Monday, January 27, 2014

Scene of the Crime with Author Brynn Bonner!

When your mother and grandmother happen to be rabid genealogists who found some amazing facts scattered throughout the family history, you learn some of the tricks of the trade and help out-- even though your interest is limited to reading the results of all their hard work. Well... at least mine was. They never did manage to pass the torch on to me, but I'm always on the lookout for savvy crime fiction sleuths who know how to shake bad guys out of those family trees.

Paging the Dead was just the sort of mystery to satisfy my craving, and once I'd read it, I had to see if its author was available for an interview.  We're in luck because the talented Brynn Bonner (AKA Brenda Witchger) said yes!

Brynn Bonner
Naturally, I did a bit of my own sleuthing just in case you'd like to learn more about this Carolina writer. Let me share it with you before we start the interview:

Now... before you get busy with all these links I provided, let's get to the fun part-- the interview!

What was the very first book you remember reading and loving? What makes that book so special?

At the risk of sounding hopelessly corny, it was Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. That book initiated my love of reading.  My mother and I read it together when I was very little. We’d take turns reading it aloud.  I’d read to her as she got supper ready then she’d read to me at bedtime.  The book was quite advanced for my reading skills and I wonder now how my mother had the patience to listen to me stumble through it.

Outside of your writing and all associated commitments, what do you like to do in your free time?

I am an arts and crafts addict.  I love photography and all manner of papercrafts. Plus I am a vinyl record junkie and a family history buff.  Unlike my genealogist protagonist, Sophreena, I am not an expert, but I love the hunt for info on ancestors.

If I were to visit your hometown, where would you recommend that I go? (I like seeing and doing things that aren't in all the guide books.) 

House of Memory, Oakwood Cemetery

This recommendation may not be to everyone’s inclinations, but I think Historic Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh is worth a visit.  Interesting tombstones, nice architecture and a lot of fascinating people are buried there.

You have total control over casting a movie based on your life. Which actor would you cast as you?

Dame Judi Dench
I would definitely choose Judi Dench.  What a dame–literally.  Not exactly sure how I’d explain the British accent since I’m southern born and bred, but I’m sure Judi could finesse it.

Who is your favorite recurring character in crime fiction?

Oh, you can’t do that to me!  I have so many!  But if I have to choose I’ll steer clear of main characters. I’m drawn more to supporting characters anyway, so I’ll go with Bunter, Lord Peter Wimsey’s valet and sidekick crime-solver in the Dorothy L. Sayers books.  He’s really interesting to me, and I’m fascinated by his relationship with his Wimsey.  All very Downton Abbey and proper, yet despite the class and social structure, these two are really bonded and have complementary skills.

If you could have in your possession one signed first edition of any book in the world, which book would that be? Why that particular book?

I’m presuming we’re setting monetary value aside here, else I’d choose Shakespeare’s First Folio or the Gutenburg Bible so I could sell it and pay off my kids’ student loans.  As far as a book I’d love to live with I’d choose Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe,  illustrated by Harry Clarke.  I love Poe and I find Clarke’s illustrations wonderfully creepy and strange.

How did you celebrate when you first heard you were to be published? What did you do the first time you saw one of your books on a shelf in a bookstore? 

If I remember correctly, hubby took me out for a nice dinner (probably figuring I’d be less likely to dance around and whoop in a public place).   When the book hit the stores my daughter and I went into a bookstore (which shall remain nameless lest we be banned from returning) and she surreptitiously rearranged the books in the mystery section so that mine would be eye level and turned out.  It was a thrill to see it as a “real” book.

Name one thing on your Bucket List.

A nice long trip to tour the Irish countryside, cameras at the ready.

You've just received a $100 gift card to the bookstore of your choice. Which bookstore are you making a bee-line for?

Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh, NC.  It is a fabulous independent.  I frequently make a bee-line for it, even without the gift card.  We’re lucky to have it.

Available Now!

Thank you so much for spending this time with us, Bren. It was a pleasure to be able to get to know you a little better. I'm looking forward to your next book, Death in Reel Time, which will be available in March.

May your book sales do nothing but increase!


  1. Great interview! I thought I knew everything there was to know about my old friend, but you dug deeper!

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed the interview, Wilma! :-)


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