Sunday, July 27, 2008

Author S. Dionne Moore - MURDER ON THE OL' BUNIONS - Free Book

Today, we're talking about another good summer read--a cozy mystery from this debut author.

Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

It’s hard to say. I really try to give each of my characters their own flaws and strengths, personality and tone. LaTisha Barnhart, lead character for my cozy mystery series, is like me in many small ways. However, the main model for LaTisha is one of my really good AA friends.

The way people interact fascinates me, and the study of personalities has helped me to form the characters as unique individuals. Actually, It’s great fun to create characters. Like playing Sims on paper-er, screen.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

Write a book with a title like Murder on the Ol’ Bunions!

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

Definitely when I was in High School writing love poems to my current crush. I hope he’s forgotten them by now. I’ve avoided reunions for all these years because of those poems.

Seriously, I’ve written on and off most of my life, but my daughters premature birth, and the pain and grief of watching her struggle to do the things most parents of newborns take for granted, prompted me to pour my heart onto paper. I posted it on my Geocities Website and an editor putting together a book about premature babies read it, loved it, and asked to feature it in Living Miracles: Stories of Hope from Parents of Premature Babies, St. Martin’s Press.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

Who says I’m sane?

How do you choose your characters’ names?

Punny you should ask. Most of the names I use are puns. Bad puns, probably, but I love ‘em and it’s part of the fun for me. We writers must amuse ourselves somehow.

So, I take a character’s basic personality and try to match a name. In Polly Dent Loses Grip, book 2 of the LaTisha Barnhart Mystery series, Gertrude Herrman is a man chaser, so this last name is my attempt of showing that. Payton O’Mahney in book one is a less obvious pun. Pay-ton O-mahney. He’s a music store owner who sells high-end European pianos for which you will pay a ton of money. :-)

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

Sorry to disappoint, but it’s not writing related. I’d have to say that teaching my daughter to walk on Lofstrand crutches is the moment that stands out in my mind. She was probably four years old and she kept falling. She was scared. I was too. Dying a little bit everytime she fell. But she got the hang of it and overcame her fear. We celebrated with a chocolate milkshake.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

A dinosaur. And Since I turn 40 this year, I’m halfway there!

I hate to think what that makes me. What is your favorite food?

Salad. Yogurt. Spinach. They do great things for my compost pile.

Tell us a little about your journey to publication.

After "The Preemie Experience" was published in Living Miracles, I joined ACRW (member #64!). I wanted to write something bigger and I loved historicals. I learned so much about writing through ACRW, becoming an active member in many aspects. I’ve been Webmaster, the Noble Theme contest coordinator, Zone Director for the MidAtlantic. I have attended every conference, except for the one in 2007.

Anyhow, when I retired from coordinating the Noble Theme contest, I entered it myself (though they changed the name to Genesis) in 2006, sending a proposal to Susan Downs and the required pages to the Genesis. I finaled in the first round! I e-mailed Susan the good news and she offered me a contract about two weeks later.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

I kept hearing people say write what you love to read. For some reason, for me, that equated to writing historicals. Then an agent pointed out that I wrote great spunky, mature female characters. It was a lightbulb moment when I realized I could use this character in a contemporary setting, surround it with mystery, sprinkle it with humor and write a different genre. I was just in time, too, since Barbour was acquiring for cozy mysteries.

What advice would you give to others who are trying to get their first book published?

Get tough or get out. It sounds overly harsh, but expecting a glowing review of your manuscript every time someone reads it is not going to gain you any ground in the writing world, and the reality will ultimately crush you.

What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

I’m running a Most Beautiful Bunion contest! Seriously. Check it out at The winner receives and autographed copy of the book and some other goodies. I’ll also be doing a blog tour on Christian Fiction Blog Alliance ( with Bonnie Calhoun October 22-24, 2008, and a chat and a workshop with Anne McDonald ( October 11, 2008 and October 16, 2008. There are a few other things running too, but the bottom line is you will be seeing and hearing lots from me. Grab some caffeine to stay awake!

Sandra, thanks for spending this time with us.

Readers, check out her websites, but before you go, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book.

And if you haven't heard about the Heartsong Mystery line, check out this web site:


Anonymous said...

Great interview, honey. I even woke Hardy up from his Sunday afternoon nap to read your answers. Love what you said about your favorite food. I'm feeling you on that one! All that green stuff makes me want to whip up a chocolate cream pie.

Southern-fried Fiction said...

Well, you already have my bunion up there, or you did. :) Great questions, Lena. I'm always learning new things about Sandra. And they usually make me giggle.:D

Susan Page Davis said...

I read this book and it's a riot. Don't enter me, since I already have it, but LaTisha and Hardy crack me up. Of course, I gained weight reading it.

Kimberli said...

Great interview. I'm looking forward to reading the book!

luv2read said...

Enter me in the drawing. spowell01(at)

Elizabeth Ludwig said...

Love how you come up with character names. You can bet I'll be paying a lot more attention now, trying to figure out the hidden meaning! LOL!

Anonymous said...

Made the pie. Hardy ate all of it but one piece! How that man manages to stay such a bag of bones after being married to me for 38 years. . . And he says *I* eat enough for both of us?

Well, he's waiting for me to fry him a mess of eggs and bacon, so I'd better scoot before he dries up and blows away from hunger.

You might want to tell all these fine folk how to make my caramel-pecan cake, S. Dionne, they'll want to know after reading about it in Murder on the Ol' Bunions. 'Course, I guess they're reading the book to find out how I discovered who did old Marion in, but the food parts are pretty delicious too and might just whet they're appetite for a recipe or two.

Rachel Hauck said...

Congrats to this new fab author! I'm so excited for you, girl!


lilac grandma said...

Sounds like a hoot! Count me in please! Melody

windycindy said...

I have heard and read good things about this book and author! I love the "Heartsong" Mysteries. Please enter me in your contest for this book drawing. Many thanks, Cindi

Carrie Turansky said...

Great interview! I have known Sandra for several years, and it is a real joy to see her published and celebrate her first novel! It sounds like so much fun. I have a copy and I can't wait to read it.

Mary said...

Fun interview, thanks for the smiles!
Please include my name.

Robin Bayne said...

Fun title, good interview : )

Anonymous said...

I love the author's sense of humor and lighthearted personality. I just know this book would be lots of fun to read. Thanks for such a nice interview with a delightful author. Please enter me to win this book. I would love to read it!!

Lisa Jordan said...

This book is a riot. As a pun lover, my belly aches from S. Dionne's wonderful sense of humor! The story brought a smile to my face from the first page!

Wouldn't mind having Latisha doing some cooking at my house!

NancyMehl said...

Wonderful interview, Sandra!

I wrote some of those awful loved-filled poems in high school, too. Hopefully, none of them exists anymore. That kind of thing can ruin your reputation as a serious writer. (Grin)


Anonymous said...

Hi Latisha

I'm so glad that you gave Sandra's interview your seal of approval! Did Hardy mind you waking him up? What did he say?

Please say hi to Sandra and Lena for me, and tell them that I also thought it was a great interview.

Best wishes

Ruth Dell

Lucie said...

Okay, I absolutely love the title! If that's any indication of what's inside count me in on the drawing, LOL!!

Thank you!



stampedwithgrace said...

great interview! sounds like a great read; love the title :)

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to reading the book. Please enter me in the drawing. It was a great interview!


ChristyJan said...

Please enter me to win a copy of this book.


Carolynn said...

I look forward to reading this book, thanks for the chance to win!