Name Belinda G. Buchanan
Age Wise enough not to answer
Where are you from Kentucky, USA
A little about yourself `ie your education Family life etc
I was born in Owensboro, Kentucky and am the youngest of four girls, beating out my twin sister for the title by a scant two minutes. A self-proclaimed introvert growing up, I spent my youth making dollhouses for my cardboard figurines to act out the drama I’d created for them. I met my husband on a blind date, and this past June we celebrated our 25th anniversary. After having spent fifteen years working in export/transportation, I am now a stay at home mom to two boys (one who loves me unconditionally, and one who loves me only when we’re not in public).
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I recently published my fourth novel, Tragedy at Silver Creek in September.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
As a child, I was a big daydreamer and lover of drama, and as I matured those daydreams began to consume me. Writing became a huge outlet for those stories.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I typed the last sentence of my first novel, After All Is Said And Done. To me that solidified what I’d been working towards my whole life.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
For years, I’d had this story rambling around in my head about two couples who worked together who had an affair, the end of which, resulted in a pregnancy. Most of the time, we see the immediate consequences of adultery: anger, followed by hurt, then divorce. But what happens when the couples try to make a go of it? That’s what I wanted to write about. After All Is Said And Done depicts the long-term ramifications that infidelity has on a marriage, as well as the heart.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I write in past tense, and I love doing multiple points of view because I find all my characters to be fascinating and want readers to know what’s going on inside them. For Seasons of Darkness, I alternated chapters between the father and son’s point of view and was very pleased with how it turned out.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
One day while driving home from work, “Look What You’ve Done to Me” by Boz Skaggs came on the radio. There was one verse in the song that went “After All Is Said And Done…after all you are the one….” I knew right then and there that was what I was going to call my first book, because the theme is about adultery, healing, and—ultimately—forgiveness. It was a perfect title.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
My books tend to deal with darker subjects such as abuse, alcoholism, mental illness, grief, and adultery. I think that those who have read my books come away knowing that not only is there a light at the end of the tunnel—but hope; for even in the darkest of times, hope is on the horizon.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
I write all of my books with the intention of them being as realistic as possible, otherwise they would be fantasy…right? I spend an enormous amount of time doing research to ensure that the particular scene I’m working on is accurate. I remember that when I was working on Seasons of Darkness, I did about a day and a half of research on the habitat and mannerisms of the Hermit Thrush just so I could write two sentences about it.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
My novels are works of fiction and not based on anyone I know. I do find, however, that I project a lot of my feelings into my characters.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? A mentor?
My college English teacher, Fumie Bouvier. After turning in a writing assignment, she wrote in the margin that I should be a professional writer. I took those words to heart, and I absolutely love her for it.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m currently reading Where All Light Tends to Go by David Joy and am thoroughly enjoying it so far.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
There are so many out there, it’s hard to pinpoint, but the last book I read was Ruth Ware’s In a Dark, Dark, Wood. It was really good.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
My current project is reorganizing/cleaning my house. When I am writing, most things tend to fall to the wayside as my obsession with my characters and the plotline are all-consuming. Come January, I’ll be starting work on a new mystery involving a woman who marries out of necessity, but finds out her “safe choice” wasn’t all that she thought it would be.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Outside of my family, I would say that the support I’ve gotten from close friends has been nothing short of amazing.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely. I hope I’m still doing it when I’m ninety!
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, although Tragedy at Silver Creek took nearly two years to write I’m very happy with how it turned out. Sometimes, I think rushing a book just to get it out there can greatly diminish the story. When I hit the publish button, I know that every breath my characters take, every inflection in their voice, and every move they make is there because I want them to be.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I wrote a story when I was eight or nine; it was short, full of grammatical errors, and the plot was all over the place, but it was life changing.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Absolutely! Here is an excerpt from Tragedy at Silver Creek.
Cheryl traced over the outline of the patch that was sewn onto Jack’s sleeve, absently running the tips of her fingers over the oath that was stitched upon it. A small smile forced its way onto her lips as the memory of when they’d first met emerged from the darkness. She had no idea why it had chosen this particular moment to surface, but she welcomed it with open arms, laughing inwardly as it began to play.
As far as first impressions went, Jack had missed the mark completely…
The cool breeze flapping relentlessly through Cheryl’s hair was doing nothing to improve her mood, and she soon found herself regretting her decision to drive with the top down.
In less than four weeks, the store was going to be operational, and three of her newly hired employees, including the day manager, had been a no-show for this afternoon’s meeting. Now, she had to start the interview process all over again.
An irritated sigh fell from her lips as she tapped her fingers impatiently on the steering wheel. She was running late, and getting stuck behind every single elderly man wearing a hat wasn’t helping matters. Besides stopping at the post office, she still had to pick up the circulars from the printer, swing by her apartment to change, and then drive all the way down to the marina for a dinner with the members of the city council. It was a dinner that she was not looking forward to attending, yet considering the fact that she was the one who’d arranged it, had no choice.
