Hi, Heather! Thanks for joining me in this discussion today! What are your ambitions for your writing career? What would your career look like in an ideal world?
I would love to write full-time. Right now, I still have a day job that I love, but I’d like to be in a position that writing will be my retirement job.
That's a great goal. Since I am a newbie to Virginia Beach, where is your favorite place to go in the area?
Virginia Beach was a great place to grow up.
I have lots of favorites…My favorite seafood restaurant is Rudee’s on the Inlet. I also love Chick’s Beach. Mt. Trashmore is a fun park. And I love the Virginia Aquarium and Science Center.
I do love Chick's Beach too! A lot more private than the other beaches. I love that your dogs have their own page on your website. What impact do your dogs have in your life?
We have two crazy Jack Russells who kindly let us live in their house. They are bundles of energy that keep us on our toes. Everything is a game to a JRT.
That's so funny! Which writers inspire you?
I am inspired by so many writers. I’ve been reading the mystery genre since elementary school. In that world, Poe, Christie, Hammett, Spencer are at the top of my list. But I also love Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Collins, Hawthorne, Melville, Dickens, and Lee.
Give us an insight into how you create your main characters.
I attended a Sisters in Crime presentation with a female Private Eye, and it was interesting to listen to her talk about her adventures. I thought it would be fun to create a character who wasn’t law enforcement, but she had some inroads into that world as a PI. My character, Delanie Fitzgerald, is a sassy young PI with a knack for getting in and out of humorous situations.
I love mysteries that have a slight bit of humor in them. What are you working on right now?
I’m working on book 2. Secret Lives and Private Eyes comes out in May 2016. I’m working on the follow up novel to that. I’m also working on some short stories for a themed anthology.
Good luck writing book two! What draws you to writing mystery books?
I love the puzzles. I love putting the clues together and trying to solve the crime or caper.
Is that also your favorite genre to read?
Mystery/thriller is my favorite genre. But I read lots of different books. I’m reading one on business communication and another on motivating teams. I love history and biography too.
How much research do you do before writing a book?
I do a lot of research to make sure that my scenarios or the ways that I’ve described them are accurate. I’m very fortunate. My dad is a retired Virginia Beach police captain, and he’s a great resource on all things police procedural.
It's great that you have your own go-to person for answers. Why do you write?
I write because I enjoy it. And it’s wonderful when others want to read what you’ve created.
Do you have any advice for someone looking to get published?
Do NOT give up. Writing and getting published is hard work. You have to be willing to put the time and the energy into the entire process.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
The writing part is easy for me. It’s the editing and the reworking that takes time and a lot of sweat and tears.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
I like to brainstorm and plot. And then I love to just sit and write. The final draft doesn’t look very much like the first one. Chapters come and go. I changed the first chapter in Secret Lives and Private Eyes three times.
What book/s are you reading at present?
I’m reading Blah, Blah, Blah (about communicating better with work teams), Drive (about motivating teams), and The Feud (about the Hatfield and McCoy feud. I have a bad habit of reading several books at the same time.
I have that same bad habit. What is your favorite quote?
I have two favorites…
"Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astair did, but backwards and in high heels."
~ Faith Whittlesey
"Well behaved women rarely make history."
~ Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
I love both of those quotes as well! Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
One piece of advice that I have for new writers is to find a peer group of other writers. It’s great if you can find one in your genre. The support, advice, and encouragement is worth its weight in gold. I am so fortunate to have my Sisters in Crime, Virginia is for Mysteries, Lethal Ladies, and my Guppies groups.
That's really great advice. How can readers discover more about you and you work?
I’m also in Pinterest, Goodreads, and Instagram. Stop in and see me. My debut novel, Secret Lives and Private Eyes comes out in May.
I can't wait to check out your book when it debuts! Good luck in your writing and thanks again for joining me!
o Amber Gregg o