Wednesday, March 6, 2013

JKSCommunications: "Hiding Gladys" by Lee Mims Author Interview

First off, I know it's supposed to be a review today, but I had to do the interview instead because the review is not quite ready.  So I chose to swap.

Cleo Cooper is either about to strike it rich or lose it all. Discovering a huge and rare granite deposit is a geologist’s dream come true. The multi-million dollar quarry deal will also benefit Cleo’s friend Gladys Walton, who owns the rural North Carolina property. So what could go wrong? Finding a dead body in Gladys’s well, for starters. A hitchhiking rattlesnake and a near-fatal accident during the drill test convinces Cleo that someone is dead set on scaring her–and halting the project. The two likely suspects? Gladys’s greedy, grown children, Robert Earle and Shirley, who try every dirty trick in the book to cash in on the granite-rich land. But are they nasty enough to resort to murder? Between romps with a hot geologist, Cleo devotes every fiber of her being to keeping Gladys safe–and keeping her dream alive.

Author Interview

1.  When and how did you first know that you wanted to be an author?

I don’t remember any great awakening accompanied by a clap of thunder or any significant occurrence that made me suddenly realize I wanted to be a writer. It was probably a combination of things that lead to finally acting on something I’d only subconsciously dreamed of. For one, long years of the type of pounding your body takes when training horses may have lead to facing the reality that I was engaging in a career that had a physical ending. Also, reading as many mysteries and thrillers as I have over the years inspired me and often caused me to thing that I, too could write. I only had to try. Once I did, it was like eating potato chips, I just couldn’t stop.

2.  If you were to pick an author as a mentor, who would it be and why?

There are so many writers that I love to read, it would be hard to choose, but if forced, I’d probably say Nelson DeMille.  He has several main characters that he weaves his stories around but the first one I was introduced to, the one that drew me to read other DeMille books, was John Corey in Plum Island. He was witty, smart and fearless and sent me straight back to the book store to find another of DeMill’s books featuring him. But for some reason, I can’t remember now, I chose one of his earlier works instead, The Gold Coast, which introduced me to a different protagonist, John Sutter, and I became convinced that he was my all-time favorite.
The point is, now that I’ve read most of DeMille’s books, I realize I enjoy all his main characters so much because he makes them very real with flaws and failings like each of us have but, in the end, they evolve to become better people. Case in point, John Sutter and his wife in The Gold Coast and the long-awaited sequel, The Gate House, both overcame personal demons to make their relationship work again and then the series (if you can call two books a series) came to an end. This brings me to another thing I admire so much about DeMille. He doesn’t drag a beloved character into story after story until they are diminished like so many other writers do.

3.  What do you prefer—e-books, physical books, or audiobooks? Why?

I prefer physical books. Oh yes, I had my fling with e-books and I do still enjoy my Kindle…for use as a dictionary. I keep it in my nightstand for that purpose because it takes up less space than my old Merriam-Webster. I’m quite sure my age has lots to do with my desire to actually hold a physical book in my hand, to thumb back through the pages and find something, a clue perhaps, and I’m also sure the e-books are here to stay. For me, however, when I want to loan a friend a book, I can. Also, I’ve come to feel that the price I pay for an e-book, usually only a few dollars less than I would have to pay for a real book, is actually just a rental fee. After all, I can’t leave it behind after I’m gone.

4.  If Hollywood were to make a movie of your book, what actors/actresses could you picture playing the main roles in the adaptation.

  I’ve answered this question before in regard to the role of Cleo and my choice there would be Cameron Diaz because her physical attributes are similar to Cleo’s: 5’9” with a slim, athletic build from years of working in the field, blond hair. Moreover, she’s about the right age as Cleo. Well, she’s a little younger, but there’s Hollywood makeup for that.
For Bud, I believe I mentioned in Hiding Gladys that, while he wasn’t handsome, he somewhat resembled Edward Norton, only better.
As for the rest of the family, Henri and Will, I’ll leave that to Hollywood.

5.  What is your favorite genre to read? To write?

Mysteries are my favorite both to read and to write because they require close attention to timeline and to the leaving of clues. Clues have to be sprinkled about in just the right way to keep the reader guessing. They are like puzzles, but for me, when reading them, I don’t want them to be so complex, so obtuse, that you’re constantly thumbing back and forth trying to get a fix on what’s actually happening. In my opinion, a writer can get too complicated.
I should refine my choice by saying that I like reading and writing action-filled mysteries. Anyone whose read Hiding Gladys knows that and my second book in the series, Trusting Viktor, will be no different. I find it particularly challenging—and lots of fun—to write an action sequence and make it believable, one that Cleo, might reasonably find herself in, but one that most of us, including me, have never engaged in.

6.  What are your thoughts about book trailers?

Times have changed since the days when, to buy a good book, one would just go to a book store and peruse the shelves until they found something that titillated their interest. Today it takes experts on social media and marketing in all forms to reach consumers. To that end, I imagine book trailers are a good marketing tool for those writers who can afford to have one made. I have no experience with them.

7.  Do you have a pet peeve? If so, please name at lease one.

   Yes. People who leave the toilet seat up in the middle of the night. Enough said.

8.  What is your favorite task to do? Least favorite?

   As single girl, I loved the soothing effect of the noises and smells in the laundry room. The muffled bump, bump, bumping of the dryer accompanied by the gurgling of the washer as it emptied or filled in preparation for its next cycle. And who couldn’t benefit from the aroma therapy afforded by the sent of “ocean-fresh” detergent and lavender-infused dryer sheets?
Even now that I’ve been married 33 years, it’s still my favorite task and the place to go when things get hard. And, let’s face it, most everything in life is hard these days, due in part to the fast pace at which things are changing. Except for the laundry room. Aside from different packaging of detergents and more energy-efficient machines it’s pretty much the same. A place where you can go and enjoy thinking while doing the mindless task of fluffing and folding. I’ve solved several of the world’s problems there.
My least favorite task? No question. Cooking. I live on a farm in a very rural area. No take out and no delivery except for pizza and you can’t eat that for every meal. So, it falls to me to be creative…three times a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year…you get the picture. It gets old.

Lee Mims
Author Biography

Lee Mims is and always has been a North Carolina farm girl. She played outdoors from dawn to dusk, built forts, drank water from garden hoses and ran with sticks. And for 25 years, she raised and trained Quarter Horses.

She was often sick as a child, and it was while staying home with her mother that Mims learned the beauty of words. Together they read endlessly: short stories, fairy tales and adventure novels.

Because of her love of the great outdoors, she later earned a master’s and bachelor’s degree in geology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and worked as a field geologist. And as a popular wildlife artist, Mims owns her self-named studio where she does both portrait and fine art oil paintings. She has two pieces on tour with Paint America and recently sold a painting to Ms. Andy Griffith for his museum.

Books never escaped her, and her geology background inspired Hiding Gladys, the first of the debut author’s Midnight Ink-published Cleo Cooper Mystery Series. Busy writing the next installment, Trusting Viktor, Mims is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

Follow her:

She lives on a family farm in Clayton, NC with her husband.


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