Monday, January 2, 2012

Mystery Monday: Interview with Gina Conroy

Happy New Year, Readers! I pray you all had a wonderful holiday season, and that this year will be a blessed one for each one of you.

I recently had the privilege of interviewing author Gina Conroy, and today, we share that time with you.

Gina, thanks for joining us today for Mystery Monday.

Cherry Blossom Capers, the book you wrote with Cara Putman, Frances Devine, and Lynette Sowell releases today! Congratulations – it sounds like a delightful book. Here’s the blurb for our readers:

Encounter mystery, mayhem, and murder near Washington, DC, alongside four professional females. White House assistant chef Tara Whitley works with an old flame, FBI agent Jack Courtland, to stop a plot to sabotage a state-dinner. Attorney Ciara Turner and her nemesis Daniel Evans have trials tracking down a judge’s murderer. Archaeologist intern Samantha Steele and security guard Nick Porter are on the heels of a dangerous forger. Shop owner Susan Holland and renovator Vince Martini turn upside down her late uncle’s mansion while investigating a string of mysterious accidents. Will these sleuthing couples’ machinations move them into matrimony?

Gina, which story is yours? Can you tell us more about it?

My story is the third one in the book and is called Buried Deception. It’s about a Mount Vernon archaeology Intern and widow Samantha Steele who wants to make a good impression at her orientation, but her babysitter gets sick and she’s forced to take her rambunctious children to work. There she has a run in with security guard and ex-cop Nick Porter who’s haunted by his past. Through several mishaps, a forgery is discovered, and it’s up to Samantha and Nick to set aside their stubbornness, and rely on each other to catch the thief … or the results could be deadly.

How did all of you decide on DC as a setting?

I’m really not sure how the setting came about since we first started brainstorming the project in 2006. But I had just taken a cross country trip up the East Coast with my family and visited Mount Vernon. Cara Putman also lived in the area where our book is set, so it was easy to come up with a community close to D.C. Plus, when you think of Washington, D.C. you think of mystery and intrigue. I think it’s the perfect setting!

What did you find the most difficult aspect of writing a mystery?

Making all the clues match up and make sense in my head! The research and clue dropping had to be precise, and at times even I got confused as to whodunit. There was a lot of police procedure involved where I counted on my police officer friend, Steven Hunt, to educate me in all areas of background checks, firearms, and cop lingo. When it came time to reveal the villain, it took more mental power than I had imagined to make sure everything lined up with the facts. Just thinking about all the double and triple checking I had to do makes my head hurt.

Were there any surprises during the writing of your stories?

Yes, one character I didn’t think would be a suspect started acting suspicious. It was fun to develop that thread.

I love when that happens - it somehow seems to validate the creative process, doesn't it? Did you do any special research to help with this story?

On top of the police procedure research, I contacted Mount Vernon about the new building additions on the estate since the last time I visited, and I talked with an archaeologist at Mount Vernon about the archaeology lab and preservation center as well as the archaeology program. I enlisted fellow writers in the D.C. area to help me with the subway system and how long a trip from D.C. might take to Mount Vernon via roadway. I used maps of the Smithsonian, Mount Vernon and google Earth to figure out the setting of different areas in my story and to map the path my characters took. And that is only a sampling of the research I had to do.

It's amazing how much research goes into every story. Aside from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I love to encourage fellow writers and people to pursue their dreams. In fact, I started the pursuit of another lifelong dream of mine. Ballroom dancing. While I won’t be on Dancing with the Stars anytime soon, I am enjoying the physical and mental challenge of dancing. Not to mention it’s a great work out and lots of fun!

How fun!! I've got two left feet, so anyone who dances has my utmost admiration. Please tell us what you’re working on now, and when we can find your next release.

I’m working on a WWII Rosie the Riveter novel inspired by grandmother who kicked her no good husband out of her home when the loan sharks came to collect money he owed. She then worked as a Rosie and raised her three children until her youngest was 16. Then she remarried. Her story is such an inspiring one to women of all eras! My agent is shopping it around now, so I can use all the prayer I can get! J

Gina, tell us where we can find you on the Web.

For a more personal account of my life and triumphs and trials as I pursue my dreams along side my kids' dream, you can find me blogging at Defying Gravity. There I share my writing insecurities and celebrations, but also share fun stuff about my family like when my kids got a Disney audition call back! After all, my blog is all about helping people follow their dreams, and I have to include my own children!

For posts related to all types of writing, I blog ever Friday at Writer...Interrupted, the site I founded when I was trying to figure out how to balance raising my family with pursuing my writing career. The rest of the week writers, agents and editors guest post and the archives is full of great information for the busy writer!

If you just have to keep up with my daily life, follow me on Facebook or for a more professional view of my life there's my Author Page. I'm also on Twitter and have a Facebook Page just for Writer...Interrupted. And did I mention I LOVE to hear from readers!!

Thanks so much for spending time with us, Gina. We wish you great success in all your pursuits. Readers, if you have any questions or comments for Gina, just leave them below.

More about Gina:

Gina Conroy is president and founder of Writer...Interrupted where she mentors busy writers. Knowing how difficult it is to raise a family as well as a career, she chronicles her triumphs and trials on Defying Gravity, hoping to encourage those on a similar path. She is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, and her first novella, Buried Deception, in the Cherry Blossom Capers Collection, releases from Barbour Publishing in January 2012. Gina loves to connect with readers on Facebook and Twitter.

More about her novella Buried Deception:

Mont Vernon archaeology intern and widow Samantha Steele wants to provide for her children without assistance from anyone. Security guard and ex-cop Nick Porter is haunted by his past and keeps his heart guarded. But when they discover an artifact at Mount Vernon is a fake, Nick and Samantha need to work together, set aside their stubbornness, and rely on each other or the results could be deadly. Will Samantha relinquish her control to a man she hardly knows? Can Nick learn to trust again? And will they both allow God to excavate their hearts so they can find new love?

1 comment:

Morgan Mandel said...

Ballroom dancing sounds like fun. I remember when my husband and I would do disco dancing a while back.

Yes, it is amazing how much research can go into each book, even when topics you know about are included.

Morgan Mandel