Inside the literary mind of Abigail Keam
January 24, 2017
I just let the characters go where they want to go.
Josiah Reynolds can hardly believe she hears someone call out her name as she strolls down 75th Street in New York City. With the promise of a free drink, Bunny Witt steers Josiah into nearby Bemelmans Bar where she proceeds to unfold a tale about being stalked by a mysterious stranger.
It seems that Bunny’s apartments in London and New York have been broken into and searched, yet nothing was taken.
She is desperate for someone to find out who is tormenting her and why. She has decided that someone should be our Josiah!
This chance encounter in the Big Apple leads Josiah into the world of haute couture, mysterious princes from India, precious gems, and murder in a town that keeps its secrets well!
I am interviewing Abigail Keam who writes the Josiah Reynolds Mystery Series about a female beekeeper turned amateur sleuth.
Question: Tell me about your newest book and what was the inspiration behind your writing it?
Abigail: My latest book is Death By Design – A Josiah Reynolds Mystery. I was watching Gaslight with Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer and thought a murder over a dress would be a great mystery for my heroine, Josiah Reynolds, to solve. I love beautiful clothes and built a Pinterest world around the book for my readers to enjoy as well. http://bit.ly/2dSA7m5
Question: Why and when did you decide to become a writer?
Abigail: I’ve always wanted to be a writer, even as a young girl. My mother and I would take the bus from Northern Kentucky to the Cincinnati library every week, and she would take out five books for me to read. She also bought a subscription through the mail where I would receive a book every month. I can’t express how exciting it was as a small girl to open that package when it arrived in the mail. In fact, I still have all those treasured books.
My father was also a gifted storyteller. He would tell stories of his childhood in Oklahoma that would have me clutching my stomach because I was laughing so hard.
So my love of storytelling began with them.
As I grew older, I became enamored of writers like James M. Cain, Agatha Christie or Southern literary writers like Eudora Welty. Before my teens, I read every western Zane Grey penned and all the short stories by Edgar Allen Poe.
My sixth grade teacher had immense influence on me as well. Every week we had to memorize a poem and she read to us every day after lunch. That’s how I learned about Jack London, Mark Twain, and O Henry. She made my love of the written word deeper because she loved books too.
Question: What book has been the greatest influence on you and your writing and why?
Abigail: There are too many wonderful books that I just can’t pick one. I do remember first reading Anne Rice’s Interview With The Vampire when it came out. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. I knew I was reading a new classic that people would be reading a hundred years from now. There are many well-written books on the New York Times Best Seller List, but not many of them will be read fifty years from now. There are very few authors like Arthur Conan Doyle, Dorothy L. Sayers, or J. K. Rowling that will be read for many generations. I only hope that I can write at least one book in my career that many people will be reading for years to come. That’s what I strive for.
Question: Where do you find ideas for your books?
Abigail: Everywhere. In dreams. In restaurants listening to other people’s conversations. From my friends. Newspaper articles.
I never do an outline. I just let the characters go where they want to go. Sometimes I have a strong idea for a plot, but the story often veers off into another direction. This method seems to work in my favor so far (knock on wood). Sometimes fictional writing is about the journey.
Question: Where do you find ideas for your characters?
Abigail: I watch people like a cat watching a mouse. Many of the people I know end up as characters in my stories but they never recognize themselves. I guess that’s a plus especially if the character is unflattering.
Question: How would you describe your writing style?
Abigail: Sparse. I like tight sentences. I was very much influenced by the writing style of writers like Dashiell Hammett and other hard-boiled writers.
Question: What do you consider the most difficult part of writing a book?
Abigail: The first page.
Question: What are your current projects?
Abigail: Just finished The Mermaid’s Carol for my Last Chance For Love Romance series. Now I will start working on the last installment for my fantasy series – The Princess Maura Tales. After that I will start on volume ten of my Josiah Reynolds Mysteries.
Please click HERE to read more about Death by Design.