She writes wherever she is, here or across the pond, beginning at a tender age. Alice Boatwright works at her mystery novels until she gets them right. She must have gotten Under An English Heaven perfectly right because it has great ratings on Amazon, buckets of gold stars and enthusiastic reviews. Cozy Cat Press is her publisher. "I devoured this delicious mystery in one sitting; I just couldn't put it down! A delightful treat in the Agatha Christie-Dorothy Sayers tradition, this well-written and expertly crafted story of love and murder in an English village is a pleasure from start to finish." by J. Wilson Now, here is Alice answering my questions:
Alice, please tell us who or what influenced your decision to be a writer?
The two biggest influences were my father and a librarian. When I was young, my father was writing a textbook, and I loved going to sleep to the plink plunk of his typewriter coming from his study down the hall. It was such a comforting sound, like rain on the roof, and I loved knowing he was right there. I still have his old Underwood typewriter, which weighs a ton, and is, to me, a “real” writer’s tool.
When the book came out, W.W. Norton gave him a boxed copy bound in tooled leather. I still remember how it looked sitting on the mantel above the fireplace, and that day I announced that he was not the only Boatwright who was going to publish a book!
In the summer, my father taught at a summer school held in a small Connecticut town. The librarian there was ever kind and patient with us grubby kids who came in from playing outdoors to pick out books. My curiosity pleased her . . . and she always made good suggestions, so I became a passionate reader through her.
How long have you been writing and what is your method or style?
I wrote my first “novel” when I was nine, and I’ve never stopped. I’ve always done other writing-related work to earn money -- from developing exhibits for a children’s museum to doing PR for arts, education and public health – so making time to write fiction has required commitment and discipline. This is the flip side of the intense private pleasure it brings.
I am a morning writer – that way the day starts with what is most important to me. I don’t use outlines – I like to discover the story and the meaning as I go along. To me, writing is rewriting, so I enjoy this process. Through the developing drafts each scene (ideally!) comes into focus in terms of the characters’ actions and motivations, its significance in relation to rest of the story, and every aspect of the language.
You wrote your first novel at nine? Is your protagonist anything like you?
Ellie Kent is more adventurous and inquisitive, more of a risk taker than I am. That’s why she’s a mystery solver, and I am a mystery writer. We’re both bookish, smart, funny, and skeptical – and we have a lot of the same values. But she does many things I only wish I would do, such as go for long runs through the countryside and learn to drive on the right.
Alice, where do you live and why?
After 10 years of living in England and France, I am currently based in woodsy area outside Seattle. Living in Europe was wonderful, and we still spend time there, but being at home has advantages too. I love the Northwest. The tall trees and the mountains that are often hidden, but always there, keeping watch.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I like a quiet life, so I’d say: spend time with my husband and two cats, stay connected to my far-flung family and friends, explore wherever I am living, take photographs, read, walk, nap by the fire. That said, my work has required me to travel a great deal, and I enjoy that very much. I especially love Asia.
Please tell us what your idea of a real vacation is?
Total freedom to spend the day anyway I like, wherever I am.
Where can we find your books?
Under an English Heaven is available in paperback or as an e-book from Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Under-English-Heaven-Ellie-Mystery/dp/193981636X
Collateral Damage (three linked novellas about the impact of the Vietnam War) is also available in both formats can be ordered from Small Press Distribution (www.spdbooks.org), Amazon, and elsewhere. Learn more at www.collateraldamage.us
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