Friday, March 15, 2013

Guest Post with the Author of "Hiding Gladys" Lee Mims

Are great writers born, or are they created?
Long, long ago when I was a little girl, my mother would read to me as some of you may know from reading my bio. I’ve always believed it was she who taught me to love books and the escape they can bring. But, maybe my brain cells were just configured in a way that made me receptive to her stories. Maybe another child would have been wiggling and squirming, bored to death at having to listen. Think about it, did Isak Dinesen, the character Meryl Streep played in Out of Africa, always have the ability to weave a tale of love and intrigue that would go on for hours, her only cue being a few lines from a dinner guest? 
My desire to be a writer didn’t develop fully until after my children were born. At the time, I was working with my husband on our farm, raising and training Quarter Horses. After all day wrestling with them, I still had to help with homework, cook dinner, and do all the chores associated with having children. Don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute of raising children…and the cats, dogs, gerbils, and various other varmints associated with kids, but there are limits. 
Every morning I’d start out with the notion that today would be the day that I’d make some serious progress on my first book, a mystery set in a world I knew very well, the Quarter Horse Industry. All during the day, I’d get ideas about where I wanted the story to go, but, you guessed it, by ten o’clock, after all my work was done, I’d be all done in and ready to crawl between the sheets myself. That’s when I learned to jot down my thoughts during the day. I also kept pencil and paper in my nightstand in case something brilliant came to me in the night. Still do, in fact. 
Then one day, a strange thing happened. My babies grew up and went away to school. Suddenly I actually had a few hours during the day when I wasn’t exhausted so I dug out all my scraps of paper and set about turning them into my long deferred novel. It took a couple of years and during that time I also discovered the need for an editor. Over the years I’ve had several. They taught me to write through their endless revisions and suggested readings until finally, after ten years and three or four books, I got a publishing contract.
But back to my question about whether writers are born or created. I guess the answer is both. I think it takes a certain mind set—back to the brain cell theory—to want to tell a story in the first place. And, I hesitate to say, but others have said it before me—Lawrence Block comes to mind, who, by the way, was a teenager when he wrote his first novel in two weeks and sold it immediately—liars make the best writers. So, in my case, combine that mind set with lots of years of stolen time learning the actual mechanics of the craft and you get a writer. Not Isak Dinsin or even Lawrence Block, but I’m willing to keep trying because, you know what? The more you do it, the more fun it is and the better you get at it.
What’s a live rattlesnake doing sunning itself in the back seat of field geologist Cleo Cooper’s Jeep? Nothing good, you can be sure — but the dilemma of how it might have gotten there isn’t as crucial to her as making certain it doesn’t stay. Yet, alarming as such an uninvited passenger might be, more disturbing to the plucky, single-minded Cleo is the need to nail down her deal for mining rights to a rare, vastly valuable North Carolina granite deposit.
The problem is that the property owner, Gladys Walton, has suddenly and mysteriously disappeared, while neglecting to sign the final documents.
First, a murder interferes with locating her: is the woman’s body found dumped in a well that of the missing Gladys? Amid the wooded, rocky countryside, suspicious misdeeds multiply and Gladys’s conniving relations all behave extremely badly.
Website: www.LeeMims.com

About the Author
Lee Mims is and always has been a North Carolina farm girl. She played outdoors from dawn to dusk, built forts, drank water from garden hoses and ran with sticks. And for 25 years, she raised and trained Quarter Horses.
She was often sick as a child, and it was while staying home with her mother that Mims learned the beauty of words. Together they read endlessly: short stories, fairy tales and adventure novels.
Because of her love of the great outdoors, she later earned a master’s and bachelor’s degree in geology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and worked as a field geologist. And as a popular wildlife artist, Mims owns her self-named studio where she does both portrait and fine art oil paintings. She has two pieces on tour with Paint America and recently sold a painting to Ms. Andy Griffith for his museum.
Books never escaped her, and her geology background inspired Hiding Gladys, the first of the debut author’s Midnight Ink-published Cleo Cooper Mystery Series. Busy writing the next installment, Trusting Viktor, Mims is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

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