Sunday, June 24, 2012

Getting to know Lorraine Bartlett

Today, we have mystery author, Lorraine Bartlett, with us. I’ve read her Victoria Square mysteries and I thoroughly enjoyed them. Now, let’s get to know Lorraine. 
Lorraine, where did you grow up? Did your childhood contribute to your desire to be a writer? If so, how?
I grew up in Rochester, NY. My childhood was pretty boring. I watched a lot of television, but often was dissatisfied with the stories of the day. I remember lying in bed at night and rethinking whatever episode of whatever show I’d watched that day that disappointed me and wondered how it could have been “fixed” to be more entertaining.
Where do you live now? Do you use that locale for settings in your novels?
I still live in Rochester (about 2 miles from where I grew up). One of my series, The Victoria Square Mysteries, is sort of set in this area. I picked a town a little farther west than my own, but have mentioned the suburb where I grew up. (In fact, I let my protagonist graduate from the same high school I did.) It’s much easier to write about a locale you know intimately.
Why do you write under three different names?
My first published series, The Jeff Resnick Mysteries, came out with a small press. My agent at the time believe that men wouldn’t buy books written by women. (She appears to have been partially right) and suggested I should write under my initials. When it came time to write the Booktown Mysteries, my publisher requested I write it under a pseudonym (Lorna Barrett). I now write both series, plus a third: The Victoria Square Mysteries, which has come out under my own name.
How do you create the characters in your books?
Most of my characters just appear on the page. I might think of someone’s face or mannerisms, but generally my characters are pretty much original, and I like it that way. (I wouldn’t want to be sued because someone thought I’d captured them a little too clearly.)
Did you plan your series before or after you wrote the first book?
I guess I figured each of my three series would be a series from the get-go. In fact, I wrote the first three Jeff Resnick books simultaneously. (Not that I’d recommend that.) But as I wrote something in book three, I thought I’d best go back to book one to lay the groundwork. In the end, it worked out well.
Name three of your favorite authors in the mystery genre.
Do I have to limit it to three? I love and still reread several of Barbara Michaels books. In fact, I recently reread “The Dancing Floor.”  I’m a big fan of Dick Francis and have reread “Straight” at least a dozen times. I love the work of Ellery Adams (Jennifer Stanley) and Leann Sweeney, too.
What are your favorite things to do when you’re not reading or writing?
I’m a “junker.”  I used to have a booth in an antiques arcade (for 12 years). You can take the girl out of the business, but not the business out of the girl  I still go junking most every weekends. My plan is to open an Etsy store for “girly” stuff (mostly hand painted dishware and old linens) one day.
Do you like to travel? If so, what are some of your favorite places to go?
I like to go on a cruise. On my last one, I wrote for six to eight hours every day (for three weeks), longhand. I got a LOT of work done. So much so, that I’m planning on going on another cruise. It wasn’t so much the ports of call, it was being at sea and being away from the internet. I didn’t have to cook or clean or worry about the bills. I just sat on the shady side of the deck and wrote. Then I’d have gourmet meals three times a day and didn’t have to wash any dishes or clean up. It was heaven.
How would you finish this sentence? If I won a million dollars, I would ------
Have the cleaning lady come every week, not every two weeks. Let someone else do the laundry. I’d update my kitchen …  I’d buy a mini van with stow-and-go seats. My aspirations aren’t all that high, I guess.
What’s your favorite color? Why?
Blue. It’s the color of the sky.
Describe yourself – not physically – but personality wise.
Ambitious. I never thought of myself as that way until I became a full-time author. I have a lot of goals I’d still like to make, and I wonder if I ever will. But I know for sure that I’m going to keep working at attaining them.
Thanks for spending time with us today, Lorraine. It’s been fun getting to know you.
Lorraine Bartlett writes the New York Times bestselling Victoria Square Mysteries. She's done it all--from drilling holes for NASA to typing scripts in Hollywood.
She also writes the Jeff Resnick Mysteries as L.L. Bartlett, and the New York Times Bestselling, Agatha-nominated Booktown Mysteries as Lorna Barrett. Murder On The Half Shelf, Book #6 in the Booktown Mystery series, will be released on July 3rd.

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