Welcome to my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, scriptwriters, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with mystery author Price McNaughton. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Price. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Price: Hello, Morgen. I am from the south, Tennessee to be specific. A little bit about me, I’m actually a woman in my late twenties, but many people assume I’m an older man due to my name. I came to be a writer by way of reading and an accident. I’ve read all my life and after a horseback riding accident left me on bed rest, I began writing. So, in my case, there really was a silver lining!
Morgen: A great silver lining (although I’m biased). What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Price: I write mysteries, although I have written a New Adult type novel that is languishing on my computer. I am also working on a dystopian novel, however, if it is ever published it will be under a different name so as not to confuse my loyal mystery readers.
Morgen: What have you had published to-date? Do you write under a pseudonym already?
Price: I have published A Vision of Murder and a short story called The Ruby Necklace. Murder is Ugly will be my third published work and second mystery novel. I do write under a pseudonym, although in my case, it is not entirely made up. It’s based on my real name.
Morgen: You’ve self-published – what lead to you going your own way?
Price: Yes, all of my work has been self-published. After I finished my first book, I researched traditional versus self-publishing and decided to go with self-publishing. A few things led me in this direction, but mainly the independence to publish my stories the way I want them and to have input on the cover design and title. I love doing my own marketing and sinking or swimming on my own. However, saying this, I’ve never attempted to go the traditional route so I may be biased.
Morgen: I’d never say never, although self-publishing does give me the freedom I like. Are your books available as eBooks? How involved were you in that process? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
Price: Right now, they are available as eBooks only. I’m contemplating a print edition of both novels. If not now, it’s definitely something I want to do in the future. I was very involved in the process because I am self-published. It’s a lot to learn, but it gets easier as you go. I’ve always read traditional books and thought that eBooks would not appeal to me, but when I tried them I was hooked immediately. I really enjoy the indie / self-publishing world. I think it has so much to offer.
Morgen: Me too. Do you have a favourite of your books or characters? If any of your books were made into films, who would you have as the leading actor/s?
Price: I have three favourites right now, Mrs. Dodd and Sissy from A Vision of Murder, and Jinx Delaney from Murder is Ugly. I’m not sure who I would cast as Mrs. Dodd and Sissy. I would love to hear my reader’s opinions though. As far as Jinx Delaney, I would cast myself. I love acting and all of my stories are already movies in my head. It would be a dream come true to actually become the characters I created and live their stories.
Morgen: Which authors did you read when you were younger and did they shape you as a writer?
Price: I love the classics. My favourite authors include Jane Austen, Tolkien, and Agatha Christie. I think anything you read or experience shapes you as a writer.
Morgen: Which is why we should all be readers too. Did you choose the titles / covers of your books?
Price: Yes, I did. I struggled a bit with A Vision of Murder’s title, but I always had the cover in my head. I was lucky enough to work with the same cover artist for both of my books and he was able to take my ideas for A Vision of Murder and translate them into cover art. Murder is Ugly, on the other hand, was the title I selected for my book as soon as I thought of the concept. I didn’t have as clear of an idea of a cover for it, but my cover artist was able to step in and help me and I love what he did.
Morgen: It’s very striking. 🙂 What are you working on at the moment / next?
Price: I am working on my dystopian trilogy and the next Mrs. Dodd mystery.
Morgen: Do you manage to write every day, or ever suffer from writer’s block?
Price: I don’t manage to write every day, but I do try to do something towards my work on a daily basis, such as read for a book review blog post or talk to fellow writers. I don’t suffer from writer’s block for the most part. My trick is to stop writing before I run out of things to say. That way, I already know what I’m going to be writing about the next day. I also write in scenes.
Morgen: That’s an interesting process; PD James (I think it was) stops mid-sentence so she can keep going. I’d be too worried I’d forget what I had planned for the rest of the sentence. 🙂 It’s time that usually beats me. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Price: My stories are plotted, sometimes on paper and sometimes in my mind, but yes, I do know where the story is going for the most part. Sometimes, though, stories take a life of their own and I don’t fight it if that happens. I will adapt my plot if my writing is leading me elsewhere.
Morgen: Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
Price: The shower! So many of my characters have suddenly appeared in my mind while I am busy doing something else, like taking a shower. Their names, personalities, and hopes and dreams are just there. I don’t know how to explain it. They just appear out of thin air most of the time. I have changed a story before because a character showed up that I wasn’t expecting and sent things spiralling in a different direction. I think seeing your characters as human with both good and bad faults helps a character to be believable.
Morgen: Absolutely. No one is perfect. Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Price: When I first started writing, I edited like crazy. As I have written more and more, I have found that I don’t have to edit quite as much, but it’s still a major part of the writing process.
Morgen: Do you have to do much research?
Price: I don’t do as much research as many writers because I tend to naturally form my stories around things I know. I’ve never murdered someone though, so that does entail some research!
Morgen: I usually have bodies in my stories so that’s definitely made up. 🙂 What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person?
Price: It depends on what I am writing and how I want the reader to “see” the story. I’ve never ventured into second person, but that would be interesting to try. Maybe one day.
Morgen: Oh do. I love it (and write a second-person every Friday for http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/5pm-fiction) although even I’d only recommend it for short pieces. Do you write any poetry, non-fiction or short stories?
Price: I’ve written all three. A Vision of Murder contains my only published poem to date. The Ruby Necklace is my first published short story.
