Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A New Contest

Someone wrote to ask me a very interesting question: What books is Godwin reading? That question – which I could not answer, at least not right away – got me thinking. Character building is one of the really interesting parts of writing fiction. It’s the telling little details that make a character real, and inventing them is great fun. I dare say most authors know far more about their characters than they tell. (For example, the hero in my first series, Detective Sergeant Peter Brichter, had a bronze star hidden in the back of his sock drawer, a souvenir of an incident that happened during his Navy service aboard an aircraft carrier during the Vietnam War. I never had a chance to work the story of his heroism into a book. He didn’t like to talk about it.)

I have in mind a contest: What does one of the characters in the Betsy Devonshire mysteries want for Christmas? Enter as many times as you like for as many characters as you like. I’m hoping to be surprised and amused and edified. The deadline is Monday, December 26, 2011. I will be sole judge. The prize is an autographed hardcover copy of Threadbare. Good luck!

This past Saturday I did a signing at Excelsior Bay Books. There was a steady stream of book-buyers – and a reporter from The Patch, an on-line news organization. She interviewed me between customers and asked some intelligent, thought-provoking questions. She had one of those tiny, flat cameras and took a picture of me in my Christmas hat, a gold net concoction with sparkles caught up in the wires. If it comes out, I’ll see if I can get a copy of it to post on Killer Hobbies.

Sunday I baked six loaves of Vanocka, an Austrian Christmas yeast bread which is made with grated orange peel, almond slivers, and two kinds of raisins. The apartment smelled fantastic while they were baking, and we ate the smallest loaf with butter as soon as it was cool enough to handle.

Today, from twelve to one, I am to address a gathering at the Minneapolis Textile Center. They borrowed twenty of my hats to make a display, but I’m supposed to talk about my books, with an emphasis on the one I’m currently writing, And Then You Dye.

Merry Christmas – or Happy Chanukah, or Joyous Solstice, or Cheerful Holidays or whatever makes you smile during this time of year!


Betty Hechtman said...

Your holiday bread sounds fantastic. I can smell it in my imagination.

Linda O. Johnston said...

You sound wonderfully busy, Monica. I like to think about things my characters enjoy beyond the page, too. It'll be fun to hear the ideas your contest entries suggest!

Ellen said...

Goddy wants a thoughtfully-chosen silk ascot.

Monica Ferris said...

I am a little disappointed at the paucity of response to this offer. Come on, what does Jill want for Christmas?