Friday, June 8, 2012

Interview with mystery author Linda Schroeder

Today's Reviews and Interviews guest is mystery author Linda Schroeder. She stopping by as part of a virtual book tour for her novel Artists & Thieves.

Linda Schroeder divides her time between the bright sun of California and the high mountains of Colorado. She has a Master’s degree in English and one in Communicative Disorders/Audiology. In addition to her novel Artists & Thieves, she has published a college text.

Her early interest in English expanded to include language disorders and she began a second career as an audiologist and aural rehabilitation therapist working with deaf and hard-of-hearing children and adults.

Currently, she studies and practices Chinese brush painting, celebrating the vitality and energy of nature. She follows art and art theft blogs and writes her own blog about art and sometimes includes reviews of books. She is working on two more novels, a second Mai Ling novel about the Diamond Sutra, and a Sammy Chan art mystery about the forgery of a Goya painting.

Welcome, Linda. Please tell us about your current release. 
Artists & Thieves won the San Diego Book Awards in the action/suspense category. It is the story of Mai Ling, a Chinese/American artist who works for Interpol recovering stolen art. In this book she is on a very personal mission to recover an ancient Chinese bowl which belonged to her ancestor in order to return it to China. 

However, Mai is not the only one after the bowl. Four rival thieves also plan to steal the bowl from a private California art collection. The book is set against the vibrant backdrop of the Monterey Peninsula and peopled with quirky characters, including a peacock who is itself a character. Midwest Book Review rates it “Highly Recommended.”
What inspired you to write this book?
Several years ago I was reading David Hockney’s Secret Knowledge, his discussion of painters who use a camera obscura to first trace a subject and then paint it. At the same time I was studying Chinese art and also enrolled in a class on how to write a mystery novel. So, for the class I came up with idea of creating a very ancient art object, a Chinese bronze bowl, which depicted a camera obscura. My mystery novel involved the theft of that bowl. All I needed then was a plot, interesting characters, and four years to put it all together!. Piece of cake!

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working on two more novels, another Mai Ling adventure, this time involving the Diamond Sutra. The story takes her into a hidden temple in China and then to Shanghai. The second novel involves a Francisco Goya painting and an art crime detective, Sammy Chan and his brother, an art forger. I’m having great fun with both.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I studied literature in college. I wanted to learn to tell stories more than “to be a writer.”

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?
I am retired and I do a lot of things besides writing. My other creative focus is Chinese brush painting. I have a wonderful master teacher. And I have two writing groups which keep me on my toes with my “in progress” books. I also have an art blog which means I hunt for local art to talk about. I have time to research for writing. For instance, I visited bronze foundries to learn how bronze is cast for Artists & Thieves. Now I am researching art crimes and art forensics. Plus, I live by the Pacific and the beach is a great place to observe people.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I compose on the computer because with the keyboard I can get ideas down quickly, but I rewrite by hand so I can think about words and sentence structure and the craft of the scene.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a dancer.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I’m lucky to have the time to look for beauty around me. It is the importance of art and beauty which I try to share in my stories. 

Thanks for stopping by today, Linda!

1 comment:

carol said...

I'm glad she's working an a second Mai Ling story. I enjoyed this first one for the most part.