Please welcome Saralyn Richard to my blog. Make yourself comfortable and have a cup of tea or coffee, your choice. Snacks are on the table in front of us. Shall we get started?
Please introduce yourself to those reading this blog post.
In addition to writing, I’ve been a teacher, a school administrator, a school improvement consultant, a wedding consultant, a legal secretary, a doctor’s assistant, a tutor, a volunteer, a beach bum, a public speaker, a candy-striper, a book editor, a dog trainer, a board member, and more. Currently I have a children’s book, Naughty Nana, and an adult mystery, Murder in the One Percent, released into the world. The sequel to the latter, A Palette for Love and Murder, is due out in January 2020.
Has writing always been part of your life and when did you “know” that it was time to start writing your first book?
I’ve always known I had the passion and talent for writing, but it wasn’t until tenth grade when my English teacher recognized the creative spark in me that I began putting words on paper for others to read. My senior English teacher joined in, and with all that encouragement, I was ready to pursue writing as a career. My parents had other ideas, though. They set me on the path to become an educator, something that I grew to love equally well. The thousands of people and life issues I’ve encountered have inspired me to think and grow as a writer, even though I was too busy to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. A few decades passed before I began giving writing my primary attention.
How difficult was it writing your first book?
Writing, for me, is not difficult. The settings, plots, and characters have been rehearsing in my mind for a long time, and eventually they prove themselves ready to take center stage. One of the hardest things for me to do is to decide which ones to write next.
Have you ever wanted to give up and what stopped you?
I’m not really the “giving up” kind, but when I was writing Murder in the One Percent, I struggled to find the right murder weapon to fit the parameters of time and space, motive and opportunity. I did weeks of research and came up dry. I told the members of my writers’ critique group that I might have to abandon this plot, but they told me not to give up on my characters, that I had a great story, and I needed to persevere. Finally a doctor friend found the perfect weapon, and I was on my way again.
Who is the most supportive of you and your dream to be a writer?
My husband. He indulges me in incessant conversations about my characters, their behaviors and relationships. He is my first reader, my best listener, and my most ardent fan. He takes me wherever I want to go to talk about the book, and he has been known to re-read my manuscripts a dozen or more times.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I am grateful to each and every reader for joining me in the intellectual and emotional adventures within my books. When you find something interesting, compelling, humorous, romantic, or meaningful in the books, you make my heart sing. Connecting with readers is the greatest joy of this business.
What is the best advice given to you (book or otherwise), and by whom?
There’s a saying in the Bible to “bloom where you are planted,” and that resonates with me. We can’t always control where we are planted in life, but we can do our best to excel within the conditions of our situations.
What is your target audience and what aspect of your writing do you feel targets that audience?
Murder in the One Percent’s target audience is adult mystery lovers who are intrigued by the lifestyles of the rich and famous. The novel is a cross between Bonfire of the Vanities and Murder on the Orient Express. Set in the lush Brandywine Valley of Pennsylvania, the book begins with a weekend retreat at a country mansion. America’s wealthiest one percent are in attendance, and the guests are treated to opulent surroundings, epicurean feasts, fine wines, and horseback riding adventures. It’s the last place you would expect anything untoward to happen. But someone comes to the party with murder in his heart and poison in his pocket.
Did the cover evolve the same way, or did you work with someone to make it come together for you?
Rebecca Evans, who illustrated Naughty Nana, also designed the cover for Murder in the One Percent. Our longstanding working relationship has given us intuitive powers to collaborate on visual representations. I’m fortunate to be able to work with such a fine artist.
What are you working on now?
Can we get a peek, an excerpt? A Palette for Love and Murder is in the editing stage. Detective Oliver Parrott can’t rest on his laurels after solving the crime in Murder in the One Percent. His next case in Brandywine Valley involves an art heist that quickly becomes a murder.
Here’s a little snippet from the second chapter:
“Parrott eased his body into the ergonomic leather-like executive chair and turned on his computer. His desk was as pristine and orderly as his bedroom. A cluttered environment made for cluttered thinking, and Mrs. Parrott hadn’t raised any sloppy kids.
As the computer warmed up, Parrott googled Blake Allmond. He knew the artist had a second home and studio in New York. Wherever it was, Parrott figured he might learn more about the artist from that than he would from the close-mouthed community on the farm. Google did its search, pulling up several pages of entries about the popular artist, most likely the most recent first. Parrott’s eyes scanned the page and clicked “next” a few times. There were pages and pages about this guy. Somewhere on the fifth page, Parrott gave his attention to the first item, something that answered a few questions and raised a few more. When he saw the headline of a twenty-year-old news article, coffee-flavored acid burned in his chest. He scooted his chair forward and double-clicked.”
Any last words before we wrap things up?
Thank you, Mary, for welcoming me on your blog. I’m indebted to so many generous people like you, who support and encourage literary and artistic pursuits. Above all, I’m grateful to readers everywhere, who give purpose and meaning to authors. Without you, there would be no stories.