Thursday, 10 March 2016

Author Q&A with Jo A Hiestand #British #Mystery




 

Jo A Hiestand will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


If your book were made into a movie, who would you want to play your main characters?
Wow, what author hasn’t wished this and fantasized of a dream team!  McLaren would be played by either Jason Statham or Robert Kazinsky (no real preference); his sidekick, Jamie, definitely would be Douglas Henshall; McLaren’s nemesis has to be Paul Venables (though Patrick Malahide would’ve been my choice about thirty years ago, but I wasn’t writing yet!); Amanda Redman would play the part of bed-and-breakfast owner Jean MacNab; Iain Glen would be Neill, McLaren’s grandfather; Iain Glen is Fowler Ritchie, with Alun Armstrong portraying Lanny Clack. What fun to think of all this!

 
How do you come up with the titles of your books?
That’s one of the most difficult things for me.  I think of the main thread or subject of the story, then try to think of a phrase or a few words that would describe that story element.  It should have a sense of mystery or intrigue.  I think this title, AN UNFOLDING TRAP, is perfect--it conveys completely and succinctly what the entire story is about from page two to the book’s end. And I hope it also attracts the potential reader: how does the trap unfold, who sets the trap, who gets trapped and why?

What does your writing space look like?
My desk is an eight-foot long Formica kitchen worktop (I need the space for the table-top sized computer, printer, dictionary stand, two lamps and numerous papers of notes).  The worktop rests on three 2-drawer filing cabinets (positioned to provide a knee-space when I sit!).  On the wall above the desk is a pen-and-ink/watercolor painting by Bedfordshire artist Alan Bamford – the painting is Bolton Castle.  On the wall to the left of the painting is a small white shelf that holds an English police inspector’s cap and an English bobby helmet.  A photo of Golden-Age mystery author Ngaio Marsh, the clan crest of Clan MacLaren, and a photo taken by my friend Rowan Walker are on the left-hand wall.  Behind me are bookcases willed with reference books (I’m heavy into research), items I need for author signings, and writing-oriented gag gifts from friends. There’s a small bulletin board, photo of my folksinging group, and my favorite slogan on the fourth wall.  I’ve a small area rug of the Union Jack design on the floor.  A lamp with a stained glass shade sits on the desk.  I guess that about sums up my cozy nest!

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
Listening to or playing music (I play guitar), nature photography, quilting and crewel embroidery, gardening, reading, and watching old movies.  Oh, also baking.  I’m an adequate cook, but I love to bake. I’ve created several original cake and biscuit recipes – at least, I think they’re original!

What is your favourite color?
That depends on my mood, but it’s a toss-up between royal blue and cranberry.

What is your favourite pleasure food?
I don’t have one favorite, but I adore sticky toffee pudding, cherry scones, cream of broccoli soup, and a good cuppa.

What is your favourite season?
Autumn.  The trees are so beautiful, the leaves crunch beneath my feet, the mums are a blaze of color, and the air smells so crisp and clean. I like the preparation of nesting down for the winter and watching the flocks of birds flying south.  Warm, sunny days and cool nights really energize me!

What is your favourite television show?
Again, another handful: New Tricks with the original cast, the old Mission: Impossible, Downton Abbey, the mini-series Wolf Hall, Death in Paradise, Home Fires, and Nova.

What is your favourite movie?
My mood usually dictates favorites. It’s usually among 12 Angry Men, the Alfred Hitchcock movie Suspicion, 13 Rue Madeline, The Train, and Whale Rider.

Who is your favourite actor?
It depends on the era.  In the 1940s golden era of Hollywood it’s Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper. This always seems odd to me because Gary Cooper is so quiet and reserved, and Barbara Stanwyck has such powerful, emotional scenes at times.  But they’re both strong and are by favorites.  If you’re talking about current people, I’d have to name Mark Rylance, Patrick Malahide, Alun Armstrong, and Anna Maxwell Martin as topping my list, but I have many second-place choices.

What is your favourite song?
You know, that’s impossible to name.  I’ll have to fudge a bit and choose several: the hauntingly beautiful “There Is A Time” by the bluegrass group The Dillards; the song written by local musician Lola Hennicke Toben and me – “Never Leave My Side”, (not blatant PR, believe me – I love this song!); the Scottish folk songs “Good Night and Joy” and “The Flowers of the Forest”—both versions by The McCalmans; and I love several Handel arias: “Did You Not Hear My Lady”, “What Passion Cannot Music Raise and Quell”, and “Where’er You Walk”; ”It Rains Everywhere I Go” by the Lynn Morris Bluegrass Band; “Chan Chan” by Cuban music legend Francisco Repilado and performed by the Buena Vista Social Club.  You can also add “The Sun Whose Rays Are All Ablaze” from Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado to my list.  I like Emeli Sande’s “Next to Me” a lot, as well as “Good Ole Boys Like Me” by folk/country singer Don Williams.  Oh, heck, might as well throw in “Short Grass” by Ian & Sylvia.  Gee, what a nice mix!

What is your favourite comfort clothing attire?
Got to be my autumn and winter get-up: corduroy jeans, Aran knit pullover, and boots.

What books might we find on your bedside table?
Any Ngaio Marsh mystery, “The Six Unsolved Ciphers” by Richard Belfield, “The Caravaggio Conspiracy” by Peter Watson, “The Greatest Knight” by Thomas Asbridge, “Enslaved by Ducks” by Bob Tarte, “Invitation to a Murder” by Esther Luttrell, “The Reckoning” by Charles Nicholl, and most any history on the Plantagenets.

Describe yourself in three words.
Creative, loyal, focused.

