Hello, today I am pleased to be here with Dorothy Bodoin, author of Cozy Mystery Novels , which are currently out right now and I know I enjoyed reading them very much, I tend to love the Mysteries.*grins*
Can you tell us a bit about yourself Dorothy?
I live a quiet life in a small house in Royal Oak, Michigan, with my collie companion, Holly. I write full time, although for years I taught high school English. I gave courses in creative writing and journalism, but what I really wanted to do was have time to work on my own books. Now I have the whole day to write. Let’s start with the first in the series, Darkness At Foxglove Corners; can you tell us about it?
It begins with a tornado that damages Jennet Greenway’s home. Hoping to find country peace and quiet, she finds a Victorian dream house in a magical rural area of Michigan known as Foxglove Corners. Here she promptly meets a handsome new love interest, Deputy Sheriff Crane Ferguson, and is immediately drawn into a haunting mystery involving an old journal unearthed by the tornado.
I didn’t plan for Darkness At Foxglove Corners to be part of a series, but even before I finished the book, I had an idea for another one. Story ideas just kept coming, demanding to be written, until I discovered that I had a six-book mystery series.
How long did it take you to write Darkness At Foxglove Corners?
As I recall, it took me an entire summer. By the fall, I was finished, although I revised the manuscript a few times before finding a publisher for it.
What difficulties, if any, did you have writing Darkness At Foxglove Corners?
I learned after the fact that I’d started the book too late—after the tornado. When I realized this, I wrote a new first chapter in which Jennet actually experiences the tornado. In the original version, she stated that it happened, which is a deadly way to begin a book.
I had to solve the problem of weaving my journal entries seamlessly into the main narrative and also making them as interesting as the story going on in the present.
As usual, I lost track of my chronology and had to make some revisions to the time line. Dorothy can you give us the list for this series?
- Darkness At Foxglove Corners
- Cry For The Fox
- Winter’s Tale
- A Shortcut Through The Shadows
- The Witches Of Foxglove Corners
- The Snow Dogs Of Lost Lake
As an added note, the novels take place in different seasons. In Darkness At Foxglove Corners, it’s summertime; in the last book, The Snow Dogs Of Lost Lake, it’s Jennet’s second winter in Foxglove Corners.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Always, as soon as I learned to read and write. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to write. When I was a child and paper was scarce, I used to tear out blank pages of my books and write my own stories on them. This has left me with many mutilated children’s books. When I was fifteen, I saved money from a summer soda clerk job, bought a typewriter, which I still have, taught myself to type, and wrote a science-fiction book. I still have that manuscript too. I wish I had the chapter endings of some of my favorite children’s books. How did you get started in your writing career?
When I sold Darkness At Foxglove Corners to Five Star, which came after twenty-eight submissions, I joined Sisters of Crime, found critique partners in the Workshop and learned about reviews and professional critiques. My second book, Cry For The Fox, languished on agents’ and editors’ desks for long, unreasonable stretches of time. After I sold Winter’s Tale (third in the series) to Wings ePress, I found that my books were quickly accepted both by Wings and my other publisher, Hilliard and Harris.
I learned by submitting my books, studying the markets, reading trade magazines, and learning from critical comments. It’s a never-ending process.
When you write your stories is their a lot of research in them?
Not a lot, except for Treasure At Trail’s End, which is set in Colorado Territory in 1876. For that book, I bought America in 1876 and made many trips to the public library. That was before I had a computer.
I write about what I know, about places I’ve been; I use objects I’m familiar with and my own past experiences. Nowadays, if I have to do research, I use the Internet.
What are the elements of a great romance for you?
Characters with whom I can identify, credible happenings, and the excitement generated by an author that keeps me turning the pages and thinking about the story long after I’ve read it. Years ago I read Jan Wescott’s novel, THE QUEEN’S GRACE, and afterwards I read everything I could find about Katherine Parr and England’s other queens. That’s the sort of magic that distinguishes a great romance from a ho-hum one.
Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting?
For me, the story idea comes first. For example, in my current WIP, I knew that I wanted to write about a young woman who is dealing with a recent traumatic happening and an isolated old country house where more than one strange thing has happened. As soon as I had those elements, I began to develop the characters. The setting is Maple Creek, Michigan, the fictitious town in which I’ve set my previous books with Hilliard and Harris—The Cameo Clue and Secret For A Satyr. Someday, I promise myself, I’m going to write myself out of Michigan.
How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
Even though I don’t plan this, a lot of my personality and life experiences find their way into my writing. For a while, I lent Jennet Greenway dresses from my own wardrobe until my niece mentioned that probably only about ten women in the world, besides me, wore empire style dresses. (Last year they were back in style.)
