Edith here, loving the smells of summer, and delighted to welcome mystery author Alexia Gordon as our guest today! Her second Gethsemane Brown mystery released this month. I read Murder in G Major, the first Gethsemane Brown mystery (nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel, I might add), and loved it. I can’t wait to read the new one. Here’s what Death in D Minor is about:
Gethsemane Brown, an African-American classical musician a living in an Irish village, scrambles to call her vanished spectral roomie back from beyond and find a way to save her cottage from being sold. When her visiting brother-in-law is accused of stealing a valuable antique, Gethsemane strikes a deal with a garda investigator to go undercover as a musician at a charity ball and snoop for evidence linking antiques to a forgery/theft ring in exchange for the investigator’s help clearing her brother-in-law. At the party, she accidentally conjures the ghost of an eighteenth-century sea captain, then ends up the prime suspect in the party host’s murder. With the captain’s help, she races to untangle a web of phony art and stolen antiques to exonerate herself and her brother-in-law – until the killer targets her. Will she bring a thief and murderer to justice, or will her encore investigation become her swan song?
Doesn’t that just sound delicious? And Alexia is giving away the audio book (on CDs) of Death in D Minor to one lucky commenter here today.
A Method To My Madness
I’m used to doing things without giving much conscious thought to the steps involved in execution. I’m like Nike, I “just do it”. I have a process, of course, and it’s a logical process but it’s an unconscious one, like those programs always running in the background on your laptop. I think it’s hereditary. I never learned to cook from my mother because she’s a “some-bit cook”. I’d watch her in the kitchen, far enough away to not be underfoot, and ask how much of a particular ingredient she added to the pot. “Some,” she’d answer, or, “A bit.” I’ve had to become more aware of those processes since becoming a published author, however, because one of the questions I’m often asked is, “What is your writing process?” I’m forced to come up with a better answer than, “Um.”
I go through several phases as I write a book: brainstorming (a.k.a. daydreaming), researching, plotting, outlining, developing characters, writing, rewriting. Not necessarily in that order. Definitely, not in a linear order. Multi-phase execution occurs simultaneously. I may develop characters while I research. I flip back and forth between outlining and writing.
Brainstorming and research are two of my favorite phases. I love to play the “What if?” game. I read the recent article about a company offering to implant a microchip in employees’ hands to allow them the convenience of unlocking doors and turning on the copy machine with a key card. Instead of thinking, “Wow, that would be convenient, what a great idea,” I thought, “What if?” What if someone wanted to access a secured building? Would they cut off someone’s hand to get the chip? Kidnap the chipped employee and force them to do the dirty work so only their fingerprints were left at the scene? And what if a chipped employee quit? How far would the company go to retrieve it’s data? All sorts of criminal possibilities flooded my brain.
I also love to people watch (and to eavesdrop), all in the name of research. Several days ago I needed a model for a character. I won’t say which one. I went out to eat and kept my eyes and ears open. Before I finished my coffee, I spotted diners at a nearby table who exhibited behavior that begged to be fictionalized. This week, I’m at a conference related to my day job. I attend the sessions and listen to the speakers to get the information I need for work but a tiny part of my brain stays alert for some tidbit that could work its way into fiction someday, like a robotic vehicle that recovers casualties from a building in midtown Manhattan that’s under attack by aliens. (None of the speakers mentioned aliens. I made that up.)
So, there’s a partial answer, my attempt to quantify “a bit”. I’ll keep “just doing it” because that’s how my brain works. But I’ll be more mindful of the how. Because “Um” isn’t a good answer.
Readers: Do you map your processes? Or do you just do it and sort out how later? Remember, your comment could win you the audio book (on CDs) of Death in D Minor!
A writer since childhood, Alexia Gordon continued writing through college but put literary endeavors on hold to finish medical school and Family Medicine residency training. Her medical career established, she returned to writing fiction. She completed SMU’s Writer’s Path program in Dallas, Texas. Henery Press published her first novel, Murder in G Major, book one of the Gethsemane Brown mysteries, in September 2016. Book two, Death in D Minor, premiered July 2017. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and the Writers’ League of Texas. She listens to classical music, drinks whiskey, and blogs at http://www.missdemeanors.com.
Looking forward to Death in D Minor. It sounds like another great read. Like you, my process is a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll. It’s always necessary to leave room for inspiration!
