Weekend is here once again and with it a new interview, where I had the opportunity to have a nice chat with the author of the Willow Lane Mysteries, Virginia Rose Richter. Here we discuss the inspiration behind her second book, Strangers in the Lane, just like babysitting, Jessie and Bryce, her upcoming works, fun facts and more! Enjoy.
- Read our review for Stranger in the Lane here
Caro: What was the inspiration for this sequel? What made you use a baby monitor?
Virginia Rose Richter: The idea for the sequel came when I heard strange voices coming over my grandson’s baby monitor. I also began to read newspaper accounts of these strange phenomena. Newspapers are my principal source of ideas for stories.
Caro: Why did you decide to include a ‘first crush’ this time around? Even I was captivated by Bryce’s eyes. Was it to trail us off from finding the robbers? 🙂
Virginia Rose Richter: Jessie is such an independent young person and liking boys in not a priority. She has other things on her mind. Then Bryce Peterson appears and everything changes. I wanted to depict that transformation toward young womanhood. I decided to create a boy out of a girl’s dreams. So Bryce is a little more sophisticated (grew up in Manhattan), well mannered and a talented violinist. He also is kind and of course handsome. At first, when Jessie meets Bryce, she loses her focus for the mystery that needs to be solved and fights her feelings for him. But then she gets a grip and returns to herself and her own feisty individualism. Eventually when she gains trust in him she includes him in her plan. His musical talent also inspires her to broaden her outlook and try music herself. The characters of this genre need to display emotional growth in the stories. This was Jessie’s task in “Strangers In The Lane.” I fashioned it as a device to demonstrate a young girl being able to fall in ‘love’ with a boy and still retain her own persona. Once, while I was bringing this manuscript to a critique group comprised of both men and women, several men complained about Bryce. Basically it was: ”Don’t you think Bryce Peterson is a bit ‘too much’? There was a chorus from the women in the group. They said, “Leave Bryce Peterson alone!” Everybody laughed.
Caro: Something I’m curious about. Why are Jessie’s parents so good at letting her go into a house where there might be danger? I don’t think mine would have been so willing?
Virginia Rose Richter: This is a small town where everyone knows everyone else. Jessie’s parents aren’t too worried about Jessie and Phillip going to the Marshalls because at that point no one in the Marshall’s home knows what Jessie and Tina are up to. Even when Jessie is caught in a room where she isn’t supposed to be, she just is asked to leave.
Caro: I felt as if the detective didn’t believe Jessie that much. what made him change his mind?
Virginia Rose Richter: The detective was dismissive because Jessie had no proof of her suspicions. When she presented him with some solid evidence, he started to listen.
Caro: Why did you keep a secret what Tina’s mom was going to have? I didn’t expect that, it was like another hidden mystery in the Lane.
Virginia Rose Richter: Dr. and Mrs. Adams are extremely private people. Physicians in small towns are known by everyone and watched by everyone. They can’t really slip up. So they retreat a bit, just to give themselves a little peace. (Of course, this is my opinion only). So I portray them as distant and shadowy. Keeping the news of twins a secret is in character for them.
Caro: As a teenager, did you babysit any kids like Jessie and Tina did? There were a lot of babies in the Lane, I must say.
Virginia Rose Richter: As a teenager, I babysat at every opportunity. I love babies and children in any story. That’s a great feature of fiction writing. Authors can people the tale with any character they are able to dream up.
Caro: What more adventures of Jessie, Tina and maybe now Bryce can we look forward for in the future of the Willow Lane Mysteries?
Virginia Rose Richter: The third book, “Shadows On The Lane” takes a more serious tone. But it’s summer, school is over, the days are long and beautiful, love is in the air and there’s plenty of time to figure out the latest puzzle.
Caro: Time for some fun questions to get to know the author more.
Caro: What other genre in literature would you like to explore and write about?
Virginia Rose Richter: I think I’m stuck on mystery/suspense.
Caro: What was the latest book you read, other than yours, that you liked and would want everyone to read?
Virginia Rose Richter: I have just blazed through every book that Daniel Silva has written. I love his style and of course his subject: Espionage.
Caro: If you had the opportunity to go to any part of the world for free on vacation, where would it be and why?
Virginia Rose Richter: It would always be England. I go there and visit the British authors’ homes. I cannot seem to get enough of this.
- Favorite place and hour to write: I have a small study with a fireplace and book shelves. I could live in that room and that is where I write in the winter. In nice weather, I have a screened in porch that looks out on the back yard. I take my laptop out there and work. I write at various times of the day. I have no set schedule.
- Favorite author: It is very difficult to name my favorite author. I love English mystery writers: Josephine Tey, Daphne Du Maurier, Ruth Rendell. Elizabeth George isn’t English, but she sure can fool me. Daniel Silva, Scott Turow. And of course, Charles Dickens, Willa Cather (my Nebraska inspiration) and Harper Lee.
- Favorite movie: To Kill A Mockingbird; Gone With The Win.
- Favorite book: Gone With The Wind (I re read it about every ten years).
- Favorite color: Blue.
- Favorite food: Mexican.
- Favorite music: Classical-Chopin and-just this year-Elvis Presley’s singing.
Thank you to author Virginia Rose Richter for an amazing interview! I might add that I, too, would have told those men to leave Bryce alone 😀