The Writing Process Blog Hop with Author Christine Plouvier

Christine’s Book! Click the image to grab a copy on Smashwords.

Here’s the second part of that Blog Hop I started with Joe Mahoney – my Q&A with Christine Plouvier!

AM: Question 1: Tell us about the character Dillon Carroll – who is he and where did he come from in your imagination?

CP: Oh, gee! I don’t know where Dillon came from. One day I had the inside of my head to myself, and the next day, there he was, unpacking his kit. Dillon is a celebrity journalist and political pundit who is in the latter part of a lengthy career, and whose routine becomes a rout after he encounters an American baby-boomer genealogist, camping at his ancestral farm in one of the Gaeilge-speaking areas of Ireland.

I’m what’s called a “pantser” writer, meaning that I don’t outline or “plot,” so everything that happened to Dillon was a complete surprise to me. He’s one of several characters in Irish Firebrands who carry some serious psychological baggage into relationships that can only get worse before they get better.

AM: Question 2: Your background is so varied and interesting – can you share an anecdote from your years in military intelligence?

The lady herself.

CP: Yikes! Ask me an easy one. My last duty station was at the National Security Agency. Contrary to popular belief, NSA really isn’t very interested in little people like you and me. I worked in a large room with no windows, many desks, and a huge world map mounted on one long wall, which was covered with black draperies when anyone whose security clearance was inadequate needed to enter the room. My job had to do with drawing charts and graphs about submarine activity, using
colored pencils. The men who worked that desk would throw away the pencils when they were only half ground down, and when I would come on watch, I’d fish the pencils out of the burn bag in the waste basket, and take them home. By the time I got out of the service and started my family, I had a coffee can full of colored pencils that were just the right size for little kids to use: Spy pencils that got a new lease on life, decorating coloring books.

AM: I love that visual of the pencils getting a whole new life!

AM: Question 3: The Passions of Patriots sounds incredible – what can you tell us about that story you are developing? When can we expect in print?

CP: Oh, wow. Another hard one. The idea for The Passions of Patriots came from a scene in Chapter 30 of Irish Firebrands, when Dillon Carroll learns that his grandfather was in the British Army. The story is partly about Dillon’s paternal grandparents, and their struggles to survive the tumultuous years of the early 20th century, in Ireland and
in Europe. The other main character is a young Bavarian whom Dillon’s grandfather meets on the Western Front. I have most of the interpersonal stuff and about half of the First World War stuff roughed out, but I still have all of the Irish history part to do, so
I’m afraid it’s going to be a while yet, before it sees the light of day. (I write epic-length books.) But I’m almost ready to start a dedicated blog for The Passions of Patriots. Right now it’s piggybacking on the Irish Firebrands blog.

AM: Well I can speak for myself at least – can’t wait till you finish your latest epic venture. Thanks for stopping by Christine!

My ULTRA friend David and his new book blog

My ULTRA friend David and his new book blog

This is a blog you HAVE to check out – it’s my friend David’s and he is about to be a published author come this fall! He’s just joining us in the blogosphere, but he’s a super guy and a passionate writer, and you just have to go follow him right now so that when his book ‘Ultra’ comes out you are as jazzed as I am to be his friend.

Admitting to being a writer

Han Solo from Star Wars
Dining Solo?

Part of traveling for work means that I sometimes find myself eating meals solo, an anomaly in my life. Like the true nerd I am, I often pull out my notebook and write while I eat.

Tonight was one of those nights, as I spend my first night of three in Ottawa.

What was different tonight is that someone stopped walked by my table twice and then stopped to ask me if I was a writer.

For the first time I did not deny it. It felt good when I said: “Yes, yes I am.”

Weird eh?

For those of you who pay the bills in some other way, how do you answer that question?

Why having an editor really is vital

Tongue in cheek editing (Barb's WAY better than this)
Tongue in cheek editing (Barb's WAY better than this)

My editor Barb is all kinds of fabulous but she made a couple really good catches this weekend while doing a final vet of Books 1-3.

1. In Book 3 I make reference to a District Attorney in Scotland. Turns out Scotland didn’t call their District Attorneys that at all, especially in 1930; after a bit of research, I think the character could be what is called a Procurator fiscal who “present cases for the prosecution in the Sheriff, District and Justice of the Peace Courts” .

Sound right? I will have to do some more research to be sure.

2. In Book 3 again, Portia refers to the fate of one of her earlier clients, Mr. Barclay as “living out his days at Wandsworth Prison.” Thing is, as Barb pointed out, Mr. Barclay was proven to have pre-meditated the murder of his father, and perhaps would have been given the death penalty rather than life in prison.

The Death Penalty in England was not abolished until 1969 according to Wikipedia.
Two current (for the book’s setting) examples given in the Wikipedia article were:
  • 1923, 9 January: Edith Thompson and Frederick Bywaters, in London’s Holloway and Pentonville Prisons respectively, for the murder of Thompson’s husband. The case was controversial because, although the two lovers had discussed the possible elimination of her husband in advance, Thompson did not directly participate in the murder for which she was hanged.
  • 1931, 3 January: Victor Betts for murder committed during the course of a robbery. The case had established that a person need not be present when a crime is committed to be regarded as an accessory after the fact.[45]
BUT
“Between 1900 and 1949, 621 men and 11 women were executed in England and Wales. Ten German agents were executed during the First World War under the Defence of the Realm Act 1914,[6] and 16 spies were executed during the Second World War under the Treachery Act 1940.[7] “

I <think> I am safe in leaving Charles Barclay, a member of the elite of London, son to a highly respected judge, to live out his days at Wandsworth.