Love that description of your process, Kait.
Thanks for the kind words.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that one size does not fit all and sometimes you have to change to fit the situation
Waving hello! And a new book! I hear you about the eavesdropping (there’s a bad pun buried in there somewhere). I swear that since I’ve started writing I’ve grown antenna, and when I hear something interesting, those antenna just swivel around and home in on the conversation. And quite a few of those little chats end up in a book somewhere. Isn’t it fun?
I’m just like you, Sheila. Voyeur all the way.
“Research” covers a myriad of sins. 😉 “No, sir, I’m not being nosy. I’m doing research.”
I’m also more of a classic rock girl and classic country. But I do enjoy the Boston Pops too. I’ve never listened to an audiobook before. Change doesn’t come easy to me. One Christmas my husband bought my a Kindle Fire and I thought what a waste but I tried it and I use it at night instead of wearing a bike light to read a print book. Thank you for the opportunity.
I use my Kindle like that, too!
I was blown away by listening to my own audio book. Odd to hear another person read the words I wrote!
I didn’t listen to audio books until I signed up for am Audible trial. I listened to Derek Jacobi narrate some ghost stories and I was hooked.
Welcome to the Wickeds, Alexia. It is so great to have you here!
Congrats on the book! It seems my process changes every time I write a new one.
That can happen, Liz.
I spend a lot of time commuting on the train, and that is a font of material. People say the most surprising things into their phones, and often the loudest ones are the most interesting. Can’t wait to read your new book!
It’s stunning, isn’t it, what people will say (and loudly) on their phones in public?
Once heard a guy walking down the street discussing the terms of his parole with his brother
Public transportation provides a wealth of material. Sometimes you see someone on a train or bus or subway car who has to become a character in your book even if they don’t speak a word
My madness, I mean process, is much like yours! A great post. Looking forward to diving into DEATH. Thanks for joining us.
Eaavesdropping must be a writers second job! More process is creeping into my writing life. No one is more surprised than me!
Congratulations on the new book! I write ideas on a scrap of paper and toss them in a box. I like to pose a very specific question, such as how can I get this specific clue into this specific scene and then let go of the question and go about my life but keep a pad and pen handy because out of nowhere the answer will come zinging into my head like a thunderbolt.
Those answers often come to me as I take my midday walk!
I do eavesdrop at the Library where I work. Sometimes the most intriguing conversations occur! There are other places that I tend to overhear conversations – sometimes within my own family.(If too much potassium can kill you could someone use bananas as a murder weapon?) An interesting discussion evolved from that statement! Congratulations with the new book! I love the titles!
Libraries are like blueberry picking – you can be one row away and be totally hidden, but conversations in the other row are perfectly audible.
So, I guess librarians don’t shush patrons anymore? 😉
Congratulations on your new book, Alexia! Gethsemane Brown is one of my favorite names for a character ever.
It’s awesome. Agree.
Thank you. I was inspired by great movie character names like Cleopatra Jones
I wing it because that’s the way I’m wired.
I have a process? I usually just dive in and do it. Probably not the most efficient, but that’s what I do.
It clearly works for you, Mark.
I am a retired teacher, and for 35 years, I lived with ‘process.’ I used a variety of mapping techniques to plan my class lessons, presentations to students and teachers, monitor student work, and even sharing those techniques with students.
I sure enjoyed Gordon’s book 1 “Death in G Minor,” so am excited about book 2. I am not much of a classical music fan, but this series does provide great entertainment.
Thanks for all those years of service to students!
Oh, another exciting series to get into. And I would love it as an audio book. I always have a book going in my car.
Commute time is great listening time
Love the processes. And love the sounds of the book. I carry notebooks with me and have them everywhere! People expect me to always be reading or writing something. I tell them I am a bibliophile!
Really enjoyed the post. I like listening to audio books and “Death in D Minor” sounds like it would be great book to listen to on audio. Undercover musician, forgery, theft and antiques has to make an amazing book.
I do a little bit of both. I’ll research ideas/plans, however, when it comes to implementation those ideas do not always work. Have to be flexible enough to adapt/make changes.
I research, I delve in – just what suits what needs to be done. Different processes for different situations. Looking forward to the audio book.
Congratulations, barbarakay1! You won the set of audio CDs. Please email me at alexia[at]alexiagordon[dot]net with your address so I can send you the CDs.
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