Today Shelly Frome is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Miranda and the D-Day Caper.
Welcome, Shelly. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tell us about your novel. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.
SF: Miranda and the D-Day Caper is a standalone meaning that it centers on a singular issue or dilemma, follows all the ups and downs in a certain trajectory and finally resolves.
Where did the idea for the mystery that is central to the story come from?
SF: In a sense, the mystery is a hunt for the endgame–what is this subterfuge all about? What dire event eventually has to take place or be thwarted and why? What truly is at stake here well beyond the abduction of a stray cat which, in effect, is only an initial clue?
Is there a theme or subject that underlies the story? If so, what prompted you to write about it?
SF: Underneath it all is a battle between small town virtues that currently seem to have been lost along the wayside, like truth, decency and integrity as opposed to ultra right-wing machinations in service to the retention of power at any cost. I suppose the dubious tactics of the current administration finally got to me as I began longing for the days of my childhood when radio programs and comic books gave me something to believe in: heroes and heroines I could identify with, leaders I could trust, noble lost causes that were worth fighting for.
How do you create your characters? Do you have favourite ones? If so, why are you partial to them?
SF: As a former professional actor I am able to inhabit all my characters who, in a way, are a composite of roles I have played, countless movies I’ve seen, plays I’ve watched, radio shows I’ve listened to, and colorful people I have met. In effect, they just come to me in terms of who can drive this tale forward and who can provide conflict and a viable counterpoint. And, as a former professional actor I love all my characters, even the cat, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to bring them truly to life. They would be just pawns.
How do you bring to life the place you are writing about?
SF: The setting is vital. Places and cultures I know all too well. Even the weather patterns. All of it affects everything that happens. My innate sense of truth guides me in terms of what would happen in these given circumstances when, for instance, Miranda approached the reopening of the tailgate market in Black Mountain on a crisp, vibrant Saturday morning in April? What mood would she be in and how would she great the venders in their popup tents?
What research do you do to provide background information to help you write the novel?
SF: There are realities I know absolutely nothing about like, in this instance, detonating devices that are, on the face of it, hard to detect. In this case, Vin, my anti-hero knows all about such things and to “play him” I have to obtain this knowledge and use it like it was simply every day, received wisdom.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about the book?
SF: Miranda and her cousin Skip have an antic, loveable quality that I’m sure will see readers through. They may even find themselves rooting for Duffy the stray cat.
Thanks for answering my questions, Shelly, and good luck with Miranda and the D-Day Caper.
The novel is available at the following online retailers:
About Shelly Frome: Shelly is a member of Mystery Writers of America, a professor of dramatic arts emeritus at the University of Connecticut, a former professional actor, a writer of crime novels and books on theater and film. He is also a features writer for Gannett Media’s Black Mountain News. His fiction includes Sun Dance for Andy Horn, Lilac Moon, Twilight of the Drifter, Tinseltown Riff, Murder Run, Moon Games and The Secluded Village Murders. Among his works of non-fiction are The Actors Studio and texts on the art and craft of screenwriting and writing for the stage. Miranda and the D-Day Caper is his latest foray into the world of crime and the amateur sleuth. He lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina.