Hi there, guys and dolls! Well, another month is coming to a close, which means it’s time for one of my favorite things, being the social butterfly that I am. Today the Reeses, T’Gracie and Joe, sit and have a little fireside chat with me. So everyone sit back, settle in and get to know some new friends.
1. So tell me a little about your series and main characters.
We write the Nina Bannister mysteries. Nina is a retired high school English teacher living in Bay St. Lucy, a small fishing town on the Mississippi coast. When she’s not caring for her cat, Furl, she’s usually manning the cash register or doing other small jobs at Elementals: Treasures from the Earth and Sea, the shop run by her best friend Margot Gavin. Or she’s solving murders.
2. Being that there are two of you, how do you write? Do you compose separately, or talk it out as you go along together, share or divide up characters, scenes or research?
Joe: I usually find that I have a lot of characters who are always chattering away in my head. In unpublished people this is called ‘insanity’; but as soon as you find a publisher (Thank you, Patricia!) it is called ‘creativity.’ So I write down as much of this dialogue as I can. T’Gracie eliminates all of it that is nonsensical, and we keep the rest. Then she adds description and detail.
T’Gracie: I have always enjoyed reading mysteries in which the authors include lots of detail and description about the locale. I think Joe ‘s characters are a little too chatty, and I like to go in and find places to write description. Of course, Joe can write description, too, I just have to nudge him in that direction.
3. What exciting moment or moments that made you realize that you were really an “author?”
T’Gracie: I first knew I was a writer when I sent in a therapy idea to LinguiSystems, a publisher of therapy materials for speech pathologists. This led to 12 more books that I did with them. www.linguisystems.com. I will never forget that first phone call from an acquisitions editor telling me that my book submission had been accepted. I’ve always loved reading mysteries and for years have encouraged Joe to try to write one.
Joe: My freshman English teacher at Southern Methodist University was Paschal Covici Jr., son of the editor who discovered and worked with John Steinbeck. He assigned everyone to write a short story. Mine was called “The Day We Sold the Farm.” Two weeks after I turned it in he announced to the class that he had shown it to The Southwest Review, and that they were going to publish it. Ecstasy.
4. What do you do to spark up your creativity when you feel the well of inspiration is running dry?
Joe: I hold my hands straight up toward heaven and chant, “Sing in me, oh Muse!” for twenty minutes then sit down at the computer and wait.
T’Gracie: I know, too, that it helps to talk through the plot problems. Joe usually comes to me, although I am not the Muse.
5. Who are some of your favorite authors and how do you feel they have influenced your desire to write?