Thursday, November 17, 2022

Joyce St. Anthony

Joyce St. Anthony was a police secretary for ten years and more than once envisioned the demise of certain co-workers, but settled on writing as a way to keep herself out of jail. She is the author of the award winning Brewing Trouble mysteries set in Pittsburgh. A native Pittsburgher, she now lives in the beautiful Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania with her husband.

St. Anthony's new novel is Death on a Deadline, the second Homefront News mystery.

My Q&A with the author:

How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

The team at Crooked Lane came up with the title. My agent and I gave them a few sample titles and they decided on Death on a Deadline. My main character, Irene, is an editor/reporter so the title fits the series. It doesn’t relay anything about the plot though.

What's in a name?

My protagonist is named Irene Ingram. To tell the truth, I’m not sure how I came up with her name. It just popped into my head. Since the book is set in 1942, I used some online resources to be sure any of my character’s names fit the era. If I really get stuck on a name I use an online random name generator and keep clicking until a name jumps out at me.

How surprised would your teenage reader self be by your new novel?

That was so long ago! I was extremely shy when I was that age. If I had to give a speech or anything like that in school, I’d get physically ill and my mother would have to call me off for the day. I had a core group of friends but even with them, I rarely spoke. I spent most of my free time reading. My teenage self would be pleased that I was a writer and she’d be completely shocked that I was now able to actually get up in front of people and talk.

Do you find it harder to write beginnings or endings? Which do you change more?

I’d have to say beginnings—or really middles. The first few pages go all right, then after that it’s a struggle. Endings are more fun to write. I get to pull everything together, the bad guy gets his comeuppance, and mostly everyone lives happily ever after.

Do you see much of yourself in your characters? Do they have any connection to your personality, or are they a world apart?

I think all writers put a little bit of themselves into their characters. My protagonists are always much braver than I ever was. They’re definitely more outgoing. They’re sort of how I wish I had been.

What non-literary inspirations have influenced your writing?

Death on a Deadline is set during World War II. I’ve always been fascinated by that era, partly due to my mother. She and my dad met on a blind date in 1943 and were married two weeks later, and two weeks after that he was sent overseas. He died when I was two years old but my mother kept him alive by playing her Big Band records—Glenn Miller’s “String of Pearls” was her favorite song. I’ve wanted to write something set in the 1940s for a long time and I finally got my wish. My other non-literary inspiration is beer, but that’s a story for another day.
Visit Joyce St. Anthony's website.

--Marshal Zeringue