Thursday, July 13, 2006

Q&A: CORNELIA READ, PT 1


Here is the first of our two-part Q&A with thriller novelist Cornelia Read. With her debut novel, A Field of Darkness (Mysterious Press), Cornelia is winning fans from all over: Everyone from Publishers Weekly and Booklist to best-selling authors John Lescroart, Harley Jane Kozak and Victor Gischler are standing in line to sing her praises.

In A Field of Darkness, closet debutante and fledgling journalist Madeline Dare returns to her childhood home to investigate a decades-old unsolved double murder—to prove her cousin innocent. Soon, Maddie’s search for the truth uncovers long-buried family secrets, and triggers a string of grisly new murders …

Cornelia is also a member of International Thriller Writers.

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PART ONE.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ANYONE SAID ABOUT YOUR BOOK?
The best thing is still the response I got from Lee Child, after he’d read the first 20 pages for a consultation at the Book Passage Mystery Writers Conference two summers ago: "This is excellent, and I’d like to write you a blurb." If I’d been struck by lightning in that moment, I’d have died happy. Not to mention utterly gobsmacked. Really glad I didn’t get struck by lightning in that moment, however.

WHAT IS THE WORST THING ANYONE SAID ABOUT YOUR BOOK?
A blogger referred to A FIELD OF DARKNESS as both "much-ballyhooed tripe" and "absolute bollocks." I wrote him a thank-you note and said I was touched by "much-ballyhooed."

HOW MANY BOOKS DO YOU READ A MONTH?
About 15, when I’m lucky. Wish I could read more.

WHAT ARE YOUR WRITING HABITS?
Horrible. I am a terrible procrastinator, and reading blogs is a horrible vice for me. I try to start writing for the day the minute I get back from dropping my kids off for school in the morning, but sometimes life interferes. Or laundry.

ARE YOU AN "OUTLINE" OR "MAKE IT UP AS YOU GO" WRITER?
I am a "make it up as I go" writer. I envy outliners—it must be endlessly reassuring to know how things are going to turn out!

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ASPIRING WRITERS?
Keep going! If I could finish a novel and get it published is still immeasurably astonishing to me. There is no secret handshake, there’s just reworking it until you get it as right and true as you can.

And, equally as important, that the best critique is often the most painful and the hardest to hear. If someone is generous enough to invest the time to give your work a thorough going over, try to thank them—even if they made you cry. I had a lot of very weepy drives home from writing group sessions when it was my turn in the hot seat, but I am tremendously grateful to those friends who cared enough about my manuscript, and me, to risk telling me what didn’t work.

* * *

Come back tomorrow for the second part of our conversation with Cornelia Read. In the meantime, find her online at CorneliaRead.com or join her Mailing List. Her thriller A Field of Darkness is available at Amazon and many other fine retailers.

CORNELIA READ, PT 2

Related links:
J.A. KONRATH'S BIG ADVENTURE
THE THRILLER AWARDS
Q&A: TASHA ALEXANDER (And Only to Deceive)
Q&A: TL HINES (Waking Lazarus)
Q&A: KATHRYN MACKEL (The Hidden)

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