Today, we have not one, but TWO author spotlights. You get a bonus as we wrap up the year 2008 and get ready to ring in 2009. This is spotlight #2. Scroll a little further down for spotlight #1.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ANITA HIGMAN, an award-winning author, has twenty-three books published (several coauthored) for adults and children, and she has been honored as a Barnes & Noble "Author of the Month" for Houston. Anita has a B.A. degree, combining speech communication, psychology, and art. Some of her favorite things are exotic teas, going to the movies, and all things Jane Austen. She'd love for you to visit her website at http://www.anitahigman.com/.
ANOTHER HOUR TO KILL
by Anita Higman
Published by Barbour Publishing/Heartsong Presents Mysteries
ABOUT THE BOOK
Bailey Walker has survived the mysteries of Volstead Manor, but the new threats are more ominous than ever. Did her neighbor B.J. die of natural causes or was he murdered? And why does the new neighbor, Vlad Tepes, seem to be ever watching her? While searching for a lost treasure and planning a wedding the size of an amusement part, Bailey must discover what monster is still lurking in the neighborhood. Will she unravel the puzzle in time, or will Bailey merely provide the villain with another hour to kill?
Buy Your Copy of Another Hour to Kill by contacting Anita through her web site today!
1. What gave you the inspiration for these stories?
All three novels in my Volstead Manor Series are cozy mysteries with a gothic tone. Volstead Manor is such an integral part of the story I'll explain what inspired me to write about this foreboding place. I'm sure the idea came from growing up in a slightly scary one-hundred-year-old farmhouse. We had bats in the attic, murky shadows and dank smells in the cellar, an old-fashioned, inferno-style floor furnace in the kitchen, and a snake that rose up like a cobra to corner me in the basement. There was also a secret place under the floorboards where the former owner of the house must have kept his money hidden. Or treasure. Or whatever else needed concealing. Funny thing, hiding places and secret passageways also show up in the old mansion that is featured in my mysteries.
By the way, just as a side note, the name of my fictional mansion comes from Prohibition—The Volstead Act of 1919—and even though this series is contemporary, the dark history of the house is connected to that era. I suppose I've always been intrigued with that period of time in American history, but more than that, I've always been fascinated with really old houses and their secrets.
2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that are theirs and theirs alone?
My heroine, Bailey, is spunky, but self-depreciating. I am that way. I leap out with a comment or an action, and then sometimes pull back horrified at my own audacity.
As far as traits that belong only to my heroine, I would say Bailey's sense of fearlessness goes far beyond mine. I would never be able to stay in an old mansion overnight by myself with a raging lightning storm outside. That's what Bailey did in book one. Also, in the beginning, Bailey has very little attachment to people and very little strong emotion. That also is not me. For instance, I am full of emotion. In fact, my husband would tell you that I am a hurricane of emotion. I used to even cry watching Mister Rogers and Hallmark commercials. Of course, Bailey did grow over the course of the three novels, so at the end of the last novel she cries much more freely than she did at the beginning of book one.
I guess you could say that I take pieces of myself and infuse them into my characters, but I also take attributes from folks I know, people I meet, and from the depths of my imagination.
3. If one of your characters were an ice cream flavor, what would he/she be and why?
I think Bailey would be vanilla ice cream with toppings. Maybe she'd have some caramel and walnuts as a garnish and maybe a few other ingredients that would surprise even me. I think Bailey would be a vanilla kind of person because she is such a practical kind of gal, but then she'd make up for her prosaic existence by adding those jazzy toppings. In the end, she’d shake her head, laugh at herself, and just hope everyone else liked vanilla too. That's Bailey.
4. Are there any themes in Another Hour to Kill that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the stories progressed?
I suppose two of the main themes in my novel are; living life with God is a safe place to be and that all things grow with love and patience. A secondary theme that might be a little less noticeable is that no good thing can come from obsession and greed.
5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?
One of the hardest parts in writing any novel is to keep the middle from sagging. I not only have to prop it up, but keep those muscles taunt. I have to constantly keep asking myself if the scene is slowing down too much. If I were a reader, would I continue? Is this satisfying, compelling, and irresistible? If not, then I need to get out the weights and start toning up again.
My favorite part was writing about Vlad, who is one of the suspects. Vlad had an interesting delusion that he lived with, and that internal mirage was fascinating and bizarre enough to keep me interested in the character. I hope readers are intrigued too. His full name is Vlad Tepes. Maybe that will give you a hint as to his delusion.
6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?
My next book comes out in February and is entitled, Love Finds You in Humble, Texas. It's about two sisters who fall in love with the same man. Talk about built-in conflict. You know there's going to be a lot of trouble before there's any joy.
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Thank you, Anita, for being in the spotlight with us.
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