It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Sharon St. George, author of the hospital-based Aimee Machado Mystery series. Sharon draws on her past experience as a hospital librarian and medical staff coordinator when writing her hospital-based mystery series. She holds dual degrees in English and Theatre Arts and is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. She currently serves as program director for a 90-member nonprofit writers’ organization in northern California. For leisure, she enjoys wilderness llama packing.
Judy: Tell me a bit about your BREACH OF ETHICS, your latest novel.
Sharon: BREACH OF ETHICS (May, 2016 Camel Press) is the latest novel in my hospital-based Aimee Machado Mystery series. The first title was DUE FOR DISCARD (March, 2015 Camel Press) followed by CHECKED OUT (October, 2015 Camel Press).
Judy: You’re visiting today to talk about plotting. Every writer has their own method of getting the story down. What system works for you, and why?
Sharon: The crime or murder always involves or impacts the hospital where Aimee Machado works as a librarian specializing in forensics. I usually create five potential suspects, all of whom have some connection to the victim that offers a potential motive. Most of the suspects have connections to each other as well. Once I get that far, I hold off deciding who is guilty until after my protagonist and her team begin sleuthing. I’ve given Aimee friends, family and co-workers who have special skills, so that she has a pool of crime-solving talent to draw from. In real life, I have access to people with similar skills who are available to keep me from writing myself into a corner. By the time Aimee and her gang have gathered clues about each suspect, I have usually decided who did it and why. That’s when the real plotting work begins, which involves some revising from the beginning to weave in the necessary foreshadowing. Then I call on the special skills of my protagonist and her team of crimesolvers to crack the case.
Judy: Describe your writing process and/or a typical day in your life.
Sharon: I write at home in the morning using a desktop computer and sipping coffee. My home office window looks out on our backyard garden, many oak trees, our llama pasture, and a distant vista of mountains to the west. To set the mood when I start to write each day, I’ve given each book in my series its own music, which I refer to throughout the story. Book one is country, book two is blues, and book three is classical piano. I create Pandora radio stations for each of my novels, and listen to the related music as I write. The book I’m working on now, SPINE DAMAGE, is fourth in the series. It involves a trip to the Azores, so I’ve just created a Pandora station of Portuguese fado music.
Judy: What’s the best writing advice you have ever read or been given?
Sharon: Write every day if at all possible. Find a like-minded critique group with writing skills equal to, or above, your own level.
Judy: What are you currently reading?
Sharon: I just finished Off the Grid by C. J. Box. I’m now reading Alexander McCall Smith’s The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine.
Judy: Do you read your genre when writing? If so, why? If not, why not?
Sharon: I do read my genre while writing, mostly for enjoyment, but always looking to improve my own craft by reading something done brilliantly by another author, such as McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series.
Thank you Sharon!
Find out more about Sharon and her books at www.sharonstgeorge.com.