I am so delighted to have Marty Wingate visit us here at Editing Pen. Rumor has it that I’m obsessed with Scotland and after learning that her book, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, is set in Scotland, I just had to have her visit and share the news. Please enjoy the following interview with Marty Wingate.
EP: Welcome to The Interview Room here at Editing Pen. Please help yourself to these Scottish Shortbread cookies I made in your honor. How is your July going so far?
MW: Shortbread – my favorite! I’ll try not to talk with my mouth full. July is burgeoning with good things – I’m quite excited about the new book, and have been looking forward to sharing it with readers for some time.
EP: Your newest release, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, is Book 3 of the Potting Shed Mystery Series. Pru is the Head Gardener at a manor house in England, so what enticed you to move the setting in Book 3 to Scotland?
MW: Pru does seem to move around – it adds a sense of travelogue to the series, which I love, because there are so many places in England and Scotland that I enjoy visiting. Edinburgh is particularly close to my heart. It’s a city amazingly full of things to see and do, but that is easily walkable. While Pru works at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (known as the Botanics), she stays in a cottage where my husband and I have stayed. And her local pub (The Pickled Egg) is our local (The Stockbridge Tap), thinly disguised.
EP: I adore the Scottish accent and would like to know how you crafted the musicality in your story. My graduate school mentor, Jerry Crawford, drummed into us (how did you like that music pun) that, in addition to instrumental, music in a story also comes from character dialogue rhythm and variation. With Pru’s Texas origins and all the lyrical British accents and the regional music, what can you tell us about the musicality in this particular release?
MW: The Scottish accent is a pleasure on the ears. I’m not a fan of dialect writing – I find it too difficult to read – and so what I hope to do is give the impression of an accent (that music!) using words, such as wheesht, and occasionally adding or dropping a letter (“No’ bad”). I want to give the flavor of Scottish speech without causing the reader to stumble.
EP: If Pru were a garden flower or plant, which one would she be and why?
MW: I believe she’d be one of those hard-working, old roses that can still be found along the roadsides in Texas. They are at once fragile and tough – they bloom and bloom and require so little care. Pru is a hard worker and has been through quite a few adventures (and this is only the third book!), but she’s also quite soft. She loves family and friends, and she can easily shed a tear.
MW: Always! I make sure the garden information in the books is correct. It’s early spring, and Pru is out one day carefully pruning the hydrangeas – you don’t want to cut off all the flowers that will appear later in the year. Mr. Menzies’ monkey puzzle tree really did come back with him (seeds in his pockets) from his journey on Captain Vancouver’s ship the Discovery.
EP: While Pru has episode mysteries to solve, what would you say is her overall or internal challenge that runs through each book?
MW: Family and friends are of top importance to Pru – it’s often what gets her into the biggest trouble, trying to exonerate a friend. She had no family when she moved to England from Texas, but had hopes of finding someone. Well, she did that (in #2, The Red Book of Primrose House), but her family continues to grow in surprising ways, and she must adapt to that.
EP: Before we wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers?
MW: I hope readers enjoy the historical as well as the modern-day mystery Pru must solve. And remember, things are always better with a cup of tea.
EP: We hope you enjoyed your visit to the Editing Pen and that you’ll come back for your next release. Please take the rest of these cookies with you to enjoy on the road. Thanks so much, Marty, for stopping by!
MW: Thanks so much for this opportunity – and the shortbread! I’ll save one for later. Maybe.
Visit Marty at www.martywingate.com .