Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Interview with Melinda Mullet

What is the title of your newest book? How many books have you published? 
My latest book is called Deadly Dram. It will be available on September 4. Deadly Dram is the third book in the Whisky Business series and also my third published book. I am currently working on book four in the series, Died in the Wool, and I am also writing a separate historical mystery set in pre-WWII England. (A review of Deadly Dram can be found here.)

How did you develop your character and choose your location? 
Well, my father was Scottish and a lover of single malt whiskies so my attraction comes naturally I suppose. At one point while touring a distillery in Scotland with my husband, I looked into the huge wooden vat that holds the barley water as it ferments and it occurred to me, as these things do to mystery lovers, that it would be a great place to find a body. My protagonist Abi Logan really came along after. She’s a journalist and gifted photographer. She has a strong instinct about people and a compulsive attention to detail that serves her well as a sleuth. I also felt it was important for her to have had some experience in a male dominated profession before coming to Scotland. Until recently whisky making in Scotland was very much a male dominated profession in large part because of the prevailing wisdom that women don’t like whisky. Now there are so many women enjoying Scottish whisky and as a result more and more women are staking out their place in the industry. Abi is a tribute to all the women blazing trails in the distilling world.

What is a day in the life of an author like? Do you write a certain number of words, do you write in the morning or evening?  
 I try to write every day, although it doesn’t always happen. (Two kids, a dog and a 90-year-old mother can throw a monkey wrench into the best laid plans on any give day.) I tend to write in the morning, but if I’m on a roll I’ll write anytime. Of course, there’s nothing like a deadline to get the juices flowing. When I’m getting to that point I will often set a goal of a certain number of pages per day. At the moment I’m striving for ten to fifteen pages a day. Practically speaking, I do my research first then I spend quite a bit of time outlining the story and blocking out scenes on index cards. After that I’ll move through a first draft and start editing for flow and continuity. From there it’s a matter of polishing the prose and tightening the language.

Do you belong to a writers group or are you in touch with other writers? How does that help your writing? 
 I do not belong to a writers group that reads each other’s works in progress. I think that would be lovely, but I barely have time for my own work let alone giving adequate attention to someone else’s. I am an active member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. Writing is a very isolating profession and it is really nice to have the companionship of a group of people who share the ups and downs of the creative process. They are also very supportive when you sell new books and sympathetic when you are struggling with the publication process.

Do you model your character after yourself or any one you know? 
Not consciously, but I know that there are bits and pieces of people I know well scattered into the soup that makes up each of my characters. I do name incidental characters after friends just to see if they are paying attention.

If your books were made into a movie, who would you want to play the lead character? 
Rosamund Pike. I loved her in Beirut. She was just the kind of journalist I would imagine Abi Logan being.

Who is your favorite author? 
Wow. That’s a tough one. It changes on any given day, but in the mystery genre Dame Agatha is still the queen even after all these years, but I’m also a big fan of Elizabeth George and Colin Dexter. On the contemporary side I love Louise Penny, Dan Brown and Ann Cleeves.

How do you keep track of character details from book to book so they are consistent? 
I keep a file with general character profiles and then I add relevant quotes from each book as I’m doing the final edits. I’ll a moment to skim through the notes before I beginning writing that particular character just to get myself in the right head space.

If you could not be an author, what would like to do as a career?  
I’d love to be an illustrator. Anything that would allow me draw and be creative.

1 comment:

Denise Kainrath said...

Rosamund Pike is a good answer!