Saturday, May 25, 2019

ROCCO interviews author Debra Sennefelder!

This week my guest is author Debra Sennefelder!

Debra Sennefelder is an avid reader who reads across a range of genres, but mystery fiction is her obsession. Her interest in people and relationships is channeled into her novels against a backdrop of crime and mystery. Her first novel, THE UNINVITED CORPSE (A Food Blogger mystery) was published in 2018.
She is an avid reader who reads across a range of genres, but mystery fiction is her obsession. Her interest in people and relationships is channeled into her novels against a backdrop of crime and mystery. When she’s not reading, she enjoys cooking and baking and as a former food blogger, she is constantly taking photographs of her food. Yeah, she’s that person.
Born and raised in New York City, where she majored in her hobby of fashion buying, she now lives and writes in Connecticut with her family. She’s worked in retail and publishing before becoming a full-time author. Her writing companions are her adorable and slightly spoiled Shih-Tzus, Susie and Billy.

Welcome Debra!
Tell us a little about your background –
I was born and raised in New York City and moved to Connecticut after I married. I majored in Fashion Buying and Merchandising and went on to work in retail and publishing. I also wrote a food blog for several years before becoming a full-time author.I have two writing companions, my Shih-Tzus. Susie is 15 and Billy is 14.

Tell us a little about your latest book -
THE HIDDEN CORPSE, book 2 in the Food Blogger Mystery series released in late March. It was so much fun to write. Hope Early, the blogger behind Hope at Home, is taking a food photography class when a tragedy strikes her neighbor’s home. When elderly Peggy Olson perishes in a home fire, Hope can’t help but feel somewhat responsible. Only the day before, Peggy had called her over, having burned a pot on the stove while she was sleeping and filling the house with smoke. In fact, she couldn’t even remember cooking. Clearly, it was dangerous for the woman to live alone. But it turns out she wasn’t alone. When a second body is discovered in the basement of the burned house, suddenly what appeared to be a tragic accident is beginning to look like premeditated murder. As rumors spread like wildfire, Hope is determined to sort out the facts and smoke out a killer, but she might be jumping from the frying pan straight into the fire. There are also recipes from Hope’s blog included in the book.

How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?
I outline. My outlines tend to be between 20-25 pages. Years ago, I wasn’t an outliner but I slowly came around and now I can’t imagine writing a book without an outline. But even though I have a very extensive outline, things do change. I may add scenes, delete scenes or add an extra character. I often joke my outline is written on a Word document, not carved in stone so it can be tweaked.

Which do you consider more important, plot or character?
Great question. Both are important but I think character is more important for me. I could come up with the greatest, most twisty plot but if I don’t have the right characters then I won’t have a story anyone wants to read.

What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?
I’m currently working on book four in the Food Blogger series. I’ve recently gotten a new contract for books four and five. Book three, Three Widows and A Corpse comes out on October 29th. I also write the Resale Boutique Mystery series. The first book in that series, Murder Wears a Little Black Dress came out in January and the second book, Silenced in Sequins, comes out in January 2020. I do have a lot going on and I’m loving it.

What is a typical workday for you and how many hours a day (or week) do you devote to writing?
I get up early every morning and I’m at my desk to start work at 8am. Writing, whether it’s new words for a first draft or revising for subsequent drafts, is done first thing. When I’m writing a first draft, I have a daily word count of 3,000 words and I’m usually able to get those done by lunch time. Mid-day I break to exercise, have lunch and take the pups for a walk. When I return to my office after the break, I’ll work on marketing, promotion, run errands, and if necessary, finish up writing if I didn’t meet my morning goal.

What advice do you have to offer to an aspiring author?
The best advice I feel I can give is to not give up. I had so many opportunities over the years to throw my hands up and quit. I did take some time away to write my food blog, but I never really stopped writing fiction. I’m glad I didn’t give up.

Just for Fun:
Night or Day?  Day
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully)  Both. The cat in the Resale Boutique Mystery series is based on Howard, the cat we had for 14 years.
Beach or Pool?   Neither. I burn too easily.
Steak or salad?  Salad.
Favorite Drink?  Coffee.
Favorite Book?  Too many to pick one.
Favorite TV Series?  So many. But my current obsession is Chicago PD. How have I not watched this show sooner?
Favorite Movie?  The Devil Wears Prada
Favorite Actor: Mark Harmon
Favorite Actress: Sandra Bullock
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? I’m not sure. I haven’t tried either.
Hawaii or Alaska? Alaska. I’ve been to Hawaii already. I’d love to visit Alaska someday.
Finish this sentence:  If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be Agatha Christie.
If I had just one wish, it would be to make my Shih-Tzu Susie healthy. She’s just been diagnosed with kidney disease.
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be Bobbi Parker Hall. She’s a fitness competitor over 50 and I’d love to train like her for a day. I love exercise that much.

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