I'm delighted to start the new year off by interviewing Gloria and showcasing this novel.
WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE IMAGES IN THE COVER DESIGN FOR SKULL GARDEN?
Skull Garden is the third in the Cornwall & Redfern Mystery series which is set in a small town with a greenhouse enterprise to which many of the characters have a strong connection. This glass cathedral in the forest has been the scene of attempted murder, illicit plots, and romantic interludes. In Skull Garden, my protagonist, Bliss Moonbeam Cornwall, takes on the task of combing the back roads of the county to locate abandoned cemeteries and document the tombstone data. However, she finds more than overgrown graves in these gardens of the dead. Or, should I say, she finds LESS.
YOU’VE WON AWARDS FOR YOUR WRITING OF LIGHT MYSTERIES. IS IT A CHALLENGE TO INJECT HUMOUR INTO MURDER PLOTS?
The crimes in my mystery novels are treated with deadly seriousness. I don’t purposefully add humour to the characters or the situations they find themselves in. It just happens. Apparently, it’s my style of writing, so I’ve decided to embrace what comes naturally and roll with it.
MYSTERY AND WICCANS ARE MENTIONED IN YOUR BACK COVER BLURB. WOULD YOU DESCRIBE SKULL GARDEN AS A BLEND OF GENRES?
No, I don’t think it is. The Cornwall & Redfern mysteries are grounded in the real world. The Wiccan secondary storyline that pervades Skull Garden reflects today’s growing interest in earth magic. No one is levitating or casting love spells, but there is a Midsummer ritual which celebrates the return of darkness to the natural world. Bliss reluctantly attends, and this transitions into the pivotal scene near the end.
THE NOVELS IN THIS SERIES HAVE A BOTANY THEME COMMONALITY. WHICH TITLES ARE AFFILIATED WITH WHAT PLANTS?
In her first appearance in CORPSE FLOWER, Bliss can barely afford gas for her motorcycle. Her cousin offers her a generous fee to help him pollinate two Titan Arum (corpse flower) specimens, and she accepts. Only to become entangled in grow-ops, blackmail, and murder.
SHROUD OF ROSES takes place in winter. The greenhouse is filled with exotic flowers, but it’s a withered bouquet of roses found in an abandoned school that sends Bliss and her posse on a hunt for a killer who has re-appeared to strike again, and again …
As mentioned above, SKULL GARDEN refers to the decaying cemeteries hidden within the forested areas of our rural counties – sacred places of disappearing history.
FANS HAVE COMMENTED ON THEIR ENJOYMENT OF YOUR QUIRKY STABLE OF CHARACTERS. WOULD YOU SAY THIS SERIES IS CHARACTER OR PLOT DRIVEN?
Hmm. Character or plot driven? I would hope both. Authors are often asked this question, but I enjoy reading novels that contain both strong characters and strong story lines. I admit I will occasionally read a thriller by a well-known author where the plot is so exciting and death-defying, I forget that the characters (while heroic and good-looking) don’t jump off the page – they jump into volcanoes, or off mountains, but not into my heart. After one of these action-packed adventures, I’m good for a while, and want characters I can see, hear, feel and, yes, taste. So, I strive to ensure my books contain both plot and characters the reader will love, or love to hate.
IN ADDITION TO YOUR CORNWALL & REDFERN MYSTERY SERIES, YOU CO-AUTHORED A CRIME THRILLER NOVELLA SERIES WITH ME. WHAT’S NEXT ON YOUR WRITING HORIZON?
I’m currently working on a genre-crushing fantasy. I planned it as a serious venture with much battling and blood, but I already know the blood and battles will be accompanied by a sarcastic female protagonist who takes no crap from her enemies, whether human gang members or the supernatural horde at the gates. Her male ally will be strong, handsome, and have muscles up to here.
Now, what else? I have another Cornwall & Redfern adventure in mind. Tentative title: Botanicus Mortus, but that will probably change. Will you and I write a third Blair & Piermont suspense novella? Only time can tell.
Looks like first order of business is to find an assistant. If only.
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