Monday, January 13, 2014

A Conversation with Novelist Babette Hughes

Omnimystery News: Author Interview with Babette Hughes
with Babette Hughes

We are delighted to welcome back novelist Babette Hughes to Omnimystery News today.

Babette first visited with us last November with an excerpt from her second Kate Brady novel, The Red Scarf (Lamplight Press; August 2013 hardcover, trade paperback and ebook formats) and we wanted to catch up with her to talk a little more about the book.

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Omnimystery News: Tell us a little more about your series character, Kate Brady.

Babette Hughes
Photo provided courtesy of
Babette Hughes

Babette Hughes: In The Hat and its sequels The Red Scarf and The Necklace, I have taken Kate Brady's character from the age of 18 to 80 — not only for the changes it offers in the writing, but also because of the different political, social and economic forces that exist at each age.

OMN: Are the characters in your books based on any real people?

BH: My father, a bootlegger who was murdered by the Mafia in a turf war when I was a baby, inspired the character Ben in The Hat and Solly in The Red Scarf. But those are the exceptions. The other characters just spring on the page as I work, fueled by the richness of the unconscious. All of which makes fiction writing not only difficult, but mysterious and interesting.

OMN: Describe your writing process.

BH: Some writers work from an outline, but I don't. I try to develop the plot organically instead of from the top down. In other words, if I can get my characters to come alive on the page I'll just follow them along as they tell me their stories.

OMN: And where do you usually write?

BH: It's my own space with my favorite things — books, files, notes, manuscripts. Computer and printer. Phone that I can turn off. Light from two large windows. Plants. That is where I close the door and turn on my imagination.

OMN: Have any specific authors influenced how and what you write today?

BH: Alice Munro, who just won the Nobel Prize in literature, has been my favorite writer for years, whom I read and reread. Also Elmore Leonard for his clean, crime prose. Philip Roth. Norman Mailer. I could go on and on. I learn from reading.

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In addition to her novels, Babette Hughes is a contributing blogger for The Huffington Post. She has also been published in the Saturday Review; been contributing editor of Cleveland Magazine; a twice-weekly columnist for the Cleveland Press; and has published articles and book reviews in the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Sunday Magazine. She has also written, produced and appeared in television documentaries and news and feature stories for Cleveland television stations WKYC-NBC and WNBK-UHF.

In addition to her writing career she has been been National Director of Women's Political Action for Hubert Humphrey in his 1972 Presidential campaign, as well as founder and President of Discover Yourself, Inc., a motivation and self realization program for women. She has also been Director of Public Relations for Revco D.S., Inc. in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Account Executive with Frazier Associates, in Washington, DC. She and her husband live in Austin, Texas, and are the parents and step-parents of eight children.

Learn more about the author and her work on her website BabetteHughes.com.

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The Red Scarf by Babette Hughes

The Red Scarf
Babette Hughes
A Kate Brady Novel

The Red Scarf opens with Kate Brady, aka, Mrs. Ben Gold trying to find a normal life as the widow of the Godfather of the Jewish mafia, Ben Gold. Ben Gold is dead and the file is closed as far as law enforcement is concerned. The angry remaining Sarsini brother is the killer, or at least that's what the FBI believes. Good riddance is what they and everyone who knew Ben Gold think, and Kate agrees wholeheartedly. Ben had treated her badly, was not a good man, and frankly deserved exactly what he got.

And, so, as The Red Scarf picks up her story she is attending college, living on the millions of dollars of ill-gotten gain that Ben had left her, and trying to put the life of a moll behind her. But once again, even from beyond the grave, Ben Gold drags her back into the dangerous world of gangster and guns.

When handsome FBI agent Adam Fairfield is introduced as a guest lecturer, she feels immediately drawn to him, and he to her. A torrid love affair ensues and soon, she is risking her life by revealing her darkest secret to him, trusting that he won't put her away for life, or worse.

For Kate, this story is about more than the thrill of bringing down another bad man who is intimidating her community and abusing his wife. This is about redemption. It's about getting on with her life and leaving behind as best she can the lengthy laundry list of mistakes she had made as a young and impressionable woman.

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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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