Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Interview with Judi Culbertson

Today, we're welcoming Judi Culbertson to the Avalon Authors Blog.  Her latest book is called A Novel Death. 

What do you listen to while you are writing?

     I'm very partial to ambient noise.  I like writing in Starbucks where there are snatches of music and conversation, as well as the Port Jefferson ferry and the train to New York City for the same reasons.  I don't pick out music to write to exactly. but I thrive on the sense of life around me.  A Novel Death is my 11th published book though only my second mystery and I spent years, when I was a social worker, writing in my car at lunchtime.

How do your other interests influence your stories?

     After I took early retirement from social work, I continued selling used and rare books more actively.  The search for "sleepers" and other forgotten books that sometimes turned out to be treasures made me want to share my enthusiasm and knowledge.  So has information on what makes books valuable and how to find them.

What would you do if you lost an entire manuscript?

     Probably want to kill myself, so I take pains to assure that this won't happen.  I keep a flash drive in my purse and a second in the glove compartment of my car and keep them up to date.  It gets tedious, but it brings peace of mind.  The stories of Ernest Hemingway and Garrison Keillor losing mss early on still haunt me.

I came really close to losing everything on my hard drive recently, so I totally understand this. What is the one thing you need to fuel your creativity?

     My husband teaches and gets up very early.  I'm awake, but I lie in bed mulling things over, letting ideas come, especially about what I'm currently working on.  By the time I get up I have something to add to whatever creative project I'm working on and the coffee is made--the other thing that is necessary to kick-start my creativity.

What is the most challenging thing you’ve ever done?

     About 16 years ago I was looking for a challenge and decided that the two things I was most terrified of were jumping out of an airplane and public speaking.  I was sure parachute-jumping would give me a heart attack, so I picked out a topic which fascinated me and was not widely discussed then, decluttering and the psychology of stuff.  I started speaking to libraries, school groups, businesses etc.  After about the fifth time I was no longer scared and soon was enjoying it a lot.  It led to two books, Scaling Down (Rodale, 2005) and The Clutter Cure (McGraw-Hill, 2007).

That's a great idea.  Good for you for being brave enough to try it.  As terrifying as public speaking is, I think it would be preferable to jumping out of an airplane.  

For more information about A Novel Death:

Like many other used booksellers, Delhi Laine, proprietor of Secondhand Prose, dreams of making the Great Find if not a Shakespearean Folio, then at least a fragment of an Emily Dickinson or Edgar Allan Poe manuscript. But after receiving a very rare and valuable children's book into her collection, she finds out such treasures can come at a terrible cost the suspicious death of one colleague and another left for dead days later. Her investigation into the true owner of the book reveals that those around her are not what they seem, as she is drawn into a world of deception, backroom dealings, and forgery.
Despite the dangers, Delhi is determined to protect the treasure while coping with avaricious booksellers, her estranged famous-poet husband, and whoever is behind the attack who now has her in their sights.

Congratulations, Judi!


Jayne Ormerod said...

Judi, You are a VERY brave woman to conqour that public speaking fear!

Great interview! I look forward to reading "A Novel Death".

Sandy Cody said...

Judi, your book taps into two of my favorite things: mysteries and old books (well, books of any age). Public speaking scares me too and I'm in awe of the way you plunged right in to conquer it.

Good luck with A NOVEL DEATH.

Joselyn Vaughn said...

Judi, thanks so much for answering my questions and congratulations on your new book!