Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Tamara Siler Jones embarks on her whirlwind GCC tour today; she has blown into Fruitful-land to answer a few questions about her new book, Threads of Malice, a unique blend of fantasy, forensics, and suspense:

--What inspired Threads of Malice?

Oh boy.

When my publisher expressed interest in my first book, Ghosts in the Snow, my agent suggested throwing out a couple more mystery ideas for my sleuth, Dubric Byerly. One idea I suggested was that he’d meet a John Wayne Gacy type of killer. I was rapidly offered a three book deal and that concept evolved into Threads of Malice.

There are a lot of different types of serial killers, but the sexual predators seem to take the lion’s share of our attention. With that in mind, what’s more disturbing than a model citizen, someone active in the community on so many levels, a business man… who rapes tortures and kills teenage boys and buries them in his basement? And no one knows, no one even suspects… Heck, no one even knows for sure that they’re dead. He murdered at least thirty-three boys before anyone realized what he was up to. That’s chilling stuff, and it was a great leaping off point for the story concept.

--What inspires you, in general?

My mortgage. ;)

In all seriousness, it varies. Some days it’s the burning need to get the story told, some days it’s the thrill of discovery… Some days it’s just looking up to the wide open sky and feeling like part of something bigger than myself.

--Do you have any words of advice for aspiring writers?

Read a lot, write a lot, and never give up. That’s the simple answer. The tougher one is to learn your craft – first drafts often are pretty crappy, especially when you’re trying to find your voice – and learn everything you can about grammar, tense, voice, structure, pacing, characters and conflict (along with everything else). Approach writing as a business, as a job, and understand that publishers are out to make money, not make you feel good. If you can not take rejection and bad critiques personally, it can go a long way to help you maneuver through the hoops and hurdles on the quest to publication.

--Since I always have to ask a fruit-related question...What do you think is the creepiest fruit, and why?

Pomegranates. They’re full of these little blood-colored balls, and they give the most marvelous sensation when you crush them between your teeth. Resistance (a sphere is very structurally tough, after all) then spurt! Creepy yet cool.

--Thanks so much, Tamara--we'll have to celebrate National Pomegranate Month together next year! I just discovered that Trader Joe's sells little containers of pomegranate seeds; I've been eating them like popcorn all week. So good. Best of luck with your book and the tour!

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