Today at Wild Women Authors is pleased to welcome author Nikki Andrews and Mac (short for Maculato), assistant canine sleuth from Framed, a current release from L&L Dreamspell.
Where are you from, Mac? I’m in Nikki’s murder mystery Framed. I’m the most important character because I find the bad guy!
What is Framed about? It’s about how my human, Elsie, and her friends at the Brush & Bevel gallery figure out who really killed artist Jerry Berger and his model Abby Bingham. It’s kind of complicated for a dog to understand, but I get to help.
What made you choose bird hunting as a career? I was born to it. I’m a German short-haired pointer. Hunting is in my genes, and my wonderful human, Elsie, has helped me develop my talent.
Knowing what you know now, if you had it to do over again, would you stick with bird hunting or do something different? I like hunting birds. It’s fun to get out in an open field and flush them into the air. I love to catch their scent and watch them fly away. I like hunting in the woods, too, except for having to get groomed for ticks afterwards. But—please don’t tell Elsie—what I really love is chasing frogs. They’re so funny and you can never tell which way they’ll jump. I could chase frogs all day long!
What is your biggest fear? Getting separated from my human or lost in the woods. Sometimes I run off after a bird, but I always know where Elsie is, even if I don’t come right away when she calls.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Enzo, the dog in The Art of Racing in the Rain. He’s so smart, and he gets to ride in a real race car. His people love him so much. And he even comes back to life as a human! I’m not sure I’m ready for that yet, but someday I’d like to try it.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? “Find a bird, Mac!”
It's our turn to turn the tables onto Nikki: Which writer or character, from either books or movies, has had a major impact on your writing? Must I limit it to one? I go back to Tony Hillerman again and again for the sheer beauty of his writing. Although it is as spare as the land he describes, he packs more emotion into it than many more florid writers. Dick Francis’ novels are a joy to read because of the research he blends so seamlessly into them. Not only do you get to solve the mystery, you have the pleasure of learning about a different trade or career. I try to bring a little of both Hillerman and Francis into my writing.
With regard to research, where did you start for this novel? Did that lead you down different paths, thereby changing the original concept? I worked as a picture framer for nine years and I loved it. Almost all my research springs from that experience. I should state right here that although I collected many stories and character sketches from my time at the art gallery, the people in my book are most definitely not real-life transplants. At most, the staff, vendors and customers served as inspirations for my fictional people.
I was very lucky in my research. When UPS did not have the lost and found policy I imagined, I searched out an independent courier to learn about her trade. She was very helpful, as were the police chief I talked to and my contacts in journalism. To my gratified surprise, I wasn’t so far off base that I had to make major changes in the book.
Here's a short description of Framed:
When a long-lost painting turns up ten years after the murder/suicide of the artist and his model, a gallery owner wants the case re-opened, to uncover the truth.
Brush & Bevel owner Ginny Brent has more reason than most to doubt the police. She was artist Jerry Berger’s mentor and agent. When a customer walks into her shop with a previously unknown work by the artist, renewed grief impels Ginny to seek answers. She knows Jerry didn’t kill himself or Abby Bingham, the model pictured among the trees in the painting. Can she discover who did?
Ginny’s loyal staffers, Sue Bradley and Elsie Kimball, employ their own methods to help find the truth. Elsie follows her exuberant young bird dog into the forest, through frog-infested puddles, and discovers a pile of glacial boulders that might be the actual setting for the painting. Sue cleans years of smoke and grease from the canvas and puzzles over strange markings revealed under the gunk. What could they mean?
As they prepare to frame and unveil The Lady in the Wood, the trio must deal with the sometimes whimsical needs of their customers and their eccentric neighboring shopkeepers. And as they get closer to solving the mystery, they also learn that art is not the only thing that can be framed.
Tell us a bit about your publisher, Nikki. How did you hear about them? What influenced your decision to submit to them? My publisher is L&L Dreamspell of Spring, Texas. A friend of mine, Cindy Davis, who had been published there, referred me to them after reading Framed. After I checked out several of their books and decided it was a good fit, I submitted my manuscript through their website and it was accepted.
Tell us a bit about their submission process. How long did it take from query to release? The Dream Team, Lisa Smith and Linda Houle of L&L, did a fabulous job with editing and creating a cover that catches the eye. After a gestation of about nine months—a pretty standard length of time—I held my first copy of Framed in my hands.
Thanks for visiting us today, Mac and Nikki. Veronica and I wish you many many sales.
To learn more about Nikki and the stories she creates go to: www.nikkiandrewsbooks.com
To purchase Framed in print or ebook, go to www.lldreamspell.com