MARTY WINGATE: JULIA FROM EMPTY NEST IS PART OF ME
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Marty Wingate is one of the best garden experts. She uses her knowledge for plants to create a magnificent mystery world. Our next guest is releasing her newest book Empty Nest on December 1. This is the reason for our conversation.
We will feature, as well, some others interesting things about Marty and her writing. Let’s say a warm welcome to lady Wingate
– Marty, what is your next book Empty Nest about?
– Julia Lanchester, who runs a tourist information center in a village in Suffolk, England, is trying to juggle one too many balls – she’s got several big events planned, is living with the Earl who owns the estate (well, staying in a room in the manor – although he’s like it to be more), and sorting out a new boyfriend. And then, one of the guests in the Hall is murdered. It all seems to have something to do with sparrow hawks.
– How did you decide to write Birds of a Feather mysteries?
– My editor at Alibi enjoyed reading any mention of birds in my other series (the Potting Shed mysteries), so I thought I’d see if I could come up with a series that had a lot to do with birds.
What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
Characters sometimes have a way of taking over your story, and occasionally I have to step back and say, “What are you doing there?” I cut one entire scene with a new character I love (but not to worry, she’ll be showing up in book number 3).
– Tell us something more about your main character Julia? Is she close to someone from your real life?
– Julia is one of those people who speaks her mind, whether she should or not. She jumps to conclusions, and often fills in her own details when actual facts are lacking in a situation. But she’s loyal and loving, and good fun. They say that all a writer’s characters are part of the writer, and I can see a good bit of myself in Julia.
– How much time did you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– I’m on a schedule now of writing two books a year. It helps immensely that I’m in a writing group and that I have a fabulous editor at Alibi. I would never want to see one of my first drafts in print.
– Give us some insight about the books from Potting Shed series?
– The protagonist in the Potting Shed series is Pru Parke, middle-aged American gardener who moves to England to start a new life. Her mother was English, and she grew up in love with the place. I enjoy the minor clashes of culture and language – even when Pru gets used to the place, she has American friends who visit.
– Who are you (Would you describe yourself with few sentences)?
– I’ve been a writer all my life. I garden and travel and listen to stories and watch people. I’m married to a copy editor – we live in a house of words.
– What are your writing habits?
– In general, I write new material for at least two hours in the morning, and spend two or three more hours in the afternoon combing through what I’ve just done. Every writer is different – I know some people who write straight through the first draft to the end. I couldn’t do that, because I would have no idea what was going on. I must look back to see where I’m going.
– Are you satisfied by the sales of your books?
– I’m delighted with sales so far – and look forward to introducing even more readers to both series.
– What are you doing to promote your book by the best possible way?
– I’m grateful for the sales and marketing team at Random House/Alibi. They’ve got a great handle on promotion online, lining up a blog tour, tweeting and posting. I’ve started scheduling library appearances with other mystery writers. Librarians have been helpful and I think it’s a great way to meet readers.
– When we will see your next novel and would you unveil something more about it?
– Potting Shed #4 is titled The Skeleton Garden – it will be out in March. Pru finds herself gardening in Hampshire, in the south of England, where she digs up a German fighter plane from the Second World War.
– Why do you select mystery as your favorite genre to write?
– I enjoy weaving a mystery through the lives of the characters – the secrets people keep, their motives. I really enjoy telling the characters stories and incorporating the settting almost as a character in itself.
– You are leading garden tours around the world. Would you tell us more about the experience?
– I host small group tours – always including gardens – to England, Scotland, and Ireland (we’ve also been to France). These are not one of those one-night-stand sorts of tours; we stay two or three nights in one place so we can get a feel for the area. In the gardens, we almost always sit down to tea at the end of the tour, so we can get to know the head gardener/owner. It’s a lovely, leisurely way to travel. And, of course, I can always do research!
– If you may ask yourself one question in the interview what it will be?
– Which writer had the biggest influence on you? Ray Bradbury – science fiction/fantasy/overall fabulous storyteller. I had the very good fortune of hearing him in person three times (the first time when I was thirteen years old). He had such joy for life and words and stories.