Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Featured Author: Reba White Williams

The Story Plant brings Reba White Williams here on her tour for Fatal Impressions, the second book in her Coleman and Dinah Greene mystery series. Check out Reba's tour page to find out about her other stops in the tour and to read an excerpt from the book.

About the book

Coleman and Dinah Greene are making names for themselves in the art world. Coleman's magazine publishing empire is growing and Dinah`s print gallery is gaining traction. In fact, Dinah has just won the contract to select, buy, and hang art in the New York office of the management consultants Davidson, Douglas, Danbury & Weeks – a major coup that will generate The Greene Gallery's first big profits. However, when Dinah goes to DDD&W to begin work, she discovers a corporate culture unlike anything she`s ever encountered before. There are suggestions of improprieties everywhere, including missing art worth a fortune. And when two DDD&W staff members are discovered murdered, Dinah and Coleman find themselves swept into the heart of another mystery. Revealing the murderer will be no easy task...but first Dinah needs to clear her own name from the suspect list.

Interview with Reba White Williams

Reba, how long have you been writing, and how did you start?

I started telling myself mystery stories when I was a toddler. When I learned how to read and write, I began to put them on paper. By junior high school, I was writing a little column for the local newspaper. I got a medal for writing my senior year in high school, and took my first writing class in college.

What’s the story behind the title Fatal Impressions?

An “impression” is what we call one of a batch of prints. If an artist makes prints, he might make five impressions, or ten, or 100. The most important art in Fatal Impressions are the Stubbs, but the prints Dinah hangs are all impressions. People die by “impressions,” in a different sense of the word. They make wrong judgments about other people—-false impressions. The story is the summary of all these impressions encountered in the book.

How did you create the plot for this book?

When Dinah competes for the contract with a corporation, she enters a new world. The plot grows out of the corruption of that corporation.

How do you get to know your characters?

I got to know my characters, Coleman and Dinah, by writing about them as children in Angels.

What’s your favorite line from a book?

From Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

Which character did you most enjoy writing?

Simon in Restrike—-he was such a creep—-and Moose in Fatal Impressions. He was my “Wolf of Wall Street”—-over the top.

What would Coleman, your main character, say about you?

She wouldn’t think I’m nearly as daring as I should be. (Coleman is more reckless than I am.)

Are any of your characters inspired by real people?

The girls’ aunt and grandmother in Angels were like my grandmother and aunt in some ways. Dinah’s a lot like girls I knew in high school and college.

Is your book based on real events?

There are always real events in every book. For example, in Fatal Impressions, there are rather shocking, pretty horrific events that the Dinah finds herself seeing in the corporation—-those are taken from real life.

Are you like any of your characters?

I’d like to think I’m a loyal friend like Coleman. I think I’m as hardworking and determined as she is.

One of your characters has just found out you’re about to kill him off. He/she decides to beat you to the punch. How would he kill you?

I hope she would do it with drugs that put me to sleep.

If you could be one of your characters, which one would you choose?

I’d like to be a different character in each of my books. In Fatal Impressions, I’d have enjoyed being Loretta Byrd-—she was a good detective. If I was a married character in one of my books, it would be Bethany, not Dinah.

With which of your characters would you most like to be stuck in a bookstore?

Dinah and Coleman are both readers, but Coleman prefers to read in the bathtub, so I choose Dinah.

With what five real people would you most like to be stuck in a bookstore?

Sue Grafton, Dan Henninger, Dave Williams, Jane Austen, and Agatha Christie.

Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.

My favorite scene in Fatal Impressions is when Moose first appears and introduces himself. Again, he’s my “Wolf of Wall Street,” a caricature of an investment banker.

What song would you pick to go with your book?

“Someone’s in the Kitchen with Dinah” and “Doing it my Way” for Coleman.

You get to decide who would read your audiobook. Who would you choose?

At one time I’d have said Joanne Woodward. I’d want someone with a good Southern accent.

Do you have a routine for writing?

No, I write whenever and wherever I can.

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?

Early a.m. in Connecticut or Palm Springs.

Where’s home for you?

Connecticut, New York City, Palm Springs, and London.

If you could only keep one book, what would it be?

Pride & Prejudice.

You’re leaving your country for a year. What’s the last meal (or food) you would want to have before leaving?

Pasta with pesto or pasta primavera.

Would you rather work in a library or a bookstore?


Where is your favorite library, and what do you love about it?

My favorite library is the Center for Fiction, known when I first encountered it as the Mercantile Library. Why? Open stacks, great card catalogue, and can check out all the books you can carry for a small fee.

You’re given the day off, and you can do anything but write. What would you do?

Read, go to a film, go someplace nice for lunch.

What would your dream office look like?

Small, cozy, no distractions.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?

“If you can keep your head when all about you/Are losing theirs and blaming it on you...” by Rudyard Kipling from "If."

What’s your favorite candy bar? And don’t tell me you don’t have one!


What three books have you read recently and would recommend?

•    Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen—a marvelous book. It’s a great story, and I learned a lot about photography, seeing photographs through Rebecca’s eyes.
•    A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy—a truly delightful book, heartwarming, charming, cozy. I enjoyed every minute of it.
•    The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd—a fascinating book that is beautifully written, with fascinating female protagonists, both white and black.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Read, travel, garden, visit gardens.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

As I live now, in New York City, Connecticut, Palm Springs, and London.

What are you working on now?

Book 4 in my series, with book 5 beginning to move around in my head.

About the author

Reba White Williams worked for more than thirty years in business and finance—-in research at McKinsey & Co., as a securities analyst on Wall Street, and as a senior executive at an investment management firm. 

Williams graduated from Duke with a BA in English, earned an MBA at Harvard, a PhD in Art History at CUNY, and an MA in Writing at Antioch. She has written numerous articles for art and financial journals. She is a past president of the New York City Art Commission and served on the New York State Council for the Arts.

She and her husband built what was thought to be the largest private collection of fine art prints by American artists. They created seventeen exhibitions from their collection that circulated to more than one hundred museums worldwide, Williams writing most of the exhibition catalogues. She has been a member of the print committees of several leading museums. 

Williams grew up in North Carolina and lives in New York, Connecticut, and Southern California with her husband and Maltese, Muffin. She is the author of two novels featuring Coleman and Dinah Greene, Restrike and Fatal Impressions, along with the story of Coleman and Dinah when they were children, Angels. She is currently working on her third Coleman and Dinah mystery. 

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