Everyone, please welcome June Gillam to the blog today! She’s here to chat about other great mystery writers, first book loves, what makes a good book villain, and more! I’ve quite enjoyed the first two book in her Hillary Broome Novels, House of Cuts and House of Dads. If you want to find out about the GIVEAWAY, then scroll to the bottom.
It’s time for you to host the book club. Whom do you invite? And what books will you be discussing?
Virginia Woolf, Joanne Harris and Donna Tartt. I’d love to have tea (maybe even laced with brandy) with these three. I met Joanne Harris at an informal literary gathering in the Berkeley Hills soon after her novel Gentlemen & Players was released. I enjoyed that book but have been in love with her Five Quarters of the Orange over the years, for its exploration of mother/daughter relationships. Tartt weaves a southern spell of a journey as she takes me along with her young character in The Little Friend, including turning to similar themes of mother/daughter/aunties as Harris raises. And of course, Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own is in my view the essential read for all women authors. Last, for the dreamy mood of it all, throw in Woolf’s essay A Mark on the Wall. I’d hate to have this book club session ever end.
Is there a genre or literary niche that you feel hasn’t gotten its deserved amount of attention?
Well, my novels have turned out to be a sort of combo of thriller and cozy, but everyone tells me that a cozy thriller is not possible… I’d love to know what readers think about House of Eire and what niche they’d put it into.
What has been your most difficult job? How does it compare to writing?
Being a mother of three and a stepmother of two for a total of five children to raise for ten years—it is similar to writing in that chaos is all around me at all times, yet I work mentally and physically to create order inside it, to the swirling characters in their multiple settings with their various agendas.
I love Hannibal Lecter and Dexter—bad guys with brilliant minds and in Dexter’s case, good motives even though they are really his rationales. I love exploring the mind of a person who is pushed over the edge into murder, as my villains all are. I am fascinated by that urge to kill we all experience from time to time but for the most part, keep shut up in our inner basement, thank God!
What were you like as a kid?
I was a princess for my daddy until age 7 when my mom divorced him and threw me into grief and depression for a few years. I got a lot of poetry from that though—one of the best things about writing is that all our bad times are good writing material!
After that I just wanted to fit in with the other kids, not to be the oddball out from their intact families; my best friend had a widowed mother who was the closest thing to my divorced mother. I yearned for stability but had to go through a couple divorces before I found it, sorry to say.
Did your kid self see you being a writer?
I wrote a diary but never thought of myself as a writer though I loved to read. I did score highest on aptitude tests in the literary category but didn’t understand what that meant at the time. I started out in college attracted to philosophy as a major but then realized those guys were not including women in their audience or capable of discussion with them. I switched to English based on the alluring course descriptions in the Sacramento State English department booklet; I became a fervent feminist and poet and grew into loving writing stories.
The Secret History would be first. I’ve assigned this literary mystery by Donna Tartt to my Intro to Lit students many times. They love this book because it’s set on a college campus with spooky dorms and weird roommates and even weirder professors. Readers are trying to figure out who killed one of the college students and left him covered with snow for weeks before the authorities knew he was dead.
What is the first book you remember reading on your own?
Like so many girls, it was Nancy Drew, and for me it was The Hidden Staircase. Went on to read lots of those. Soon after the Cherry Ames Nurse series. One night when reading Cherry Ames, Visiting Nurse, I got up to go to the bathroom and discovered I’d started my period. My mom had prepared me for this, so I took care of the supply side with no issues. When I returned to bed and picked the book back up, I felt happy and thought to myself, Now I’m a woman just like Cherry Ames. So funny to look back on that incomplete understanding, to put it mildly, although kind of sweet in its innocent ignorance.
June Gillam teaches literature and writing at a Northern California Community College. She describes this series as psychological suspense novels in which Hillary Broome, reporter and ghostwriter, fends off complex villains of many kinds: a berserk butcher, a demented daughter and a haunted theme park developer.
When the dismembered bodies of managers begin turning up inside a small town’s only superstore, reporter Hillary Broome’s stories on the grisly murders catapult her byline into the national limelight and threaten to expose the shameful secret that could ruin her career—as well as bring her to the crazed killer’s attention.
Hillary must connect with detective Eddie Kiffin before the insane cutthroat finishes off a woman who has come to hold a special place in Hillary’s heart.
House of Dads, a psychological suspense novel, features redheaded reporter Hillary Broome during the peak of the housing construction boom in December of 2005. When a powerful California developer collapses at a funeral, Hillary’s caught in a network of jealousy and greed that could topple financial institutions and destroy families.
In House of Eire, Hillary Broome, a reporter-turned-ghostwriter from Lodi, California, and her detective husband Ed fly to Ireland—Ed for a gang conference in Dublin and Hillary to research her ancestors in Galway. Hillary plans to meet up with her friend Bridget, who’s pushing a greedy developer to include a memorial museum inside his proposed Irish theme park. As Hillary travels through Ireland and learns more about her friend’s crusade, she uncovers secrets and mysterious forces nudging her to fly away home.
This giveaway is part of the iRead Book Tour. Don’t forget to check out more interviews, reviews, & guest posts on the blog tour! Win 1 of 10 copies of House of Eire, a stand alone Hillary Broome mystery. Winners can choose between print or ebook (open internationally). Contest ends September 24th, 2016. Just click on the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway.