Sunday, January 25, 2015

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Cindy Brown


The Gal in the Blue Mask: 
Hi, Cindy.  Welcome to The Gal.  It's great to have you here.  I LOVED your book!!  Just ... wow!  Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Cindy Brown: 
I'm an award-winning writer, a mystery lover, and a theater geek (musician, actor, director, producer, and playwright).  Recently I've combined my passions to produce Macdeath, a humorous mystery set int he off-off-off Broadway theater world, where the best drama happens offstage.  When I'm not writing fiction, I work as a copywriter, scriptwriter, and ghostwriter.  And always, I try to live by the worlds of Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Be silly.  Be honest.  Be kind."

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are five things most people don't know about you?

Cindy Brown:
This is a tough one - I'm kind of an open book...

1. If I could, I would stay up until 4 in the morning and sleep until 11.  Unfortunately, the world doesn't really work that way.

2. No one except my stylist knows my natural hair color.  And I'm not telling.

3. I used to be a pretty good tap dancer.

4. My most prized possession is a personal letter from George Burns.

5. Bridges freak me out so much that I carry a hammer in my car, in case I end up in the river and have to break a window (and yes, I live in Portland, a.k.a. "Bridgetown").

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What is the first book you remember reading?

Cindy Brown:
I was in the hospital for a few days as a young child.  A volunteer came around with a basket of toys and books, and I chose Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book.  I still remember how it made me feel better.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What are you reading now?

Cindy Brown:
I read really widely.  For example, I just finished Rhys Bowen's sparkling mystery Naughty in Nice, and now I'm reading Sarah Waters' historical novel The Paying Guests.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What made you decide you want to write?  When did you begin writing?

Cindy Brown:
I've always written, but mostly for myself.  I began writing for others when I was teaching theater to kids and couldn't find plays I wanted to use in class.  Macdeath is my first novel.  One day I woke up with Ivy Meadows, actress and PI-in-training in my head, and knew she needed and entire book to herself.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have a special place you like to write?

Cindy Brown:
I do most of my work at home, but I also get to use the Sterling Room for Writers at Multnomah Central Library.  It's a gorgeous high-ceilinged, wood-paneled room, like something out of an English manor house.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?

Cindy Brown:
I do my best writing in the morning, before my critic has woken up.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Where do the ideas for your books come from?

Cindy Brown:
Everywhere from news articles to overheard conversations.  One of my friends told me he once had a car that used to catch on fire regularly.  That's now a plot point in my next book.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What books have most inspired you?

Cindy Brown:
I am a big Shakespeare fan, and have learned a lot about language and timing from  him.  Mystery-wise, I am inspired by Sue Grafton and her sassy Kinsey Millhone.  But Anne Lamott's funny and wise Bird by Bird is the book I return to most often.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Cindy Brown:
Since I write for a living, I often find it hard to put my own writing first.  I've learned that if I don't do it first thing, it's way less likely to happen.  Not only will everyone else's work eat up all my time, but I will be reluctant to sit back down in front of a computer screen again.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you think makes a good story?

Cindy Brown:
Intriguing characters.  It's one reason I love series: I get to come back to familiar characters, see how they deal with new problems, and watch them grow.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Cindy Brown:
I'm a lot like Ivy, sunny and slightly goofy, but determined, with a strong sense of justice.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Why did you pick your particular genre?

Cindy Brown:
I have always loved mysteries.  I love the psychological puzzles they present, and the fact that justice (usually) prevails.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

Cindy Brown:
I haven't read many mysteries set in the theater, which is surprising, considering that the theater is rife with drama (pun intended).  And the books are funny.  As my editor says, Ivy is a hoot!

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What can we expect from you in the future?

Cindy Brown:
Ivy's getting her own series!  The second book, The Sound of Murder, will be out in September 2015.  I don't want to give away much yet, but let's just say there will be spy gadgets, a snoring pug, and of course, singing nuns.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Thank you for coming by today, Cindy.  It was great having you.  Before you go, could you tell us where we can find you?

Cindy Brown:
You can connect with me on my website, on Twitter or on Facebook.


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