My fellow GCC’r Roberta Isleib is out with a new book. Roberta was kind enough to stop by and answer some of my questions.
Tell us about your latest book.
In Asking for Murder, when a Connecticut sandplay therapist is found beaten and left for dead, Dr. Rebecca Butterman is determined to help search for answers. With a would-be killer on the loose, she can only hope the clues are buried within easy reach. Besides the mystery, the book is about best friends, craziness in families, and the mysteries of sandplay therapy.
What pulled you into this story, and as a writer made you think ‘I have to write this’?
Tongue in cheek: I had a contract! But for real, I love this character Dr. Butterman. Because I was a therapist for many years, I really understand her work and the way she thinks about the people she tries to help. And I enjoy thinking about her history and personal life and how that will wind through the story. I stumbled into the sandplay angle, but luckily found a wonderful therapist in New Hampshire who walked me through the process of how clients use the sand trays and the figurines and what it all means.
I love what I’m writing now. I can highlight my background in psychology and write about folks in that field who are competent and caring, rather than the idiotic and downright hurtful professionals you often see in movies and on TV. I’m very proud of the time I spent working as a clinical psychologist, but happy to be writing now.
Tell us about your writing process. Do you outline or are you more
I’m getting better at outlining because I find it makes the story much easier to write. Not so many black moments when I have no idea what’s going to happen next…
What is a typical writing day like for you?
As I begin a book, I look ahead to the due date and figure out how many pages I will need to write each week in order to hand it in on time. I build in time for trips and family and time for my writers group to read and critique, and then time for me to rewrite. Then I have a page goal for each week. I write until I’ve hit the goal, sometimes even getting a little ahead. For practical purposes, I do write most days. And mostly in the morning, saving the promotion and other “easier” work for when I’m less alert!
If you could only own and read 5 books for the rest of your life,(excluding your own) what five books would you choose?
Very hard question because I don’t do much rereading. Here goes: GONE WITH
THE WIND,THE MONK DOWNSTAIRS,THE JOY OF COOKING,BIRD BY BIRD,TRACKING DESIRE (written by my sister!) That’s a terrible question!
If you had to watch only five films for the rest of your life, what five
films would you choose?
This one’s easier, because I do like to watch my favorites over and over:
SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE,FUNNY GIRL,YOU’VE GOT MAIL,WHEN HARRY MET SALLY,SWEET DREAMS…
Do you have a vice that you’ve given up, but long to continue?
None that I want to go back to, thank you!
How do you promote your books? Are you going on tour for this book?
Any upcoming signings?
I always throw a book launch party at our local independent, RJ Julia in Madison, CT. and I visit other bookstores and attend Sisters in Crime events through our speakers bureau. I blog (my own and Jungle Red Writers.) I send out press releases, keep a mailing list, attend mystery conferences, network like crazy. And keep up to date with my website. I bet I’m missing things…My signings are all listed on my website. This time around I also commissioned a book trailer.
For you, what is the most difficult part of being an author?
The business part is hard–the part I have no control over. I can produce a fabulous book, but unless the publisher is really behind it and I have a bit of luck somewhere along the line, it’s unlikely to be a commercial success. That’s why I do as much as I can to promote, as long as it doesn’t interfere
with my writing! I want to be able to say I gave it my all…
What do you love about being an author?
I love looking at what I’ve written and feeling excited about it. I love seeing the new book in all its stages. I love meeting fans and talking books. And I simply adore the friends I’ve made along the way.
What’s next for you?
I’m thinking, I’m thinking….