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Since his infancy, Michael McLaren has been the target of his paternal grandfather’s anger. So when the patriarch sends an invitation to heal the rift, McLaren travels to Scotland, eager to meet and finally end the feud. But the welcome never happens. If Grandfather hadn’t invited him, who had?  And why?

In Edinburgh, a man standing beside McLaren in a bus queue is killed in a hit-and-run accident. After an attack leaves McLaren for dead on a wintry moor, he’s convinced someone from his past is trying to murder him.

As McLaren trails the hit-and-run driver from the medieval ‘underground city’ of Edinburgh to the Boar’s Rock  the MacLaren Clan’s ancestral meeting place the assaults intensify, and he’s plunged into a very personal hunt for a World War II treasure. The puzzle is fascinating; he just has to stay alive to solve it.

Excerpt:

Ross leaned forward, closing the distance between them. “You’re sure you didn’t get angry when you found him this afternoon?”

“Of course I got angry!  Who the hell wouldn’t? The bloody git killed a man, frightened a dozen others who were there, kidnapped Miss Skene, held her hostage⎯”  McLaren stopped before saying Lanny had knocked him on the head and left him for dead in the marshland along the loch, or that he was a threat to Neill McLaren. He took a deep breath. “But I didn’t kill him. I tied him up so he wouldn’t escape, then phoned you when I could.”

“An hour later.” The voice was flat, unimpressed.

“Yes. An hour later. Maybe ninety minutes. I didn’t write down the time, but I phoned here, in the village.”

“Why wait so long to ring us?”

“Pardon?” The suspicion that things were turning horribly wrong whispered to McLaren.

“Why didn’t you phone right then? Did you want to put some space between you and the killing so you could establish an alibi?”

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

A month-long trip to England during her college years introduced Jo to the joys of Things British.  Since then, she has been lured back nearly a dozen times, and lived there during her professional folk singing stint.  This intimate knowledge of Britain forms the backbone of both the Taylor & Graham mysteries and the McLaren cold case mystery series.

Jo’s insistence for accuracy, from police methods and location layout to the general feel of the area, has driven her innumerable times to Derbyshire for research.  These explorations and conferences with police friends provide the detail filling the books.

In 1999 Jo returned to Webster University to major in English.  She graduated in 2001 with a BA degree and departmental honors. Her cat Tennyson shares her St. Louis home

LINKS:






GIVEAWAY INFORMATION
a Rafflecopter giveaway

29 comments:

  1. Enjoyed reading your interview, thank you!

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    1. Nikolina...thank you for that nice comment! Glad you liked it,

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  2. Thank you for sharing this interview :)
    (Ana M on Rafflecopter)

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    1. Ana, thanks. I never know if people will find this info interesting. Good to hear back on it!

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  3. Thank you, Louise, for hosting my interview today!

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  4. Jo,
    You know that I think your development of characters in a book is outstanding. You make them seem like someone I could identify with (which is what makes me like a book). When did you decide writing was your "thing" ?

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    1. I wanted to write since childhood, but I didn't try seriously until I was in my 30s. My first published piece was a magazine article in "Mystery Scene" -- I got paid for it! That sparked the smoldering fire within me, and I sat down to try to write a novel. My first book was published in 2004 and since then the fire has been burning brightly within me. But I had the coals since childhood -- reading either created or fanned the embers. And the fire's still burning! Does that answer the question, or have I rambled???!!! ;-)

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  5. I enjoyed your interview. I never heard of Patrick Malahide before. Now I will have to look him up. This excerpt was truly exciting. I loved it.

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    1. MomJane...Patrick Malahide has been around quite a while (which doesn't mean he's ancient! He starred as Chief Inspector Alleyn in the BBC production of "The Marsh Mysteries" on the US PBS station, he had a guest role in an Inspector Morse episode (Driven to Distraction), he played in "Middlemarch" on PBS, a bunch of theater jobs... I think he's incredibly versatile.

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  6. I just loved the interview so many good questions. Also the book sounds just juicy and good!

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    1. Hi! It was a fun interview -- and those questions really made me think! If you read the book, I hope you like it. I've a warm feeling for McLaren. Bless his heart...he tries so hard and is so persistent... But he hasn't failed to solve any case yet! Thanks for dropping by, PT!

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  7. Great interview. I have added your books to my wish and TBR list. Thanks for the chance to win. doward1952@yahoo.com

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    1. Hi, Doward -- I'm glad you liked the interview. I enjoyed coming up with the answers! Thank you for wanting to read about McLaren -- hope you like him -- and good luck in the raffle!

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  8. Replies
    1. Thanks, Rita. I enjoyed answering the questions! ;-)

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  9. Enjoyed the interview and excerpt, sounds like a great read, thanks for sharing!

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    1. You're welcome, Eva. I appreciate your comment.

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  10. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

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    1. When I was in grade school. I liked the idea of emulating my favorite authors and the fictional worlds they created, and I wanted to create a mystery. The desire stayed with me until I finally tried writing a novel about thirty years later!

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  11. Thanks to Louise for hosting my interview today. And thanks to everyone who logged on and left a comment -- I enjoyed the day!

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  12. Great post! I enjoyed reading it ;)

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    1. Thanks, Victoria. I appreciate your comment!

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  13. Thank you for the terrific giveaway! Great share. :)

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    1. I figured most anyone could use it if they won! ;-)

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  14. I enjoyed the interview. Thank you for sharing the post and the giveaway!

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    1. My pleasure, Ree. I'm happy that you liked the interview.

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    1. Hi, Becky. No one's ever said that before to me! Thank you! ;-)

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