About Debra B. Schiff/Doug MacLeod:
Debra is retired after a long career in editorial work. Murder at the Crossroads is her second novel. Her first book, Murder to Scale, takes place in the world of model railroading.
Doug is a touring recording artist with 36 recordings to his name. He is a six-time Blues Music Award winner. He was a long-time contributor to Blues Review Magazine with his column, Doug's Back Porch.
What inspires you to write?
The inspiration for Murder at the Crossroads was the true story of Edgar Ray Killen, a Klu Klux Klan leader who was finally convicted, several decades later, for the murder of civil rights activists. I wanted to show all the personal implications of a fictional version of this case.
What authors do you read when you aren’t writing?
It's hard to narrow them down. Among my favorite fiction authors are Amor Towles, Susan Isaacs, and Jennifer Egan. For mysteries, I like Dick Francis, Donna Leon, and Diane Mott Davidson.
Tell us about your writing process.
This book was co-written, entirely by exchanges of email, during the pandemic lock down. I had the beginning and ending in my mind. I needed a blues musician such as as Doug to help me fill in the intervening story. I always use a loose outline. I start out with some handwritten notes and then expand on those notes on my computer. Putting an actual pen to paper gets the juices going.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I listen to what my characters say. Many times, they surprise me. It was difficult to listen to my white supremacist character Raelene spout her poison, but she was necessary to the plot.
What advice would you give other writers?
Whenever you get stuck, put that chapter aside and work on another section. If you think something is "finished," leave it alone for a couple of days. You'll always think of something else when you re-read it. The trick is knowing when something is really, truly finished.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
My first book was self-published out of necessity. It is hard to get publishers interested in a first-time author, especially one writing in a niche market.
I had hoped to get an outside publisher for my second book, but it seemed the pandemic made things more difficult. The one thing about self-publishing is that it gives you much more control. I had marketing plans for both books, which is essential!
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Books and reading are one of the things that make humans human. I think printed books will still be with us for a long time.
What genres do you write?: Mystery
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
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All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.