Recently, I interviewed Shirley Raye Redmond.
WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO START WRITING?
I have wanted to write ever since I was in 5th grade and read Little Women. I wanted to be like Jo March, scribbling stories in the attic. I was 16 when my first article was published in a newspaper and I’ve never looked back.
WHAT AUTHORS HAVE INFLUENCED YOUR WRITING STYLE?
Too many to list! But C.S. Lewis, Georgette Heyer, Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, and Grace Livingston Hill would definitely be in the top ten.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ASPIRING AUTHORS?
You’re never going to “find the time” to write. You have to make the time. Give up a night of television, computer games, etc. I know too many people who promised themselves they would start writing when their children were grown or when they retired, but they are, instead, raising their grandchildren or they didn’t live long enough to retire. Don’t wait!
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR LATEST RELEASE.
Viper’s Nest (Harborlight/Pelican Book Group) is a romantic suspense novel set in Jacksonville, Illinois. Allan Partner, a handsome history professor and his widowed research assistant, Wren Bergschneider, find themselves in danger when they explore an old insane asylum slated for demolition, unearthing a scandal someone is willing to kill for to keep secret.
WHAT IS THE MOST INTERESTING THING YOU HAVE LEARNED FROM YOUR RESEARCH?
I actually had a private tour of the Jacksonville Insane Asylum many years ago. Mary Todd Lincoln was a patient there briefly following the death of President Lincoln. Built in the mid 1840s, the asylum was the product of humanitarian Dorothea Dix’s impassioned plea to the Illinois Legislature. Miss Dix was a stalwart advocate for mentally ill individuals mistreated by society. Some were locked away in cellars and attics. Others were put on display in county jails. No medical aid or social services were available at the time for those declared insane. Everyone was lumped into the same category—whether one was a cruel psychopathic killer or a melancholy young mother suffering from postpartum depression. Dorothea Dix changed that.
Originally, I wrote about my tour of the asylum for a Writer’s Digest nonfiction contest. My submission won an Honorable Mention. People who read the piece urged me to “do something else” with all the historical information I’d collected. After toying with the idea of for quite a while, I decided to write a suspense novel, using the abandoned asylum as the backdrop of the story.
HOW CAN READERS CONTACT YOU AND/OR LEARN MORE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR WRITING?
I love to hear from readers! They can contact me through my website at www.shirleyrayeredmond.com or visit my author facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/