Welcome to author Amy Meade who comes to us from Bristol, England where she currently resides. Thank you Amy for taking time away from recipe testing, traveling, and writing.
Describe your favorite writing spot or space.
Before moving to Bristol ( 1.5 hours west of London) my husband and I lived in Brixham, Devon where Agatha Christie’s holiday home, Greenway, is located. Needless to say we spent many an afternoon strolling the grounds and enjoying tea and sandwiches at the cafe. One afternoon in late August we went there and I brought my journal along and wrote some notes while at the battery overlooking the River Dart and in the dahlia garden. It was quite the experience!
Describe your current writing spot or space.
Although I have an upstairs office, I prefer writing at the dining room table as the south side of the dinging room is punctuated by a set of sliding glass doors that lead to the patio and garden. My cats prefer me to work there as well since, throughout the day, I can be found opening and closing said doors to let them out into the garden and then back into the house.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
My husband is a musician, so I spend the first part of every day updating his website, sending out marketing emails, working on contracts, and other managerial tasks. The afternoons are spent writing in between book promotion activities.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
The first three books in the Tish series were written in six months. For the past two, I’ve been given eight months.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Nothing is half-finished or unfinished. However, I do have some ideas for a stand-alone mystery for which I’ve completed the research and created a synopsis and rough draft. As of today, it remains unsold.
Do you writie under a pseudonym? If not, have you ever considered it?
I write under my maiden name and never considered writing under a pseudonym. I suppose if I made a dramatic change in genres, it might be in order.
What comes first for you, the plot or characters?
I typically come up with the murder first and the circumstances surrounding it. From there, I fill in the secondary characters and what will happen to my main characters. How will the murder/situation change them for the good or the better.
How do you select the names of your characters?
I search for the most popular names in a specific region during a specific time. For instance, my Tish Tarragon mysteries are set just outside of Richmond, Virginia. If a character is a fifty-year-old woman who moved to Virginia from Georgia, then I search for the most popular girls names in Georgia fifty years ago. Then I search on classic southern surnames. Whichever combination of names best fit the character is what I wind up using.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Probably the same thing that’s difficult about writing any character: trying to find a voice that’s authentic to that character and yet distinct from the other characters in the book.
Can you hear your characters talking?
Yes. I can envision them as well.
Were you a part-time writer before you became a full-time one? For how long?
As I work for my husband and do copyediting work, I still do — technically– write part time. As for working outside the home, I was a technical writer for several years as well as a catalog copywriter. It’s only been the past four or five years that I’ve been working strictly from home.
How much time do you spend on research before starting a book? While writing?
For my current series, the amount of research prior to the writing is fairly minimal as is the amount of research done during writing. I used to live in Virginia and spent a lot of time in Richmond, so that makes it easier. Occasionally, I need to Google a point for the actual murder, but it doesn’t take very much time at all. On the other hand, for my historical mysteries, I would spend about a month or so researching and getting the feel of the era, and then while writing, I’d invariably find myself wondering what women’s scent was popular, what radio show might be on at six o’clock in the evening, or a myriad of other details.
What kind of research do you do for a book?
For the current series, recipes that I can adapt for Tish’s cafe and any criminal/legal elements.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
I am most definitely a house cat. Not only do I own two (or shall I say, they own me) but they often sit on my lap as I write. And we all enjoy spending a quiet day at home with the sun streaming through the windows and then, in the evening, curling up on the sofa to watch tv.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Maybe that I clean while writing. I write a few sentences, get stuck, do dishes or some other chore, let it mull in my head, and then get back to it. It’s the second reason my writing desk is the dining room table– I’m central to the kitchen and the washing machine.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
My new reading glasses!
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Cooking, reading, exploring our new home in England.
Do you ever Google yourself?
No, but I do sometimes read reviews.
What is your favorite childhood book(s)?
Jonathan Bellairs, The House with a Clock in its Walls was a favourite as well as the Nancy Drew series.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
To have more faith in my writing ability, to take more chances, and learn to shake off criticism.
Do you have a bonus question you’d like to ask yourself?
I can’t think of a question to ask myself… I find myself rather dull! Lol!
Born and raised on Long Island, New York, Amy Patricia Meade is the author of the critically acclaimed Marjorie McClelland Mystery series, Don’t Die Under the Apple Tree: A Rosie the Riveter Mystery, and the new Tish Tarragon culinary mystery series.
Currently residing in the southwest of England, Amy enjoys spending time with her husband and two cats, reading, cooking, gardening, and exploring her new home.