One of my internet friends, Pauline Gaines of the Perils of Divorced Pauline, runs a regular series of posts called “Blogger Space” in which authors send in a photo of their workplace and write about it.
And I follow author Jessica Speart on Facebook and Goodreads. She writes a fun series of mystery novels (nine of them) about a former actress Rachel Porter, who now works for the New Orleans Fish & Wildlife Service, uncovering and solving crimes in the Louisiana bayous. Her latest book, Winged Obsession, is a non-fiction account of real butterfly smuggling, and it reads like a thriller. So when I saw a photo of her on Facebook, sitting at her laptop with what appeared to be a large furry cat on her lap, I needed to do some investigating myself. And she was gracious enough to answer my questions, even though I had mistaken her dog for a cat, and some of her answers were completely unpredictable…
P.S. A note on blogging etiquette: I checked in with Pauline, who kindly said that she didn’t mind if I adapted her idea and ran it as an interview format. Thanks, Pauline!
GC: I couldn’t help noticing from your photo that you had a dog on your lap. What can you tell us about that?
JS: Josie is a Lhasapoo.(I believe this is a Lhasa apso/poodle mix. GC) She’s a rescue dog that I brought back to Connecticut from Anchorage, Alaska. I was attending the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention a few years ago and was presented with the idea of taking Josie home with me just minutes before boarding the plane. The decision turned out to be easier than figuring out how to get a dog with “cage aggression” into a soft-sided carry-on bag. Yet, I somehow accomplished it. She wouldn’t calm down and I ended up hiding her under a blanket on my lap for the entire trip home. She’s become my constant shadow and writing companion. She wasn’t feeling very well that day and I wanted to make her comfortable. A pillow on my lap did the trick. It’s amazing what we’ll do to accommodate our pets.
GC: Where do you usually write?
JS: It varies. There are lots of windows and sunlight in the kitchen. I like to write there when my husband isn’t home. Otherwise, I lock myself in my bedroom and office during the day. It’s become a No Trespassing zone.
GC: What time of day feels most productive for your writing?
JS: I work best in the morning. Too many other things are on my mind by the time 3 pm rolls around.
GC: What’s your favorite snack to have around when you write?
JS: Now we’re getting into dangerous territory. As Mae West said, “When I’m good, I’m very good. But when I’m bad, I’m better.” On a good day, I’ll snack on almonds. On a bad day, it’s definitely dark chocolate.
GC: What’s the last book you finished in this spot, and what are you working on in the photo?
JS: The last book I finished was my narrative nonfiction Winged Obsession. Right now, I’m working on a thriller that has nothing to do with wildlife. At least, not that kind of wildlife.
So, with a dog, some almonds and some dark chocolate, you, too, can be a successful writer…In the meantime,you can find Jessica on her very attractive website, on her author Facebook page: and on Twitter.