Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Interview with author Gail M Baugniet

Today, please welcome Gail M Baugniet, author of the FOR EVERY ACTION There Are Consequences.  She is on a blog tour, and has stopped by to share  tidbits about her writing and her book, the first novel in the Pepper Bibeau mystery series.


1. Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

In my earlier years, I lived in the cold northern states of Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota. Now that I can stay “thawed-out” year round in Hawaii, I find myself traveling to cool spots like Anchorage in May and Green Bay in September.
It is possible I have a disproportionate fondness for the research phase of my writing. I just spent two weeks in my home state of Wisconsin gathering information for my second novel. I had an opportunity to discuss specific topics with a police investigator and visited several interesting locations that play key roles in the story. I also took plenty of colorful photographs that will aid me in writing more detailed descriptions of select scenes.


2. How did you become interested in writing?

I have always enjoyed reading mysteries. When I was nine, I wrote a mystery novel that never went public. Over the years, I composed poetry for personal enjoyment as well as Japanese haiku to describe some of the photographs I took around Hawaii. After researching my family’s genealogy and compiling family newsletters for ten years, I decided to write my first mystery novel as an adult. Writing proved to be a relaxing and emotionally rewarding activity for me.


3. Can you tell us about your book, FOR EVERY ACTION There Are Consequences?

Yes, the story opens with a cut-and-dried homicide case that has insurance investigator Pepper Bibeau clearing up loose ends on the subsequent life insurance claim. But her routine questions set off a chain of events that lead to the murder of a close friend.
Police are already stretched to the breaking point with the city’s escalating crises when the detective most determined to solve her friend’s murder is ordered off the case for personal reasons.
Pepper continues to piece together information until she is attacked and winds up in a hospital for observation. Mounting evidence indicates widespread drug dealings and she is eventually forced to consider members of her support team as suspects.
The book is in print at https://www.createspace.com/3536116
It is also available in print at Amazon.com, in Kindle format and as an ebook at Smashwords.com


4. You’re planning a sequel to your book, FOR EVERY ACTION There Are Consequences. Did you always intend to write a mystery series or did your character Pepper Bibeau inspire you to continue her story?

Before I finished the first draft of FOR EVERY ACTION, I used my computer genealogy program to create a family of characters for my protagonist, Pepper Bibeau. I wanted to write a mystery series featuring Pepper as an insurance investigator whose cases sometimes involve murder. Once I established her career choice and a“family” for her, I felt confident that the series could expand and remain interesting.


5. Why did you decide to write in the Mystery/Crime genre?

There was never a conscious decision to write in the specific genre of mystery/crime fiction, it was more an inherent given. My father introduced me to Dashiell Hammett novels and my mother enjoyed reading Agatha Christie mysteries. I enjoy reading all the subgenres, including suspense, thriller, and police procedurals. Writing mysteries was a natural extension of reading them.


6. Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate? Do you have a certain writing routine?

The first draft of my manuscript is more a narrative outline of the main plot with a description of protagonist Pepper Bibeau’s current insurance investigation. Then I construct a story around and through this plot, fitting the story lines together and bringing everything full circle.
My ideas come from articles I’ve read about an unusual topic, one that doesn’t normally come up in cocktail-party small talk. The idea for the opening chapter of my first novel, FOR EVERY ACTION There Are Consequences, was sparked by a newspaper article I read about an elderly man who repeatedly stabbed his wife.
To complete the first draft of FOR EVERY ACTION, I wrote for four hours every week day evening. Since then, I have no set pattern for writing. I am usually reading or writing. And I do assign myself general goals to complete a first draft and accomplish each step required to publish a final manuscript.


7. What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

When I awake in the morning, there are many ideas and plans floating around in my head. It is tempting to continue a mental construction of these thoughts rather than acting upon them. The difficult part is to write down the information, then sort it out and apply it toward a set goal. I guess this is just a roundabout way of saying my greatest challenge as a writer is to write.


8. What sort of research do you do for your books?

As I mentioned earlier, I love the research part of writing a novel. I visit the town library of the story’s setting to print copies of newspaper articles and weather reports for the dates involved. I also drive around in the town and countryside where events occur within the novel. For detailed medical information and back story, I read relevant books and search the Internet or encyclopedia for specific topics. Though all the events within my stories are strictly fiction, I choose locations where I once lived or vacationed. Of course, any mention of food is strictly from first-hand knowledge.


9. Who has inspired you as an author?

My family has always encouraged me in whatever choices I make. Now that I have found my niche writing novels, no one could be more pleased and supportive than they are.


10. What’s next for you?

My focus is on marketing my first novel and completing the second novel in my Pepper Bibeau mystery series. I also have a good start on what I call my genealogical novel, several short stories based on the lives of my ancestors that flow into a cohesive tale, inspired by Susan Vreeland’s Girl in Hyacinth Blue.


You can find Gail M Baugniet at her blogsite: http://gail-baugniet.blogspot.com/

And you can check out her entire blog tour schedule here:  http://gail-baugniet.blogspot.com/2011/10/cherries-jubilee-day-2.html

9 comments:

Sheila Deeth said...

I like your idea of creating a whole genealogy for your character. I think I might try that. Sounds like you've set up a good background for a series. Good luck with the tour, and with sales.

Gail M Baugniet said...

Ms. Stewart,
Thank you so much for having me as you guest today. Your thought-provoking questions gave me an opportunity to examine my research and writing process.

When I checked the temperature for Nova Scotia at 1:30 this morning, it was 37 degrees. Stay warm!

Gail M Baugniet said...

Sheila, After you create a family for your main character, I would like to hear the details of your process and heritage choices. I appreciate your wishes of good luck!

A. F. Stewart said...

Gail, yet another rain and wind storm has descended on us, so I'm nice and cozy inside today.

Michele Drier said...

I've read Gail Baugniet's "For Every Thing..." and loved the way she's set up her protagonist as a strong woman who's still questioning some of her prior actions. Well-drawn! Go Pepper!

Melissa Bradley said...

Great interview! I'm huge fan of Agatha Christie and Dashiell Hammett myself.

I started writing romances and fantasy because of the early authors I read like Mercedes Lackey and Patricia Veryan.

Sheila Deeth said...

Now you're asking about details Gail, I think I really must do it. I've been writing a series, and I suspect it would strengthen it quite a lot.

J.C. Martin said...

Found you via the Coffin Hop -- can't wait for it to kick off!

Thanks for the interview and for introducing me to a fellow crime writer. Loving the book cover!

J.C.

Join me in the Trick or Treat Spooktacular! Could you help make the Grand Prize a brand new Kindle Touch?

A. F. Stewart said...

Looking forward the Coffin Hop too, J. C. I'll tweet about your Trick or Treat Spooktacular and add it to my Goodreads group Spookfest events.