Interview – A Buzz about Campus: The Oak Grove Chronicles: Book 1

Without gratuitous gore and steamy sex, A Buzz About Campus is a captivating mystery. In the fictional California county of Oak Grove, the university’s provost dies in his office, the victim of an apparent heart attack. But the autopsy reveals that he was murdered–by a means most diabolical.

 

The unusual crime is investigated by Alan Bluestein, Senior Detective in the sheriff’s department, and Professor Laura Mancini, a forensic archaeologist at the university. Bluestein and Mancini enjoy an evolving relationship based on mutual trust and respect even though lust simmers just below the surface. Insights into faculty life and pokes at administrators will amuse readers familiar with universities. Taking unexpected twists and turns, the quest to identify the killer is a warmhearted blend of silly and serious that will intrigue and delight the reader.

 

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About the Author -Born in 1948 in Chicago, Illinois, Annette’s family moved to Los Angeles when she was one year old. She had what she considered to be a very typical life in a household with a father who worked at the family dry cleaning business, an at-home mom (from whom Annette gets her silly side and somewhat warped imagination). Annette considered her life to be ordinary until she met the love of her life, Michael Brian Schiffer, at the ripe old age of 17. They got married during their senior year at UCLA, graduated, and continued on what has been a life-long adventure together. After Michael finished graduate school at the University of Arizona, they lived for two years in Fayetteville, Arkansas and spent almost 40 years in Tucson, Arizona where Mike was a professor at the U of A. They retired to Alexandria, Virginia.

Follow Annette and Michael on Facebook (Boulangerie Press), their web page, http://www.boulangeriepress.com, Instagram, boulangeriepress and Twitter, @MichaelBrianSc1.

Interview –

When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?

Mike:  I’ve wanted to be a writer since the 5th grade.  I envisioned, then, writing a book about invention starring Thomas Edison and Henry Ford—when these old white guys were still being mentioned in history books.  In the early 1990s, when I was in my forties, that long-ago dream became a reality when I wrote a book about the early history of the electric automobile with both characters playing starring roles.

What inspires you to write?

Mike:  Creativity is central to my life.  I make pottery and sometimes do woodworking.  For me, writing is making word sculptures.  You can add and subtract words just as you can add and subtract clay.  I can’t imagine not writing because it gives me immense satisfaction.
How often do you write?

Mike:  I try to write every day. I prefer morning but I will write just about any time except evening, when Annette and I have our cuddling time.
Do you have a set schedule for writing, or are you one of those who write only when they feel inspired?

Mike:  As I noted above, writing is a craft, and I try to practice it every day.  I don’t wait for inspiration to strike.  I approach this craft as I approach ceramics.  I sit down with my writing technology and write.  In fact, I have found over the decades that many good ideas, and solutions to problems, emerge in the process of writing.  The interaction between the writer and the writing technology is the nexus of creativity.
How hard was it to sit down and actually start writing something?
          Mike:  I’ve never had so-called writer’s block.  I am excited to start writing every day, every new project.  Sure, I do run into snags working on a project, but that just calls forth a solution—maybe sooner than later.  I once saw an interview with Woody Allen.  He is very disciplined about writing.  Waiting for inspiration to strike, he emphasized, is a fool’s errand—and I agree.

Do you aim to complete a set number of pages or words each day?

Mike:  I usually write in two-hour blocks, and try to end at a convenient stopping point—a place where I can easily resume.  I’ve eschewed rules of thumb about words or pages, although I suppose it is a way to impose discipline on an undisciplined mind.

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