Welcome Gail. Thanks for coming by and agreeing to answer a few of my questions. Where do you dream of traveling to and why, and what is it that you like to do when you’re not reading/writing?
Believe it or not, I no longer dream of traveling. There are a couple of reasons for this. One of my pastimes is genealogy research which I started about fifteen years ago. After I did a cursory search by talking to relatives, joining Ancestry.com on the Internet, and visiting every relevant Register of Deeds Office and library archive, I compiled outlines for my sixteen great great grandparents. Then I arranged a trip for my sisters and me to visit the homeland of my father’s paternal lineage in
In the 70s and 80s, I took several trips, to Europe,
Canada and . In 1992, I moved to Mexico and no longer feel the urge to travel. Now I let my research and writing take me on journeys back in years to places where I’ve lived and worked. Hawaii
I no longer watch television but over the decades my favorite shows were Hawaiian Eye;
5-0 (with Jack Lord); and Magnum P.I. It never occurred to me that I would one day live in Hawaii . Destiny? This might explain why my protagonist Pepper Bibeau is an ethnic mix of maternal Hawaiian-Japanese-Filipino as well as paternal West-European. To keep everything straight, I used my genealogy computer program to develop her family trees. That way, if I need to check someone’s birth date or the name of a relative, the information is at my fingertips. No surprise that Pepper was born in Hawaii ! Honolulu
As a tool to reach my goal of publishing my second Pepper Bibeau Mystery, DEADLY AS NATURE Envy Spawn Grief, I accepted The Next Big Thing blog challenge. Instead of answering all ten questions in one blog post, I answered one question a week with the publicly-announced goal of publishing my novel when I posted the final question. I skipped questions 8 and 9 to complete the editing, format the ebook and print book, and design the cover, then self-published under my business name along with posting question 10.
Tell us about your Work-In-Progress. When in the day/night do you write? How long per day?
This is the first year I took the National November Writers Month (NaNoWriMo) challenge. I had researched three different cities for the dates I wanted to set Book #3 of my Pepper Bibeau Mystery series. Then I chose one of the cities for my setting and wrote three bare chapters for a total of 1874 words. I used this idea for NaNoWriMo. Each day beginning November 1, usually in the morning and anywhere from three to six hours, I wrote between 1100 and 6500 words toward the NaNoWriMo goal of 50,000 words. A local group met on Saturday afternoons for Write-Ins and Word Wars meant to encourage each of us to continue with the challenge. On the evening of November 18, I completed the final chapters of the first draft for a total of 53,595 words.
Where do you research for your books?
I love the research part of writing my novels. You have probably heard that expression from the 60s, “If you remember
, you weren’t there.” I was so busy living my life, I couldn’t remember it! I decided to write a mystery series based on some of those years and research some of what I had missed. My first novel is set in 1968 Woodstock ’s Loop where I worked at the time. I traveled back to Chicago a few years ago and spent four days walking the streets, taking photographs, visiting the library, art institute, Grant Park, etc., before writing the story. For the second novel, I took the Chicago Wisconsin Peninsula ferry ride to Washington Island and revisited the area, especially Door County and . Green Bay
My research for the novels mirrors my genealogy research, including visits to libraries and Register of Deeds offices. Once I sit down to write, I use the Internet to fill in the blanks.
Are the names of the characters in your novels important? How and why?
My protagonist's name is Kai-Ena Lehua Bibeau. “But everyone calls me Pepper,” she says, when introducing herself. The name Bibeau is one of my family names, and represents Pepper’s European heritage. Because Pepper is part-Hawaiian (hapa haole), I chose to give her a Hawaiian first name that serves more than one purpose. 1. Kai is the Hawaiian word for sea; Ena means red-hot, glowing - but figuratively means raging or angry. One interpretation of Kai-Ena is
. 2. The weather conditions causing a stormy sea are also known as a gale. While Pepper Bibeau has her own personality, she does share traits with her creator (Gail). 3. While her mother chose the name Kai-Ena, the name reminded her father of the spicy condiment cayenne and he nicknamed her Pepper. To her mother’s consternation, the name stuck. Stormy Sea
Do you have critique partners?
Yes. Writing the story is solely the author’s job, but once everything is on paper, it is time to share. I have a local critique group and two on-line critique groups. Once all the groups have offered their take on the story and its characters, and I think the story is complete, I send it off to my editor. Back it comes. Oops, guess it wasn’t all that complete, after all.
I know what I want my story to say but am always eager to hear suggestions and ideas that help me improve my writing. I’ve also learned to smile at comments such as “You should never use a contraction outside of dialogue” or “your protagonist sounds like a psychopath”. I give consideration to each new idea and decide how it applies to my story. Even incorrect statements are helpful because they give me the opportunity to clarify my thinking or recheck my research material to support my view.
Thank you for inviting me to visit today, Laurie.
Gail Baugniet was born in a small Wisconsin town located on the shores of
Lake Michigan. She spent the first two decades of her life romping along beautiful sugar-sand beaches and swimming in the lakes freshwater waves. Over the years, she held diverse positions with insurance companies and law enforcement organizations. One she found particularly rewarding was that of Part Time Peace Officer.
It is 1970, the year Janis Joplin dies. Drugs and alcohol define the lives of more than a few folks living in eastern Wisconsin. Others wave banners protesting the unpopular war in Vietnam. After all, what is it good for? People would rather make love. Treacherous waves on Lake Michigan toss Insurance Investigator Pepper Bibeau into the company of an intriguing and self-reliant blind lady. Haunted by past events, the lady presents Pepper with an unusual request to help clear up a murder. To link these events to an investigation on her cousin?s life insurance claim, Pepper delves into a family history she didn?t know existed. More curious than suspicious over the husband?s cancellation of her cousin?s claim, Pepper digs for a rational explanation. What she unearths are family skeletons best left undisturbed. Then her uncle points out a possible connection between a grandaunt?s death and one of her investigations. Now Pepper must weigh the fate of the living against memories of the dead. Pepper's son resides in Hawaii, but his father lives right next door to her, and Homicide Sergeant Rick Janus wants to resume a relationship that faded ten years ago. A week-end fishing trip together could prove interesting, provided no more dead bodies pile up. Well-intended deeds of ancestors often lead to unwise choices, even for those sworn to uphold the law. Because of her mixed heritage, Pepper has dealt with prejudice during most of her twenty-eight years and always kept her hackles lowered around bigoted people. Until now. A situation left to simmer over time builds to a confrontation that will not allow her to walk away. By the time she figures out what her cousin's missing high-top pink sneaker has to do with a letter written by a fifteen-year-old nun in Paris, the loaded revolver is cocked and aimed at Pepper?s heart.
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