Friday, August 08, 2014

Tag! I'm it.

There's a game of tag going on and I'm it on Type M. One of my favorite authors chased me down and presented four questions. They seemed easy enough, at first, but they turned out to be hard to answer. 

My tagmate is a fellow Type M'er Barbara Fradkin who is best known for her award-winning police precedural series featuring Inspector Michael Green. There are nine books in the series with the ten to be released this fall. Barbara has a PhD in clinical psycology and after more than twenty-five years as a child psychologist, she retired in order to devote more time to her first passion, writing.There are nine books in the series, with the tenth to be released in the fall of 2014. Do or Die introduced Inspector Green in 2000. The sequel Once Upon a Time (2002) was shortlisted for the Crime Writers' of Canada's Arthur Ellis award for Best Novel, while both Fifth Son (2004) and Honour Among Men (2006) won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel in their respective years. She often draws her themes from her own experiences as well as from issues that trouble her. She has explored topics ranging from war crimes to child sexual abuse to love gone awry.

Here are Barbara's questions: 

What am I working on?  

I'm working on my fourth mystery, Fractured Families. All of my books are set in Western Kansas where my intrepid historian turned undersheriff, Lottie Albright, always has to deal with old cold cases that are actively connected to new murders. Fractured begins in one of the most fascinating settings in Kansas--The Garden of Eden. Lottie is always simultaneously involved in complex family relationships due to her older husband's children from a previous marriage.

How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

The Lottie Albright series is set in Kansas, for one thing. It's not a venue writers just naturally gravitate toward. But I think Kansas is the most interesting state in the union. As William Allen White, one of our finest early newspaper editors once said, "Everything of importance that happens in this country, happens first in Kansas." But the interrelationship between murders and new murders is hard to pull off. The books always involve social issues too--so making sense of the plot keeps me very busy. 

Why do I write what I do?

I'm a native Kansan with a flaming state loyalty and have always been fascinated with this state. I have always lived in small rural towns, so it's no wonder my series is set in a fragile community bent on blowing itself sky high. I edited the Sheridan County History books and was mesmerized by the family secrets that were whispered to me in private after contributors turned in their sanitized stories for the history book. There was intrigue and murder galore. Family relationships are usually the root of all evil. Never mind money. Having a penchant for solving complicated problems, I find that crime fiction is the ultimate challenge. 

How does my  writing process work?     

Very poorly! Surely there is a better way. It's like feeling my way through a dense fog. Almost everything begins with an image of person in a particular setting. Unraveling who or why this person is there and why my mind clings to it begins with the old or the contemporary part of the story. I begin in longhand and flail back and forth between that and the computer. I call this miserable draft my pink draft be cause it's "Pink with Promise." The second yellow draft is surprisingly effecient because "The Light is Beginning to Dawn." I tack a chain of events page for each chapter up on a cork board, My "True Blue" draft straightens out all the language and inconsistencies. 

Now, aren't you glad Barbara asked?

2 comments:

Irene Bennett Brown said...

I'm thrilled to pieces Barbara asked. As long as I've known you, I'm still learning new things about your writing and I like it!

Charlotte Hinger said...

Thanks Irene. Sorry to be slow in getting back to you. I can't imagine that there's anything about me that you don't know. You're one of my dearest friends. We've been through a lot of strange times together in this writing world we volunteered to enter.