Thursday, May 16, 2013

On Conversations: #author Beate Boeker

Please welcome author Beate Boeker to Conversations today! She's here to talk about where ideas come from. Be sure and check out her novel Delayed Death, the first book in her Temptation in Florence series.

Lisa ~
____________

Where do ideas come from?

At every party, writers are asked where they find the ideas for their novels, and usually, the reply is very simple: In every-day life. Of course, this is something of a let-down, after all, it doesn't sound glitzy or exciting. Unfortunately, it's the truth. However, if you dig a little deeper, you'll find plenty of fun in exactly that answer.

I once read in a novel that two friends made dealing with their mother-in-laws bearable by coming up with a rating system of one to ten. Ten was for the crassest stuff and meanest comments that really hit low. The good thing about that system is that you feel better about a bad comment because you can say to yourself “hey, that's at least an eight – I wonder if my friend can top that today.”

It's the same for a writer. If you come across an unbelievable situation, something really totally unfair, and it makes you mad and you can do nothing about it at the moment – then, being a writer is wonderful. You take that situation, recreate it in a way so that nobody but you yourself recognizes the roots, and rip everything to pieces. Very therapeutic – and you've got great material for your next novel!


Of course, this also goes for fun situations. For my cozy mystery Delayed Death, for example, I took a typical trait of my father. He always was a very thorough man, almost fanatically so. Like when he went out to weed the garden, and you looked for him after half an hour, you found him with his arm deep inside a hole because he was making sure to get every little bit of that thistle's root out of the ground. Needless the say, the garden was a mess, but that thistle never came back.

It was the same with his concepts and beliefs. They changed throughout his life, and while it was sometimes exhausting, at least it was never boring because more often than not, his ideas were radically opposed to each other. These “phases”, as my mother used to call them, were influencing our lives, and I picked that up and gave the same kind of attitude to the heroine's grandfather Nico Mantoni. It's the underlying theme in the whole book, because Nico Mantoni had developed the very uncomfortable habit of reminding his family members of their “bad past” - and preferably, he did that in company. (This, by the way, is completely invented – my father never did that.) Of course, you don't make yourself very popular if you pursue this kind of hobby, and in the end, Nico Mantoni got himself murdered.

Now, the big question is if his death had anything to do with this last phase or if the motive was something quite different. Anyway, the investigating officer had motives galore, and that's what I needed.

Below is an excerpt with another idea I snatched from real life. A colleague once told me during a very amusing lunch break that she used to eat dry cat food as a snack when she was a child. I figured I could use that, and so the scene below came to life. In it, the investigating officer Stefano Garini is checking the apartment of Nico Mantoni in the presence of the heroine, Carlina, and she has to explain the presence of the cat food. I hope you'll enjoy this as much as I did while I was writing it.

As we start to chat, please tell me about your sources of inspiration!

    Garini opened another cupboard and lifted his eyebrows. "You said your grandfather ate peppermint drops?"
    "Yes. All the time."
    "That would explain the five packages I found in the cupboard."
    Carlina grinned. "Yes."
    "What happened to your grandfather's cat?"
    "Grandpa didn't have a cat."
    His eyes narrowed. "Are you sure?"
    "Yes, of course."
    He pointed at the top shelf of the cupboard. A cardboard box, open at the side, sat on the very edge of the shelf. The picture of a fluffy kitten looked at them from the cover. The box was filled with dry cat foot.
    "Oh." Carlina's heart sank. Why did he have to find that? I don't want to tell him.
    "Can you explain why he keeps cat food?"
    "It's a snack." She closed her mouth with a snap.
    "For which cat, if he doesn't own one?"
    "Um." Carlina could feel her ears turning hot. "It's not for a cat."
    "Signorina Ashley." He sounded patient now, too patient. "Will you tell me who ate that cat food or do you want me to keep guessing for another hour? Did he feed a rat?"
    "No." Carlina swallowed. "He . . . he ate them himself. As a snack between meals."
    His eyes bulged.
    "You see, they are very healthy." She pointed at the box. "They contain loads of calcium, and vitamin B, and --"
    "And they create silky fur."
    "Em. Yes."
    "Did your grandfather have silky hair?" A muscle twitched in a corner of his mouth.
    She bit her lip. "I don't think I need to answer that."
    He put his head to one side. "Did you ever try them?"
    "Yes, when I was a kid. He fed us all with them." She bit back a smile. "We loved them."
    "Did you, now?" He sounded thoughtful, as if he was already wondering which institute with extra secure bars would have room for the whole family.
    "They're crunchy, salty outside, and soft in the middle."
    "You make them sound delicious."
    She grinned. "You can try one."
    He lifted one eyebrow. "My hair is silky enough."
What do you do when you find your grandfather dead half an hour before your cousin's wedding? You hide him in his bed and tell everyone he didn't feel like coming.


Delayed Death is an entertaining mystery set in Florence, Italy. When Carlina finds her grandfather dead on the day of her cousin's wedding, she decides to hide the corpse until after the ceremony. However, her grandfather was poisoned, and she becomes the attractive Inspector's prime suspect. On top of that, she has to manage her boisterous family and her luxurious lingerie store called Temptation, a juggling act that creates many hilarious situations.

Order Delayed Death on Amazon HERE!


Beate Boeker is a traditionally published author since 2008 and now offers many full-length novels and short stories online. Several were shortlisted for the Golden Quill Contest, the National Readers' Choice Award, and the 'Best Indie Books of 2012' contest.

She is a marketing manager by day with a degree in International Business Administration, and her daily experience in marketing continuously provides her with a wide range of fodder for her novels, be it hilarious or cynical.

While 'Boeker' means 'books' in a German dialect, her first name Beate can be translated as ‘Happy’ . . . and with a name that reads ‘Happy Books’, what else could she do but write novels with a happy end?


Find Beate on:
www.facebook.com/Beate-Boeker
www.twitter.com/BeateBoeker

www.happybooks.de (sign up for my newsletter here) 

3 comments:

Beate Boeker said...

Thank you for welcoming me, Lisa! Please note that the second in the series, Charmer's Death, is free until Sunday, so make sure you grab your copy!

Susan said...

Beate, I just love your sly humor! As for the cat food snacks - for about three weeks they were the 'thing' that all the cool kids had for a snack when I was in the second or third grade, so all of us uncool kids simply had to eat them. As I remember, they weren't all that bad! Thank you for stirring up a fun old memory!

Beate Boeker said...

It's funny how many people actually eat cat food. Once you dare to come out into the open, you find plenty of people who've tried it! Thanks for leaving a comment, Susan!

Good Reads Review

This site participates in the Amazon Affiliate Program where the site owner receives payment/credit for books sold by clicking through to Amazon. Clicking on the slideshow or carousel will bring you directly to Amazon.