She cut the wheel to the left and gunned the engine, passing the car in front of her. Stroking the egos of city officials was, unfortunately, a necessary evil that came with the job, and over the years, she’d learned to do it quite well. This get-together tonight would serve two purposes; first, it would help to ensure that there wouldn’t be a problem in securing the necessary permits and licenses the store needed to operate, without which, could undoubtedly delay its opening, and secondly, it assisted in paving a smooth road for any obstacles that might arise in the future.
Of course, getting these tasks accomplished was no easy feat. They required a touch of finesse, some tactful brownnosing…and a good amount of alcohol. Cheryl shook her head as she rounded a sharp curve. It never ceased to amaze her how much people could drink when they weren’t the ones picking up the tab.
The sound of a siren pierced her thoughts, causing her eyes to snap towards her rearview mirror. Her mouth grew taut as she took her foot off the accelerator and pulled over to the side of the road.
The truck, and its flashing lights, followed her.
She quickly finger-combed her hair and set her sunglasses on top of her head, while, at the same time, trying to run down any plausible excuse that might get her out of a ticket.
“Good afternoon, ma’am. Do you know how fast you were going?”
“Not really,” she replied, speaking to a pair of dark-brown pants that were attached to a long and slender torso.
“I clocked you doing fifty-two in a thirty-five.”
Cheryl tilted her head back in order to look at their owner, but the sun was directly in her line of sight. “I’m sorry,” she said, squinting. “I thought the speed limit was fifty-five.”
“No, ma’am.” He gestured with his thumb. “There’s a speed limit sign right back there.”
She tucked her hair behind her ear, purposely revealing her bare shoulder. “Sorry,” she repeated. “I guess I didn’t see it.”
“Going as fast as you were, I’m sure you didn’t.”
Cheryl felt an unconstrained warmth spreading across her face. It seemed to reach all the way down to her toes.
“Can I see your driver’s license, please?”
Too humiliated to speak at the moment, she reached into her purse and plucked the ID from her billfold. A low-lying cloud moved in front of the sun, giving her a temporary reprieve, as well as the opportunity to notice that he wasn’t wearing a wedding ring as he took the card from her. Despite the embarrassment that was still lingering about her face, she found her eyes moving steadily from his hand, to his nicely tanned forearm, which was peeking out from underneath the sleeve of his deputy’s uniform. A subtle glance upwards revealed a lean, clean-shaven jaw and—
He looked up from the card, causing her to lose her train of thought. “I’ll be right back, Ms. Beaumont.”
As he began walking towards the rear of her car, Cheryl stuck out her lower lip and blew, trying to soothe the burning sensation in her cheeks. Her breath came out hot, however, and it, along with the number of passersby that had slowed down to gawk—or honk, only succeeded in intensifying it.
“Hey, Collins!” shouted a guy from a white pickup. “Looks like you’ve got a live one!”
“Yeah,” answered the deputy, giving him a grin as he reached for the mic that was attached to his epaulet, “looks like it.”
Cheryl slunk down in her seat, wishing he would hurry up. She glanced at the clock on the dashboard before anxiously shifting her gaze to the side mirror. “Come on,” she whispered, envisioning a group of thirsty, butt-clenched city council members waiting for her at The Sea Shack.
“Dispatch, I need you to run a plate for me…”
Her anxiousness quickly manifested into fear as she wondered if the parking tickets she had accumulated since her arrival were going to show up. Considering the fact that she wasn’t going to be here much longer, she hadn’t seen any reason to pay them, but surmised that the deputy probably wouldn’t share in her point of view.
“10-4,” he said, apparently understanding the incoherent garble that had just come across his radio.
Cheryl’s heart began to pound when she saw him returning.
“You’re from Alabama?” he asked, handing her license back to her.
“Birmingham,” she said, straightening up.
“Are you just passing through?”
“No,” she answered. “I’m the marketing director for the Dollar Marts, and am temporarily staying here.”
“Do you have anything showing your current address?” he said, sounding unimpressed.
She began rifling through her purse. “I have one of my paycheck stubs…but why do you need it?”
He pulled a notepad from his shirt pocket and flipped it open. “I need a valid address for the ticket.”
“Can’t you give me a break?” she asked, handing him the stub, along with her very best smile. “I mean, seeing as how I’m new to your little town and all?”
“I’ll say I only clocked you at forty-five. That will knock a few bucks off.”
The smile fell from Cheryl’s face. “That’s all you’re gonna do?”
“We take speeding very seriously here, ma’am.”
“I bet you do,” she muttered under her breath.
He leaned down and cupped his hand behind his ear. “What was that?”