Morgen: I publish guest short stories every Friday on http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/flash-fiction-fridays. 🙂 Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Price: I’m not sure if I will ever publish my New Adult novel.
Morgen: It would be a shame to do all that work to have it languish (she says, with five such novels!). Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Price: I haven’t had any rejections in writing, but I’ve also never attempted to be traditionally published or find an agent. I’ve experienced rejection in other facets of life though and it never feels good. I try to move on and know that something better will come along.
Morgen: Do you enter competitions?
Price: I haven’t, but I would like to. Especially short stories competitions.
Morgen: I have quite a few listed on http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/competitions-calendar including one I’m judging (see June). You mentioned agents – do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Price: I think it depends on how you define success and what you are looking for. I’m having a blast self-publishing and sharing my stories with readers.
Morgen: Do you do much marketing for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Price: I think I do. I find that having a blog and doing guest posts and interviews are my favourite types of marketing so that is what I concentrate on.
Morgen: I enjoy doing / posting them too. 🙂 What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Price: My favourite aspect is introducing my book and my characters to new readers and hearing what they think. My least favourite aspect is the amount of time a writer has to spend alone in order to write. I’m a people person.
Morgen: What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Price: Read and write. Don’t change everything about yourself and your style of writing to fit in. Write the way you want to.
Morgen: Absolutely. If you could invite three people from any era to dinner, who would you choose and what would you cook (or hide the takeaway containers)?
Price: Agatha Christie, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Jane Austen. It would definitely be take away, either pizza or Mexican food.
Morgen: Are you involved in anything else writing-related other than actual writing or marketing of your writing?
Price: Besides my book review blog, no.
Morgen: Ah, cue for another link: http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/reviews where I list reviewers (because I get asked to review but don’t have time). 🙂 Are there any writing-related websites and / or books that you find useful?
Price: I tend to use search engines to find what I want so I don’t have a list.
Morgen: I do tend to do the same, although I have a bookcase full of books, some of which are listed on http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/books-other-peoples/writing-related. Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do you find them?
Price: I am on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter, and I think they are great for connecting with other writers and the people who read your work.
Morgen: What do you think the future holds for a writer?
Price: I think the future looks bright. It’s getting easier and easier to share information and I think that will have a positive impact on writers.
Morgen: Where can we find out about you and your writing?
Price: You can visit my website, www.talebearers.com or my Facebook page, www.facebook.com/PriceMcnaughton?ref=hl, or twitter, www.twitter.com/PriceMcNaughton. You can also find links to my books and Goodreads account on my website.
Morgen: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Price: I’m tentatively beginning to do podcast interviews on my blog. I hope to cover a variety of topics and have author visits. Please stay tuned for more info!
Morgen: Podcasts are great – I’ve been doing Bailey’s Writing Tips since August 2010 and started off with interviews. Is there anything you’d like to ask me?
Price: Your website is great and it looks like you stay very busy. Is this what you imagined it would be like when you began?
Morgen: <curtseys> Thank you very much. It’s much more than imagined. I thought I’d just be writing about what interests me but then I was invited to an interview and then started my own and everything blossomed from there. It’s a full-time job (part-time just dealing with the emails) but I love it, and have met so many wonderful authors. It’s so worth it. Thank you, Price.
I then invited Price to include a synopsis of her book ‘Murder is Ugly’…
When Jinx Delaney agrees to spend a horse-filled, relaxing summer with her old friend and sorority sister, Brynn Brookefield, in her exclusive community, she never suspects that murder will be the second house guest. Set in a beautiful neighborhood in the Deep South among carefully restored, historic homes and nosy neighbors, Jinx finds that looks can be deceiving and murder truly is ugly.
Price McNaughton was born and raised in a small town in Tennessee. A childhood steeped in the stories and legends of her ancestors as well as the southern way of life led her to carry on the tradition and become a storyteller herself. After years of traveling and working at a variety of jobs, she has finally returned to her roots and devoted herself to writing. She is the author of ‘A Vision of Murder’ and ‘Murder is Ugly’.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the new interviews on the mixed blog but everything else (see Opportunities on the main blog) is free.
Alternatively, if you’d like a free Q&A-only interview, I now have this blog, https://morgensauthorinterviews.wordpress.com, on which I’ve rerun the original interviews posted here then posted new interviews which I then reblog here. These interviews are Q&A only, so I don’t add in my comments but they do get exposure on both sites.
If you go for the interview, it’s very simple; I send you a questionnaire (I have them for novelists, short story authors, children’s authors, non-fiction authors, and poets). You complete the questions, and I let you know when it’s going to go live. Before it does so, I add in comments as if we’re chatting, and then they get posted. When that’s done, I email you with the link so you can share it with your corner of the literary world. And if you have a writing-related blog / podcast and would like to interview me… let me know.
** NEW!! You can now subscribe to the main blog on your Kindle / Kindle app!
or http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008E88JN0 for outside the UK **
You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internet, view my Books (including my debut novel, which is serialised on Novel Nights In!) and I also have a blog creation / maintenance service especially for, but not limited to, writers. If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating and choose an optional free eBook.
For writers / readers willing to give feedback and / or writers wanting feedback, take a look at the main blog’s Feedback page.
As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do. I welcome items for critique for the online writing groups, and their associated Facebook groups, listed below:
Morgen’s Online Non-Fiction Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group
We look forward to reading your comments.