Welcome to FIVE QUESTIONS. In this feature on my blog, you'll learn about new and exciting books from the author's themselves. You'll hear about the book, their characters, the inspiration behind the book, and other insider details. All through five simple questions.
Today, we are hearing from D. M. S. Fick about her new mystery novel LEWIS SINCLAIR AND THE GENTLEMEN COWBOYS, available starting today.
What is your new book about?
A murder at a country western festival. Jealousy. Coveting what others have. Survival. And how the good things in the world––like friendship, music, food––can overcome those things and make us a family.
Of all the characters in your book, which one to do you relate to the most, and why?
Lew. My aim is true. I want people to be good. I’m a romantic, so people, imagery, and stories can easily break my heart or bring me joy. Then again, I have a bit of bass player Gary’s suspicious nature in my DNA. Lew and Gary are two sides of a coin. I have Gary quote Cassius from Julius Caesar about men being the masters of their fates. I’ve had a kinship with the Cassius character since reading the play in high school. (Probably not something I should admit to.) So, I’m usually Lew, but I can be Gary depending on what day it is.
What was the inspiration behind the book?
I was at a Down from the Mountain concert (the artists who performed on the soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou?) And it occurred to me that I had a friend who worked at an annual country western festival and I’d not read a mystery with that setting. I thought it could be lucrative. Yes, I came up with the idea because I thought it would sell, which I don’t recommend. Then the characters showed up and I fell in love. The girl can’t help it. I said I was a romantic.
What's the most interesting or unusual thing you learned while researching for this book?
I needed the senior citizen character, Magda, to have a survival instinct born from living amidst post-war brutality and scarcity. But she had to be young enough at the time to still be alive today. That led me to learning about displacement camps, war brides, the plight of Polish people in the years after World War II. It’s perhaps embarrassing, but I didn’t know about any of that.
What was the biggest challenge (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing this book to life?
I tend to skip description in the first couple drafts. I write books like they’re screenplays. I want to speed from scene to scene. When doing that, I forget that the reader can’t see what I see in my head when I’m writing. So I have to go back and find where that happens and make it more of an experience.
You can purchase LEWIS SINCLAIR AND THE GENTLEMEN COWBOYS at the following retailers.
Bookshop.org - Supporting Local Bookstores