Blog Tour~Guest Post by Anne Canadeo author of Knit, Purl, Die

Saturday, July 31, 2010

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Anne for being with us today. Make sure you check out all her books!

While My Pretty One Knits (Black Sheep Knitting Mysteries)Knit, Purl, Die (Black Sheep Knitting Mystery)

“Where do you get your ideas?” Anne Canadeo
That has to be the question writers are asked most often. I’m probably not alone feeling it’s the hardest one to answer. I have no special methods, no tricks up my sleeve. I only wish there were. Out of many possible story ideas, or images that flit across my brain, one or two will capture my attention. I start seeing possibilities. If a situation or image draws me in I automatically assume it will hook readers too.

Stories ideas come at me from all different directions – true stories people tell me about their lives, items I read in the news paper or see on TV, even letters in advice columns. Some come from my own experiences, of course. Those are sometimes the hardest to write about. I’ve always enjoyed writing that contains many voices, from the work of Studs Terkel to Spoon River Anthology. I’m a natural observer and listener. And eavesdropper, I must admit. My family calls me Forrest Gump, claiming I’ll start a conversation with anybody. (Is that a bad thing?)

At times I feel as if my brain is sort of a big lint brush, rolling along, picking up all kinds of bits and threads of things. You never know what’s going to stick and turn out to be valuable fodder for a book.

For me it always comes back to developing strong characters. Some writers start with plot.
I work more by Henry James’s theory, “Plot is character.” I think a lot about each character’s personality – their personal histories, psychology, relationships, what they want and what’s in their way – and usually find that a good story evolves from there. Especially a mystery, since exploring the unknown about a person – the hidden parts of their past, secret relationships or business ties – is a crucial part of a murder investigation.

When I started off writing Knit, Purl, Die I knew that one of the Black Sheep knitters was going to find a corpse in a swimming pool while she was showing a house to prospective clients. That didn’t turn out to be the first scene of the book, as I had originally planned, but it did become the central image of the mystery. And the body floating in the pool turned out to be Gloria Sterling, an honorary member of the knitting group.

My next task was to develop the character of Gloria, the lovely corpse. I had some idea who she would be – wealthy, confident, successful. But she ended up to be much more and I really ended up loving her and totally enjoyed writing about her, especially the part of her life she kept hidden from her friends. She turned out to be a complicated, charming, larger than life woman. As her friends try to figure out what happened to her that final, fatal night, they discover that they didn’t know her nearly as well as they thought. So exploring Gloria’s character is really the heart of the mystery.

Trying to explain the process, it seems simple. I must remind myself of that the next time I feel like pounding my head on the computer keyboard.

Again, thanks so much Anne for stopping by and sharing with us!
Make sure to check out my review of Anne's book Knit, Purl, Die.


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