Newsletter: Volume One, Number One
We are expecting a spring release for SPIRIT OF THE SILENT BUTLER, the second book in the Elsie Sanders series. The first book in the series, SPIRIT OF THE STRAIGHTEDGE will be re-released at the same time, in a newly edited version.
How do you get inside the killer's head (meaning Peter)? It's creepy and uncanny...
------Teri T. (Otis, OR)
The first twenty drafts or so, (HAHAHA), were not done inside the killer's head. It was not that I couldn't do it that way, but something held me back, it seemed as if it would just be too gross. And, of course, gross is putting it mildly. From the very start people remarked about my strong voice and how horrific it all was and I felt somewhat intimidated by the comments of other writers and writer's groups. As you may have noticed I do some things that are just not done or not often done. That was the other thing, you don't do anything different as a newbie if you want to see it published-or so we're told.
One night at a writer's group at my house with just two other women whose opinions I trusted mightily, one woman, Ida, said, "you know I dislike this kind of book/writing, but if you're going to do it, really DO it. Show us the killer's mind and what really goes on." Ida, by the way, works in the field of counseling. The other woman present, Marcie, had read three of my books in a weekend and come walking into our motorcycle shop with the manuscripts in her arms, beaming, and saying, "man are you gonna be a famous writer. I couldn't stop reading until I was done with all three." So, you can see why I'd feel comfy with these two friends. They liked me and my work, even if the subject wasn't the subject Ida would have picked to read, she had given me advice that proved very important.
But, I guess, you asked how, not why. That was why, plus more. (HAHAHA). The how of it is that from the time I've been small I've been able to know what people were thinking. I don't mean a psychic, although often I feel as if I am that, too, but not really. I was more successful (in terms of financial) in the car business than most around me, or than I probably had any right to be, because I knew what people wanted. I talked to them and I understood them right away.
Do you have nightmares after writing about these horrendous acts of violence?
------Susan D. (Tacoma, WA)
I have had serious nightmares on and off throughout my life. Mostly I get them before I do the killer's mind scenes, not after. After, then it's over and I can go on to something that thrills me or moves me or something else.
When I do a first draft I sleep with a notepad next to me and try to write down anything bad-or good, that I dream. I can't always, but almost always. And, I'll have days of dreaming and then walking zombie-like around the house alone, not thinking, can't talk on the phone or do much that is social, I'm too depressed or whatever, just empty. Then I'll write it. After I write it the first time I never read it really carefully again. Bits of it, not all of it. HA! Leave that for the readers! Awful of me. I do feel a little guilty. But after all it IS inside his head, and it's very ugly and horrible. So then after it's written, it's like I'm free. Free at last, oh Lord Almighty, I'm free at last. Something like that.
Sex and violence. Is it difficult to write or easy?
------ Gayle M. (Seattle, WA)
It's easy for me to write about sex. Unless the sex involves violence in which case it is no longer really sex then is it? So, yes, sex is a piece of cake for me to write and love and other things that I think are good or fun or on the plus side of life. Violence is very hard to write if you connect INTO it. I can write maybe ten minutes at a time, maybe not that long. Right now thinking about it, I think back on the scene with Lynn and Peter and I'm crying as I type this. It's too horrible for a normal person to comprehend. It's ghastly and it's the worst of all possible things you can do in this life, to harm another human being. Why I should feel that by writing about it I am helping others to keep it from happening I've not an idea, but I do feel that. It is what motivates me, moves me to do this.
Where did you get the idea to do a psychological suspense series? (rather than just one book and then move on to completely new characters in the next book)
------ Michael K. (Oakland, California)
I like this question because it's what I'm all about, or partly anyhow.
Marcie said to me once after she read the books and she'd known me quite awhile, a few years I guess, that I wanted to draw people and communities together, that was my goal and it is but I don't THINK about it, yet I'd do almost anything to make it happen. It's part of why FUTURES Magazine came to be, too.
So, this series is about first of all, one young woman who grows. She makes mistakes and does good and does bad. She meets people like herself who do good and bad and ultimately grow. It's interesting to me to see this and it's REAL. I like real. I like real people. I always say that I will surround myself with real people, people who are loving and caring and not filled with b-s. Those who are not real can just go-well, wherever they go. I love truth justice and not necessarily the American way. Although I do love the American way, I love other countries and their ways too. (HAHAHA!) and want to see us united.
