Hi there, guys and dolls! Well then, can you believe that January’s almost chasing its own tail out the door already? If anyone can find where that time has gone, do let me know. As for me, I just dipped into the martini pitcher again and I was so happy to see one of my favorite Cozy Cat Press authors, Drema J. Reed’s name appear. Do take a moment or two to get acquainted with one of the sassiest and classiest ladies I have had to honor to get to know.
My whole series was an unintentional side effect of a state of boredom. I had just retired and after a couple of months of sleeping in, watching TV, reading a lot of books, I looked around and thought, “Is this all there is?” I began thinking over my life and how after some 60+ years I still had the same group of friends, which led to me thinking about their characters and how strong a group of people they were. It came to me that maybe I should write down what I was thinking and voila the old ladies of the “Art Gallery Mystery Series” were born. The main characters Nita Marie (Nina Bates), Jo Murphy (Joy Murphy), Bobbie Sichel (Barbara Patton Sichel) and Jake (Jay Gehring) are people I have known since second grade. We went all though school together and I felt I knew them pretty well—that is until I started writing about them and suddenly realized they were so much more. Nita Marie is the calm, nonjudgmental, level-headed one, Jo the nervous worry wart, Bobbie the sharp-tongued wit and Jake the one who tolerates us – barely. My character, D. J. Kelley, is exactly like me, talking to myself and paying no attention to what I am telling me.
The art gallery idea came from my love of art so that is where I began. I had absolutely no idea where my story was going, I just started writing and then tried to figure it out when I, of course, wrote myself into the proverbial corner. I ended up basing the first book, KILLER IMAGE on an actual event that occurred in Saudi Arabia, a country where I worked for two years in a hospital in Riyadh. The two following books, KILLER GENES and KILLER ROCKS also were based on actual events.
2. What is your writing process like? Do you thrive on routine or work spontaneously as the whim takes you?
My writing process is chaotic. I can go for days without writing a word and then sit down and pound out several chapters without stopping. As I said above, I have no idea where my story is going when I start and often find myself in trouble. My daughter-in-law, Terri Reed, who has written some 35 books published by Harlequin, tells me I am what they call a “pantser.” I write by the seat of my pants, for which I make no apology. I had never intended to be a writer so when it happened I was quite surprised.
3. What exciting moment or moments that made you realize that you were really an “author?”
I still don’t think of myself as an “author,” more of a storyteller who likes to make people laugh. Maybe one day it will hit me, but I seriously doubt it!
4. What do you do to spark up your creativity when you feel the well of inspiration is running dry?
Creativity in my case just comes and goes when it wants to. I have no idea how to spur it on so I simply wait until something strikes me and I want to write. I am involved in a Senior Drama Group along with going to school full time, so often just listening to the people around me can “spark” a thought that leads to an entire scene in whatever I am writing.
5. Who are some of your favorite authors and how do you feel they have influenced your desire to write?
I am a dedicated mystery lover and read every one I can get my hands on. I absolutely fell in love with Elizabeth Peters, though I could never create a sentence the way she did. Unfortunately, she passed away last year and I shall miss her influence. As far as a good mystery is concerned, Michael Connelly, J.A. Jance, Kathy Reich, Sue Grafton, and of course Janet Evanovich can really make me laugh.
I am finishing up my senior year at Portland State University (in Portland, Oregon) this year, working on a degree in Anthropology/Archaeology after having worked in the medical field for over forty years. I have just finished a book, centering on the field of archaeology and exposing the black marketing of antiquities, called THE BOOKS OF THE DEAD.
Your new book sounds absolutely fascinating, Drema. I’m sure you unearthed some good, old dirt in that one, too. Fellow mystery fans, be sure to check out the latest in her Art Gallery Mystery Series, KILLER ROCKS, on Kindle.