Today Cheryl Hollon is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Still Knife Painting, her first novel in the Paint & Shine mystery series.
Welcome, Cheryl. 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.
Still Knife Painting is the first book in the Paint & Shine Mystery Series. I’m writing the third book and will turn it over to my editor at Kensington Books in the middle of July. The mysteries are about a young woman who starts a cultural adventure business in a rural community in eastern Kentucky.
Where did the idea for the mystery that is central to the story come from?
I was born in Hazel Green, Kentucky where most of my family have been farmers, engineers, musicians, and my grandmother was the postmistress for Trent, Ky. Although my parents moved to Dayton, Ohio when I was incredibly young, I spent most of my summers living with my grandparents and running wild like a barn kitten.
Is there a theme or subject that underlies the story? If so, what prompted you to write about it?
The strength of family bonds and creativity through art. Everyone I know from that area has an artistic talent for painting, embroidery, quilting, dressmaking, cooking, and fantastically beautiful flower gardens.
How do you create your characters? Do you have favourite ones? If so, why are you partial to them?
A cobble together a Frankenstein collection of traits – trying on this quality and adding on that quirk. They I play around with the name until they suddenly everything snaps into place and they become themselves.
How do you bring to life the place you are writing about?
I’ve been to the farmhouse described in the books several times a year since I was a toddler. After I left home, it became a summer house for my parents. Their favorite time to visit was for a few weeks in the spring and a longer visit in the fall.
What research do you do to provide background information to help you write the novel?
Of course, internet and e-mail are a writer’s best friend. But I have to good fortune to still have cousins there who live right down the road from my father’s farmhouse.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about the book?
While I was drafting the first book in this series, my father had a bad fall and ended up in a rehabilitation facility to regain his strength. Unfortunately, his health took a bad turn and he passed away while I was writing the second book. I am so thankful we had time to share long conversations about his happy boyhood in this remarkable corner of eastern Kentucky.
Thanks for answering my questions, Cheryl, and good luck with Still Knife Painting, the first book in the Paint & Shine Mystery series.
The novel is available at the following online retailers:
About Cheryl Hollon: Cheryl now writes full-time after she left an engineering career of designing and building military flight simulators in amazing countries such as England, Wales, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, and India. Fulfilling the dream of a lifetime, she combines her love of writing with a passion for creating glass art. In the small glass studio behind her house in St. Petersburg, Florida, Cheryl and her husband design, create, and produce fused glass, stained glass, and painted glass artworks.