Author Interview: Gloria Ferris

1.       Are there any books or authors that inspired you to become a writer?

There wasn’t a library in the tiny town I grew up in, but every classroom was equipped with shelves of books under the blackboard. I read them all and especially loved the L.M. Montgomery stories. When I finished these, I turned to newspapers and my teenage sister’s True Romance magazines. (Scarred from the latter, by the way.) My mother belonged to a book-of-the-month club, and my favorites were the Ellery Queen mysteries, far too cerebral for an eight-year-old, but I loved the police procedural aspect, and I had a yen for Ellery. So, Lucy Maud anchored my love of reading, while Ellery turned me on to mystery which is my primary genre (I also write fantasy and suspense).

2.       Do you play music while you write – and, if so, what’s your favorite:

I need a soothing environment to write, even action scenes. I turn on “spa” music, lower the volume, and place a soy, scented candle nearby, but not too close to a pile of paper; I won’t make that mistake again. Since I figured out this routine works for me, my productivity has risen, maybe not dramatically, but measurably.

3.       Do you prefer ebooks, printed books, or audiobooks most of the time?

Alas, a few years ago, I was forced by an eye disorder to switch from print to ebooks. I still buy the signed, print copies of my author friends’ books to display on a bookshelf while using my ebook reader to enjoy the stories. I will say an ebook does not give the reader the option of easily flipping through pages to check a name or plot point  in the previous chapters, so that’s one downside to ebooks.

4.       How do you celebrate when you finish your book?

I can’t say I’ve ever celebrated. When a book is published, I have moments of fulfillment and purpose, and anxiety – is it good enough, could I have done better? But, the journey from finishing a first draft to publication – through editing, beta readers, another four or five edits, proofreaders – is so long, I usually have one or two other projects already on the go. So many stories, so little time. However, that moment when I receive my proof copy in the mail – that’s what it’s all about for me.

5.       Have you ever considered writing under a pseudonym, and why or why not?

I write my mysteries and YA contemporary fantasy under my real name. I’ve co-authored two suspense novellas with another author and we used both real names on the cover. Currently, I’m collaborating with two mystery author friends who write under one pen name, on a “Caper”, a book we started as a way to stay in touch during the pandemic, just for laughs. It turned into a serious project and we’ll be publishing it before year end. And, ta da, we’re using a pen name that’s a combo of my real name and their pen name! Such fun.

6.       How do you come up with character names for your stories?

For me, choosing character names is the most enjoyable part of writing a book. I like short, uncommon names for characters that carry over in a series. I have a tattered booklet of uncommon names, and a list I add to whenever I come across a name I like – TV and movie credits are a great source. Or, I go may go online and research birth years and scroll to the end of the 100 most popular. That way I’m not using “a Willie or a Sam”. Minor character names usually change two or three times by the time I finish the book. All part of the enjoyment.

7.       How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

So far, seven books solo, two co-authored. My favorite is Corpse Flower, the first in my Cornwall& Redfern mysteries. I wrote it for myself, having fun with it, not caring about boundaries or what anyone else might think. To my surprise, it was picked up by a major Canadian publisher that also released the second in the series. I self-published the third and an accompanying novelette, and I’m working on the fourth novel in the series.

8.       What are your favorite series or series authors?

Wow. There are so many series I love. Here are a few:

·         Louise Penny – Three Pines mysteries

·         Preston & Child – the Pendergast mysteries

·         Gail Bowen – Joanne Kilbourn mysteries

·         Meghan Ciana Doldge – The Dowser Series (fantasy)

·         Sonia Bateman – The DeathSpeaker Series (fantasy)

9.       What do the words “writer’s block” mean to you?

Personally, when I’m stuck and can’t move forward, or don’t want to sit myself down and write, that’s a signal that something is wrong with my storyline. Sometimes, I have to delete scenes or entire chapters. They ramble, don’t move the plot forward, or I’m indulging my warped sense of humor. If I’m lucky, it’s just a timeline glitch – a pain to figure out, but I’m not losing days or weeks of precious WORDS!

10.   If you’re planning a sequel, can you share a tiny bit about your plans for it?

I’m finishing up Dark Blossoming, the 4th in my Cornwall & Redfern mystery series. My books have a lot of humor in them, but Dark Blossoming was conceived during the scary days of shutdowns and restrictions. There is a darker theme than usual running through the story, but my female main character, Bliss Moonbeam Cornwall, provides her usual light moments, even when she discovers a skeleton in Blackmire Swamp.

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Twitter: @GloriaFerris

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