Please tell us a bit about yourself.
How much is a bit? Okay, here’s something: I have recently added dog photographer to my resume. Love it!
What was your inspiration to write Five Miles South of Peculiar?
I was writing SHE ALWAYS WORE RED, the second book in the Fairlawn series, and I had a character reading a book. I liked the title “Five Miles South of Peculiar,” so that’s the book I had the character read. A few months later, after the Fairlawn book came out, a reader wrote to say that she’d looked everywhere to order FIVE MILES SOUTH OF PECULIAR. I hated to tell her that it didn’t really exist, but I did . . . and then I decided that it ought to exist. So now it does.
How much research did Five Miles South of Peculiar take?
All of my books require research, but for PECULIAR it was mostly little things—how vocal chord surgery can go wrong, what the area in northwestern Florida is like, the history and structure of aprons and cupcakes. And lots of information about Leonbergers, of course. They are great dogs.
How did you choose the setting?
Since it’s a fictional setting, I had to place it somewhere, so I chose northwestern Florida, which is much more southern than must of the rest of the state.
Which character surprised you in Five Miles South of Peculiar?
Nolie, I think. She became much deeper than I had originally envisioned.
What are the most interesting dilemmas that you explored while researching and writing Five Miles South of Peculiar?
The question of whether divorced pastors can remain pastors. I know congregations are split on this issue, but I always cringe when a pastor is disqualified for ministry—in the eyes of other Christians—because his spouse walked away from the marriage.
What was the most difficult aspect of writing this story?
It’s a character driven story, so it’s emotional, and emotions are always messy. Remaining in the heads of three different women can be confusing.