TQ: Writing quirks! What are some of yours?
Nancy: I write by the light of the full moon with a pheasant quill dipped in lavender ink while wearing a turban and a silk kimono embroidered with peacocks. Well, no, I don't, but the thing is, what may seem like a quirk to you is business as usual to me, so from my side of the picture, I have no writing quirks.
TQ: Who are some of your favorite writers?
Nancy: Terry Pratchett, Dorothy Sayers, Georgette Heyer, Beverley Nichols, and P.D. James rank among the top ten. I also read a lot of non-fiction---diaries, journals, and memoirs as well as books on architecture, gardening, history, and a wide variety of other subjects. British historian Lyn MacDonald's WWI books are among my very favorites.
TQ: Are you a plotter or a panster?
Nancy: I couldn't figure out what a "panster" was until it dawned on me that you meant "pantster." I'm a pantster, definitely a pantster.
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
Nancy: I find it challenging to keep up with ordinary household tasks when I'm working on a book. Paying bills, buying groceries, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, mowing the lawn, clearing the gutters, responding to email, answering the phone . . . those sorts of things are very easy to forget because, when I'm writing, I'm in another world. The only part of my life I don't neglect is my kittens and that's because Chloe and Emma will not allow me to neglect them.
TQ: Aunt Dimity & the Village Witch (April 26, 2012) is your 17th Aunt Dimity novel. What inspired you to write mysteries with paranormal/supernatural elements?
Nancy: I didn't set out to write mysteries with a fantasy element. I just wrote the book that wanted to be written. I had no preconceived notions about the type of book it would be. Both the mystery and the fantasy elements entered my first book of their own accord, without any planning on my part. Pantster, not plotter.
TQ: Do you base your paranormal/supernatural elements on existing lore, make things up or both?
Nancy: I make things up, but it doesn't feel as if I do. It feels as if I'm recording the stories my characters tell me.
TQ: What sorts of research have you done for the Aunt Dimity series? What is the oddest bit of information that you’ve come across in your research?
Nancy: I don't do very much intentional research for the Aunt Dimity series, but I do a great deal of unintentional research. In other words, I don't hunt for specific facts. I keep my mind wide open and absorb as much as I can about everything. Everything I absorb finds its way into my books eventually. The only specific fact I've ever researched was the color of a Pathfinder badge (in AUNT DIMITY'S CHRISTMAS). Since it was a WWII badge, the only photographs I could find of it were in black and white and I couldn't find a book in which its color was mentioned. I presented my inquiry to an archivist at the Imperial War Museum in London, but he said it would take three months to answer it. Feeling more than a little dispirited, I wandered from his desk into an exhibit and lo and behold, there was a Pathfinder badge gleaming dully at me from a display case. My question was answered instantly. For future reference, a Pathfinder badge is gilt---a sort of dirty gold. (Did you hear that, Mr. Archivist?)
TQ: Tell us something about Aunt Dimity and the Village Witch, the most recent Aunt Dimity novel, that is not in the book description.
Nancy: VILLAGE WITCH presents an excellent argument for learning Latin.
TQ: In the the series so far who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?
Nancy: All of my characters have been a joy to write. They're a very pleasant and cooperative bunch.
TQ: Which character in the Aunt Dimity series has surprised you the most?
Nancy: Julian Bright, in AUNT DIMITY'S CHRISTMAS, probably surprised me more than any other character. I didn't know Julian would be in the book until Lori saw him at the hospital, but he turned out to be an extremely major (and majorly wonderful) character. Surprise!
TQ: What's next?
Nancy: I rarely talk about the book I'm currently writing for a couple of reasons. I don't want to spoil surprises for readers, of course, but I also know the book will change in unforeseen ways as I write it, so anything I say about it now may very well be null and void by the time I finish it. Two facts should stand the test of time, though. The next book will be published in April 2013 and its title is: AUNT DIMITY AND THE LOST PRINCE.
On a personal note, I'd like my readers to know that the recent wildfires in Colorado Springs left me, my kittens, my house, and my neighborhood unscathed. I'd also like to ask everyone to spare a thought for all firefighters. They are so far beyond heroic that the word has not yet been invented to describe them.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
Nancy: Thanks very much for inviting me to participate and for asking such interesting questions. I had a lovely time answering them.
Aunt Dimity & the Village WitchAunt Dimity 17
Viking Adult, April 16, 2012
Hardcover and eBook, 240 pages
Nancy Atherton's seventeenth cozy mystery featuring the beloved Aunt Dimity-the original paranormal detective
When Amelia Thistle moves to Finch, her new neighbors welcome her with open arms-and inquiring minds. Among them is Lori Shepherd, who isn't fooled by Amelia's unassuming persona. Amelia is, in fact, a world-famous artist with a rabid and eager-to-stalk fan base.
In order to keep peace in Finch, Lori must help Amelia conceal her identity. Amelia, meanwhile, sets about working on the riddle that brought her to town in the first place. A fragment of a family diary hints that one of Amelia's ancestors might have been Mistress Meg, the Mad Witch of Finch. Following the clue, Lori hunts through Finch's darkest and most secret corners, all the while dodging nosy neighbors and Amelia's frantic fans. With Aunt Dimity's otherworldly help, Lori inches closer to the true story of Mistress Meg-and Amelia.
Returning to the charming world of Finch, Nancy Atherton's latest novel is sure to delight faithful Aunt Dimity readers, Anglophiles, and cozy mystery fans.
Aunt Dimity & the Family TreeAunt Dimity 16
Penguin, February 28, 2012
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 288 pages
The gentle spirit's sixteenth adventure is a New York Times bestseller and as "cozy and charming as a cup of Earl Grey" (Bookpage.com).
After a dizzying time Down Under, Lori Shepherd returns to Finch and finds that her wealthy father-in-law, William Willis, Sr., has just purchased a splendid ten-acre estate nearby. While William fends off local ladies intent on romance, Lori oversees the painstaking restoration of a peculiar painting found during renovations. It's nothing Lori can't handle-until moving furniture, strange sounds, and the theft of the painting prompt her to call on Aunt Dimity for help uncovering the estate's shadowy past.
Aunt Dimity Down UnderAunt Dimity 15
Penguin, January 25, 2011
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 288 pages
Lori Shepherd travels to New Zealand in Aunt Dimity's fifteenth charming adventure.
Mystery readers everywhere continue to be won over by Nancy Atherton's popular cozy series. In the latest installment, Lori Shepherd is bereft when she learns that her beloved neighbors, Ruth and Louise Pym, may be dying. Summoning her to their sickroom, the elderly sisters have a favor to ask: Will Lori find their long-lost brother, Aubrey, before death claims them? Despite her misgivings, Lori sets out for distant New Zealand-where Aubrey fled after being cast out of the family in disgrace. With the help of a charming kiwi bird and her otherworldly friend, Aunt Dimity, Lori tries to heal a family broken by deceit.
More Aunt Dimity
Website - Aunt Dimity's World
There is a giveaway of Aunt Dimity & The Family Tree (Aunt Dimity 16) with this interview. You can also enter to win the Grand Prize by using the Rafflecopter. The comment you leave to enter to win Aunt Dimity & the Family Tree may also be used to enter to win the Grand Prize. Both Giveaways are open internationally.
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