TQ: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Simone: Probably that I do a lot of my first draft longhand in a spiral notebook. It's how I trick my writing brain into thinking I'm "not really writing" - I'm just making notes, see? Not really writing at all. Once I get a good handle on the story, I move to the computer and start typing.
TQ: Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?
Simone: I have too many favorite writers to name! To start, I'll name Mary Stewart, Stephen King, Laura Kinsale, George R. R. Martin, Susanna Kearsley, Michael Connelly, Deanna Raybourn, and Harper Lee. How's that for diversity!
TQ: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Simone: I'm a pantser, but I'd like to learn to be a plotter for sure.
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
Simone: Writing to a deadline has been a learning curve - as an unpublished writer, you can make as many excuses as you want. Making regular, productive time to write has been a challenge, and I work hard at it.
TQ: Describe The Haunting of Maddy Clare in 140 characters or less.
Simone: Temp girl gets assigned to be a ghost hunter's assistant - and stumbles on a mystery and a romance.
TQ: What inspired you to write The Haunting of Maddy Clare?
Simone: My wish, as a reader, to find a creepy ghost story that also had a good romance in it. It's just really the book I want to read, and I couldn't find it, so I wrote it.
TQ: What sort of research did you do for The Haunting of Maddy Clare?
Simone: I've always been a history buff, and the 1920's is one of my favorite eras, so I already knew a lot about it. I did buff up on the technology of the era, including Alistair's recording machine. I also read up in depth about World War I and its effect on soldiers.
TQ: Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?
Simone: Sarah was the easiest, because as I wrote I just slipped into her shoes. I always knew her very well from page 1. The hardest was probably Matthew, because he's anything but an open book, and you only see him through Sarah's eyes.
TQ: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in The Haunting of Maddy Clare?
Simone: I do love the scene where Sarah first meets Matthew, when he bursts into the room. I also love the scene in which she sees his scars by mistake - that scene is almost exactly as I drafted it the first time, it wrote itself so perfectly.
TQ: What's next?
Simone: My next book, coming March 2013, is called An Inquiry Into Love and Death. It's another 1920s ghost story featuring a new set of characters. I can't wait for readers to get their hands on it!
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
Simone: Thank you Sally!
About The Haunting of Maddy Clare
The Haunting of Maddy Clare
NAL, March 6, 2012
Trade Paperback and eBook, 336 pages
Sarah Piper's lonely, threadbare existence changes when her temporary agency sends her to assist a ghost hunter. Alistair Gellis-rich, handsome, scarred by World War I, and obsessed with ghosts- has been summoned to investigate the spirit of nineteen-year-old maid Maddy Clare, who is haunting the barn where she committed suicide. Since Maddy hated men in life, it is Sarah's task to confront her in death. Soon Sarah is caught up in a deperate struggle. For Maddy's ghost is real, she's angry, and she has powers that defy all reason. Can Sarah and Alistair's assistant, the rough, unsettling Matthew Ryder, discover who Maddy was, whereshe came from, and what is driving her desire for vengeance-before she destroys them all?