Interview with Author D.E. Ireland

Get Me to the Grave On TimeAlthough Eliza still refuses to marry Freddy Eynsford Hill, everyone around her seems headed for the altar. Not only is her cousin Inspector Jack Shaw about to wed his sweetheart, but Freddy’s younger sister Clara is engaged, along with the niece of Henry Higgins. Another blushing bride is the sixty-year-old Duchess of Carbrey, who plans to marry a handsome fellow half her age. But when the groom is found dead, a jealous mistress is blamed for the murder. However, the death may also be connected to the stolen treasure of an Indian temple.

Disaster strikes next at Jack and Sybil’s wedding. Soon after, the wedding reception of Higgins’s niece takes a lethal turn. Someone is targeting bridegrooms, and the wedding of Freddy’s sister is next. Before another bridal bouquet is tossed, Higgins and Eliza must track down the killer. Otherwise, Clara’s bridegroom – and perhaps the bride herself – may be murdered before they can get to the church on time.

I’m so pleased to have D.E. Ireland (aka Meg Mims and Sharon Pisacreta) here today! The blog tour for Get Me to the Grave on Time starts 12/2/16, and The Book’s the Thing will be the 12/12 stop. Be sure to come back then to read my review. Now though, I hope you will have as much fun reading the interview with Sharon and Meg as I did conducting it. Welcome ladies!

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

MEG: Probably in elementary school. I had so much fun reading – The Boxcar Children, The Happy Hollisters, Snow Treasure, and Trixie Belden – that I started writing “fan” fiction before there ever was the internet – and my older sister helpfully told me, “Write your own stories – original. You’re good enough to do that.” So I did, but I never shared them with anyone. I gave it up after I started reading Tolkien and Ursula LeGuin, however, unlike Sharon.

SHARON: When I was nine years old, I announced to my mother that I wanted to be a writer. This did not surprise her. I spent so much time reading that the eye doctor told my parents I needed to get my head out of a book once in awhile and go outside and play. Advice that was largely ignored. I submitted my first poem to a magazine when I was 14, and my first short story when I was 16. Although I didn’t get published until my twenties, I spent all the years up to that point scribbling in notebooks and pounding away at a series of typewriters. None of them with corrector ribbons!

Do you have a favorite book that you’ve written? (or a favorite character, setting, etc…)

MEG: I’d say yes, but since it’s not published yet I can’t reveal who the characters are. Hoping to revise and bring it to life one day. Ace Diamond, the hero in my western historical mystery Double Crossing, was fun to create, though, as was Lily Granville – a bit naïve, getting herself in over her head, just like I was at that age.

SHARON: Years ago, I wrote historical romance and my second published novel, Magic and Moonlight, is closest to my heart. Because I have long had a fascination with Harry Houdini, I made my male hero a traveling magician on his way to perform at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Of course, I also had him meet 19-year-old Erik Weisz, later to be known as Houdini. I’m fond of all my characters – even the nasty ones – but the endearing Marc Cooper remains my favorite.

Do you have any writing rituals that you adhere to?

MEG: Write every day (with rare exceptions). Get up often (new ritual from years of inactivity). Research my characters to the max, because not understanding how they think or how their background will influence their actions and motives in the book will put a dead stop to writing – I found that out the hard way many times!

SHARON: I work part-time at a gallery, which I’m grateful for because it gets me out of the house for sixteen hours every week and away from my laptop. On the days I’m home, I spend the first hour posting on my various social media sites, a task that is mandatory for authors now. The early part of the day finds me writing at my dining room table. In late afternoon I sit in my leather club chair, feet propped up on an ottoman, with my computer on a lap desk. I take a break for dinner and an evening walk, but often I’m back on that chair writing until the wee hours of the morning. Especially close to deadline. Writing is such a sedentary occupation that I just renewed my membership at the gym. And not a moment too soon.

What are your favorite authors / genres / writing influences?

