Friday, August 23, 2013

Carolyn Hart---an Agatha for the new millenium!

Kicking off a new season with another author--Carolyn Hart!

Carolyn Hart is a long-time favorite of mine (y'all know I LOVE MYSTERIES!!) and her Death on Demand series is reminiscent of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple books, with Broward's Rock, South Carolina substituting for St. Mary Mead.  Annie Darling is a younger, more attractive, married version of Miss Marple...but it's all about the small-town ambiance that makes these books enjoyable.

Like the other authors...Ms. Hart graciously answered my silly questions and we exchanged many e-mails where we discussed books and the writing process.  Here's the gist:

1.  Broward's Rock seems like the perfect resort town.  Is it patterned after a real-life place?
    Ans. We started vacationing on Hilton Head island in the 1970s. Broward's Rock is a fictional version of Hilton Head as it was in the '70s though BR is much farther off shore. The alligators nosing through dark water, the scent of sea and sand, and the rustle of palm leaves are very real.
2.Your new mysteries are set in Oklahoma, which seems a stretch from South Carolina.  Where do you live?   (I promise not to stalk you!)
   Ans.  I live in Oklahoma, vacation in South Carolina. I've enjoyed using local backgrounds in the Bailey Ruth ghost series and also in What the Cat Saw, though both towns are fictional. My first book set in Oklahoma is Letter from Home, a story of the homefront in WWII.
3. Here's the segue--what is your decorating style?
 Ans.    My mother collected antiques and loved stately surroundings. Once when asked what decor I admired, she paused, said thoughtfully, "Carolyn likes everything to be spare. Windswept." I always thought that was very accurate. 
4.  What is the writing process like for you?
 Ans. Painful. Agonzing. Discouraging. I am always terrified I won't be able to finish the book.
5.  I have written a couple of blog posts on voice--how important do you think it is to keep it in mind as you write?
    Ans. Voice is inherent in writing and not something that has to be created. Voice is who you are.
6.  You have won numerous prestigious awards for your mysteries.  In twelve words or fewer, how does that feel?
    Ans. Heartwarming.  Because readers read the books, I am able to be a writer. I am forever grateful. 
7.  Any words of wisdom for those bloggers who wish to write professionally?
Ans. Care passionately about what you write. Somewhere an editor will care.
KIRBY here:  As I mentioned, she and I exchanged numerous e-mails over the course of a week, and she was nothing but encouraging to this wanna-be writer.  To take the time to help a sister (in crime) out was a lovely thing to do!  Thanks, Carolyn!!


  1. What a fantastic interview Kirby - and what a pleasure to get to know you a little Carolyn - ( of the windswept home - love love love that )
    Have a great weekend both of you!

  2. I always enjoy these interviews Kirby. The first mystery I ever read was an Agatha Christie and I was hooked! I'll be checking Carolyn out for sure and if you do decide to stalk her...remember, I'm just over the border from Oklahoma. I'll be your partner in crime.

  3. Now you're talking my language! It's all about the mysteries for me, always has been. I read Agatha when I was still in elementary school!

  4. I am not familiar with Carolyn, but I love mysteries so I will check her out.

    I can't wait to read a Kirby mystery.

  5. Great interview Kirby...thanks so much...and waiting for your book!

  6. What a lovely interview - and lovely experience for you, my friend. And I love the idea of a "windswept" decor style ... kind of makes me think the dust bunnies are just magically swept away ...

    :) Linda

  7. What a wonderful interview. Heading to Amazon next to see about the mysteries! I haven't heard of this charming writer, and how wonderful she took the time to email with you. I second what Linda said, "Windswept decor". Sounds very romantic. I think I will use that the next time my house is a mess (like now) and I need to find a good description of it. Clearly this woman has better things to do than worry about the state of her home!