Hi there, guys and dolls! Well, it’s one of my favorite days — confab with a friend Sunday, otherwise known as Take 5 with Barbara Jean. Today I have the honor of sharing with you the wit and wisdom of one of my favorite writers, Elissa D. Grodin, author of the Edwina Goodman Mysteries, the latest and second being DEATH BY HITCHCOCK, another terrific novel. A siren named Bunny gets murdered at a Hitchcock Film Festival? I’m certainly in for the read! But just before you do, I suggest you sit yourself down with a martini or two and get to know a lady with the right balance of fun and finesse.
1. So tell me a little about your series and main characters.
My protagonist is Professor Edwina Goodman, a theoretical physicist who teaches at a college based on Dartmouth. She is very much my alter ego, as I wanted to be an astronomer as a kid, but struggled terribly with the necessary math! At age 27, Edwina is brilliant, unaffected and guileless, and something of an absent-minded professor. In the second installment of the series, entitled DEATH BY HITCHCOCK, Edwina and her would-be boyfriend, Detective Will Tenney, finally get cozy as they investigate the “Spellbound” murder. In the sense that physics is the ultimate examination of cause and effect — action and reaction — Edwina makes a crackerjack sleuth. She sees connections where others don’t, and is able to connect the dots that explain why things are happening — including murders.
2. What is your writing process like? Do you thrive on routine or work spontaneously as the whim takes you?
Whim doesn’t come into it for me. As Linda Ronstadt once said, ‘artists need to keep banker’s hours.’ In other words, routine is essential to get anything done.
3. What exciting moment or moments that made you realize that you were really an “author?”
I started writing as a kid, as a way to impose control over my environment, which struck me as somewhat chaotic and anxious-making. Writing is all about making order out of chaos for me — all about the illusion of control.
4. What do you do to spark up your creativity when you feel the well of inspiration is running dry?
Ideas seem to be everywhere you look, everywhere you go. The tough part for me is molding them into cohesive, driving narratives.
5. Who are some of your favorite authors and how do you feel they have influenced your desire to write?
My first strong influence was Shel Silverstein, when I read UNCLE SHELBY’S ABZ’S. From Shel I learned you could be subversive — you didn’t have to toe the line of the status quo — you could forge your own version of what is ‘real’. At the age of seven or so, I was completely gobsmacked and scandalized by his entry for the letter ‘G’, in which he instructed his young readers to take the Green stuff out of daddy’s wallet and mail it to Uncle Shelby! I was thrilled to learn you could actually say something as naughty as that in a book! I later became friends will Shel, which was great fun. We often went shopping in Greenwich Village, near where he lived. Other important influences for me are Agatha Christie and Jane Austen, story tellers of the first order. Agatha Christie is also a personal role model for me. Besides being a brilliant writer, she was modest, full of grace, a mother, a wife, had a “violent attachment” to her home in the country, loved her gardens, and had a burning curiosity about the world around her. My kind of girl.
Just like you, Elissa! It’s been a true pleasure getting to know you better and share your thoughts with our readers. And friends, be sure to visit her website at http://elissagrodin.com to learn more about her other books and news.