Monday, November 12, 2012

Let's get a close-up on CLOSE-UP

Today Wild Women Authors is pleased to welcome author Kit Sloane who brings Margot O’Banion, from CLOSE-UP, a 2011 release from Oak Tree Books.
Good afternoon, Margot. Tell us a bit about CLOSE-UP. This is a behind-the-scenes mystery about goings on during the production of a movie in Los Angeles. I’m the film editor and my partner, Max, is both writer and director of the new production. He becomes fascinated with including cameos of stars from long ago, incorporating them into his movie with some unpredictable results and I warned him this could happen….
What made you choose film editing as a profession? Years ago film editing was one of the only areas in film production where women flourished. I chose it because I love movies and I love the idea of putting together miles of film or tape in creative ways to make a director’s vision come to life.
Knowing what you know now, if you had it to do over again, would you stick with film editing or do something different? I can’t imagine doing anything but editing. It’s in my blood!
What is your biggest fear? That the new technologies will eliminate the creativity that goes into making movies with actual film. So far, this hasn’t happened. The main complaint to tape is that cinematographers can’t get the same depth of colors, particularly blacks and whites, from it. But filming digitally just demands different sorts of creativity. The new technological advances do, however, make it difficult to stay on the learning curve!
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Max and I love old movies. We love Nick and Nora in The Thin Man Series from the 40s, and also classic noir films of the 40s and 50s.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Do what you love. Make a success of something that really thrills you.
It's Kit's turn to be quized: Which writer or character[s], from either books or movies, [or both] have had a major impact on your writing? I think British writer P.D. James has had the greatest influence on me. I’ve read all her books several times through the years. Her descriptions and characterizations simply blow me away!
With regard to research, where did you start for this novel?
I was on a set, thanks to my daughter and cover artist, Annie Sperling, who is a production designer in Hollywood. I was leaning against a wall, trying to keep out of the way and to avoid stumbling over cables, etc, when I witnessed the makeup artist come running up to the director. She was furious that the main model had come in already made up. The director answered her with “I saw that. I recognized the eyebrows.” In other words, each makeup artist has her own style and he noticed that the model’s in question makeup wasn’t done by their own makeup person! That attention to detail started my story.
Did that lead you down different paths, thereby changing the original concept? No, I keyed off the comment above and took it from there. The story is about the importance of details and that works well in a mystery!
My stories highlight behind-the-scenes plots that include interesting characters who often make terrible choices, and it’s not always murder that comes to mind. To me that's what makes characters fascinating, the choices they make. I like characters who make decisions, not just mayhem. There are many kinds of bad behavior out there.… As Library Journal says about the series: “Suspects abound, from envious family members to movie backers, but Margot and Max are on the job. A terrific read, complete with sexy, slightly larger-than-life characters and lots of L.A. action.”
Kit, tell us a bit about your publisher. How did you hear about them?
I’ve known the publisher of Oak Tree Books, Billie Johnson, for years. She has longevity as an Indie publisher in a field where small publishers fail fast and often.
What influenced your decision to submit to them? My then publisher was having monetary problems and a fellow author mentioned Oak Tree. I contacted Billie and she immediately picked up my series that then numbered four books. She also wanted the covers to continue with my daughter’s cover art work. They are distinctive covers!
Tell us a bit about Oak Tree's submission process. Guidelines are available at Billie looks at and publishes many different genres beyond mysteries. She DOES appreciate a “clean” ms, meaning good grammar and punctuation and traditional ms formatting.
How long did it take from query to release? Just months from query to publication. Very quick and easy. Billie is easy to work with and I DO submit “clean” manuscripts!
To learn more about the Margot & Max Mystery series, go to:
To purchase CLOSE-UP: go to, Barnes and Noble or to the publisher’s “bookstore” at where the titles are listed alphabetically and at a nice discount! CLOSE-UP is also available for e-readers on Kindle and Nook.


  1. The Thin Man is permanently on our TIVO list [like a safety valve] along with a load of Hitchcock. Sounds like a great series but I'll skip the alphabetical and go for the chronological.

  2. Thanks, Maddy. All the books in the series are standalones but with the same main characters. I'm one of those readers who dislikes lots of back story and repetition in a series, so I wrote these without those items. Re the Thin Man, do you recall Nora's dress with the strategically placed PALM TREES! I believe she wore it to a...boxing match...Fabulous!


  3. Ahem, love the name for your heroine. Sound like great reads.

  4. Obviously I love the name, too. It's such fun to think up character's names. They also must "fit" the character and I've sometimes changed a name halfway through when they don't fit. Coincidentally, my first publisher was Margo Power (of Deadly Alibi Press) and when she called, she'd always say, "Hi! It's Margo, without the T."

  5. Hey, Kit, as someone who loves your history--we met through Margo in Monterey if my memory serves me correctly. I love the series and your characters--but you already know that. Fun interview.

  6. thanks to Margo H, Lisa R, Marilyn M, and Maddy.
    this does sound like a fun series--a must for the TBR file.
    Kat and Veronica

  7. From your reference to your daughter, it sounds as if the film business runs in the family. I like how you seized on the issue of details. It must be an intriguing series.

  8. Thanks for the comment, Lesley. Yes, the film business...fascinating! All those talented, competitive people working together in 17-hr days for weeks and weeks at a time. Mostly I just listen to Annie and her friends talk after work... Enough intrigue for a hundred mysteries!

  9. Hi Kit. I'm with OTP too and you're right, Billie is great to work with--she didn't even change my book title. I love movies/show biz too and your series sounds like fun. Keep on writing!

  10. thanks for commenting Sally and Marilyn, of course. I find I'm winding down, writing-wise. Not everyone can be as prolific as our Marilyn! But it has been fascinating!


  11. Thank you, Wild Women, for hosting OPT author Kit Sloan. We were happy to give you a shout-out over at the Friday Round-Up:

    And, thank you Kit for your praise of OTP.

    Sunny Frazier, acquisitions editor