Welcome! Today’s blog post is part of the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour for Clairvoyant and Present Danger, a Bay Island Psychic Mystery by Lena Gregory. I’m featuring an interview with the author. Information about the book, purchase links, and a rafflecopter giveaway will be down underneath the interview!
First, let me say a big “thank you” to Ms. Gregory for being willing to answer my questions!
Q1: Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do during the day? Do you enjoy your day job?
Ms. Gregory’s Answer: When my middle son was diagnosed with autism and needed speech, occupational and physical therapy five days a week, I started cleaning houses to allow me the flexibility I needed to work around his schedule. As he got older, I continued to clean, and I do enjoy it. I’ve had most of my customers for more than ten years, so I could follow the routine of cleaning their houses in my sleep. It gives me time to let my mind wander and come up with new story ideas. More than one person has been killed off while I was working! Plus, it’s great exercise. I’d go crazy if I had to sit still all day.
Q2: Do you set aside time to write every day or do you write more sporadically? When you write, do you aim to complete a set # of pages or words? How does music/other noise affect your concentration when you’re writing?
Ms. Gregory’s Answer: I really need quiet to write, which is rare in my house. I like to write early in the morning, before everyone else gets up, or very late at night. I aim for a thousand words a day, but often don’t meet that goal when other stuff is going on.
Q3: When you’re writing, do your characters seem to “hijack” the story or do you feel like you have the “reins” of the story? Similarly, do you outline your book first or just sit down and write, seeing where it takes you?
Ms. Gregory’s Answer: I used to just sit down and write, which I enjoyed. Then, when I started contracting more books, I had to provide outlines ahead of time. So, now, my characters do still hijack the story, but I do a rough outline of the story before I start writing. Though I don’t decide who the killer is until after everything else but the last two chapters are written, and it’s still a toss-up whether or not the story will actually follow the outline.
Q4: How did you break into the publishing world? How many rejections did you go through before finding a publisher? Did you ever think about quitting? If so, what did you do to keep yourself hopeful?
Ms. Gregory’s Answer: I originally wrote romance and young adult fantasy, and while I did manage to contract everything I wrote, I could probably wallpaper my office with rejections. I never did think about quitting, though. I simply took each thing that came, the good and the bad, as a learning experience. I was fortunate to have worked with some wonderful editors who really taught me a lot. When my agent suggested I try writing cozies, I figured why not, and I found my niche.
Q5: In general, how many revisions do you go through before a book is published? Do you have beta readers or is it just your editing team and their suggestions? Do you set your books aside for a period of time and then pick them up and edit them?
Ms. Gregory’s Answer: For the past few years, most of my books have been contracted before they were written and had a deadline, so I don’t usually have time to set them aside. When time allows, I do use a beta reader, then my agent will sometimes read, then my editor, a copy editor, and a proofreader.
Q6: A good villain is hard to write. How did you get in touch with your inner villain(s) to write this book. Was there a real-life inspiration for him/her/it?
Ms. Gregory’s Answer: There was no real-life inspiration for the villain in Clairvoyant and Present Danger, though I do tend to give my villains qualities I don’t like in people. I have to admit, though, I do enjoy writing the villains, giving them both good and bad qualities, so it’s not always immediately obvious who’s the bad guy.
Q7: Do any family members, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, etc. end up showing up in your work or are your characters all truly fictional?
Ms. Gregory’s Answer: Most of my characters are purely fictional, but the heroine in my young adult fantasy series is largely based on my daughter who was in her early twenties when I wrote it. Their personalities are very similar.
Q8: If you could write about anyone fiction/nonfiction, contemporary/historical who would you write about? Why?
Ms. Gregory’s Answer: Scarlett O’Hara! Gone With the Wind has been one of my favorite books since I was a kid, and I’d love to write a continuation of her story. She gripped me so much that I’d love to see where she ended up.
Q9: What are some great books you’ve read recently?
Ms. Gregory’s Answer: I haven’t had a lot of time to read lately, but some of my favorite books, that I fall back on when time is limited, include Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter books.
Q10: What books have influenced your life the most?
Ms. Gregory’s Answer: Cozy mysteries in general have had the most influence, ever since I was a child and ran to find a comfy spot to read each time the newest Nancy Drew book came in the mail.
Q11: If you could spend one day with a character from your book who would it be? And what would you do during that day?
Ms. Gregory’s Answer: I’d have to choose Bee Maxwell from the Bay Island Psychic Mysteries series. I’d love to just hang out with him, make the rounds to catch up on good gossip, try on some of the gowns he’s designed, and definitely go for coffee and donuts.
Q12: Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Have you ever learned anything from a bad review and incorporated it into your future work?
Ms. Gregory’s Answer: If my book is on tour, I always read my reviews. Good or bad, I always respond with a thank you, because I appreciate the time and effort someone put into reading and reviewing my books. Other than that, I read them if someone tags me on social media or if I come across one somewhere, but they don’t usually influence what I write.
Thank you again to Ms. Gregory for being willing to answer my questions!!
Clairvoyant and Present Danger (A Bay Island Psychic Mystery)
3rd in Series
Berkley (February 6, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
E-Book ASIN: B071L5C99M
Whoever said that dead men tell no tales has never met Cass Donnovan…
Cass has always relied on her abilities to guide her, but after communications with a ghost land her in the middle of a murder investigation, she has to wonder if her gifts are really more a curse.
Cass knows she is meant to help track down the killer–much to the chagrin of local law enforcement–when the apparition leads her to a dead body on the beach near her psychic shop, Mystical Musings. But the police are not the only ones who wish Cass would stick to reading palms. Someone is trying to scare her off, and it will take all her powers of premonition to catch the killer before Cass herself becomes the next victim…
Lena Gregory lives in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island with her husband and three children.
When she was growing up, she spent many lazy afternoons on the beach, in the yard, anywhere she could find to curl up with a good book. She loves reading as much now as she did then, but she now enjoys the added pleasure of creating her own stories.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Lena.Gregory.Author/?fref=ts
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