Edinburgh Fringe Festival

The Next Big Thing

I've been tagged by mystery author Diane Vallere to answer the questions in this blog hop. Diane is one of the co-authors of my new project discussed below. 

Q: What's is the working title of your book?
A: Other People's Baggage, a collection of three interrelated mystery novellas that comes out December 3, 2012. My novella is Fool's Gold: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Novella. It's a prequel to Artifact.

Q: Where did the idea come from for this book?
A: Mystery writers Diane Vallere, Kendel Lynn, and I had read each other's works-in-progress. Though our mysteries were quite different, we thought our protagonists shared a certain something. We thought they'd get along great in fiction, and that readers who liked one of our heroines would like the other two. So why not bring them together?

Q: What genre does your book fall under?
A. Mystery.

Q: How long did it take to write the first draft?
A: The very first draft took about a month, but the revisions took much longer! I'm great at writing quickly to get the ideas of a story down on paper, but turning those ideas into something good is what takes more time. Since Fool's Gold is a novella, it's about 25,000 words, compared to the 5,000 words of my previous short stories and the 75,000 words of my novels. I kept a notebook of details for the novella just like I do for my novels, since it was more complex to write than a short story.

Sort-of what Jaya looks like?
Q: What actors would you use for a movie rendition of your book?
A: I keep a character bible that has pictures of what I imagine the characters look like. The main characters in Fool's Gold are Jaya Jones and Sanjay Rai. They're hard for me to cast with famous actors because when I watch famous Indian actors it can be hard to imagine them with American accents! Therefore most of the time the pictures I clip aren't of famous actors, but of random people I saw when flipping through a magazine. I've got a picture of model Liya Kebede on Jaya's page, and actor Ali Fazal on Sanjay's page. Neither of them look exactly like I imagine Jaya and Sanjay look like, but they give me a general feel for them.

Q: What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?
A: In Other People's Baggage, this is what happened after a computer glitch mislabeled identical vintage suitcases and three women with a knack for solving mysteries each grabbed the wrong bag.

In my novella Fool's Gold, when a world-famous chess set is stolen from a locked room during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, historian Jaya Jones and her magician best friend must outwit actresses and alchemists to solve the baffling crime.

Q: Will it be self-published or represented by an agency?
A: The collection of novella's is being published by Henery Press.

Q: Who or what inspired you to write this book?
A: I spent a lot of time in Scotland as a kid, and I love Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, a huge performing arts festival that takes place every August. I thought the festival would make a great setting for a mystery. Since Jaya's best friend Sanjay is a stage magician, I had the perfect opportunity to send them to the festival.

Q: What other books would you compare to this story to within your genre?
A: The Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Series has been compared most frequently to the books of Elizabeth Peters, who writes about adventurous academic women with a bit of romance added to the mysteries.

Q: What else about your book might pique the reader's interest? 
A: Fool's Gold is a locked-room mystery. It's a puzzle plot about a seemingly impossible theft, but Jaya's historical expertise and Sanjay's magician viewpoint make them able to piece together what nobody else can.

I also think readers will enjoy how the three novellas in the Other People's Baggage collection are connected through a running thread but also stand alone. Novellas are a great length when you feel like reading something more in-depth than short story but also want to finish reading a full mystery within one sitting.

Thanks to the five authors who invited me: Diane Vallere, Susan Shea, Pat Morin, Alyx Morgan, and Nancy Adams