Today Suzanne Trauth, author of Killing Time, a Dodie O’Dell mystery is joining us at Ascroft, eh? to tell us a little about her writing process.
Welcome Suzanne. I’m looking forward to hearing about how you write so I’ll turn the floor over to you:
It’s been a challenging spring for all of us. Writing and reading for me have been both productive and distracting, in a good way. Folks often ask what my writing routine is like. How do I organize my writing time? What keeps me focused on the project at hand? First of all, nothing keeps a writer focused, myself included, like a deadline. So all of those dates when manuscripts, copy-edits, and page proofs are due to the publisher really help to keep me on track.
I also find that it’s difficult for me to let go and be creative if I have a to-do list hanging over my head. Now, I have to confess that I am not a morning person…I envy fellow writers who can arise at 5 a.m., drink coffee, walk the dog, even scan the news and be ready to sit at their desk by 6 a.m.! How do they do it? I spent so many years of my career doing theatre, staying up late for rehearsals and performances, that midnight or after was my usual bedtime. No 5 a.m. wake-up call for me!
My writing hours are in the afternoon, after running errands, answering emails, and peeking at social media. Only once my mind is a relatively clean slate can I drill down into the Dodie O’Dell mystery series and play with the characters of Etonville, New Jersey. Especially Dodie O’Dell, my protagonist sleuth, who always has her hands full solving a mystery, managing the Windjammer restaurant, and supporting her friends at the Etonville Little Theatre.
For example, in my latest mystery, Killing Time, Dodie is not only concocting theme food for the theatre production of Dracula, opening on Halloween, assisting with the town costume party in the church basement, supporting her BFF Lola during the ELT dress rehearsals, and, when a body shows up in the cemetery, wading into the murder investigation. Oh yes…she’s also supposed to be planning a wedding to her police chief fiancé. See what I mean?
After a few hours of keeping up with Dodie and friends’ antics, I’m ready for a nap! And also hopefully I’ve gotten 1,500 to 2,000 words down on the page…
While I’m drafting my murder mystery, I often like to read books that are totally unrelated to the crime fiction world. Memoir and biography are good companions. However, before I settle into the writing of a new project, I love to take a deep dive into some of my favorite mystery writers. Recently, I buried my reading self into some outstanding authors: Megan Abbott’s Give Me Your Hand, a psychological thriller that kept me guessing til the last page; Sunburn by Laura Lippman, a master of suspense who creates unforgettable characters; Lori Rader-Day’s Under a Dark Sky that had enough twists to keep me up late; and Vivian Barz’s Forgotten Bones that scared the dickens out of me from time to time. My go-to mystery series for the last couple of years is Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels. I am working my way through the series, savoring life in Three Pines, Quebec. Reading these writers inspires me to up my game in plotting, character development, and scene setting. Reading them is a master class in writing.
So…I hope you have a safe spring, and I wish you good health and plenty of good mystery reading with your favorite sleuths, hopefully including Dodie O’Dell who’s not just Killing Time!
Thanks for introducing yourself and the series to us, Suzanne. Readers can learn more about Suzanne and the Dodie O’Dell mystery series by visiting the author’s website and her Facebook and Goodreads pages. You can also follow her on Twitter.
The novel is available online at Amazon.
About Suzanne Trauth: She is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and a former theatre professor at a university. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, the Dramatists Guild, and League of Professional Theatre Women. When she is not writing, Suzanne coaches actors and serves as a celebrant performing wedding ceremonies. She lives in Woodland Park, New Jersey.