Thursday, April 26, 2018

Interview with short story writer Gwen Gardner

Today is the second interview in a series with the authors of:

Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

About the anthology:
The clock is ticking...

Can a dead child’s cross-stitch pendant find a missing nun? Is revenge possible in just 48 minutes? Can a killer be stopped before the rescuers are engulfed by a city ablaze? Who killed what the tide brought in? Can a soliloquizing gumshoe stay out of jail?

Exploring the facets of time, eleven authors delve into mysteries and crimes that linger in both dark corners and plain sight. Featuring the talents of Gwen Gardner, Rebecca M. Douglass, Tara Tyler, S. R. Betler, C.D. Gallant-King, Jemi Fraser, J. R. Ferguson, Yolanda Renée, C. Lee McKenzie, Christine Clemetson, and Mary Aalgaard.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these eleven tales will take you on a thrilling ride into jeopardy and secrecy. Trail along, find the clues, and stay out of danger. Time is wasting...

“Each story is fast paced, grabbing the reader from the beginning.”
- Readers' Favorite, 5 stars

Founded by author Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group offers support for writers and authors alike. It provides an online database, articles and tips, a monthly blog posting, a Facebook and Instagram group, Twitter, and a monthly newsletter.

First up was C.D. Gallant-King (on April 19). Now up is Gwen Gardner. Her short story is a cozy mystery and is the subtitle of the anthology, A Stitch in Crime.

Gwen Gardner writes clean, cozy, lighthearted mysteries with a strong ghostly element.

Since ghosts feature prominently in her books, she has a secret desire to meet one face to face – but will run screaming for the hills if she ever does.

She thinks there’s nothing better than a good mystery (being an excellent armchair detective herself) unless it’s throwing a ghost or two into the mix just to “liven” things up. Don’t worry, though. Ghosts may be difficult to keep in line, but they’re harmless—mostly. And it turns out they’re pretty good sleuths, too.

Gwen adores travel and experiencing the cultures and foods of different countries. She is always up for an adventure and anything involving chocolate – not necessarily in that order.
What do you enjoy most about writing short stories?
A short story is very self-contained compared to a full-length novel. It’s easier to handle all the odds and ends that go into a story and everything comes together quicker. I wouldn’t call it instant gratification, but sort of the same feeling.

Can you give us a little insight into a few of your short stories – perhaps some of your favorites?
My favorite short stories are the ones with my characters Indigo Eady and Franny Bishop. Indigo is a young woman who can speak to ghosts. Franny Bishop is the ghost of a former Victorian madam of some repute and Indigo’s closest companion. They are amateur sleuths and the byplay between them is really fun. Franny’s major goal in her afterlife is to find Indigo a man. It’s a hilarious bone of contention between them.

What genre are you inspired to write in the most? Why?
Cozy Mysteries with a ghostly element. The world is so chaotic these days. All you have to do is turn on the TV or fire up the internet to get a massive dose of reality. The everyday bombardment can be overwhelming. I write lighthearted cozy mysteries because it’s a break from the stress of real life. There is no overt violence or sex. The bad guy is always caught and justice is always served. And of course, add a splash of mayhem, a dash of humor and a bit of pot stirring to make things more interesting, and the result is very satisfying!

What exciting story are you working on next?
Another Indigo and Franny short story called Lady Sings the Boos. Franny develops a bad-boy obsession with late night black and white television’s Sam Spade. This leads her to hang out at a new club called the Blue Note, a 1940s post WWII era jazz club. She’s crushing hard on the previous owner, a ghost named Eddie, who won’t let the new owner put live music on stage. Any attempt ends up in chaos, blown amps and shorted microphones. The problem is, Eddie’s gang has closed ranks and no one can get near him. Indigo is called in to solve the problem, but how to do it if she can’t speak to him?  

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I started writing my first novel. I wasn’t a good writer, but it was pointed out to me that by definition, a writer writes. That was good enough for me!

How do you research markets for your work, perhaps as some advice for writers?
My first books didn’t do well because I didn’t do my research. Who knew that Middle Grade and Young Adult don’t mesh well together in the age group categories? The best place to start is to find books similar to yours. From there, you can find out not only who publishes the genre and the categories to publish under, but accepted guidelines as well.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I like mood music and am a complete pluviophile (rain lover). I love a good rain storm and if the scene calls for it, I’ll listen to a rain storm sound tract. Also, one of my characters is the ghost of a sleuthing Benedictine monk called Brother Bart. I had the opportunity to visit Westminster Abbey and picked up a CD of Gregorian chants, so when I’m writing about Brother Bart, the chanting in the background lends atmosphere. 

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
This is a tough question. When I was young, boys wanted to be policemen or firemen or doctors, and girls wanted to be nurses. Those are the types of things that girls were conditioned to say back then, without any real thought put into what we really wanted to be. Now women have a lot more choices and are free to pursue whatever we want. I was an avid reader as a child (and now), so if a professional reader had been an option, I would have gone for it. Writing is the next best thing!

Tick Tock links:

Purchase links:


Yolanda Renée said...

Thanks, Lisa, another great interview. And thanks again for highlighting the authors of Tick Tock.

Gwen, I love the idea of professional reader, I could do that! :)

Gwen Gardner said...

I enjoyed answering your interview questions, Lisa. Thanks so much for hosting the Tick Tock mystery writers!

cleemckenzie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cleemckenzie said...

What a fun chat with Gwen! I found out a lot more about her and loved it. I can hear those monks chanting as I type, and I want to find out what Brother Bart will be up to.

Thanks for the post about another of the authors in Tick Tock, Lisa. Really great of you.

I haven't had my coffee yet, so my first comment made next to no sense!

Rebecca M. Douglass said...

Great interview! And suspect many of us would like to be professional readers :) Though the closest thing to that might be as an under-editor slogging through the slush pile, and that might not be quite so wonderful. Maybe I'll keep my reading amateur :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Awesome interview ladies!
The world is really full of so much negativity - it's lots of fun to fill it with lighter things :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm glad you're writing more stories about Indigo. I love her character.

Jessica Ferguson said...

Gwen! I would not want to meet a ghost except in a book! 😉 Great interview!