I have read and reviewed one of the author's, Marlene Bateman Sullivan's, previous books, Gaze Into Heaven. Her newest book is an entirely different thing, in the world of fiction and murder!
I recently got to interview the author and here are the questions I asked her.
Tell me a little about your book.
I wanted to create a fun private eye, an ordinary woman who is actually quite extraordinary. So in Motive for Murder, you’ll meet Erica Coleman—a gifted and quirky private investigator with an OCD-like passion for neatness and symmetry, a penchant for cooking, (ten terrific recipes are included), and a weakness for chocolate.
She may drive people crazy with her OCD, but its that exact trait that helps her notice things that slip past others and so solve crimes. Motive for Murder is the first in a series, and the book opens with Erica flying from her home in Utah to Florida to visit her best friend, Wendy and celebrate the baptism of Wendy’s son.
Erica imagined that her trip to Florida would be a slice of heaven—a chance to get away from it all and catch up with her Wendy. But one day into her vacation, all hope of fun in the sun is dashed when she stumbles, literally, over a dead man on Wendy’s driveway. With police closing in on Wendy as their main suspect, Erica must find the real killer before her friend ends up behind bars.
With Erica’s skill, solving the mystery should be a piece of cake but then a second homicide-attempt hits close to home. There’s no way to sugarcoat it, a murderer is on the prowl, and no one is above suspicion.
As the plot thickens, it appears Erica may have bitten off more than she can chew, but she forges on, sifting through mounting evidence until she hones in on the killer who has a surprising motive for murder. With a dash of romance and some surprising twists, this thrilling mystery will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page.
Tell me a little about you; where did you grow up? Did you always want to be a writer. What is your family like?
I grew up in Sandy, Utah. We had a couple of acres and my father raised mink and also gladiolus, which he sold to florists each summer. I was the baby of the family and had seven siblings. And now, my husband and I are the parents of seven wonderful children, which keeps life busy and interesting.
I’ve always wanted to be a writer—ever since I was in elementary school. I started writing in jr. high and continued on in high school and college. While in college, I got married and having children kept me so busy, I didn’t’ have time to write. I had to face the fact that you can’t do everything. But to every thing there is a season—I continued writing as I could, concentrating on magazine articles. As the children got older and I had more time, I began writing books.
What is your favorite part about writing?
Revising. First, I have to get an idea for the plot, then figure out the story line, which is always quite involved since I write mysteries. I enjoy plotting—there’s a satisfaction that comes from getting a solid foundation down for the book. Then I write the first draft, which is almost torture. This is the hardest part, and nothing I write seems any good. But you have to get something down before you can revise, so I grind through it.
Then comes the best part, revising. I think of it as taking an old stone and polishing it until it’s a sparkling diamond. It’s so fun to play with words, sentences, and scenes, and make the manuscript better and better each time I go through and revise it. I usually go through the manuscript between 4-10 times.
You've written mostly non-fiction; what made you decide to jump to fiction?
I was always afraid of writing fiction—didn’t think I could do it. Yet I wanted to. (I didn’t realize non-fiction writers must also write well!) I didn’t believe in myself. Finally, after writing about five non-fiction books, I decided to try writing a novel. It was hard, and took me three years, but I kept going until I felt I had done the best I could. Light on Fire Island turned out to be a bestseller. Yay! So I began writing Motive for Murder.
How do you survive the editing process or do you hire someone for it?
I enjoy the editing process, as I said. I do have a friend who is an expert editor, and she goes through all my manuscripts. The past few years, I also began having a select group of people read and edit my manuscripts. That has really helped, since they catch things that I, being so close to my manuscript, miss. I also have people test my recipes and am always open to people emailing me and asking if they can test recipes for my next book!
If you want to read Motive for Murder you can purchase it at the following locations:
And you can find Marlene online at www.marlenebateman.info
I have not yet read this book, though I plan to. I was not given any compensation for this post, just trying to help an author who's other books I have read.