The smart kids in CM already asked the thoughtful, literary-focused questions. Here are mine:
1. How do you pronounce Bente? Should there be one of those angled eyebrows over the last e?
We’re gonna have to meet sometime, sweetie, so I can couch you in person, but basically you pronounce it as if there’s an a at the end instead of an e. Benta. Not Bentie, not Bentay. (Yes, I’ve gotten both of those, and worse. These days, I’ll answer to practically anything that starts with a b. Practically.) Or more accurately, you pronounce the second e just the same way you pronounced the first, no more and no less.
There’s no eyebrow over the e. In Norwegian—and Swedish, Danish, German, and a lot of the other Germanic languages—we pronounce e’s at the end of words. Always. In English they’re silent, but in our part of the world they’re not.
2. Did you spackle and drill and hammer for your remodeling series, or was it all authorly imagination?
My husband and I are in the process of closing on our tenth house since 2000. Basic math should tell you that that comes out to a house a year. We’ve lived in eight of those. Every single one has been a fixer-upper, that we renovated around our ears—and those of our children—while we lived in them. The other two were quick flips we picked up for the extra cash and turned around in a couple of months. So yes, I’ve done plenty of spackling and hammering and drilling, but not for the DIY-series. Instead, it was the other way around: the DIY-books came out of what I was doing anyway.
(New cover for the next DIY book, #4, Mortar and Murder, above. I got it yesterday and thought I'd share.)
3. Did real estate agents give you inside-scoop stories for your Realtor series? You know, bodies under the beds, booty in the bathrooms, that sort of thing.
Yes and no. I used to be a real estate agent myself, until I got too busy writing to keep up with it, so a lot of what makes it into the books is stuff that happened to me personally. And my husband’s still in the business, so some of these things happen to him regularly, as well. He’s one of those trouble-magnets, so if there’s a weird buyer out there looking for a house, my husband ends up finding him. I also have a lot of friends still in the industry. None of us have ever come across a dead body—at least not a human one—but I’ve seen my share of dead rats, birds, and cockroaches, not to mention naked people in beds, sleeping as well as doing other things.
Sorry, that was four, but I got carried away. Thanks, Bente, and delighted you're with us. The excerpt on your website is great.
I’m glad you like it, and absolutely thrilled beyond words to be here. And I’ll be back tomorrow, to answer Meredith’s question: I was intrigued to read you were an actress. I know some writers act out their characters (if only in their heads). How has your theater background influenced your writing?
Tune in, it’s gonna be a good one!