Interview with Claudia Mair Burney!
I had the great pleasure of reading debut author Claudia Mair Burney's MURDER, MAYHEM, AND A FINE MAN this summer. It was a wonderful read and is the first book in her Amanda Bell Brown series. I even featured it on my mystery website, MystNoir. The next book in the series, DEATH, DECEIT AND SOME SMOOTH JAZZ is already available for preorder on Amazon. Don't sleep on this series ya'll. It's a winner! Claudia has graciously consented to be interviewed here on the CrimeSistahs Blog. Welcome Claudia!
1. Q: What appeals to you about writing crime fiction?
I've always been facinated by true crime, even when I was a child I was reading detective magazines. People are amazing. We are capable of such good AND such evil. That blend makes for great drama, and great story.
2. Q: Was it hard for you to get published?
Heavens no! Talk about amazing grace! God dropped the opportunity in my lap. It took me 20 years to prepare for that day, but once I made up my mind to be serious about being a writer, doors flew open in a supernatural way. It was crazy.
3. Q: Describe your sleuth, Amanda Bell Brown, and how you came to create her.
Bell, and I can call her that because I love her, is an everywoman. She's a psychologist--smart, but sometimes she does dumb things. She's loyal, and kind, but definately not a pollyanna. She struggles with the temptations we all struggle with. Sometimes she gets it right, and sometimes she doesn't. And she's got baggage. She's hurting, and a bit self-sabotaging, and sometimes she's the last to know this, but she wants to be good. And she loves God. I totally cheated and made her frightenly autobiographical. I gave her a career I knew something about, and put people around her that were very familiar to me, either people in my life, or my favorite kind of television people.
4. Q: How much research is involved in writing your series?
I do a lot of research about the criminal mind. I also did a lot of forensic science research, mostly through books. I needed more police procedural advice for Death, Deceit, and Some Smooth Jazz, book two, so I consulted with the local police. I found it all big fun.
5. Q: Do you write in any other genre besides crime fiction?
One could argue that I wrote in other genres in Murder, Mayhem, and a Fine Man. There's a big, juicy romance right in the middle of the book, and some would say it's got leanings toward women's fiction as well. I'm working on a romance, and I'm contracted to do a supernatural joint about a teenaged exorcist called The Exorsistah. She's like a Jesus freak Buffy without the vampires.
6. Q: What is your writing schedule like?
Hahahahahahahaha. What's a writing schedule? Girl, I do what I can when I can. I'm all over the place.
7. Q: Can you tell us what you're working on now?
I'm finishing the third book in the Amanda Bell Brown Mystery trilogy. It's called Saints, Suspicions and a Ticking Clock, with NavPress. It's due on the shelves in August of 2007.
8. Q: Do you have a website or blog?
Yes. My personal angst filled blog is ragamuffindiva.blogspot.com, and my writer blog is claudiamairburney.blogspot.com. I've also got a book myspace page: myspace.com/amandabellbrown.
9. Q: What good books have you read recently that you'd like to recommend?
I'm really into Pat Brown's book Killing for Sport: Inside the Minds of Serial Killers. Malicious Intent, in the Writer's Digest Howdunit Series is by my bedside, too. It's by Sean Mactire. Understanding the real live criminal is vital for mystery and crime writers. I also recommend a wide range of books in every genre. I read and loved Chasing Francis, recently Ian Morgan Cron. It's a fictional adventure with St. Francis of Assisi. Read about everything that interests you. And I highly recommend spiritual reading, especially if you're knee deep in death. I love Eugene Peterson's The Message, a very contemporary paraphrase of the Bible.
10.Q: What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Write! And write the book you'd love to read. Your love and enthusiam will show up in the work. Also, honor your unique voice. I hate boring narrators that sound like anybody could have written it. Write the book you, and only you could write.
Thanks so much for having me, Angela. You are terrific!