So there you have it. She grows. To me that is interesting. In one book you have to either lie and only show parts of people, or only a slice, and you'd best pick a good slice if they are the "stars." How do you do that? How do you know up front? I don't know how my books will end, the characters have not lived through them, so how can I know that one book will show the depth of character that she/they have? It will show it for SOME of them certainly, but not always the ones you want or think. This is what makes life interesting. It moves. It goes. (HAHAHA!!!)
TOURS AND BOOK SIGNINGS
Babs will be taking to the road, literally (on the back of her husband's motorcycle--probably the Honda ST1100) for some touring this summer. On other occasions, she's agreed to take a plane for the trip. Book signings are being tentatively scheduled for May (in Minneapolis, MN), June (In Lake Tahoe, Reno, Nevada and Las Vegas, Nevada), and August (Eastern Washington). She's also going to try to squeeze in another trip to the state of Washington, for book signings in Olympia and Tacoma (Lakewood, actually at the Barnes & Noble). And a trip to the San Francisco Bay area. Oh, and Alaska! And maybe, New Mexico and Florida. Depending on the motorcycle racing schedule this year. (Not that she's racing in New Mexico or Florida! She's crewing for her husband, in Minnesota.)
We'll have more specific dates and information in the next newsletter.
HOW TO GET IN TOUCH
c/o Over My Dead Body! Books
P.O. 1778, Auburn, WA 98071-1778
Hey to you my friends!
A few words from Babs...
Yes, I am from Minnesota, although, I don't say "you betcha" too often. I recently watched one of the recent Minnesota-based films and heard them talk and thought how we were made to sound kinda "hickish." Nice, but not that smart. I noticed later that weekend at the grocery store that there were a few "youbetchas" in the air around me, but the people were as smart as I'd remembered!
I'd love to hear what you think of my books. The most difficult one to write was Spirit of the Straightedge--the journey here was long. And, while STRAIGHTEDGE is a work of fiction, it was born of anger. It took less than 30 days for my first draft (around Halloween in 1993) I started early and wrote until late -- did little else. I dreamt of it nightly; when I read it now I relive those days, and realize how cathartic they were.
I don't know if it's been mentioned but we do plan to use a portion of every sale toward a donation to domestic violence groups. It's difficult to speculate how much because we don't know how many will sell but the publisher and myself are committed to doing this.
It has been mentioned to me that by writing about such a violent thing as rape/murder in the first person (the head of the killer) I am further assisting more of such things to happen. I don't agree. I have strong beliefs that we need to face the demons that we face daily, stand up to them, and cut them off at the knees--or wherever is appropriate. Until you are abused, or until it is too late for you or your family, few people look evil in the eye. We can't just see it happen from off camera and really feel it now can we? We can sanitize it all we want but it's still as bad a threat to women and children and some men, today, as it was decades ago. What are we going to do to change this threat?
I have daughters. I have granddaughters and grandsons and I want something done now. I don't have the answers, either. I just know that we do need to find answers and realizing the problem exists is a good step forward.
With affection for all people all over the world--
Picture of the author, and her brother, Michael. Babs plans a future book about her baby brother Michael, who was killed in a motorcycle accident when he was 28.
Spotlight on the author. . .
For fans who like to keep track of these things, Babs is a member of the following organizations.
The Loft, International Writer's Community
MWA (Mystery Writers of America) National and Midwestern Chapters
National Writer's Union
RWA (Romance Writers of America) National
and Kiss of Death (RWA Internet chapter)
SPAM (Small Publishers of America)
Sister's In Crime (National, Minneapolis, and Internet chapters.
Also, for fans who can't get enough information about their favorite authors, we'll try to keep you informed not only about upcoming book signing events, but also, interviews, and other guest appearances that Babs may be making. So far, there has been a warm and welcoming response to Babs from the news media. Recent interviews include:
Minnesota Women's Press, January 31, 2001 (interview) by Cynthia Scott
St. Paul Pioneer Press, February, 2001 (column) by Mary Ann Grossmann
Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly, March, 2001 (interview) by Ellen Hawley
Walneck's Magazine, June , 2001 (interview) by Bill Heft
Upcoming features include a profile by Ms. Grossman later in the year, and a live, on-air interview for the WLOL Morning show.
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