Thursday, September 15, 2011

Authorsday: Meg Mims

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

I use a detailed outline. I used to be a “pant-ser” until I hit too many walls. I’ve learned that an outline keeps my plot on track, but it’s flexible enough to allow for unexpected detours. Unless they’re too far off, that is! But the key to a good plot is knowing your characters extensively, as I learned the hard way. So before I even start an outline, I do 5-10 page character backgrounds.

  1. What was the best writing advice someone gave you?

“If you quit, you’ll never publish!” Very true. Another one: “It’s your baby, so trust your instincts. But consider any expert advice seriously.”

  1. Why did you pick the publisher that ultimately published your book?

            Westerns have been on the “outs” for a while. Despite three different contest   wins, and multiple agent and editor rejections, I sent Double Crossing to     Astraea Press—knowing they preferred “clean” fiction. I was thrilled when      they contacted me less than a week later with an offer! I think DC is a great    “fit” for AP. I’m working on a sequel as well, Double or Nothing.


  1. If you have a day job, what is it?

Freelance writing -- articles about the market and community events for a real estate company, plus book reviews and articles about lighthouses and lighthouse keepers for an on-line West Coast of Michigan tourism magazine, Lake Effect Living. I have an article coming out in the summer issue of The Chronicle, the member magazine of the Historical Society of Michigan as well. I’d like to send more articles out, but need to write more fiction!

  1. What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing?

I knew long ago that I had a knack for descriptive and vivid prose. I used to have tons of “narrative dumps” but learned to shave them down or incorporate them into the scene itself in subtle ways. I think “pearls dropped along the path” is the best way to handle vivid imagery.

  1. What do you consider your weakness and what strategies do you use to overcome it?

My first drafts have always been plot-heavy and without the emotion necessary to connect with readers. When I attended Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program, I focused on how to alter my own thinking and discover the “history” of my characters, which helped convey their emotions and balance out the scenes.


  1. What authors do you admire?

            I always loved Laura Ingalls Wilder’s writing, and read her books multiple      times as a child plus her biographies. I enjoyed J.R.R.Tolkien’s descriptive            style, and Ursula LeGuin’s deft way of portraying social customs and     culture. I also loved   Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie for their twisted      plots. I’m such an eclectic reader, and try to find something fresh in every             author’s book to admire.


  1. What’s your favorite food?

            Cookies! Hands down. The crunchier and chocolate-ier, the better.


  1. What do you do when you are not writing?

I love to paint watercolors ( but have little time now to indulge. I’ve also done acrylics. My house would love for me to clean it, but I try to ignore that nagging voice. Luckily my husband does too. ;-D

  1. What is your favorite writing reference book and why?

            I love Rebecca McClanahan’s Word Painting. Being an artist, and having the             knack for taking words beyond the visual level, I still had to learn from this          book on how to control it – much like any discipline. So it’s a lovely read and very helpful.


Author Bio

Meg Mims may have been born in the wrong century. Her love of historical fiction started early, with visits to Michigan’s Greenfield Village and any museum at hand. From a young age, she had a taste for classics such as Jane Eyre, Gone With The Wind and Sherlock Holmes. Now Meg devours historical, cozy and PI mysteries. Her award-winning fiction always has a dead body or two, plus an independent-minded heroine and a sense of justice served in the end. She lives with her husband, a drooling black cat and a make-my-day Maltese-Poodle, and enjoys her Sweet Pea whenever she’s back home.

Book Blurb

A murder arranged as a suicide … a missing deed  … and a bereft daughter.

August, 1869: Lily Granville is stunned by her father’s murder. Only one other person knows about the California gold mine deed—both now missing. When Lily heads west on the transcontinental railroad to track the killer, she soon realizes she is no longer the hunter but the prey.

As things progress from bad to worse, Lily is uncertain who to trust—the China-bound missionary, or the wandering Texan who offers to protect her … for a price. Will Lily survive the journey and unexpected betrayal?


Unknown said...

What a terrific interview and I love the blend of personal and professional questions.

Julie Jansen said...

Hi Chris! Wonderful interview!