Monday, February 8, 2010

Interview with BETH SOLHEIM

My favorite page of Beth Solheim's website is the Dog Treat Recipe Contest.  Then again, you may perfer the Gift Basket Contest page...  Beth is the author of the Sadie Witt Mystery series--all of which have very clever titles.  Here's more about Beth...
What prompted you to start writing? How long did the process from first putting “pen to paper” and publication take you?

Reading, for me, naturally segued into writing. When reading as a child and later as an adult , I welcomed the challenge of figuring out why certain sentences or groups of words were woven into a plot. There had to be a reason. Most likely it was a cleverly placed clue. I found I’d drift off course and create different scenes for characters instead of reading. I finally realized, “I can do this. I can create a credible story.”

I was proud of my first attempt, but quickly learned it needed work, more specifically, a proper burial. It was one of those moments where I had to back track beyond square one, accept constructive criticism, learn the craft, and start over.

I’ve been writing for eleven years, six seriously. The time frame for At Witt’s End from concept to holding the book in my hand was a two-year journey.

How long have you been writing? In what genres do you write?

At Witt’s End is a humorous, paranormal mystery. My first attempt was also a mystery with a mortuary setting.

Do you get any fodder for your characters from your professional background in Human Resources?

Not particularly from Human Resources, but from years of observing, listening and jotting down humorous episodes people have shared. My little notebook/pen combo goes everywhere I go, including a helicopter, an outhouse, a winery, the Grand Canyon, a morgue, and in the mouth of Foxy Lu, a female fox who scooped it off our patio and then spit it out. We all have possessions we protect with our lives—mine is my notebook.

I’m surprised my ears aren’t the size of hub caps with all the tales I’ve heard over the years. I also love it when my hearing plays tricks on me and the skewed message becomes fodder. A while back a lady at church mentioned a parishioner named Theopholis Peter. Change that to three words and you’ve got a great one-liner. It’s used in At Witt’s End and I smile every time I read it.

What is the biggest challenge you face as a writer?

Time. There isn’t enough. I work full time at a hospital and tackle writing and marketing tasks on evenings and weekends. I’m blessed with a patient, understanding husband.

What is the title of your most recently published book? Briefly tell us what it’s about and let us know where we can buy it.

At Witt’s End is the first in the Sadie Witt’ Mystery Series. Mayhem is on the rise at the Witt’s End Resort, especially Cabin 14, where no guest ever leaves alive. To make matters worse, Sadie Witt must untangle a murderous web while preventing an unscrupulous sheriff’s deputy from shutting down her lakeside resort.

When guests arrive at Cabin 14, they’re stunned to learn Sadie is their conduit to the hereafter. Clad in outlandish outfits (clothing typically reserved for those without sagging body parts) and sporting hairdos that make bystanders want to look away but can’t, Sadie realizes one of the guests has been murdered and works against the clock to prevent further chaos.  At Witt’s End is available at, Echelon Press, and bookstores.

What are you working on now and when/where do you expect it to be available?

Outwitted, the second in the Sadie Witt’ Series, is in the edit process and will be available January 2011 in bookstores, and Echelon Press.

Writers, especially new writers, are always looking for tips and helpful information. What is the single most mportant “tip” you can give to a new writer?

Persevere! Don’t EVER give up. Writing is a solitary profession. A team of cheerleaders can urge you forward, but you’re the only one who can coax the words onto your computer screen or a piece of paper. Learn from critique groups, edit, absorb as many writing classes as you can, edit, and most of all, believe. Then, edit again.

Are you a member of any writer’s organizations? Why? Why not?

I’m a member of Midwest Fiction Writers, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. SinC has sub groups that are absolutely invaluable. Guppies and Agent Quest are two I’ve found supportive, informative, and recommend them as must-join groups for fledgling authors.

Do you have any upcoming book signings or appearances? If so, give us all the details.

At Witt's End Book Launch and Signing - 2/13/2010
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Gallery North
502 3rd Street NW
Bemidji, MN 56601

Presentation and Book Signing - 2/20/2010
At Witt's End - Character and Plot Development
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Red Lake Falls Library
105 Champagne Avenue SW
Red Lake Falls, MN 56750

Book Signing - Book Fair - 2/27/2010
10:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Bloomington Art Center
1800 W. Old Shakopee Road
Bloomington, MN 55431

Presentation and Book Signing - 3/3/2010
At Witt's End - Character and Plot Development
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Velma Teague Public Library
7010 N. 59th Avenue
Glendale, AZ 85301

Presentation and Book Signing - 3/4/2010
Small Town Living Can Be Deadly - How to Write a Cozy Mystery
12:00 Noon - 1:00 PM
Joel D. Valdez Main Library
101 N. Stone Avenue
Tucson, AZ 85701

Presentation and Book Signing - 3/6/2010
The Rhythm of Writing
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
The Well Red Coyote Bookstore
3190 West Highway 89A, #400
Sedona, AZ 86336

Presentation and Book Signing - 3/9/2010
Small Town Living Can Be Deadly-How to Write a Cozy Mystery
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Santa Fe Public Library
145 Washington Street
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Book Signing - 3/27/2010
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
UND Bookstore
775 Hamline Street
Grand Forks, ND 58203

FUN QUESTION: Lakes or the ocean, and why?

Lakes. I was born and raised in lake country in northern Minnesota and my mysteries are staged at the Witt’s End Resort on Pinecone Lake. There’s nothing more relaxing than listening to waves gently lapping against the rocks on a starry evening. Sand, sunshine and tourists’ infectious giggles are a welcomed component in nature’s rhythm.

What are the addresses of your website(s) and blog(s):

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