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A murder arranged as a suicide … a missing deed … and a bereft daughter whose sheltered world is shattered. NOW AVAILABLE from Astraea Press. Click image for details.

Today is it my honor to welcome guest Meg Mims. Her new book DOUBLE CROSSING is a historical western romantic suspense you simply will not want to miss. Before you go there, however, I’ve got fantastic news! Meg comes bearing gifts, so be sure to read to the end to find out how you can score a really great prize pack.

Welcome, Meg! I’ve got to say, you’ve impressed me already. Your list of talents is many: an author of both fiction and nonfiction, art, and photography.  Do you feel these talents strengthen one another, or do they battle for your time?

They work symbiotically, to take a phrase from Star Wars. My fiction is a slower process—I have to produce non-fiction at a faster pace, but I use those as “exercises” to jump-start my fiction writing or editing later in the day. My watercolor artwork is usually once a week (although I’ve put that on the back burner since late May, just too busy!) and I found that using paint, water and paper is far more free and creative and feeds the writing.

Wow! And to hear the buzz, it sounds as if all of that feeding of your words has paid huge dividends in the form of happy readers! Can you share something about your  release, DOUBLE CROSSING, readers won’t find anywhere else? 

If readers enjoyed True Grit, the recent or older movie versions of the Charles Portis’ book, then they will enjoy Double Crossing.  The premise of a young woman’s father being murdered and seeking the killer is similar—but the story takes place on the Iron Horse.  I haven’t read too many historical westerns on the transcontinental train (only one, long ago) and my book focuses more on the suspense and mystery.

Your plot sounds absolutely intriguing! Way to sell the story, girl. ;c) If a reader is unfamiliar with your work, which of your books would you suggest he or she read first?  Why? 

Double Crossing will be the first in the series. Double or Nothing is the sequel, with a possible third book. I’m working on book two now.

I’ve gotta say, Best. Titles. Ever! Which genre are you drawn to as a reader?  Do you prefer to read in the same genre as your WIP or do you mix it up? 

I’ve always loved mysteries even as a kid. So when I started writing, my manuscripts always had a dead body or some other mystery popping up in the plot. I love reading all kinds of mysteries—historical, cozy, PI, what have you—but also read sci/fi, fantasy, YA, romance. An eclectic reader, I guess. J

I’m with you! I love mixing in suspense plots, whether I’m reading or writing. There’s something about all of that intrigue that really engages me in a plot. And now that we’re on engaging plots, here’s another question for you. Looking back over all of the intimate moments you’ve created between characters, which scene would you most like to experience for yourself?  What makes it so alluring?

Since I write “clean” fiction, the intimacy is pretty minimal, LOL. But everyone experiences that first “tingle” of attraction, of intrigue, of learning about a person and wondering what the future might be…  that first flush of “is it love?” Since my novels focus more on the mystery/suspense, the characters can be far more aware of clashing emotions—and that makes it fun during the writing process.

I happen to think those exact threads of suspense and attraction are what makes a great book! Have you ever battled with any of your characters over their personality traits?  If so, who won – you or the character? 

One manuscript I wrote (still in revision, more of a straight historical) had a character who “commandeered” every scene he was in—and I realized far too late that he needs to be the other foundation block beside the heroine. So yes, the battle is still ongoing.

Oh, wow. MEN! :C) Good luck with that one. This next question, believe it or not, is not about that character, LOL. Have you ever made big changes in your story because someone – your crit partner, a friend, or beta reader – really didn’t like it?  Are you glad you did (or didn’t)?

The only thing I ever changed due to several different contest results was to completely rewrite the first chapter of my Lighthouse Mystery, Fire Point. People either loved or hated the killer’s point of view. I ended up using my heroine’s POV to begin that manuscript, which made it stronger. And I’m glad I did.

Those bad guy POVs can be tricky. I often struggle with how or when to whip one out, LOL. How do you keep track of plot elements or twists?

When I write a mystery, I keep a log of who knows what and when. For Double Crossing, I had an outline—and had to revise it several times to beef up a few plot twists. Some things come right away, and some things come later when you know there’s a key element missing. It’s like an engine misfiring. You know something’s wrong, and you have to “chew the cud” – I tend to write/edit on other manuscripts if I’m that stuck.

That’s a good idea, and one I might have to borrow myself. ;c) Which of your novels most reflects who you are as a writer?  Why?

Fire Point—it’s set in 1908 in a small town in Michigan, and the heroine is an artist. A painter, in particular. And I love lighthouses. I also loved researching a time period where the world was on the cusp of modern conveniences (telephones, electricity, indoor plumbing, the automobile) clashing with the “old ways.” That included the social clashes of redefining the woman’s role within “a man’s world,” from suffrage to cigarettes to working outside of the home. Fascinating!

I have to confess, I am missing the research gene. But the way you write totally makes me want to digger a little harder–maybe even find it. You amaze me! Thanks so much for being here.

THANK YOU, Sarah, for the opportunity to appear here and chat! I love talking about writing, about research and historical details.

It has been a pleasure, Meg! Readers, don’t forget about this AWESOME giveaway! Up for grabs is a Kindle cover zipper pull, a pair of book earrings and a free PDF of Double Crossing to one person – a drawing of all those who comment on the blog and leave their email for future news.

Meg Mims

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historical western romantic suspense