Tell us about your soon-to-be published thriller The Sweater Curse. The Sweater Curse was written in protest. I was sick of all the stereotypes about knitters. We’re not all shy little mice who sit quietly in the corner rocking while we knit. Gwen Bjarnson definitely isn’t.
Tell us about your favorite character from The Sweater Curse. It’s so hard to pick just one. If forced, however, I would have to choose Jaron Cardew. In developing his character, I created my perfect man. He is supportive, confidant, devoted, loving, and he writes.
Do you believe in ghosts? Yes. My grandma and I were close. In fact, she taught me to knit. When her health began to fail, she was in her early nineties and living in an extended care facility in my hometown in rural Manitoba. I’d moved with my husband to the city, and by this time saw very little of my grandma. One night I was sitting alone in my study reading. Suddenly I was overcome by a feeling of peace. I felt someone looking over my shoulder. I knew, instinctively, that my grandma was with me. The phone rang and my husband answered. “Yes, I’ll tell her.” I heard him say. He walked into the study and wrapped me in his arms. “That was your mom. She phoned,” he paused. “Your grandma,” he paused again. “Passed.”I knew she had, she’d said good-bye.
If you could spend the night anywhere, where would it be? One night, that’s all I’d need in this bed. It’s located in Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, BC. As a pamphlet, I obtained, recounts, the castle ‘was built between 1887-1890 for Robert Dunsmuir’. Besides a residence, it’s been a hospital, a school of music and is now a museum. Each time I visit, I leave thinking; the next time I’m packing a bag—just one night, that’s all I’d need. To learn about the castle, please log on to: www.thecastle.ca
What does your significant other and family think of your writing career? Does your significant other read your stuff? I’m blessed to have a very supportive family. My mom was my first editor. Having dyslexia, I relied on her to find all the spelling and grammatical errors in my school assignments. One of my favourite memories of grandma was reading her one of my writing assignments. The teacher wanted us to write about someone we admired. I choose my recently deceased grandpa. He had a strong character, was gregarious and had a well-developed sense of humour. Grandma listened closely and began to wipe her eyes with a tissue. Her reaction upset me; I didn’t want to make her cry. I stopped reading, until Mom explained, “Oh, honey, those are tears of joy.” My family continues to support me. In fact, my middle brother helped finance the publication of my self-published mystery—Maynely A Mystery. And my husband has taken over Mom’s position as my first editor. It’s not a position he would have applied for, but he has a careful eye and I’m grateful for his help.
Do you have critique partners or beta readers? I have both a critique group and beta readers. While I work on the manuscript, I meet monthly with a critique group. This commitment helps me to stay focused. Once the manuscript is complete, I select at least two beta readers to submit it to. I request that they read with pen in hand.
What makes you happy? With regards to writing, I’m happiest when the words are flowing.
With respect to your writing career, what are your plans for 2011? I’m hoping the year will begin with the publication of The Sweater Curse. My WIP, Turning, is a YA adventure. Currently, it’s 50% complete. Estimated completion date is late spring, early summer. Currently, on my blog (http://sweatercursed.blogspot.com) I’m running the My Favourite Sweater short story contest. One lucky contributor will win a free copy of The Sweater Curse.
Soon, on my blog, I will be offering podcast episodes of The Sweater Curse. June 3-5, I will be attending Bloody Words. Bloody Words is Canada’s largest gathering of crime writers. To learn more, please visit: http://www.bloodywords2011.com
Thank you for reading this. Wishing you a happy and healthy new year,