Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Interview with Author Peggy Kopman-Owens

Peggy Kopman-Owens, author of nine Paris-based mysteries, is published by Aventura eBooks Ltd, London, UK.
 
Hello, Peggy, thank you for answering a few questions for your readers.
 
Q. First, what is the title of your current work in progress? And especially for your fans, do you have a target date for completion?
 

“First, thank you for this opportunity to talk about my books. In addition to a seven-book mystery series, published in 2012 by Aventura eBooks, two new mysteries are finished and set for release spring 2013. They are: THE MIST OF MONTMARTRE, a dark romantic mystery, and PARIS, APARTMENT FOR RENT, a decidedly lighthearted mystery."
“Presently, I’m preparing (for ebook publication) plays co-authored with my husband, Michael Owens. Seven Short Stories for Stage is a collection of lighthearted whimsical plays; perhaps, called farce. One or two have been borrowed by actors for audition pieces, and some were performed at actors’ labs in California. However, to date, none has been produced in a commercial venue.”

Q. Who designs the art for your book covers?

“Roger Kopman designs all of my book covers. Roger’s travels around the world have inspired some wonderful photographs and artwork. He uses a camera to capture light in a way that great old master artists used paintbrushes. Truly, amazing. My publisher and agent were correct in showcasing Roger’s designs on the covers of my books. It has proved a brilliant marketing decision. Readers decide in less than 10 seconds, if a book cover justifies opening the book.”

“Paris and Fashion. Books and Art. What would one be without the other?
An empty stage waiting for the curtain to open … waiting for an audience.”

To view Roger Kopman’s gallery, visit:  
Gallery website
 

Q. Would you say that you are still experimenting with different styles of writing, or have you settled into a style, which feels uniquely suited to you?

“A reader called my style ‘musical,’ suggesting that my earlier mysteries were ‘staccato’ in style, exhibiting phrasing that was short and sweet, while describing my later work as ‘allegro,’ long and complex. I find that analogy quite flattering, because – unbeknownst to him - my family has a history of musicians for more than five generations. A great grandfather made and played violins. My father and mother were both musicians. So, I think ‘my style’ – however one chooses to describe it - is a natural result of genetic history and environment.”

Q. Which comes first to you, story or characters?

“Difficult to choose, but I would say – characters. I can imagine characters delivering dialogue, long before I settle upon the context of the story, or set a venue.”

Q. How do you approach character development?
“Like other writers, after that first emotional embrace of a character, I put together an intellectual assessment of him or her – a biographical outline of the character’s life. Where did he or she grow up? Schools? Etc. Then, I have a framework for understanding and describing the character’s worldview, and can anticipate how the character might react to a particular event in the storyline.”

Q. At what age did you decide writing would become your method of creative expression?

“My mother wrote short stories and music with lyrics. In addition to being musicians, my father and my mother were both avid readers, consuming two or three books a week. By the age of five or six, I realized that both music and books were important part of our lives. By the age of ten, I was experimenting with writing short stories. A Junior Journalist card from a newspaper association still sits on my desk as a souvenir of those early years.

Later, during my career in aviation, I moonlighted as a feature writer for an international aviation magazine, sending in my articles from various layovers around the world. However, the idea of creating something magical from a blank page, the way my mother could do, was still tugging at my mind and heart. Eventually, writing novels was the natural evolution of the desire to follow in her footsteps.”

Q. Outside of your family, who has been your greatest supporter in this endeavor?

“Sandy Fisher, my literary agent, has been incredible. Her offer to publish my nine Paris-based mysteries was an incredible leap of faith. When someone makes that generous an offer - to help a stranger fulfill a dream - it makes the recipient work even harder to become worthy of the gift.”

Q. What has been the biggest surprise about your success as a published author?
“It’s been a delightful surprise to learn readers continue to recommend my mysteries to friends via book clubs and social media, but I am equally humbled to become simply the topic of morning coffee. What an honor that is, to become the ending of a sentence that begins with, ‘Have you read Peggy’s latest…?’ ”

Q. If you had one piece of advice to share with someone starting his or her first novel, what would that be?
“I’ll share advice given to me – many years ago. Forgive me for not crediting the source. I do not know the author of this wonderful quote:

‘Nothing in life is as easy as you would like it to be – nor is it as difficult as others would have you believe.’ ”

Thank you, again, Denise. Best wishes on your continued success. I look forward to reading more of your best-sellers!


Peggy Kopman-Owens’ mysteries are available from publisher, Aventura eBooks Limited, London, UK.
Aventura eBookstore

Also - Amazon, WH Smith, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Sony eBooks.

Peggy also writes a blog for Goodreads.com and BlogHer.com entitled: “Mysteries for the Inspired Traveler”