Deep in the Meadows by Lisa M. Cronkhite is a mystery sure to chill you. Here's a blurb for this murder mystery releasing on January 31, 2014:
All Bee wanted was to fit in somewhere, to pick up the pieces after the abrupt loss of her big brother, Jimmy. Now, almost a year later, Bee is feeling Jimmy’s presence more than ever. As Bee starts to unravel her brother’s secret about the night he never came home, she realizes Jimmy’s death may not have been an accident after all.
We asked Lisa to stop by and answer some questions about herself, her writing, and her latest book.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A movie star, of course! (Aiming a little high, I know.) But after being in the “poor readers” group for years and doing horribly every time I read out loud, I realized I wouldn’t make it as an actor.
When did you start writing?
I journaled in high school, but stopped abruptly. Then after I was diagnosed bipolar in 2004, my therapist suggested it as a coping skill. I always wound up writing poetry—deep, dark twisted poetry. I showed a poem to someone, and they suggested I submit it to a magazine. I did and got accepted right away. So I became addicted to getting “accepted.” But after so many, I yearned for more of a challenge. I took a writing course at the Institute of Children’s Literature and fell in love with it. But I still wrote all over the place, writing from children’s to adult horror stories. Somewhere in the middle of all that, I found my young adult voice—the strongest voice within me.
In school what were your best and worst moments?
Unfortunately, I had a lot more “worst” moments than best. I was bullied 7th grade till sophomore year, and then things slowly started tapering down. All the best moments I had were with my boyfriend, now my loving husband. Believe me, we had our hard times too, but he always remained by my side—the ultimate friend.
What was your most embarrassing moment?
Every moment I had to read out loud. Seriously the most embarrassing moments of my life.
What advice do you wish you could give to your younger self?
Try not be so dependent on others.
What hobbies and interests do you have?
My hobby was and still is writing, which I kinda took to the extreme. My interests? I’m an ID Network addict. Need I say more?
What made you write Bee’s story?
This is the worst fear for any family -- to suffer through a loss of a loved one. It amazes me how people can get through it. I think writing it was more of a purge than anything. But ultimately I will never completely wipe those fears away. No one will ever really understand it unless they’ve been through it. This was just my way of trying to understand the complexity of it all.
Do the characters in the book have any connection with your real life?
Absolutely. Jimmy is very much like my son. He’s been playing hockey since he was 5 (on skates at 3), and he’s going on 20 now and he still plays to this day. And Bee and her father’s relationship is a lot like my daughter and my husband. She’s definitely daddy’s little girl, and I think the relationship between Bee and her father is the strongest presence in the book. As for the mother, I’ve had firsthand bipolar episodes, and some of the material in the book isn’t fiction.
What is one thing you hope readers will take away from your book?
Cherish the ones you love, because they’re not always going be there.
Can you give us an idea of your writing process?
I start writing off the top of my head until I can’t anymore. Then I reread what I have, and it sparks up again. If I get really stuck, I sometimes do a brief outline (but I never stick to it, but sometimes it does help.) I have this fetish of writing something, then printing it out, rereading it, and editing that way. Big mess, I know, but it helps me look at it differently—literally.
Which authors have influenced your work?
Anne Rice, most definitely. I still argue with my husband that the Queen of the Damned book was much better than the movie. It just irks me every time because he didn’t even read the book, ha. But I think of all authors, I must pay homage to my girl, Carol Goodman. The first book I’ve read of hers was The Lake of Dead Languages. I read it in 3 days. It was the first book I had ever read that fast. As I mentioned I was always a poor reader, but when I opened that book, she opened my eyes to a whole new world. She’s has the most breathtaking prose out there.
Any tips for new writers?
Join a critique group, number one thing. Places like AbsoluteWrite.com or WritingForums.org are always good. Test the waters in other genres if you think the one you’re in now isn’t working. Find your true writing voice. Again, test the waters, try adult, young adult, middle grade, etc. But I think critiquing other’s work and getting feedback on your own is vital to the writing process. This is a win-win situation. You get to help others and will get better with your own work and make friends too.
Any tips for more experienced writers?
Keep writing and doing your thing. Keep producing work. And always, always keep your submissions active. Please don’t ever stop submitting. Do a very thorough research on the ones you’re submitting to. Check Preditors & Editors, Bewares and Background Checks on AbsoluteWrite.
If you had three wishes, what would you wish for?
1. I wish (and hope) my kids will live very long, happy, healthy and prosperous lives.
2. I wish (and hope) we could move to the West Coast one day.
3. I wish I could be a cat hoarder and have at least 30 cats (but no chance of that).
What is something most people don't know about you?
I hate watermelon.
Where did you go on your last vacation?
Have you ever climbed into or out of a window?
Every time I forgot my keys, I had to—which was often.
Where can readers find out more about you?
At my blog