Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Barbara Neely

1. Tell us about your book / books that Brash is publishing?
 Brash is publishing the first four books in the Blanche White series, beginning with
the initial book, Blanche on the Lam, which introduces Blanche White, a
poor, working-class, big, dark-skinned black woman who makes her living
cleaning houses, and who solves crimes that crop up in her life or those she
cares about. In addition to the mystery, the book explores Blanche's
irreverent, snarky, funny, and insightful take on race, class, and gender. I
think of her as a cousin of Langston Hughes' Jesse B. Semple.

2. Can you give a sense of what you're working on now?
 I'm writing a short story about two elderly sisters, one with Alzheimer's,
as well as a short story about class tension within an African-American
marriage. When they're done, I hope to finish the play I began some time

What is the greatest pleasure of a writing career?
3. Writing is what I do to create my own order out of chaos; it allows me to
get under life's clothes to try to figure out what it's about. Writing is
also what I do to at least pass for sane.
The greatest pleasure is writing.

4. What is the greatest Displeasure?
The displeasure is not writing - those moments when my internal critic tells
me that just because I did it yesterday doesn't mean I can do it today, and
those even worse few moments when  I believe I can't do it. Gives me goose
bumps just thinking about it.

5. If you have one piece of advice for the publishing world, what is it?
My Uncle Charlie said, "Advice is just a fancy way of saying 'spitting in
the wind,'" so I'll pass.

6. Are there two or three forgotten mystery writers you'd like to see in
print again?
Dick Cluster. He was a member of the writing group that played a major role
in my getting Blanche on the Lam finished. He's a fine writer, and not just
of crime fiction.

7. Tell us about selling your first novel. Most writers never forget that
It was a euphoric moment. It felt like a validation.


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