by Connie Ward
What made you decide to become a fiction writer?
Good question! I’ve always had an active imagination, and I love fantasy and make-believe. Creating works of fiction allows me to explore worlds, people, and situations that I have imagined.
What type of stories do you write? And why?
I write all kinds of things: short stories, poetry, and of course, murder mysteries. Murder mysteries, especially period pieces like Death Comes Darkly, allow me to create whole worlds of my imagination. It’s pure escapism, if you will.
What do your family/friends think about your writing?
Everyone has been so supportive. My mom gets emotional every time we talk about my book being published; she’s so proud!
Where do you get your ideas?
From some pretty dark areas of my imagination! But classic tomes such as those by Agatha Christie and Dashiell Hammett inspire me. I have often been told I was born in the wrong era, that I should have grown up in the 1930s or 1940s. As a teenager, while my contemporaries were listening to Arrowsmith and Led Zeppelin, I was spinning Doris Day records.
How do you write; do you plan everything out or just write?
I have to have a basic premise for a mystery—who did what and what clue or clues did they leave behind for the detective to discover. Once I’ve laid that out, I love writing dialogue, so I usually start there. I don’t bother with the details, such as “he said,” “she said,” etc., until afterward. Then I go back in and fine-tune it. Also, I’ll sometimes write pages of dialogue out of order, then go back in and put everything in the proper sequence, changing and refining as I go.
What makes Death Comes Darkly special to you?
First and foremost, Death Comes Darkly is my first published novel, so that in and of itself makes it very special to me. But beyond that, I feel it’s a great story that will hopefully keep everyone guessing right up to the end.
How much of yourself and the people you know are in your characters?
Oh my, I would say there is a little bit of me in every character. In Heath, the detective, I share an inquisitive mind and a love of animals and dressing well. In Alan, a bit of his naiveté, his “golly gee” mentality. Alan is also based on my Alan in real life. Beyond that, I’ve used the names of a lot of people I know, but the characters are all composites of different friends and family.
Which gay/lesbian authors inspired you the most? Do you have a favorite
of these authors?
Hard to pin down a favorite, though I love Truman Capote, W. Somerset Maugham, and Harvey Fierstein. Many people don’t realize Harvey Fierstein is a writer, but he has written quite a bit. As far as inspiration, not counting Agatha Christie, who was straight, I would have to credit Truman Capote with instilling in me a love of writing.
When you’re not writing what do you do for fun?
I love to read and almost always have a book going. I also have a passion for architecture, singing, and drawing. My partner Alan and I have a great circle of friends, and some of our best times are spent with them, drinking wine, having dinner, and just talking.
Alan and I work out together three to four times a week, too, which is wonderful for stress, and it gives us some much-needed together time in our busy lives. We both share a passion for travel, also, and go as often as we can to as many different places as we can. It’s a big world, just waiting to be explored.