HOLDING COURT is just the kind of book I love to read. Not just for the setting (a castle-turned-dinner theater) or the comedy. It's the unique voice that really makes this book sing, starting with the very first line: "I'm standing behind the counter of my mom's antique shop, thinking about Grayson Chandler's abs, when the bell over the door jingles and in walks Henry VIII."
For one, the costume Jules has to wear is awful. Then there's the dead body she finds that just kind of...well, disappears. Oh, and there's the small issue of Jules and her episodes of what her best friend calls "Psychic Tourette's Syndrome"--spontaneous and uncontrollable outbursts of seemingly absurd prophecies.
The only bright side? This whole dead body thing seems to have gotten Grayson's attention. Except that the more Jules investigates, the more she discovers that Grayson's interest might not be as courtly as she thought. In fact, it's starting to look suspicious...
In addition to writing books, you also have an MFA in costume design. What do you love about each (writing and costuming), and what do you like to do for creative inspiration?
I love the creation aspect of both! With one I’m using words to tell a story, with the other I’m using fabric. Writing a novel tends to be fairly autonomous while costume design is much more collaborative, and there’s something to be said for both. These days I usually find myself creating things out of fabric when I’m having trouble getting the words right. Something about the straightforward nature of putting together the pieces of a pattern untangles the knots in my brain. And it’s very satisfying to have something tangible at the end of the process. I’m not designing shows right now so I usually make stuff for my kids who like to challenge me by coming up with things I can’t find a pattern for, like a stuffed goblin, or an obscure superhero costume.
Fun! I love the opening lines to HOLDING COURT. Did Jules's voice come to you instantly or did it develop over time?
When I initially wrote the opening lines for the novel that would become HOLDING COURT, Jules was in her mid-twenties and my goal was to write a traditional mystery along the lines of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. I wrote the first scene and then stalled out. It wasn’t until my critique partners suggested I try turning it into a YA mystery that Jules’s story finally came together for me. I still think adult Jules would be pretty fun to write too!
I'd love to read her too! How do you balance your time between drafting and editing? Is there a process that you've found works for you?
I write on a treadmill desk and tend to work in one or two hour chunks, with a stretching break in between. So, depending on what I need to get done I’ll allocate chunks accordingly. But I have to admit that I tend to lose track of time when I’m drafting, so if I have editing to do I’ll set a timer on my phone to let me know when it’s time to change gears.
Sounds like a great system. *Adds treadmill desk to Christmas list.* What are some of your current projects?
I recently completed a contemporary middle grade mystery/ghost story and am just back from a writing retreat where I played with a bunch of different ideas that I’m super excited about!
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