Saturday, June 15, 2013

Tour Stop | Broken Strings by Nancy Means Wright

Book Title: Broken Strings
Author: Nancy Means Wright
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: GMTA Publishing, LLC
Presented by: As You Wish Tours 


Whether inspired by a situation, place, or social issue—the plot in my novels inevitably stems from a flaw in one or more of the characters. Mercurial old farmwoman Glenna Flint in Harvest of Bones, my second Ruth Willmarth mystery, is modeled after a great-aunt whose husband of five stormy years disappeared—and family legend says she did him in. She never told! But out of this character and her “secret” and her quick temper, came the plot: years later Glenna’s rented greyhound digs up a hole to reveal a skeleton—her husband, Mac, full of pitchfork holes. And everyone, including Glenna, thinks she did it.

So there I had the germ of a plot and a main character (other than my dairy farmer sleuth). I often milk family and friends, you see, but make a collage creation, taking parts of one person, and another, throwing in myself and memory—exaggerating certain behavior, giving each character a distinctive voice. I make changes, so that in the end the facts are all lies, but the characters, hopefully, ring true.

All I had in mind as I sat down to write that novel was Glenna’s temper and failing memory, and the death of her estranged husband—nothing more. Many writers construct an elaborate outline before they start—I just can’t. Asked by St. Martin’s Press to do an outline for my fourth mystery, Stolen Honey, I had to write the whole book, in order to write the outline.

So I just plunged in. For Harvest of Bones I didn’t know who killed Mac until the end—and then it turned out that four people were involved! And as I developed the character of the most obvious killer in Stolen Honey, I realized that he could not possibly have killed. So with that book I had to go back and turn one of my red herrings into the strangler.

For my new mystery, Broken Strings, I pulled a secondary character, offbeat Fay Hubbard, right out of Harvest of Bones and turned her into my protagonist-sleuth. A failed actress, she becomes a puppeteer. I also recycled the Vermont hardscrabble farm setting, along with zany octogenarian Glenna Flint and shy signmaker Willard Boomer who is in love with Fay and doesn’t know it!

For me, then, writing a novel is a voyage of discovery. I rarely know what the novel is about until I’m at least two-thirds through. I discover theme and plot as I work through the process. I try to stay open and ignorant, run behind my characters, and hope I can catch up with them. But of course I can never wholly lose control, or the characters might wheel about and strangle me!

Anyway, I’d miss those surprises if I planned ahead. I might not even want to finish the book. What a bore to know what happens in advance! I want to be right there with the reader, living in the moment.

Nancy Means Wright


When puppeteer Marion collapses during a performance of Sleeping Beauty, her friend Fay Hubbard promises to carry on. But Fay already has her hands full with three demanding foster children, Apple and Beets, who have a fractious jailbird father—and sixteen-year-old Chance, who has a crush on a much older guy in a band called Ghouls. And now Marion’s husband Cedric seems more interested in a drop-dead-gorgeous French teacher than in any string puppets. And who is the mysterious Skull-man who warns of death if the show goes on with one of Marion’s offbeat endings? When an autopsy reveals that Marion had swallowed a dose of deadly crushed yew—and a friend finds her sister dangling from a rod like a marionette, a shocked Fay goes after the killer.

Nancy Means Wright has published 17 books, including 6 contemporary mysteries from St Martin’s Press and two historical novels featuring 18th-century Mary Wollstonecraft (Perseverance Press). Her two most recent books are the mystery Broken Strings (GMTA publishing) and Walking into the Wild, an historical novel for tweens (LLDreamspell). Her children’s mysteries have received an Agatha Award and Agatha nomination. Nancy lives in Middlebury with her spouse and two Maine Coon cats.

Broken Strings
by Nancy Means Wright

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Mon, June 17
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Wed, June 19
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Thu, June 20
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Sat, June 22
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Tue, June 25
Author Interview
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Wed, June 26
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Confessions of the Paranormal

Thu, June 27
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Fri, June 28
Let the Character Shape the Plot
Nancy Means Wright
Great Minds Think Aloud

Presented by:
As You Wish Tours

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you so, so much, Julia for posting my blog on your terrific website--and for hosting this great tour! I'm delighted to be part of it, and glad you're allowing me to offer five e-copies fo giveaway. I hope people will take advantage!


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