery series came about after my friend and long-time critique partner Krista Davis told her editor at Berkley Prime Crime that I knew how to turn photos into embroidery designs, and that I could write a cozy mystery series featuring machine embroidery. The editor said she would like to see a proposal… Then, because I didn’t live close to sewing, quilting, yarn, notions, or embroidery shops, I invented a town full of them—Threadville, Pennsylvania. Curiously, after my books began coming out, a fabric and a quilting shop moved closer to me, hooray! I call it the Threadville Effect.
- How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?
Before I had deadlines, I wrote by the seat of my pants, but then I kept needing to make major revisions. Deadlines taught me to outline and revise the plot before I started writing, but I have to admit that those outlines evolve as I write.
- Which do you consider more important, plot or character?
Character. I create the basic situation, throw my characters into it, and they take over. They won’t let me force them to do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do. I start the plot by giving my characters a problem. They complete the plot by coping with the problem.
- What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer and what inspires you and keeps you motivated?
Real life is the greatest challenge for many writers, especially those with jobs and/or children. It’s all too easy to let everything else take priority over writing, and I’m as guilty of that as anyone. But do I log off the Internet???
Anything can inspire me, but I loving making up stories, and that keeps me motivated. When the writing is going really well, it’s often because my characters demand that I continue until they extricate themselves from the latest predicament that I (ahem) threw them into.
- Do you have an “How I got my agent” story you want to share?
I tried to interest agents in suspense manuscripts, and didn’t drum up much interest. Then I wrote my Threadville proposal and sent it to Krista’s agent. I told the agent that a Berkley Prime Crime Editor was interested in seeing the proposal, and three days later, I landed BookEnds as my agent. I pinched myself black-and-blue…
- What is a typical workday for you and how many hours a day (or week) do you devote to writing?
I go by fits and starts. Some days I write about six or eight hours before I burn out for the day; other days I don’t write at all. For some strange reason, as deadlines approach, the number of hours I spend writing and revising increases.
- What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
I slashed my own tire.
- What’s one thing your readers would be surprised to find out about you?
I would like to own a fleet of vintage cars and have someone else maintain them—including changing tires, natch.
- What question do you wish interviewers would ask? (And what’s the answer?)
Can’t think of any—interviewers do a great job. Maybe, someday, one will teach me how to back up a trailer without slashing the tire of the vehicle pulling it?
- Where can we learn more about you and your books?
Just for Fun:
Night or Day?
Day, unless I’m sleeping.
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully)
Dog, until cat learns to sleep at night and family members get over their allergies.
Beach or Pool?
Beach—I’m always hauling stones, shells, and beach glass home…
Steak or salad?
Steak, and I’m not proud of that.
Non-alcoholic – cranberry juice
Alcoholic – craft beers
REBECCA by Daphne du Maurier
Favorite TV Series?
The Big Bang Theory
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada?
Hawaii or Alaska?
Finish this sentence: If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be _______William Shakespeare____________
If I had just one wish, it would be__________Humans would live in peace and harmony with each other and the rest of our fragile planet_______________________________
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be __Are you kidding? Other people do scarier things than slashing their own tires._____
Thank you, Janet! Folks you can find Janet here:
Janet will give away a signed copy of SEVEN THREADLY SINS TO ONE LUCKY COMMENTER!
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