Interview with Marty Wingate, Author of The Bluebonnet Betrayal
03 Aug 2016
What can you tell us about your new release, The Bluebonnet Betrayal?
This is #5 in my Potting Shed series, and my protagonist, Pru Parke (middle-aged American gardener moved to England) who has been hopping round Great Britain in the previous books, returns to London where the first book (The Garden Plot) was set. In the Bluebonnet Betrayal, she has promised to help the women from the Austin Rock Garden Society build their display for the Chelsea Flower Show. This is extreme excitement for a gardener – after all, it’s the most prestigious show in the world. Problems, as you can well imagine, ensue. The designer is a dilettante, the woman in charge doesn’t arrive, they don’t have enough people to actually build the garden, there is, of course, a murder, and also – where are those bluebonnets?
What’s the best book you’ve read this summer?
I am currently reading The Zig Zag Girl by Elly Griffiths. I enjoyed her Ruth Galloway series, and saw that she had another one started, so I jumped in!
What fictional literary world would you most like to visit?
Well, who wouldn’t want to visit Harry Potter’s world? Not the theme park, the real place. After Voldemort. But my heart will probably always lie with The Lord of the Rings, which I have read countless times. I’d like to visit The Shire – before the fourth age begins. If you know what I mean.
If you had to pick one place to vacation for the rest of your life, where would you choose?
My other mystery series (Birds of a Feather) is set in Suffolk, England, and so my husband and I have spent some time on the coast in a town called Southwold. That’s it – lovely seaside place, long promenade and pier perfect for walks, adorable beach huts all colorfully painted. (Although that sharp northeast wind can take your breath away.) And I love the Two Magpies Bakery that is in Southwold (the first Birds book is titled The Rhyme of the Magpie – how could I not?)
Who was your childhood hero?
From about the time I was 13 (so, does this count?) my hero was Ray Bradbury. He is probably the main reason I am a writer today. I heard him talk three or four times (the first time at age 13, the last just a few years before he died). He was an inspiration. Before him, I would say Louisa May Alcott. What woman writer doesn’t want to be Jo?
Say you now host a literary-themed talk show (congrats). Who would be your first guest? What would you ask that person?
I believe I’d ask Jo Rowling to be on. I love how she writes dialogue in the Harry Potter books and now in the P.I. series she writes as Robert Galbraith. I’d talk with her about how many versions of a scene full of dialogue she writes. How she makes dialogue move the story along and yet be fun and entertaining at the same time.
What scene in The Bluebonnet Betrayal was your favorite to write?
I had a good time writing the scene where Pru tracks down and confronts Roddy, the designer. Pru isn’t one to speak her mind usually, but she takes control here. Also, I set it an an actual pub just off Sloane Street in Chelsea (but I changed the name).
What advice would you give your teenage self?
I would say don’t worry – you’ll come back round to it when it’s the right time. And I would be talking about writing. I started out in journalism in high school and college, switched to drama, got a masters degree in speech pathology and was a therapist for many years before circling back round and writing how-to garden books and now fiction. Whew. The journey was worth it.
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