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Shana Abé

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Sweetest Dark, The
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Kate Collins
Pseudonym/s: Linda O'brien
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Why did you decide to write mysteries?
My muse, having been a longtime fan of Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden, said I had to, and what my muse dictates, I must do. Trust me, she doesn’t take no for an answer.

So, who in their right mind would ever want to become a writer and have to put up with muses?
That’s the problem. As a left-handed human, I’ve been told I’m always in my right mind. (But not by my husband.)

Have you always wanted to write books?
Are you kidding? I didn’t even like writing checks. If someone had told me (especially while I was laboring over my eighth grade writing assignments, one being, “Describe your life as an inanimate object”) that I would one day write books, I would have punched him or her out. I knew in second grade that I wanted to be a teacher, and nothing would deter me from that goal.

What changed your mind?
It wasn’t until after I’d earned a master’s degree in education, taught elementary school for six years, had two children, and took lessons in tole painting, cross stitch needlework, crochet, embroidery, rug hooking, macrame, gardening, and sewing before I discovered I had a flair for telling stories. (It wasn’t like I didn’t already know. My mother had stood me in the corner many times for “telling stories.” She called it fibbing. Same difference.)

What is your writing schedule? Do you only write when the mood strikes?
If I had to wait for a mood to strike I’d write twice a year. What strikes most often is fear. Fear of missing a deadline, fear of having to work around the clock to make the deadline, fear of phone calls from people wanting to chat during my deadline rush, and fear of my bladder bursting from too many cups of green tea. Actually, my routine is quite, well, routine. I’m at the computer by nine in the morning, break for lunch at noon, back to work at one o’clock, and out the door for a walk by four in the afternoon. I treat it as a job, but I love it as a passion.

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Photo: Kate Collins
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