Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Hi everyone. My name is Barbara Ross. I won’t say my age, but let’s just say, like my character Jane Darrowfield, I am deep in my second act.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I lived for decades in Massachusetts and now I live in Portland, Maine.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I live with my husband in a cool part of Portland. I have two kids who are both grown up and married and two granddaughters.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Lots of news! Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody released at the end of June. It’s the first in a new series for me. Haunted House Murder, the Halloween-themed novella collection by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, and me comes out end of August. And, Sealed Off, Maine Clambake Mystery #8 comes out on New Year’s Eve.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I still have my first book, which my mother dutifully kept, written, I think, in third grade.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have a friend who says, “Only you get to decide to call yourself a writer.” What she means is the publishing industry doesn’t get to decide that, critics don’t get to decide that, your peers don’t get to decide that. As soon as you declare it, it is true. In which case I would say when I started my first novel in the mid-1990s.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book is The Death of an Ambitious Woman, which was published in 2010. I had a year off from work, my kids were in middle school. It felt like an “if not now, when?” situation.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
My original title was An Ambitious Woman, which I loved, since both the victim and the police chief protagonist are ambitious women. But that didn’t indicate to the reader what type of book it was, hence The Death of an Ambitious Woman.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
Both my series, the Maine Clambake Mysteries and Jane Darrowfield, are amateur sleuth, so the challenge always is—why are they involved? Why are they investigating? Finding that hook is key to the whole thing.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
My fiction has wandered all over. I have short stories built directly on things people told me. But I also love to make things up, pick up ideas from small town newspapers, etc. Honestly, coming up with ideas is the easiest part of the gig.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Yes. I’ve spent a day on a lobster boat, gone to a blueberry farm, toured oyster farms. So many things. I usually do enough research before writing to make sure my premise will work, but I do the detailed work, including any necessary travel, between the first and second drafts. Of course, I’m also confined by the seasons and my deadlines. I am often writing about the summer during the winter and vice versa.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The covers come from my publisher, Kensington. The Maine Clambake covers, which are terrific, are done by artist Ben Perini.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Sisters in Crime, an organization all crime fiction writers should belong to. Also my Wicked Authors blogmates and the Maine crime writing community. Also Grub Street, the writing center in Boston. Too many to name, really.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes—a second career.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Laughing. Always! I don’t think any writer is every completely happy with any work.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I think I would go into a second retirement, after my first unsuccessful one.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
She had a great laugh!
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Barbara Ross is the author of seven Maine Clambake Mysteries. The eighth, Sealed Off, will be released in December 2019. Barbara’s novellas are included in the anthologies Eggnog Murder, Yule Log Murder, and Haunted House Murder. Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busbody, first in a new series was released in June 2019.