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I tend to not give a lot of physical description of my characters. When I read a book, I like to have a general idea of what a character looks like so I can picture him/her in my head, and then I want to move on to the story and see how the character fits in. So I follow this philosophy in my own work.

After all, you probably care what your love interest looks like (although this may become less important as the relationship progresses), but otherwise you most likely care more about how your friends and acquaintances (and maybe your Presidential candidate!) behave, and why.

In life and in books, I’m fascinated by the psychology behind a person’s actions. Why do people behave the way they do?

Even if it’s not explicitly stated, I want to know what motivates a character–what gets him/her out of bed in the morning. What would he fight for? What issue would she join a protest for? If a homeless person asks him for money, what does he do or say? What charities does she give to regularly, and why? What are his demons? What faults does she hope to overcome?

You get the idea. You may have read about the technique of interviewing your characters to get a sense of who they are. Even if you don’t use the information, you’re aware of it as you’re writing. It helps make each and every character multi-dimensional.

It’s something I want to really concentrate on as I move through the Storybook Park Mysteries. I’m looking forward to learning more about my characters. : )

Storybook Parks

When my grandmother first took me to Children’s Fairyland in Oakland, California, I was immediately hooked. Here were the stories I loved, brought to life. The Alice in Wonderland Tunnel affected me so deeply that I had dreams of building my own tunnel in our backyard. That was probably too ambitious for a six-year-old!

I loved the animals, the sets, the rides, and the storybook boxes. In addition to Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, Snow White, Thumbelina, Three Billy Goats Gruff, and many other nursery rhymes, fairy tales, and works of children’s literature were represented. What a magical place!

Whenever my grandmother took me out, I asked to return to Fairyland. I imagine she got quite sick of it, but she always indulged me.

I worked at Fairyland for several years in my twenties. My first thought when I returned? It was a lot smaller than I remembered. Still, it was a delightful place to be and to work.

These days, in addition to writing a cozy mystery series set at a storybook park, I love learning about storybook parks around the world. Besides several in the U.S., storybook parks may be found in Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Australia.

If you’re ever near a storybook park, I highly recommend you check it out. Be warned, however: Many of the parks require that adults be accompanied by children.




Favorite Books

I’m excited for the new Bridget Jones movie. I hope to see it this weekend.

“Bridget Jones’s Diary” by Helen Fielding is one of my go-to books when I need to escape from life and lose myself in a story. I love laughing and crying along with Bridget. “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” by Terry McMillan is another go-to. How cool is it that Stella goes on vacation to Jamaica by herself? I was rather irritated with the movie version, because Stella’s friend joins her on the trip (although I love Whoopi Goldberg!).

If we’re talking favorite books, I have to include Ann Patchett’s “Bel Canto” and “State of Wonder,” as well as “The Lovely Bones” by Alice Sebold. I can’t wait for Patchett’s new book, “Commonwealth,” to come out. It’s been getting good reviews.

In general, I read cozy mysteries more than anything else, since it’s the genre I write in. I love discovering new cozy series. I would have never guessed when I was reading Agatha Christie years ago that I would one day be a mystery writer myself!