This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Sigrid Macdonald will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
Thanks for stopping by It's Raining Books! Why do you write in your genre? What draws you to it?
Although I am a huge fan of general fiction, and literary fiction in particular, I choose to write in the mystery genre because I like to be surprised. I love reading books in print or listening on audio, and I often gravitate toward the Reese Witherspoon picks on Audible. She has chosen some excellent mystery books like Something in the Water and The Last Mrs. Parrish. I love to get right to the end of a book and think to myself, "oh, no! I never pictured that person as the suspect." So I choose mystery because it's nice to be surprised, but I also like to address social issues in my books, the way Jodi Picoult does. She has written extensively about autism, the plight of elephants in the wild, racism and segregation, and school shooters. In my novel, I address issues like midlife crisis, domestic violence, addiction, and unrequited love.
What research (or world-building – for fantasy/paranormal/Sci-fi) is required?
I don't write sci-fi or fantasy, but I do own an editing company, and I often perform manuscript evaluations. What I suggest to my clients is that they make their fantasy world as realistic as possible in terms of strong characters and detailed backgrounds. It's okay if the actual society defies credulity, or doesn't exist yet, as long as the people and the places seem real or credible.
Name one thing you learned from your hero/heroine.
I deliberately gave my protagonist, Tara, a number of challenges and several serious character flaws. That's because people aren't perfect. I don't like cliché characters; I would far prefer to read about someone who struggles doing the right thing or situations that seem not to have ideal solutions. Tara is 39 years old and terrified of the clock turning. This comes right from the playbook of my life. When I was 39, I was working at a university, surrounded by women in their early 20s. I couldn't stand the thought of turning 40 and being officially middle-aged. I lied about my age for three years, but then, after much hard work, I came to terms with it. So I gave this dilemma to Tara, because I think it's still an issue for women in society. When you look at China or India, which together comprise almost 1/3 of the world's population, they have so much more wisdom than North Americans. They revere aging and understand that with it comes wisdom – not always but certainly it's very hard to be an old soul at 21. So what I learned from Tara is that it's okay to keep opening a new chapter and embracing every decade.
Do you have any odd or interesting writing quirks, habits or superstitions?
No, I wish I did. My mother used to read tea leaves, and I used to read tarot cards — I believed in them for years, but now I just believe in hard work. Boring, I know.
Are you a plotter or pantser?
I am a type-A personality, so I have to have a plot! Absolutely, but I've written fiction and nonfiction, and the most surprising thing about writing fiction was that in many parts of my novel, I truly felt as though the characters were writing themselves. I never felt that way with nonfiction.
Look to your right — what’s sitting there?
To my right is my bookshelf with a picture of my beautiful, beloved mother, Muriel, holding me as an infant. She told me that the day she became a mom was the happiest day in her life. My mother passed away from cervical cancer almost three years ago. She was 93. Not a day goes by when I don't think about her and how lucky I was to have had her in my life all those years. Muriel was the kind of person who would walk into a room, and suddenly the atmosphere changed. She was warm, welcoming, enthusiastic and sincere. Everybody loved her.
Anything new coming up from you? What?
I'm thinking of writing a sequel to Finding Lisa. I didn't tie up everything neatly at the end, which would serve me well if I wrote book 2.
Do you have a question for our readers?
Yes! What are your favorite books and why? Which books kept you reading until 1 AM when you knew you needed to turn the lights off by 11?
Read an Excerpt:
All the carts were taken at the supermarket on Tuesday. I found one off to the side of the vegetable aisle. It had a defective wheel, which resulted in me almost overturning a display of cantaloupes. The cart was also enormous. No doubt this was a deliberate ploy on the part of the supermarket to encourage excess shopping.
"I feel as though I'm driving a school bus," I announced to the frail, pale orange-haired woman to my left, who was squeezing the small, unappetizing looking cantaloupes.
She smiled faintly and nodded. I wondered how she had the strength to push the heavy cart through the long aisles of the grocery store at her age.
"Mum, I'll go with you to one of those Women against Rape meetings if you want?" Devon said to my astonishment, his voice rising at the end of his sentence. "There’s only one condition. You have to watch 8 Mile with me."
"8 Mile? Isn’t that the movie based on the book by Stephen King?"
"Nah, you’re thinking about The Green Mile," Devon replied. "8 Mile is the story of a rapper in Detroit. It's based on the life of Eminem, whose real name is Marshall Mathers. Eminem even stars in it," he said with increasing enthusiasm.
"I think it’ll give you a better idea of where he's coming from. You know, you're always talking about these girls who've been, like, abused and what horrible lives they've had. You even feel bad about boys who were taken advantage of by priests or their hockey coaches. So why don't you have any sympathy for Marshall? His mother was abusive. She was mean to him, and she did drugs! Also, she, like, gave him something called Munchkins syndrome," Devon added uncertainly.
"Munchausen syndrome?” I asked, trying to picture the tough guy with the tattoos and bad attitude as a small child with a manipulative and controlling mother.
"Yeah, that sounds right. She made him feel sick when he was totally healthy. And, Mum, I know you would respect the way Em felt about his little brother, Nathan. He, like, didn't wanna leave him alone in the house with his mother when he finally split from Detroit. He's also really keen about his daughter, Hailie Jade. He talks about her all the time in his songs and on TV."
I pushed the buttons on the radio. The Steve Miller band was singing, "Time keeps on slipping, slipping into the future." I had a sense of motion. The car was moving forward, and with every traffic light I passed, I was moving farther away from Lisa and our routine evenings at the ByTowne Theatre. The rest of us were going ahead, and Lisa had been left behind. I wanted to go back, not just to last Thursday night, but to my university days, so I could live my life all over again.
I wanted to be sixteen or twenty-six again, making decisions based on what I knew now. So many lost opportunities. How had I managed to completely screw up my life? I'd done everything wrong except that I hadn't become a street prostitute or a serial murderer. Too late for the former—who would want me? But there was still time for the latter.
About the Author:
Macdonald is a social activist who has spent decades working on the seemingly disparate issues of women's rights and wrongful convictions; she has worked at the Women's Center at Ramapo College of New Jersey and Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, and was a member of AIDWYC, The Association in Defense of the Wrongly Convicted. She owns an editing company called Book Magic. Sigrid is a public speaker and a member of Mothers against Drunk Driving, Ottawa Independent Writers, the American Association of University Women, and the Editors' Association of Canada. Visit her website at http://bookmagic.ca/ or friend her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sigridmac.
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/finding-lisa-sigrid-macdonald/1132691210
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