I give my heroines my traits, my likes and dislikes, and my love of dogs, but they are much braver than I am. When I’m stranded on a country road at night in a snowstorm, I panic. Jennet plows on, and the experience turns into an adventure. Occasionally I use ideas taken from intriguing newspaper accounts. In The Witches Of Foxglove Corners, the battle for the life of a collie, Magic, who had been willed to death by her owner, was inspired by an old news story about a horse in the same predicament. And my heroes are men I’d like to know, or they’re made up of bits and pieces of men I have known.
Do you have more than one project going at a time?
I can only work on one project at a time, although I always know what I’m going to do next. I like to immerse myself completely in the story I’m writing, day and night. I find it distracting even to read another author’s work while I’m writing my own book.
What hobbies do you have when you are not writing?
I raise African violets—in the house in the winter, on my porch in the spring and summer. Gardening is a favorite hobby. I love to grow perennials with unusual names. Scrapbooking is a hobby I’ve had since I was a schoolgirl, long before it became fashionable. I also love antiquing and baking. My favorite pastimes are outdoor activities I can do with my dog, even if it’s just walking around the neighborhood, observing the different houses. Royal Oak architecture is fascinating to me. Some of the houses have appeared in my books, with changes to suit my storyline.
Do you have any special music or snack you eat while writing?
I often set a cup of herbal tea—I like Celestial Seasoning’s Country Peach Passion the best (love that name too!)—on a deacon’s bench within reach of my computer, but I don’t bring a snack into the room when I’m writing original copy. However, sometimes I proofread or revise when I’m eating. A favorite snack? Cranberry orange muffins.
Where can readers find your books, and how can they contact you?
My Hilliard and Harris books are available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble, or the stores will order them. Wings books are available from the Wings site— http://www.wings-press.com or http://www.fictionwise.com and on other online sites. I have a website—http://www.dorothybodoin.com where people can contact me, or they can simply write an e mail to Endora0922@aol.com I love to hear from my fans and always respond.
Dorothy you have written another type of books then Mystery can you tell us about them?
I also have three novels of romantic suspense, The Cameo Clue, A Shadow On The Snow, and Secret For A Satyr, all from Hilliard and Harris. The third book is due out in spring of 2007.
In The Cameo Clue, Katherine Kale moves to a picturesque blue Victorian house in the little town of Maple Creek and goes to an Apple Fair where she is almost poisoned by a caramel apple. Another woman isn’t so lucky. The town’s beloved retired English teacher, Cora Valentine, takes a bite of an apple and dies. Katherine’s dream house turns spooky, and when she discovers a crushed cameo in the ground while planting flowers, she finds herself in the middle of a deadly mystery.
A Shadow On The Snow is set in a northern Michigan town, in a quaint log cabin that belonged to my great-aunt. I spent many happy summer vacations there when I was a child. Krista isn’t so lucky. On her way to the cabin, she discovers a body hanging in a tree, and not even Sheriff Mark Dalby can protect her from the killer’s determination to eliminate all possible witnesses.
Secret For A Satyr involves a sinister satyr fountain, a possible suicide, and an old "thin air" disappearance.
Besides my mystery series, I have a Gothic Romance and another novel of romantic suspense published by Wings ePress. In Treasure At Trail’s End, Mara Marsden inherits a ranch in Colorado Territory from an unknown man and goes west to investigate her inheritance. I had fun with Ghost Across The Water. My heroine is a writer—of Gothic-Time Travel-Cozies. She rents a cottage near Spearmint Lake, hoping to finish her stalled book, and finds herself living her own Gothic adventure.
All of my books have supernatural elements. For instance, in A Shadow On The Snow, an antique radio airs broadcasts from the past, providing Krista with a clue—if she can only understand it.
The first chapters of all my books are posted on my website. Anyone who is interested can sample the stories and my writing.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I wrote my science-fiction book when I was 15. In 1977, I wrote Treasure At Trail’s End. After leaving it on my closet shelf for many years, I had it professionally critiqued, revised it, revised it again, and sold it. Then around 1994, I decided that I was going to be a professional writer. That was the best decision I ever made. I’ve been writing full-time ever since.
How did you feel when your first book was published?
I thought that Darkness At Foxglove Corners was the most beautiful book I’d ever seen. Actually it did have a gorgeous cover with green and pink colors and foxgloves. I couldn’t believe that an idea and a first sentence could lead to a real live book. I have the same feeling of euphoria with each new book.
Thank you, Karen, for asking such challenging questions. I hope to make many new friends through my association with Coffee Time Romance...Dorothy
On behalf of Coffee time Romance, we want to thank Dorothy Bodoin for taking the time to chat with us. Thank you.