Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sandy Success Stories--Meg Mims

Welcome to my new blog series highlighting the success of The Sandy Finalists. 
I developed The Sandy writing contest seven years ago for the Crested Butte Writers and have been delighted to see many of our finalists go onto publication.  I thought it'd be fun to follow up with them and see where they are now in their careers. 

What year did you final, with what book and what place did you end up with?

My Lighthouse Mystery mss, FIRE POINT, placed third in the Mystery/Suspense category in 2011.

Are you published with a traditional publisher or are you an indie author?

Both -- I published my first book, DOUBLE CROSSING, with Astraea Press, and a novella, The Key to Love. Then I self-published Santa Paws, a Christmas novella about a rescue dog. The sequel to Double Crossing, DOUBLE OR NOTHING, was just released with Blue Oyster Press.

What’s your story about?
Fire Point -- which I hope to publish soon, is about an artist who discovers a female keeper's body at the local lighthouse in 1909. Think American Downton Abbey, only without a lot of servants. ;-DYou write historical mysteries as well as contemporary romance novellas.  What is it about the historical genre that attracts you and why set your mysteries in the past rather than present day?

I'm a history buff and research fiend. I could research the day long! I think I was born in the wrong era. Only I love my laptop and my indoor plumbing, my dishwasher, my microwave. There's a reason my heroines usually have a maid to do the housework. LOL

I believe that through the writing of a book, each story comes with its own lessons for the author. Does that hold true for you?

I think so too. I was surprised to discover I could "pants" with my novellas, and keep an outline in my head -- while I spend weeks on my full novels outlining and doing character sketches. Of course, the novellas are contemps. BUT I still have to research outfits, cars, houses, etc. And each character, historical or contemp, has to grow in some way. I try to incorporate a few things I've learned in my life into that character arc. It's fun, and I hope the reader enjoys not just the story, but the history and vivid details I put into all my books.

What are you most proud of in your writing journey?
Winning the Western Writers of America Spur Award for Best First Book of 2012 was a true shocker! The actor Wes Studi handed out the awards, and I got to shake his hand -- he's an incredible actor, and so different in real life, funny and friendly. I truly am proud of all the wonderful reviews for Double Crossing.

Can you give us a sneak peak at the next book in the series?
Double or Nothing continues the adventures of Lily and Ace from Book 1. They're both stand-alones -- I kept any spoilers for Book 1 out of the sequel -- but to get the full effect, they ought to be read in order. And there won't be a third book.

In a nutshell, Double Crossing is True Grit mixed with Murder on the Orient Express. Double or Nothing is a blend of The Fugitive with Clint Eastwood's Hang 'Em High -- Ace is wrongfully accused of murder, and Lily must prove his innocence before the noose tightens.

Anything else you want to share?
I hope readers will find me on my Amazon Author Page, my website, on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, where I have boards for each of my books and also my characters from the Double Series.

I truly believe unpub contests like The Sandy helped push me to keep writing, submitting and finally reach my dream of being a published author. Thanks for having me today!


Theresa said...

Hi Meg,
Thanks for sharing your journey!

What are some of the things you've learn in your life that you put in your books?
I'm assuming that you enjoy writing your historicals more than the contemporaries since those are your series, yes?

KL Grady said...

Hey, Meg! So great to have you at the blog. Who was your final judge in the Sandy?

Lisa Potocar said...

Hey, Meg! Thanks for sharing your journey to publication--I love hearing the individual stories. I love research too, even though it can be frustrating some days when you hit that brick wall and can't find exactly what you're looking for. Speaking of which, what's the most exciting thing you found in your research that you included in one of your stories?

Meg said...

Oh my gosh! I'm so sorry it took me so long to reply back to y'all. Mah brainz!!

I do enjoy historical more than contemp, although Double or Nothing proved to be a stickler to write. Each theme I've handled (betrayal, trust, redemption) does stem from personal experience. I pretty much get enmeshed in the characters, though, so it's usually tidbits that end up woven into their backgrounds.

I couldn't remember when I was on this blog, K-L, much less who my final judge was back in ... ? LOL! Um - someone who wasn't interested in seeing it, for sure. Even the editor who ranked Fire Point first in another contest didn't want to see the entire mss. Hmm.

Lisa, the most exciting thing I found while researching was when I was scouting around for something - anything - to get me started on my sequel, Double or Nothing. I had NO plot. I stumbled onto a banquet menu for the CPRR bigwigs, held in September of 1869, in Sacramento. BINGO!! Perfect timing! *AND* I also found a tiny newspaper article about a dynamite explosion - in San Francisco, but hey, sometimes you gotta fudge. So I managed to plot out the sequel using those bits.

I have to admit it wasn't easy, but I had a "blast" once it was done. ;-D uuurp. Sorry, bad pun.

Thanks for having me!