Friday, September 27, 2013

Meet Judith White author of The Case Files of Sam Flanagan: Sins of the Father

Judith White

If you could have dinner, coffee, or drinks with a fictional character, who would you choose and where would you go?

Truly, I would sit down with Miss Jane Marple, the famed spinster amateur detective of Agatha Christie. As older people are, she’s so wise in matters of life. I love listening to the aged as they relate their lives. We’d either sit in her English garden, or sit inside of her cottage. I’m something of an Anglophile, too.

Do you usually begin a book with a character or a plot?

With the two books I’ve written, and the third I am now writing, I’ve started out by knowing there is a murder, who is murdered, by whom and why. Also, I know the method. I then sort of build the story backward. I’m not sure if there is a proven method to all of this. I suppose you just have to go with what works best for you.

Do you have any hobbies or special interests you’d care to share?

I suppose this sounds a bit mundane, but I love to read! I also love history, and therefore, find viewing documentaries fascinating. My mind is more active than my body…I love word and trivia games. Sometimes I wish I could say I love to ski or hike in the woods or am a great gardener. To me, it just seems it would sound more interesting to others if I could claim to be more physical.

What was the inspiration for your book?

I honestly don’t know how I came up with the plots for my first two novels. Now the third I am working on was inspired by a little excursion my husband and I and his siblings took some years back. A local park service sponsored a short trip across the Detroit River to the Canadian shore and back one summer, and we took the tour. It centered on the bootlegging days and how Detroit was run by the Purple Gang…much like Chicago was run by Al Capone. The stories told on that short boat trip were fascinating. Here I was, a student of history, and I had never even heard of The Purple Gang! I decided to incorporate them into a mystery, making them a dark part of my detective’s life in his early years.

How difficult is if for you to come up with a title for your books?

So far, it hasn’t presented too much of a problem. I have an idea floating around in my head for a fourth book. Everything isn’t real clear, but I know what the case will be about and I keep wracking my brain over a title. Nothing seems to fit. I’m not too worried, though. I have time to create the perfect title.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Yes, and that would be for them to stop telling themselves that getting published only happens to ‘other’ people. I guess I told myself that for years and years, and therefore, never was serious about writing. It was something I only dreamt of, but didn’t act on. It can happen to anyone. Just get the story down and then send it out and keep sending it out.

Did you have any interesting experiences when you were researching your book, or getting it published?

Actually, I did. Just last night my husband and I and two friends went to a bar in downtown Detroit called ‘Tommy’s Detroit Bar and Grill’. There is a tunnel in the basement of the establishment that was used to move bootlegged liquor to the church next door when the Purple Gang feared a raid. I met the owner and he took us on a tour of the lower level, showing us the tunnel. He has stories of unexplained occurrences in the basement. There’s a constructed brick enclosure in an odd place and one wonders what (or who) is contained behind the brick. The Preservation Detroit Society is actually doing historical excavations in the bar’s basement. It was truly intriguing and I got an invitation to do a book signing when my current book comes out. What fun we had!

Do you prefer print books or eBooks?

I believe I will always be a physical book gal. I do own a kindle, but it’s just not the same for me. I like to actually hold it, turn the pages and look at the cover.

What's in the works for you?

As I’ve said, my third mystery novel is currently being written, although this one seems to be going a bit slow. But aside from that, I’ve just had my first story, A Method to Madness: The Case Files of Sam Flanagan recorded for an audio book. My second will follow. That one is titled Sins of the Father: The Case Files of Sam Flanagan. And I find that rather exciting!


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