|Suspense Magazine presents - Beth Groundwater
|Claire Hanover, a Colorado Springs housewife who has
started a gift-basket business, is feeling lonely and unloved
by her work-obsessed husband. Her best friend, Ellen,
divorced and bitter, urges her to attend an aerobics class.
When the handsome instructor, Enrique, flirts with Claire,
Ellen tells her to have an affair with him. Claire agrees only
to a massage. After Enrique is shot and killed while giving
Claire the massage, the police arrest her husband, Roger.
Claire realizes that she has jeopardized her marriage and
her husband, whom she still loves. She is sure that
someone has framed him and sets out to prove it. As she
investigates, she learns that there are many people who
could have killed Enrique, ex-girlfriends and drug-dealing
cohorts among them. Spying on drug dealers, confronting
angry aerobics classmates who are now suspects, and
screwing up gift-basket deliveries, not to mention a
breaking-and-entering charge, complicate Claire's life, but
she carries on, determined to save her husband and
marriage. This will appeal to Desperate Housewives fans
and those who like cozies with a bit of spice.
|Do you like who-dun-its? If so you will like Beth
Groundwater. Her book A Real Basket Case, will
have you changing your mind at every turn. Right
when you think you have it, you don't. We are lucky
that we found Beth and her wonderful book. You
want to keep your eyes open for her next book!
Visit Beth's official website for a lot more
information, but we have an interview with her
|Exclusive Interview with Beth Groundwater
Who would you say has been your biggest inspiration?
Many mystery authors have helped me along the path to publication, so it’s hard to pick just one
who inspired me most. I’m a big fan of fellow Colorado authors Margaret Coel, Maggie Sefton,
Christine Goff, and Kathy Brandt, and all kindly blurbed my first book and gave me tips of various
kinds. C.J. Box is a master at painting word pictures of the Western setting, and I savor his books.
Diane Mott Davidson was inspirational in her tireless and creative promoting, and she gave me quite
a few promotion ideas that worked very well for me. But, I think I’d have to say that I most enjoy
reading Sharyn McCrumb’s mystery novels and find her humor and characterization and ability to
write four totally different series most inspiring.
What is your all-time favorite book?
This question is SOOO hard, because I’ve read many, many books which I immensely enjoyed
during my lifetime. If I have to pick one, though, I would pick Little Women by Jane Austen, which
made me weep as well as laugh out loud when I read it as a teenager, especially since I have the
same first name as one of the characters, Beth. My second choice would be Murder on the Orient
Express by Agatha Christie. Both authors were masters at the craft of storytelling.
How long do you normally take to research your book?
I usually spend three to four months “prepping” a book before I start drafting the text. That
preparation work includes three main tasks that intermingle and feed upon each other: developing
character profiles, creating a scene-by-scene plot outline, and conducting research in myriad topics
prompted by the setting, characteristics of the characters, and needs of the plot.
What is on your Ipod now?
Nothing, because I don’t own an Ipod . However, my music tastes are very eclectic, and recent CD
purchases have included Greetings from Hollywood by the Royal Crown Revue, a retro swing band I
heard play in Breckenridge, Two Against Nature by Steely Dan, and Voice of the Wetlands by Tab
Benoit. In the music-listening heyday of my younger years, my favorite artists were Traffic, Linda
Ronstadt, Elton John, the Beatles, UB 40, the Average White Band, and the Pointer Sisters.
Nowadays I listen to a public radio station that can wind up playing anything from alternative rock to
Celtic, reggae to blues. The only types of music I don’t really enjoy are country and opera. I guess
smaltz isn’t for me!
Do you have any superstitions when you write, little quirks, etc?
I need privacy and quiet when I write in my basement office, so I can hear the characters talking in
my head to each other. I can’t even have music playing, unfortunately.
If you could solve any mystery for yourself, what would it be?
Does intelligent alien life exist, and if so, where’s the closest planet containing that life and how can
I get there?
If you could talk to any person, Alive or Dead, for one hour, who would it be?
I know this is not a very original choice, but I would like to talk to Jesus Christ to discuss those
elements of my religious beliefs that are based solely on blind faith now and to ask him if I’m living
the life I’m supposed to live.
I love to hear stories from authors about their first published book, how did you
get it done?
My first published book was the second novel-length manuscript I wrote. I learned a lot of hard
lessons about storytelling on that first manuscript, and the second one was almost a breeze to
write in comparison because I found my genre—mystery. I say “almost”, because pounding out a
75,000 – 100,000 word tale that has an interesting plot and characters that the reader cares about
is still a boatload of hard work. When I’m writing the first draft of a novel-length manuscript (and I’
ve written four now), I have to give myself a goal of about twenty pages a week, and I spend one to
two two-hour sessions per weekday at the computer to accomplish that goal. That results in a
finished first draft in about five to six months. And no one sees that first draft! I have to go
through at least six extensive revision passes before the manuscript is ready for publication.
What future plans can you tell us about?
The second book in my Claire Hanover gift basket designer mystery series, titled TO HELL IN A
HANDBASKET and set in Breckenridge, CO, will be released in May, 2009. Along with future books in
that series, I hope to start a new series with a whitewater river ranger protagonist living in Salida,
CO. My agent is currently shopping the first manuscript in that series to editors.
When you are not writing, what do you like to do for fun?
I love to travel, and now that our kids are grown, my husband and I have lots of adventures in
mind. I also enjoy the outdoor activities that Colorado has to offer—skiing, hiking, bicycling, and
gardening. I need all that exercise, because I also like to eat gourmet and ethnic foods and drink
fine wines, and I’m an admitted chocoholic—the darker the better!