Thursday, June 30, 2011

Interview with mystery author Elle Druskin

Today at Reviews and Interviews is mystery and romance author Elle Druskin to talk about her writing and her "To Catch" books.

Welcome, Elle. Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m American born and educated, but ever since I finished college, I wanted to travel and have adventures and I did. I’ve been to so many countries and things have happened along the way that I hadn’t expected. In India, I was invited to a Bollywood wedding —just fantastic fun. In Venice, I fell in a canal. In Poland I accidentally started a riot. (That’s a long story!) but you get the idea and I am grateful for those opportunities. Not the incidents, but the travel.

I’ve lived in several countries, but I’ve always practiced nursing and for many years, I’ve been teaching nursing. I am especially grateful that I had the opportunity to further my education with a Masters and Doctorate which was not easy with little kids, but I did it and will always be thankful for those experiences.

Please tell us about your current release, To Catch a Crook.
This is the second book in the “To Catch” series. The first one, To Catch A Cop was my practice book. I had a story in my head and since I knew nothing about writing fiction despite a pretty long and successful career in academic publishing, I thought I would just write the darned thing. I thought I was writing a romance, but it turned out that the reviewers and editors all said mystery which I never really saw, and a romance. Go figure.

It was an exercise for me and I didn’t expect to go any further so it came as a complete surprise when it was published and nominated as Best Romantic Comedy of 2010 by The Romance Reviews. I thought I was finished with those characters but I was wrong. They kept speaking to me and I kept seeing images in my head, so I had to sit down and write again.

In To Catch A Cop we meet Lindy Kellerman; single mother, overworked, underpaid nursing professor, divorced and winner of the World’s Worst Fix-Up Dates, who walks in to teach a class and finds a dead body in her classroom. The dead body is one of her students. Enter Detective Fraser MacKinnon, single father, who is sick and tired of fix-ups and can’t decide whether to arrest Lindy or try to seduce her.

To Catch A Crook picks up their story six months later. A London archivist is murdered and the cops and the killer are after Lindy. She’s got to find MacKinnon up in Scotland before they catch up with her. Mix in a soap star, one Bollywood diva, Santa Claus, and the worst blizzard in years, but nothing thwarts Lindy. Who would murder an archivist and why? What does Lindy know or have that the killer wants? I guess you’ll just have to read the book .

I had a great time writing both of them and I especially enjoyed hearing from reviewers and fans who said, “Thank God. Finally a woman who wears plain underwear instead of thongs. She even has runs in her stockings. She’s so real.” “I can relate to Lindy, she’s a real person. She’s someone I would like to have as a friend.” When I hear things like that, I figure I must have done something right. To Catch A Crook is due to be released today with Red Rose Publishing and will be exclusive to them for the first few months before it goes out to other distributors. To Catch A Cop is available at Amazon Kindle, Fictionwise, Bookstrand and lots of other ebook stores.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Lots! I have 2 contemporary romance novels under contract for release in 2012. I enjoyed writing both of them. Going To The Dogs is one for the dog lovers and even if you don’t love dogs, it’s fun. My editor said she’s tempted to go out and buy one after reading the book. Detective Sam Kendall is a man with a mission. Find the jewel thief who murdered his partner and Sam will do anything to nab the murderer. Sam’s new partner is a giant poodle who lives for junk food, baseball, and country music and Sam hates dogs. Chief suspect is Jodie McBride, dog trainer par excellance. Jodie suspects Sam is a thief, Sam desperately wants Jodie to be innocent. Toss in a gang of quirky pooches and their eccentric owners and everybody’s going to the dogs. I did have fun with that.

The second book, Animal Crackers, (here come the animals again !) is due out May 2012. It is the start of a trilogy. Karma has it in for Manhattan workaholic Hayley Weaver. Fired, homeless, and hit by a car driven by a clown all in one day. In desperation, she takes a job housesitting a movie star’s home which sounds easy. Two catches — nobody told her the house was in New Jersey, a place Hayley loathes, and the house is filled with more exotic critters than the Beverly Hillbillies so it’s a cinch that local veterinarian and cutie, Jake Marx is on speed dial. Jake is thrilled to meet a woman he hasn’t known since kindergarten and pretty soon the whole town is involved in the effort to convince Hayley that Jersey rocks and so does Jake. I really had fun with that one and I hope the second and third book will also be contracted, but one thing at a time.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I can’t say. I’ve done academic writing for years. Book chapters, journal articles, that sort of thing. Maybe when I had my first article published. As far as fiction is concerned, like I said, I think of myself as a storyteller.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Full-time? Not a chance. I still work in academia and in a way, I think that’s good. It means I stay plugged into the real world. I do tell my students that they are not going to appear in a book. I don’t know if they are relieved or disappointed. My work day varies; sometimes I get up very early in the morning and write, other days it might be in the afternoon. Just depends what I am doing that particular day. Sometimes I can’t work on a novel, I have to do interviews, write press releases, etc. It’s related to writing, the business of writing, which is different, but absolutely necessary. Finding time to write means snatching time when you have it. As long as I have a clear image in my head of what I need to write, I can do it.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I usually write on a laptop and I do find, contrary to other people, I don’t need complete silence. I often have some background noise going on. Sometimes I read my work aloud and my dog listens. He’s not much of a critic and a good listener. .

There is one quirk maybe; when I get stuck, I get up and wander around to think. That’s not unusual, but I take dance classes twice a week so sometimes I work through some steps in between writing. I’m thinking, but also moving to the Rumba or something else. Probably looks strange. I also speak to myself —I read dialogue aloud to hear how it sounds. What looked great on the screen may not sound right and I am sure anyone who sees it will think I am having a conversation with myself.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Big smile. From the time I was very little, I wanted to be a nurse. I used to line up my dolls and bandage them. I did a fair amount of writing in high school and I enjoyed that immensely, but my family was not prepared to fund that ambition; they insisted on getting a degree in something practical so I studied nursing. I’m still a nurse, still teach, and it’s been rewarding so I’m not sorry and have no regrets. No matter how talented, writing is a difficult way to make a living and nothing is certain so a fall back position is not a bad idea. We all still have to pay bills and try to live.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I am really grateful to readers who have taken the time to write to me. I enjoy hearing from them and try to answer them all. When I write, I write for myself, not what I think or try to second guess will sell. If readers enjoy that final product with me, well, it’s the ultimate reward.

Thanks for stopping by, today, Elle. Congrats on the new release of To Catch a Crook! And best of luck with all your writing.


Ann Summerville said...

Interesting cover. I want to hear more about the Poland riot. I had a near escape there too.

Lisa Haselton said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Ann. Just want to let you know that Elle is away due to a family emergency. She'll reply when she can.