Monday, July 16, 2012

Author Interview 15: Fashionta's Interview with Julie Eberhart Painter

I would like to welcome Julie Eberhart Painter to the blog. Julie is a mystery writer and today just happens to be her birthday!
Hope you're having a happy birthday, Julie. 

 This is certainly a bright spot in my day. Thank you for inviting me.

Would you tell us how you got started? Who were you reading that inspired you to write your own mysteries? 

I started out reading Mignon Eberhart’s mysteries (no relation.)  Later, I discovered Wilkie Collins’ Woman in White,  one of the first mystery novels. When I reached my teens, I read all kinds of classical romances such as Anna Karenina. Finally the two genres melded.

How long did it take for you to get published? When did you first start writing? From the bio on your website it sounds like you haven't been writing for long. Or have you?

Writing began when I was eight, before I could read. (Or spell!) My dreams in childhood where of ballet, art, and having a husband and family, yet I knew I wanted to write. In high school, I was a reporter, then I became the editor of the school paper. In college, Moore Institute of Art Science and Industry in Philadelphia, I was the editor of its paper. My English teacher there wanted me to become a writer, but I was “homeward bound,” and I married. 

Writing was pushed aside. My paying jobs included Interior Design, and taking back shoes as a section manager in the shoe department at a large department store in Philadelphia. In Mentor, Ohio, northeast of Cleveland, I was a “basket case,” what we called the Welcome Wagon Hostesses. In 1972, I started to work at being a “Professional” volunteer in nursing homes in Ohio, Georgia  and later in a Florida hospice.

 Our family moved whenever my husband took jobs around the country, so all this time not writing could be called research. My first published poem was printed in New Zealand Bridge Magazine when we lived in the Cleveland. I was told that in New Zealand “scorn doesn’t rhyme with Goren,” as in  Charles Goren, who modernized bridge, adding the point count system. In Atlanta, Georgia, my poem about becoming a Southerner saw print in The National Library of Poetry anthology. I became serious about writing in 1989. A local tabloid featured my article on its front page in 1994. It was a rebound reaction to the Exit Society and The Hemlock Society, when Dr. Kevorkian was getting a grip on the nation. My piece was called “Hospice of Hemlock.” By that time, I had accumulated enough worldly wisdom to know what I needed to show in the article.

Tell us a little about your writing style. Do you write on and off throughout your day, do you write in bursts, do you dedicate a swath of time for writing each day? 
All of the above; it depends on what I’m working on.  I have to allow for interruptions. I write after breakfast until lunch. Afternoons are for inspiration and business, whichever is calling to me.
When I first started writing full time, I woke up early and wrote until breakfast. Now I tend to weed out the things that don’t work before they hit paper.  I’m less compelled to write down every idea. Although I work seven days a week, the computer is turned off from five at night until seven the next morning.

 What's your writing environment like? Do you have your own room you dedicate for writing or perhaps are you an on-the-go kind of person who totes a laptop around and writes on the spur of the moment? 

 My office is neat and organized. I have filing cabinets and boxes of research labelled and tucked away. My awards, trophies, and certificates hang or sit on overstuffed bookshelves and in plastic sheaths strung on the wall. (All straight.) Windows 7 is on my desktop. I have a new printer. I like to print out letters of instructions and keep a paper calendar so I don’t have to turn on the computer to look things up. If I’m having a fallow writing day, I go through old files and update records. After all these years, I try not to mix business with pleasure. If inspiration strikes, I jot down ideas and stack them by the computer for the morning. Half get thrown out.
Mac or PC? Or are you a longhand kind of gal?
The last scene I wrote in longhand was a love scene in The World, the Flesh and the Devil (Published in 2004). I was sitting on a shaded balcony in St Kitts. I don’t write anything longhand anymore. 

I’ve never had a Mac. My youngest daughter gave me her old PC in 1990. It was compatible with the computer programs of the people I sent work to, so I stayed with it.

What made you chose mystery as your genre of choice?
 Nonfiction was my first genre of choice, but lawsuits are expensive, so I’ve turned life’s mysteries into cosy mysteries. There is an element of truth in all my books. Scandals in the environment, healthcare and even, Tournament Bridge make a basis for plots.

 In what order do you write things because with a mystery story you have to plan out the cast of characters who know who going to be whom? Do you come up with the idea first and build characters around it? Do your characters take on a life of their own and you go with ideas on the fly or do you follow a set idea in your head as you write your books? 

 I start with familiar surroundings and let the characters get themselves in trouble. The planning comes when I have to get them out of trouble.
What's on the horizon for your readers? Can you share what you may be working on now or what's being rolled out by your publisher?
The sequel to Kill Fee, Medium Rare, from, will come out in early December. It takes our heroine, Penny and her new husband Cole, from the first book into the offices at a “wild and crazy” hospice. There she finds her co-workers beguiled by a psychic medium that seems to know everyone’s secrets. Someone takes a large knitting needle to her chest and silences her. But the reader hears her predictions and revelations throughout the book. It’s a frame story starting with the murder and ending with the solution after the readers get to know the key players/suspects.

Then in January, Daughters of the Sea, my first Paranormal – I laugh at that because I believe paranormal is quite normal – will be released from Muse It Up Publishing.

My WIP is about a North/South issue beginning in 1958. The story ends in 1995.

For your readers to catch up with me, I’ll leave my “social media” or antisocial media, handles here: Twitter: @JulieEPainter; Facebook: Julie Eberhart Painter; and  Linked–in:

 I’m a reviewer for Coffee Time Romance and More. You can find my reviews behind the “Maggie” mug on the reviewer’s pages.
Whatever I do, Google seems to get wind of it.

Julie has a website at and you can keep informed of her work on it. Thank you, Julie, for your time and the pleasure of your words.

 Thank you!


Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Thank you again.

January Bain said...

Very informative, Julie, thanks!

Unknown said...

I love how you call paranormal, 'normal.' I subscribe to that too, lol!

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