Twitter Style Interview with Mystery Writer Camille Minichino
Camille Minichino is the author of three mystery series, beginning with her Periodic Table Mysteries. Her akas are Margaret Grace (The Miniature Mysteries) and Ada Madison (The Professor Sophie Knowles Mysteries). THE SQUARE ROOT OF MURDER released July 5, 2011 and is available at your local bookstore or at amazon.
Read the first chapter of SQUARE ROOT OF MURDER here.
Read Camille’s fun interview HERE:
What is one stereotype about mystery writers is absolutely wrong?
That we’re secretly out for revenge on someone.
What one stereotype is dead on?
That we were not cool in high school but are making up for it.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
Revenge. (See above.)
Are there other genres slivered into your mysteries? Romance? Thriller?
A little romance and a thrill or two.
What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
A likeable protagonist, whether cop or serial killer; then a good story and clean writing.
How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
I plunge in.
What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
That someone other than my BFFs would read my books.
How long does it take you to write a book?
The first one took 60 years; the next ones took about 3 months each.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Sleep is overrated.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I use a spread sheet to keep track of my story and word count.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Information from an embalmer cousin; ideas wherever two or more are gathered.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Louis Buzbee, instructor at UC Berkeley Extension.
What are the hardest scenes to write?
Violence, even a slap in the face.
What are the easiest scenes to write?
What are your writing strengths?
What are your writing weaknesses?
Making the plot complex enough to be interesting and challenging to the reader.
Plotter or panster?
I’m a wing-it-er.
What new author has grasped your interest?
I’m stuck with the old: Ann Parker, Thomas H. Cook, Martin Cruz Smith …
What are you reading now?
“Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro.
Was there an author or sleuth that inspired you to write mysteries?
Patricia Highsmith, especially her Ripley books.
What’s your mystery subgenre–thriller, police procedural, psychological, private investigator, cozy?
I write cozy, but I read dark. Love the Dexter books, by Jeff Lindsay.
Do you enjoy reading all kinds of crime fiction, or mostly the subgenre you write?
Everything but the subgenre I write. But no horror or paranormal.
What do you think is a reasonable number of suspects is for a mystery?
No fewer than three, no more than five.
Does your sleuth have a sidekick?
I have 3 sleuths, 3 sidekicks: one cop, one pre-teen granddaughter, one hunky boyfriend.
What attributes do you look for in a sidekick when writing the character?
Complementary to the sleuth, opposite in personality.
When you are first brainstorming the plot, do you start out with the victim, suspects, crime, or sleuth?
Since the sleuth is a given in a series, I start with the victim, then the killer and motive.
Where is the mystery set? Does the setting play a role in the book?
I’ve done both real and fictional settings. Fictional are easier—no one-way-street problems.
How do you feel about interview questions?
I love them!
Camille received her Ph.D. in physics from Fordham University, New York City. She is currently on the faculty of Golden Gate University, San Francisco and on the staff of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Camille is on the boards of the California Writers Club and NorCal Sisters in Crime. She’s a member of NorCal Mystery Writers of America and SF Romance Writers of America.
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