Spring has finally sprung! Where I live, the sun is out, the temperature is up, the windows are open (the allergies are out-of-control 🙂 ). My guest today is cozy mystery writer, Diane Burton, who’s sharing her five writer’s life photos. One of them got me thinking: is editing like weeding? Is writing like gardening?

The Photos

Something that represents something unique about you

After moving several times for Hubs’ job, we built our final house. It was a wonderful experience. Not many people say that. Yes, it ended up costing more than projected, and Hubs hates the word “upcharge”, but we don’t regret doing it. The house has felt like home from the day we moved in.

Something that represents where you live

We live close to Lake Michigan. There’s something magical about living near the water.

Your pet(s) or plant(s) or thing you care for (besides your human family/friends)

My flowers. Most came from my mother’s garden. I’ve had the same flowers at every house I’ve lived in and brought a few of each to every new house.

Something (not someone) that really frustrates you

Weeds. No matter how often you pull them, they keep coming back.

Jill: Because it’s spring, I’ve been thinking a lot about gardening. For years, we’ve had a back, fenced-off area that we used for an organic veggie garden. But – wow! – the weeds. We’ve used ground cover sheeting with some success, but over the last year, the weeds took such hold that we were half-tempted to spray the whole thing down with Roundup. Instead, we decided to join a CSA farm and turn our garden into grass for one season (which should get rid of most of the weeds naturally).

Hypothesis — writing : gardening :: editing : weeding…? Basically, if you like to garden, then you don’t want to quit, even when parts of it aggravate and frustrate you. Same with writing. There’s always another book… another manuscript… another story that has to be pulled, pruned, snipped, clipped, and/or coaxed into something beautiful. It doesn’t matter what method you use to shape your creation as long as you (mostly) enjoy the process as much as the product. 😀

Something that brings you joy (besides writing)

(Besides my family.)

The Mackinac Bridge connects the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan. It is such an exciting site, whether from the park (where this was taken) or coming around a curve in I-75. As a kid, I watched the bridge being built when we took a car ferry over to the Upper Peninsula. I always get a thrill upon seeing it.

The Interview

What’s the elevator pitch for your latest published novel?

Go on an adventure with PI Alex O’Hara as she solves another case. Nick’s mother has moved in with Alex, putting a crimp in Nick and Alex’s romance. What’s a girl to do? At least the latest case is an easy one.

What are you working on next?

A science fiction romance, The Spy, is part of my Outer Rim series about strong women on the frontier of space.

What are you currently reading?

NIKO: Licensed to Kill by Vonnie Davis. Love her writing, especially the comic twists she adds to serious situations—like being chased by terrorists. Just finished Danger in the Stars by Veronica Scott, a science fiction romance. It’s part of her Sectors series that I thoroughly enjoy.

What are you currently watching (TV shows)?

Murdoch Mysteries (aka The Artful Detective) takes place in the late 1890s and early 1900s. I love the relationships within the series. I’m eagerly awaiting the return of Dark Matter on the Syfy channel. Again, it’s the relationships between the characters that make me watch the show.

Favorite fantasy creature, villain, or weapon not from your own work?

Gandalf, especially the way Ian McKellen portrays him. In both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series, Gandalf is the impetus to get the MC to go on the adventure. We all need someone like that in our lives, someone who will force us out of complacency.

Biggest challenge facing writers today?

Getting noticed. There are so many good writers that nobody knows about because they’re lost in the plethora of books released every day.

How can we meet that challenge?

Dogged determination. An online presence: blogging (both on one’s own blog and guest blogging—like here), Facebook, Twitter. More importantly helping/supporting other writers. I truly believe that what goes around comes around and paying it forward. Word of mouth is the best advertising.

Thanks, Jill, for having me here.

My pleasure, Diane. Thanks for sharing your pictures and thoughts.

More about Diane

Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and the Alex O’Hara PI mystery series. She is also a contributor to two anthologies: Portals, Volume 2 and How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in West Michigan. They have two children and three grandchildren.

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More about The Case of the Meddling Mama

Once again, Alex O’Hara is up to her ears in mysteries. After surviving an attempted murder, all she wants is R&R time with Nick Palzetti. But his mother leaving his father (“that horse’s patoot”) and moving in with Alex puts a crimp in their plans. Then Nick leaves on assignment and the teen she rescued from an abusive father believes his buddy is doing drugs. Meanwhile, Alex has two easy cases to take her mind off her shaky relationship with Nick—a philandering husband and a background check on a client’s boyfriend. Piece of cake.

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