MEG: I’m a long time Andre Norton, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Ursula LeGuin fan. They all influenced me, along with Taylor Caldwell, Pearl S. Buck, Mary Stewart, Agatha Christie, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I rarely read fantasy/sf now, although I do have Game of Thrones on my Kindle (must read those, given all the hoopla). I once bought Sharon Kay Penman’s The Sunne in Splendor in England and read half of it on the plane – and went through a historical phase with Judith Merkle Riley, Margaret Lawrence, and others. I’ve read mysteries lately for the most part, especially series – Cleo Coyle, Victoria Thompson, and other current authors. But I also love celebrity biographies – Shirley Temple, Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, and many more.

SHARON: I became obsessed with the Trixie Belden mysteries when I was 11, and re-read them countless times. In my teens and early twenties, I fell under the spell of Ray Bradbury. I was also influenced by the superb novels of the British author Norah Lofts. My current favorite novelist is the incomparable Louise Penny. On the whole, I have pretty eclectic reading tastes and enjoy everything from dystopian young adult novels to Alice Munro. But my favorite genres are mystery, urban fantasy, sci-fi, and historical fiction. And as someone who once taught college history, I’ve stocked my library with plenty of history books.

Do your real life acquaintances or experiences ever find their way into your writing?

MEG: I’ll never tell… although my dad sees himself in almost every older “dad” I’ve written. Yes, it’s bound to happen when you get “intimate” with characters. You can also go back in second or third draft and suddenly think, “Oh! That clearly is from…” Interesting how your subconscious works things out.

SHARON: Real life acquaintances do show up in my books. On occasion, I tell the person who served as inspiration for that character. For example, we used the first name, physical appearance, and professional background of a co-worker for the murderer in Move Your Blooming Corpse. And my friend was quite pleased at such a literary honor. In my recent cozy, I used the name of a former boyfriend for a less than charming fellow. It made me feel a little like Taylor Swift. Plus I do find myself using my daughter Emma’s name now and then, as Meg uses her own daughter Amanda.

Coffee or tea?

MEG: Both. Tea mostly, coffee when I need a boost of caffeine. I love Irish Breakfast tea in the morning, and Sweet Dreams at night.

SHARON: I enjoy both, as evidenced by my Starbucks card and the forty tins of tea in my house.

What hobbies do you enjoy when you’re not writing?

MEG: Painting – I wish I had more time to dabble in my watercolors again, but I will get back to it one day. Crafts like making cards, jewelry, whatever seizes my fancy. Reading… never housework.

SHARON: Photography. I live along the beautiful Lake Michigan shore and never tire of photographing the water, sand dunes, and surrounding orchards. I really don’t have time for any other hobbies, aside from photography. And I don’t consider reading a hobby. It’s as essential to me as bottled water or a coffee Frappuccino from Starbucks.

What book(s) / series can we expect to see from you in the future?

MEG: Bearly Departed and Bear Witness to Murder by Meg Macy, and I am working on a new western historical mystery series.

SHARON: Since Meg and I co-write the Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins Mysteries, we are both working on Book 4, With A Little Bit of Blood. I also write a cozy series for Kensington under the pen name ‘Sharon Farrow’. The first Berry Basket mystery, Dying for Strawberries, was released Oct. 25, 2016; Blackberry Burial will be out November 2017. Book 3 hits store shelves in 2018.

What are you reading now?

MEG: My Lucky Life by Dick Van Dyke.

SHARON: Drums in Autumn by Diana Gabaldon. I didn’t start reading her Outlander series until earlier this year and now I’m hooked.

 

About the Author

deirelandteapartyphotoD.E. Ireland is a team of long time friends and award-winning authors, Meg Mims and Sharon Pisacreta. In 2013 they decided to collaborate on a series based on George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion, which also inspired the classic musical My Fair Lady. At work on Book Four of their Agatha nominated series, they also pursue separate writing careers. Currently both of them write cozy mysteries for Kensington under their respective new pen names: Sharon Farrow and Meg Macy. The two Michigan authors have patient husbands, brilliant daughters, and share a love of tea, books, and history. Follow D.E. Ireland on Facebook, Twitter, and www.deireland.com

Get Me To The Grave On Time is the third book in the Eliza Doolittle & Henry Higgins Mystery series, published by Grainger Press in November 2016.

 

Thank you Meg and Sharon for coming by. I cannot wait to read Get Me to the Grave on Time! 🙂

 

 

 

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