Guest Author Interview with Prolific Writer, Camille Minichino

Camille Minichino

I am pleased to have author Camille Minichino as my guest interview today. Camille has not only written more than twenty novels, but is also an avid reader and writing teacher.

Where are you from? Here I am doing just what I tell my writing students not to do: starting at the beginning! My excuse is that Revere, Massachusetts is special—site of the first public beach in the country. At one time a 2-mile boardwalk of amusements and games stretched along the ocean; and inland every street corner had its own group of bookies. Numbers? Check. Dog-racing? Check. Horse racing? Check. All at your fingertips, only a few blocks from 2 roller coasters, a Ferris wheel, frozen custard, fried clams. That’s where I’m from—what’s not to like?

Tell us your latest news. I’m in the middle of writing my 25th mystery novel, under my fourth pen name. I feel like I should do something silver. Or that I’m in hiding with WitSec.

When and why did you begin writing? As early as I can remember, I put out a newsletter for my family, only one or two of whom could read English. I wish I could remember more about it, like how I made copies. I have a feeling I just handed the handwritten sheets over whenever Aunt Evelyn or Uncle Johnny stopped in for coffee. I do remember that the “news” consisted of things like Cousin Richard made a base hit at Friday’s game or Grandpa Minichino was caught making moonshine in the cellar.

What inspired you to write your first book? I wanted to capture the Revere experience, the Italian-American culture I grew up with. I also wanted to present science in a good light and offer a female scientist protagonist who was fun to be with. Too many agenda items! Another thing I warn my students against, but I did it in my first 8 books, the Periodic Table Mysteries.

How much of the book is realistic? Everything but the murder.

What books have most influenced your life? I wasn’t much of a reader as a kid—no one in my family read English very well, and I thought of books simply as required for school. The first book I read for my own pleasure was a biography of Marie Curie, by her daughter Eve. After that, I couldn’t be stopped.

What book are you reading now? I’m always reading about 5 books at the same time: a couple of mysteries for book clubs; a science/technology book to stay current for my science classes; a nonfiction book for another club; books on writing for my writing classes; a mainstream novel for the pleasure of the language. Currently, I’m into a Nevada Barr mystery for a book club; Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology is my nonfiction; an old Peter Robinson mystery in my purse; a gruesome Mo Hayder on my Kindle.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? As a result of being chair of the Edgar® award for best novel last year, I was introduced to many new authors. Karin Fossum has my attention, as well as Todd Goldberg. Also new to me is Malcolm Mackay, a Scottish writer with a great hit man trilogy.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members. Three writing organizations: the Mt. Diablo Branch of the California Writers Club; NorCal Sisters in Crime, and NorCal Mystery Writers of America. All of these groups were welcoming and encouraging at the beginning stages of my writing and are largely responsible for any success I’ve had.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? Take advice cautiously! Find your own voice and your own rhythm. For a long time, I thought there were rules: write every day; write what you know; keep a journal. None of those worked for me. I realized that as long as I made writing a priority in my life, I’d find my voice. And I did.

To find out more about Camille, go to http://www.minichino.com/

Camille’s latest book Happy Homicides is HappyHomicidesdue out October 15, 2015. Some of Camille’s other books are Manhattan in Miniature, The Cyclone, and Six Scattered Stories. All are available on Amazon.

 

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