She turned in her seat so she could look directly at him. “I said, ‘I bet you do’. I’m sure it ranks right up there with catching greased pigs or whatever it is ya’ll do in this backwoods, Podunk, whistle-stop of a town.”
The deputy’s left eyebrow shot up and disappeared underneath his blond locks. “Well, greased pigs are pretty high on our entertainment list,” he said after a moment, “but cow tipping is actually our favorite thing to do.”
Cheryl felt her cheeks beginning to burn all over again.
“Of course, none of that compares to our annual turnip festival in October. That’s when we—”
“You know, I’m really glad that you’re having so much fun at my expense, but I have somewhere important I need to be, so…” she said, waving her hand at him, “can you please hurry this along?”
His mouth twitched as he returned his attention to his notepad. “We also have the tobacco spitting contest in the spring…”
She gripped the steering wheel, trying her best to ignore him.
“…Farmer Brown’s wife has won three years running now. No one can spit chaw like her.”
Cheryl bit down on her tongue, wishing that she’d had the innate wisdom to do it thirty seconds ago.
The deputy’s blue eyes sparkled brightly as he held the slip of paper out to her. “Have a nice day.”
She snatched the ticket out of his hand and started the engine.
“Drive safely now,” he said, taking a step backwards.
She answered him with a squall of tires.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I am my own worst enemy when it comes to my writing, and will sometimes work on a paragraph for hours—even days —until I get it right. When you combine that with the day-to-day chores and parenting, it can be extremely frustrating.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I really like Danielle Steel. Her characters are normal, everyday people that I find myself wanting to take home to dinner.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I do travel for book signings and author fairs, but so far it has been fairly close to home.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I design all my covers. I love the whole process of writing the story and then creating the cover for it. My first book, After All Is Said And Done, has my husband in it and our wedding picture is in the background. For my latest novel, Tragedy at Silver Creek, I bought the picture through a royalty free company and switched some things around on it to make it the perfect setting for this story.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
When writing a mystery, it’s all about the plot and timeline. Since Tragedy is a sequel (although it is a standalone) to The Monster of Silver Creek, I had to make sure everything between the two books was in sync. I do keep an excel spreadsheet to help me, but it only works if I input the correct information…L Found that little baby out three/fourths of the way through the novel.
Other times, the content itself can be hard. Seasons of Darkness deals with a young man’s struggle to cope with his mother’s suicide while trying to connect with his controlling father. Some of those scenes were very difficult to write.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I come away with something new every time I finish a novel, but I learned early on that you have to emotionally invest yourself in the characters and their lives because if you don’t care about them, neither will anyone else.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
- Never give up. If you like writing, keep doing it.
- Join author support groups and learn all you can about the craft of self-publishing, marketing, promoting, and, of course, writing.
- Write for yourself and not what you think others want you to write.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Yes. Thank you so much for your kind words you’ve sent me over the years. I hold every message and note near and dear to me. You are the reason I continue to create stories.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Not specifically, but I do remember the first author I read that made me want to read all of her works, and that was Beverly Cleary. Henry Huggins and Ramona Quimby will always be my favorite fictional people.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Any film by, and starring, Albert Brooks always cracks me up: (The Scout, Mother, Defending Your Life). I’ll start to sob if I’m watching a movie or reading a book where the beloved cat/dog/horse dies at the end. I think it started with Where the Red Fern Grows.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
George Clooney and/or Chris Hemsworth. I’m sure there’s no explanation needed.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
“A Loving Wife and Mother”, because fifty years from now my sons won’t care what I wrote in this interview, but they’ll remember that I kissed them good night and told them that I loved them.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I enjoy reading when I get the chance, spending time with my family, and helping out at my church.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love The Good Wife, Madam Secretary, & Major Crimes. These all have strong women who show that they can have careers and still be a mother. I also just binge-watched Bloodlines on Netflix and fell in love with it. It’s a great show. I am a huge fan of The Walking Dead, but have been told that I take it a little too seriously at times. The other week we were watching it and my oldest son turned to me and said, “You know, Mom, Glenn can’t hear you screaming at him to run…”
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Food would be anything made of chocolate, or anything that has chocolate in it.
As far as colors go, I like black/gray tones.
Music: I love listening to Adele. Her new CD is simply beautiful. Her voice is like none other.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Definitely a zookeeper. I love all animals—except snakes, so when it came to their care, I’d have to delegate responsibilities.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I just created a spiffy new website on weebly. You can check it out by going to https://belindagbuchanan.com
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/Belinda.G.Buchanan.author
Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4809088.Belinda_G_Buchanan
Amazon author page:
Reblogged this on Belinda G. Buchanan – Author – Blog and commented:
I am honored to have been interviewed by the amazing Fiona McVie on her blog today.
Very nice job. Belinda is a talented author, whose work I admire. It doesn’t hurt that I went to college in Kentucky, her home state.