Interview with Author L. V. Nield by Melissa Brooks
L.V. Nield is a retired lawyer and the writer of the Olive Reader Mystery series. I interviewed her to find out more about her writing and her inspiration.
1. Have you always been interested in writing?
Yes, I have been interested in writing for a while. My practice of law in New York was busy, so I didn’t really get started until I retired and moved to Vancouver Island, Canada. I did a lot of legal writing, but it is very different than creating a story and turning it into a full novel.
2. What inspired you to start writing mysteries?
I have always enjoyed mysteries. When I was young, I read pretty much everything written by Agatha Christie, and as an adult, while I read all kinds of fiction – Margaret Atwood, John Irving, John Steinbeck, for instance – I also enjoyed legal thrillers like those written by Scott Turow and John Grisham. Mysteries are just fun to write, and mixing a little humor into them works for me.
3. What is your writing process like? How does writing a story start for you?
My first novel, KINFOLK KILLERS – An Olive Reader Mystery, was born out of thoughts as I was retiring from my law practice. Working for and advocating for seniors had been a really enjoyable and rewarding part of my practice, and in thinking up a plot, I considered some “what if” scenarios. What if some lawyers came up with a scheme to defraud a lonely single elderly person, convinced the person to change his or her Will, and then killed that person? I wanted the crimes to be solved by everyday people, not the police, so incorporating Olive Reader, a senior herself, along with her twin sister, Jean and her sister-in-law, Maggie, into the plot in a Miss Marplish kind of way, began to take hold.
The sequel, ALASKA ASSASSINS – An Olive Reader Mystery, enabled me to carry on their adventures, this time in a great setting – an Alaskan cruise. This novel was easier to write than the first one, as I felt I now knew the characters better and could carry on with the interactions among Olive, Jean and Maggie, as well as developing the mystery of the deaths themselves.
I’ve been thinking about a possible story line for a third Olive Reader Mystery, but it will have to percolate for a while before I think the plot will work.
4. Do you get writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it?
I have been fortunate in not experiencing writer’s block thus far. I believe the main reason is that I write as a hobby, not as a living, so there is no pressure on me to complete a project, except what I might put on myself. My husband and I travel a lot, so time is an issue, but spending three months each winter in Thailand allows me time to bear down and work on a mystery, as I did with the first two.
5. What was your inspiration for Olive’s character, and how did she develop as you wrote her?
In Olive, I wanted to project someone who is kind and caring, but who can be hard-headed when she needs to be. She is insightful, and while quiet spoken, she knows her mind and will not be dissuaded, even at the risk of her own health and safety. Again, as one of my friends said, a 21st century Miss Marple.
6. What was your inspiration for the plots of your books?
My inspiration for KINFOLK is set out in answer #3 above, while the sequel arose from my memories of a cruise to Alaska my husband and I took in 2015. In looking at the journal I kept during the cruise and the photos of Alaska, I again went into a “what if” mode and came up with the story line. It was fun to develop the other characters in the book, villains and victims alike, and I also thought the setting would be interesting to potential readers who have never taken the cruise.
7. Are you working on anything right now?
I do have the bare bones of a plot for a new Olive Reader Mystery, but it’s too early to be able to share my thoughts at this point.