Carola Dunn was in to sign her new Cornish mystery, The Valley of the Shadow. She brought Trillian with her. Then Russell came in to see her and brought his puppy Teezle. Great Fun!
Dec 13th addition:
Here are Carola's answers to our Author Questions -
--> How many rejection slips did you get before your first novel was published?
Not counting SF short stories (at which, obviously, I do not excel), three or four. I was really lucky to hit the right editor at the right time with the right book.
--> Have you ever thrown away a book that you just couldn't make work?
Never! They just sit in the files hopefully waiting for the day... In fact the one I'm writing now was started some time ago but I decided the story was too complicated. It's still almighty complicated but luckily I have a patient editor.
--> Is it still exciting to publish a new book even after all this time?
Every time. If I'm counting right (and if you count my Regency novella anthologies), The Valley of the Shadow is my 59th, or is it 58th? But it's still a thrill to finish writing, to get the first copy, and to see it in the stores.
--> Do you get ideas for new books all the time and you keep them written down, or does one come to mind when you need one?
It varies. I get ideas all the time but I don't write them down. I figure if they're really good ideas, I won't forget them and conversely, if I forget them it means they weren't very good.
--> Do you have entire story arcs mapped out when you begin a trilogy or a series of related books?
No. I never took writing classes (except in high school) or read how-to books, so I'm still not entirely clear on what a story arc is. My mysteries just move from one story to the next, connected by the main characters. My Regency trilogies all happened because I finished one book and had a hero or heroine left over in need of a marriageable partner.
--> Do you know how a book/series is going to end when you begin it?
Not always. For instance, when I wrote Sheer Folly (Daisy), I knew the villain was one of two people but I didn't find out which till the next to last chapter. Interestingly, one reviewer claimed to have guessed less than halfway through, while another was baffled to the end. I'm not sure if that means I did it right or did it wrong!
--> Do you have to enter a different mind-set to write different stories for different names/characters?
Absolutely. For a start, I have to be "in the period," that is, the 1920s or the '60s/70s (or the Regency when I was writing those books). Then, I can't be thinking like Daisy when I'm writing from Alec's point of view, and of course the same goes for Eleanor and Megan. Multiple personality disorder...?
--> Is there any kind of book you would like to write but haven't?
Yes, several. I've pretty much proved my inability to write SF but there's half a novel in the filing cabinet. I have a sort of caper/coming-of-age-at-50 with 3 chapters and outline written. I'd love to write about the Byzantine Empire in the eleventh century (though I'm rather daunted by the research involved), and likewise for Egypt 14th century. But I'm not a historian so I'd probably have to call both those fantasy or get nailed by real historians. They're both based on real people though.--> If you could have written any single work – novel, screenplay, stage play, poem, history, biography – that you most admire and adore, what would it be?
Pride and Prejudice. But I would have had to write it in the early 19th century...