Today I’m pleased to present Killarney Traynor, and her book “Summer Shadows.
At heart is a family tragedy that forces single aunt Julia to look after her niece and nephew. Trying to balance her troubled finances and the new responsibility with her grief and sense of loss, Julia has enough on her plate. She is soon settling into a new neighbourhood and finds romance, but she also comes across an old murder mystery which she decides to solve.
The haunted house theme fits in well into the pleasantly odd neighbourhood, there is excellent suspense and the romance part provides beautiful relief for all the heavier issues. This is also a beautiful family story.
This is a very entertaining read that manages incredibly well to walk the line between its serious and lighter elements. I found the characters very likeable and the reading experience overall incredibly satisfying. A truly great read.
Interview with Killarney:
Tell us about your writing history. When was the first time you decided to write and when was the first time you did?
I think I decided to become a writer around the time I started reading Laura Ingalls Wilder. I can still remember how wrapped up I used to get reading her stories, how I seemed to step out of my cold New England backyard into a vast prairie baking in the summer heat, and I thought, “This is so cool. I wonder if I could do that – create another world like this.”
Did anyone influence you / encourage you to become a writer?
My father was probably my biggest influence. He’s still one of the most knowledgeable people I know and he would read all the time. I wanted to be as smart as him, so I would read, too.
Tell us about the concept behind your books. How did you get the idea?
This idea came from a soundtrack by Roy Budd for a movie I’d never seen called ‘Flight of the Doves’. The theme is this lovely, summery jazz piece and as I was listening two it, I suddenly got the image of a woman, driving a car on a hot summer day. She’s checking two small children in the backseat, there’s a silent boy sitting beside her and suddenly I realized that, not only were the children not her’s biologically, but that they were heading somewhere that seemed safe, but was actually dangerous. That scene came in a flash, but it took weeks to hammer out who they were, where they’d come from, and where they were going.
What are you working on now?
Right now I’m working on another small town mystery, only this one is about a treasure hunt that goes badly. It involves Civil War history, New Hampshire small town history, and a lot of research about historical treasure hunting. It’s different then what I normally do, so it’s a challenge, but it’s a lot of fun.
You have created great characters. Which one is your favourite?
I like them all, actually, but my favorite is probably Ron, the eldest boy. He a cranky, difficult character most of the book, but he means well and worries so, the poor kid!
Who are your editors and how do you quality control your books?
I was lucky enough to find an editor who shares my values, both in publishing and morality, so we work really well together. She doesn’t let me get away with anything, which is good, because I’m almost as stubborn as the characters I write.
What is your main reason for writing?
Honestly, I write because I can’t help it. I’ve been writing since I started reading and it’s become a habit that I couldn’t imagine breaking. I’m miserable if I’m not working on something.
What is your advice to new writers?
First, write for yourself, for the sheer pleasure of it. Don’t think about fame and fortune, or you’ll find yourself trying to write in ways that cramp your style. Second, find your audience. By which I mean, find one person that you want to enjoy the story, write it for them, then let them read it and tell you what they think. It’s a great way to learn how to tell a story. Third and most important: find a rigorous and reputable editor that you trust and give them your book. It’ll feel like handing your infant to the sacrificial fires, but a good editor will save you lots of embarrassment and time and you’ll learn so much about the writing process.
Who are your favourite independent writers?
Jenna Brooks, Melodie Ramone, and Amahlie Jahn – they all have such powerful voices and innovative plots. I haven’t finished your book yet, but can I put you on that list, too?
Who are your favourite authors?
My standby favorites are PG Wodehouse, Charles Dickens, Anthony Trollope, Robert Jordan, Elizabeth Gaskell, L. Frank Baum, C. S. Lewis, and Jules Verne. You’ll notice that they are mostly old authors – that’s because when I was a teen, I learned that classics were cheaper than modern paperbacks and people were more impressed if you read, oh, Ivanhoe thanTwilight. I was kind of a snob as a kid, come to think of it…
What is your favourite book?
You want me to pick just one? Impossible!
What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?
I’m reading two: The Luck of the Weissensteiners (ebook) and The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell (paperback).
Tell us one odd thing about you and one really mundane thing.
Mundane: I’m a tea drinker.
Odd: I started drinking tea as a teenager as a form of rebellion – everyone else in my family drinks coffee. That was my big teenage rebellion. I swear, my parents had it easy with me.
Who would you like to invite for dinner?
Teddy Roosevelt – it sounds like he was a fun conversationalist
How do you handle criticism of your work?
I like to think pretty well – but you probably should ask my editor about that!
What makes you laugh?
If I’ve been drinking, everything makes me laugh.
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