Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Conversation with Mystery Author Deirdre Verne

Omnimystery News: Author Interview with Deirdre Verne
with Deirdre Verne

We are delighted to welcome author Deirdre Verne to Omnimystery News today, courtesy of Great Escapes Book Tours, which is coordinating her current book tour. We encourage you to visit all of the participating host sites; you can find her schedule here.

Deirdre begins a new mystery series with Drawing Conclusions (Midnight Ink; February 2015 trade paperback and ebook formats) and we recently had the chance to catch up with her to talk about her new book.

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Omnimystery News: Introduce us to your new series character. What is it about her that appeals to you as a writer?

Deirdre Verne
Photo provided courtesy of
Deirdre Verne

Deirdre Verne: My main character, CeCe Prentice is a 20-something, environmentalist with a flair for portrait painting. Her artistic skills come in handy after her brother is murdered and the police need help identifying suspects. Within days of her brother's murder, CeCe's life is threatened and she is naturally drawn into the investigation. As the stakes rise, she sketches as fast as she can to uncover a solution to a mystery that will ultimately save her life.

My favorite part about the book was creating CeCe's sidekicks. She lives, with her roommates, on a self-sustaining farm. Each character brings something to the table — literally, CeCe and her friends, Charlie, Katrina and Jonathan, are dumpster-divers and every meal depends on their resourceful ways. Katrina, queen of the kitchen, turns leftovers and homegrown food into a farm to table feast. Charlie is a gear-head and keeps the household mechanics running and Jonathan handles the heavy farming. They're an unconventional group of young people in search of a better way to live.

I enjoyed researching the green movement and I loved the passion these characters demanded given their extreme life choices.

OMN: How do you see these characters evolving over the course of the series?

DV: The Sketch in Crime mystery series currently has three books scheduled on an annual release — 2015, 2016, 2017. The characters, for the most part, will reoccur in each book. However, I am hoping the characters evolve as their stories unfold. I enjoy writing dialogue and I'd like to see the relationships between the characters move forward and reflected in their conversations.

OMN: Into which mystery genre do you place the series?

DV: My books are soft-boiled and will appeal to cozy readers.

OMN: How would you tweet a summary of Drawing Conclusions?

DV: CeCe Prentice — environmentalist, peace-lover, artist — will stop at nothing to discover the truth behind her twin brother's untimely death.

OMN: Describe your writing process for us.

DV: I wish I had the discipline to write an outline. I've tried, but the constraint of staying in the lines makes me nuts. I find it's best to start writing and allow the characters to tell the story. I enjoy writing dialogue, and I'll very often think through conversations between characters in my head before I write.

OMN: Tell us more about the setting for the series.

DV: I grew up on Long Island and I'm of the opinion that Long Island gets a bad wrap. Yes, we have strong accents, big hair, big houses and there's always tons of traffic. We also talk a mile a minute, but that's what I love about Long Islanders.

In addition to the people, the island is home to world's most beautiful beaches and scenic overlooks. I wanted to bring my favorite parts of Long Island to my book. I do take some liberties with the areas in and around Huntington and Cold Spring Harbor, but I'm also a big fan of using maps when I write. When necessary, I'll jump in the car and take a drive back to the island and take notes and photos.

OMN: What are some of your outside interests?

DV: I'm not a regular dumpster diver, but I crave a good flea market, antique fair or garage sale. I do have some furniture in my house that I rescued from curbsides and subsequently refurbished. I love the high of the hunt!

Since my main character is a dumpster-diver, I decided to test the waters with my own garbage. I have a Pinterest page where I create happy faces from yesterday's leftovers. It's a visual way to help me keep in touch with readers and I'd love for my fans to contribute their own happy faces. I'm just an email away.

OMN: What is the best advice you've received as an author?

DV: The best advice I've received is to listen to criticism with open ears. When I receive the same feedback from more than one person, I start to take it seriously. The nice thing about writing is that it's easy to fix. All you have to do is backspace.

When you receive criticism, your first reaction is to justify why you wrote something the way you did. I've quickly learned to pull back and simply take it in. What's important is how the reader perceives the writing regardless of the author's intent.

This is especially true with humor. A writer friend told me never to compare myself to writers who do humor well. Let the reader decide if you can write humor. I always thought that was an interesting way to think about the process.

OMN: How did Drawing Conclusions come to be titled?

DV: This is an easy answer. I described the book to my mother and I explained that the main character was a sketch artist. The title, Drawing Conclusions, popped into her head. For the Sketch in Crime series, I will be including the word drawing in the titles. Thanks Mom!

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

DV: Hats off to Nelson DeMille, my favorite mystery author. I thoroughly enjoy his protagonist, John Corey. His sarcasm and swagger keep me turning the pages. I'm also a big fan of Harlan Coben and Henning Mankell.

OMN: Create a Top 5 list for us on any topic.

DV: I'm one of those people who can't sit through more than a minute of a horror movie. I'd like to challenge myself to watch 5 horror movies beginning to end. I guess I'd have to start with Nightmare on Elm Street — I think there are four in the series — and end with at least one Chuckie movie. I don't have high hopes for completing this challenge. As my kids would say — "It's a fail."

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Deirdre Verne Book Tour

Deirdre Verne (Scarsdale, NY) is a college professor and an active college blogger. A writer for the millennium crowd, Deirdre's interest in green living inspired her to create an off-the-grid character who Dumpster dives her way though a suspense-filled mystery series. A member of Sisters in Crime, Deirdre's short stories appear in all three New York chapter anthologies — Murder New York Style, Murder New York Style: Fresh Slices and Family Matters.

For more information about the author, please visit her website at DeirdreVerne.com and her author page on Goodreads, or find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Drawing Conclusions by Deirdre Verne

Drawing Conclusions
Deirdre Verne
A Sketch in Crime Mystery

CeCe Prentice — environmentalist, peace-lover, artist — will stop at nothing to discover the truth behind her twin brother's untimely death.

While she never saw eye to eye with her father — the ambitious director of a renowned genetics research center — CeCe Prentice always remained close to her brother, Teddy. When Teddy is found dead at the lab where he worked for their father, CeCe's efforts to mourn the tragic loss are interrupted by several attempts on her own life.

CeCe is naturally drawn in to the investigation, teaming up with Detective Frank DeRosa, the officer assigned to protect her. Together, they begin looking into the circumstances surrounding Teddy's death, only to discover the truth may be found closer to home than they think — in CeCe's own paintings.

Amazon.com Print/Kindle Format(s)  BN.com Print/Nook Format(s)  Kobo eBook Format

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