Thursday, March 8, 2012

Authorsday: Glynn Marsh Alam

How long have you been writing?


I began writing little stories as an elementary school kid. It came easy to me. I imagined a world and put in it those people I found fascinating. Some were real people, some imaginary.


Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants?


The seat of my pants gets all the credit here. I cannot stand to outline or sit down and write out bios and scenarios. Maybe my brain is plotting, but to me it seems I’m letting the characters tell me what is happening and why. I start out with a germ of an idea, like what if a body was found in an underwater cave or a group of hurricane refugees set up camp together. I know I want to write a murder mystery. I know the ecology of the setting, and I go from there.


Why did you pick your publisher?


I was a member of Sisters In Crime/Los Angeles. Someone told me about a New York publisher that was opening a mystery line. I sent them the query and first three chapters. As luck would have it, the first person to read it was from Florida, and my books are set in Florida. They asked for the rest of the book and publication came soon after that.


Describe your book.


The latest book, Tide Water Talisman, is the eighth in the Luanne Fogarty series. She is an adjunct diver with the sheriff’s department because of her knowledge of the deep spring caves of North Florida. In this book, a group of Katrina refugees have decided not to return to their washed out homes but to set up a trailer village on the coast of North Florida. They open a café and some shops in an abandoned motel and seem to thrive until a local store owner is found murdered and a fisherman is pulled from the water. Luanne and the sheriff’s deputies set up in the camp where they become involved with the rag tag locals and the occasional visitor.


What did you enjoy most about writing this book?


My joy is always in the characters and their interactions with the world they find themselves in, not always one they expected. The swampy terrain is a character, too, and I enjoy writing its dangers and its beauty into the plot.


What are some highlights of your writing experiences?


One thing I enjoy more than others is the research done in the field. I need to be in the swamps and on the water to get the senses working for my writing. The smell of damp earth, or the sudden silence of animals are part of my writing. I’ve visited slave graveyards, ridden on a hydrilla grass cutter, been inside oyster shucking houses, and the list doesn’t stop. Of course, on the other end--when the book is finished--I’ve enjoyed being nominated for the Barry Award for best first mystery and winning the Florida Book Award, gold for popular fiction.


Where do you see yourself going next?


I’d like to say I’ll keep on writing these novels, doing promotion, going on to the next one in the same way. However, the world of publishing is changing so fast that I wonder if even the publishers aren’t sure what will happen next. My publisher has put all my books on Kindle and they are doing very well there. High tech in the publishing business came on us so fast, that I’m not sure what will happen. As for writing, I will continue to explore the world of mystery, then like some of my watery characters, I’ll go with the flow.

Glynn Marsh Alam is a native Floridian from Tallahassee. She grew up among the oaks, kudzu, and tall pines as well as with alligators, snakes, and mosquitoes. After graduating from Florida State University, she joined the world of espionage and worked for NSA until moving to Los Angeles. There she received her masters in linguistics, taught writing and literature, and began her mystery writing career. After publishing several short stories in literary magazines, Glynn began her Luanne Fogarty North Florida series with Dive Deep and Deadly, which received a nomination for the Barry Award for best first novel. In 2010, Glynn published her ninth book. One book in the series has attracted the attention of Hollywood (Cold Water Corpse), and her seventh in the series, Moon Water Madness, won the gold medal in the Florida Book Awards for popular fiction. Her latest book, Tide Water Talisman came out in September, 2010. She has also published a literary novel, River Whispers. “All of my books take place around north Florida swampland, the most mysterious place I know. It has become the basis of my stories and the suspense in them.”

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