It is my great pleasure to share the Moonlight today with a fellow Second Wind author, Christine Husom. Please give her a big Moonlighters welcome! And be sure to read to the end where we tell you how you can be eligible to win a copy of Christine's book, Murder in Winnebago County. You don't want to miss this!
When /how did you know you wanted to write?
I was so excited when I learned to read because I finally had a means to get the stories out of my imagination and onto paper. I would sneak out of bed, stand by my dresser under the glow of my night light, writing little stories long after my parents had tucked my sister and I in.
How long did it take to get published?
I finished “Murder in Winnebago County” in 2003 and searched for an agent for several years, as my schedule allowed. I had 21 rejections and got notice one agency had closed. I entered a crime writer’s contest on gather.com and met Mike Simpson, the man who started Second Wind Publishing. Fortunately, he liked my work and published my book in 2008. I am very grateful to have him as my publisher.
I served both as a corrections officer and a sheriff’s deputy, so I have some working knowledge of law enforcement procedures. But, in “Murder in Winnebago County”, I did spend some time researching the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. In my upcoming book, “Buried in Wolf Lake”, I spent a fair amount of time over the course of several months studying psychopaths, sociopaths, serial murderers, sexual sadists and the like to get a true grasp of my bad guy. He’s pretty scary! I also studied horses and the diseases they suffer for part of the storyline.
Relate to character?
I relate very closely to both Sgt. Corrine (Corky) Aleckson and to her mother, Kristen. Both share my basic moral standards. Corky has a true heart for, and dedication to, her work. She is young, inexperienced in love and still a bit naïve about life, even given her deputy sergeant position. Kristen is closer to my age and a mother hen. I can relate to that, though I am a little less neurotic about it.
Ideas come from?
“Murder in Winnebago County” was born when the death of a family member didn’t have a good explanation. A year after the fact, I was struck with the thought, “What if it wasn’t accidental, what if it was murder?” Characters, motives and plot came rushing to mind and I had a book in the works. There were many times when writing I could hardly see the computer screen through my tears. I have a strong emotional connection to the one particular death.
“Buried in Wolf Lake” is the second book in the Winnebago County series, featuring most of the same characters. It begins with a dog bringing home a young woman’s dismembered leg and was inspired by an actual event that happened when I worked for the sheriff’s department. But my story is completely fictional. You can see why my bad guy is one scary, creepy dude! Many of the questions readers have from the first book will be answered in the second. The big one concerns Corky’s love interests. I wrote a mystery thriller and people are wrapped up in the romances--go figure ;). That’s why you romance writers are so successful.
Persevere and you too may get published. Ask a lot of people read your book. It’s important to get people from all walks of life as your readers. Have a person who is a good editor/proof reader go over your work before you submit it. If you are looking for an agent or publisher, be sure you follow their submission guidelines.
3 get to know facts:
Writing a synopsis is the hardest part of the writing/publishing process for me. Running three to five miles a day is my therapy. Having grandchildren warms my heart and gives me an inner smile all the time.
Switch to another genre?
I am currently writing in the murder mystery/thriller genre, but I have written two romance novels and have a stack of unfinished mainstream fiction novels as well. I find it easiest, at this juncture, to continue writing novels in the Winnebago County series, but I may bring out the romance or mainstream novels at some point--in fact, I plan to. I would love to be able to write full-time. My dream.
I learned the importance of taking critiques to heart to be a better writer. I wrote a romance novel some years back and asked a fellow writer to critique the book and give her honest opinion. Of course, I hoped she would return it with adulations of how wonderful it was and how she couldn’t put it down.
Instead of rave reviews, I got pages of criticisms. I will call they constructive criticisms because she was offering them as an aid to make me a better writer. The thing that made the greatest impression on me was her suggestion to do a better job of developing my characters. I thought I had developed my characters just fine. After all, I knew who they were.
My reviewer wrote some things that made me think more about who my characters were: What motivates them? How do they feel? What are their strengths, their fears, their vulnerabilities? How are they connected to each other? What role do they play in the story? I took her suggestions to heart and read various articles and books on the subject. When I began writing my first murder mystery/thriller, I wrote a background for each of my main characters to have a base for their motivations, their beliefs, their morals. Much of what they had become was based on their life experiences. Some aspects of their past lives were incorporated into the story and others were not.
My best advice to unpublished authors is: study, read and interact with other readers, writers and publishers. Keep writing. When others tell you you’re a good writer, believe them. It’s a very competitive field, but if your goal is to get published, don’t give up. You all know the stories of famous authors who get hundreds of rejections or have over twenty books in their coffers before they sell one. Let that be an encouragement!
Day Murders, See Tom Run
"Excellent visuals and introduction of settings. All of the locations are so vivid--she puts us right there."
~Deborah J Ledford, twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, is the award winning author of six published short
"This is really good story-telling - nicelyplotted, with a detailed, rich setting. A great job of introducing exposition without drowning the reader in it yet still giving us a clear sense of place and character.
Christine, thank you for sharing the Moonlight with us today! Want a chance to win a copy of Christine's book, Murder in Winnebago County? Leave a comment on this post and your name will be dropped into the handy-dandy Random.org generator!