Interview & Spotlight Make Old Bones by Leslie S. Talley

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Title: Make Old Bones
Author: Leslie S. Talley
Series: Clarice Campion and Miss Letty Series (#1)
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Publisher: Wild Child Publishing
Release Date: August 21 2012

Fifteen-year-old Connie Kittredge disappears in 1953, presumed drowned. Almost forty years later her skeleton is unearthed in the disused dumbwaiter of Belgrath House, recently restored and opened as a B & B. The house sits on an island in the tidal estuary of the Halifax River, Daytona Beach, Florida.
Clarice and Otis Campion function as caretakers of Belgrath. Clarice, along with Miss Letitia Lorraine, retired star of the Silent Screen, former owner of the house, and permanent guest tries to solve the mystery. The skeleton’s discovery coincides with the reunion of Connie’s Class of ’57. A wake held at Belgrath for Connie provides sleuthing opportunities, but also affords the murderer a chance to strike again, using cherry laurel-spiked iced tea.
Inadvertently left behind during a forced evacuation of Belgrath due to Category Four Hurricane Aphrodite, Clarice faces a killer willing to strike again, using nature itself—a tidal surge and rapidly rising water—as a weapon.

Tell us the story behind the story. What inspired you to write this novel?

I remembered a tour of an historic house in Hannibal, Missouri. The house stood vacant for years, and local children used to sneak in and play. They dared one another to go to the haunted third floor. From that I said, “What if?” What if one of them went up those stairs and never came down? The children, terrified, vowed not to tell. What if the child’s skeleton was unearthed years later? How would the rest of those children feel?
Tell us about the book cover. (The cover shows a white, two-story house with verandas on each floor. Palm trees are visible in the background. In the foreground sits a brooding pelican. I found a stock photo of a house in Key West which I emailed to the artist. I wanted the cover to signal Florida. The pelican is integral to the story. I wanted a skeleton in a rain slicker, too, but the logistics of that didn't work out). 

 How does it represent your book? How did you choose the artwork? 

Answered in the preceding.

Welcome to Read Between The Lines Leslie.

Leslie can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

I taught Business Writing and Technical Writing, with an occasional Creative Writing class, at the University of Central Florida for ten years. I hold a B.A. in English with a Literature Concentration and an M.A in English with a Creative Writing Concentration, both from UCF. My original education was in nursing, first from Deaconess Hospital in St. Louis and then a B.S. from the University of Kentucky. Sandwiched between these educational experiences was marriage and motherhood. My husband is a retired engineer from McDonnell-Douglas. We have two grown children and four grandchildren. My writing reflects hailing from two border states, Kentucky and Missouri, and forty-four years in Florida. Nursey-nurse creeps back in there, too!

From start to finish how long did it take you to write Make Old Bones?

Writing was the easy part—four years total. Selling it took a lot longer.

Where do you get your ideas from?

One of the six prominent features of Southern writing is a sense of place. You always know where you are in a Southern novel. We don’t set our stories in Anywhere, USA. Create a colorful locale, and plots suggest themselves from the culture, history, cuisine, flora, and fauna of a place.

While writing do you work with an outline or just let the words flow?

With Make Old Bones I knew the beginning and the end. I knew the identity of the murderer. It’s that pesky middle! In my sequels, I let the computer tell me what happens next. I’m always surprised with what pops up, and I don’t have to worry about waiting for inspiration.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

I have a long list of mystery writers to whom I’m indebted. I’m an inveterate mystery reader. I love Sharyn McCrumb, Catherine Aird, and, my all-time favorite, Mary Roberts Rinehart.

How do you market your book? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

I follow the instructions of my publisher, Marci Baun, of Wild Child Publishing. My daughter, Terri Talley Venters, Wild Child author of Carbon Copy, helps me with blogs, Facebook, and had my bookmarks printed. My husband, Luke, passes them out everywhere: doctors’ offices, stores, the drive-thru at the bank!

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

For many years. I began my first mystery in the 1970s. I curled up on the sofa with a legal pad and a Bic while my children were in school.

Is there a certain time or place you find is easier for writing?

Since acquiring my laptop, I can sit on the couch in the evenings and type away.

How do you combat writers block?

Not a problem. My computer tells me.

Just for Fun

Beach or Mountains?

Mountains, especially the Highlands of Scotland. I know I should say beaches since I live in Florida.

Chocolate or Vanilla?

Chocolate! What’s the point of vanilla?

Coffee or Tea?

Coffee. I really enjoyed cappuccinos in Italy.

Red or Yellow (LOL) Plain or Peanut MM’S?

Plain M & Ms, but Hershey bars with almonds.

Rain or Snow?

I haven’t seen snow since 1984. I miss it, but not driving in it.

Places to find Leslie

Places to find Make Old Bones 


Belinda Green said...

Help! Your link to access the scavenger hunt is broken. Is there any other way to access it?
Belinda G

Anna Dase said...

I have repaired the link sorry about that

Mcv Egan said...

Wow, she has been writing since the 70's and I had so forgotten about Bic Pens :)

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