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Thursday, June 20, 2013 12:26 AM

I decided to take a departure from my usual book review format and start doing some Q & A with authors. I recently had the chance to interview Heather Osting, author of Dead in a Ditch, and ask her some questions about this page-turner. Osting’s first book takes place in Delphos, which is one of the reasons it is so original. She has made various public appearances and done local book signings recently. What follows below are the questions and answers I had a chance to ask Osting.

 

Q: I want to know what inspired the characters.

A: Well, the main character’s modeled after myself, mostly because it’s just easier to write as if “I” were the one doing the things in the story. The other characters were loosely based on people I know — old school teachers, people around town, etc. I would just name the character, and then I’d go through my mind about what I thought that character would look like.

Q: What inspired the storyline?

A: Well, the whole left for dead idea came in a couple ways. I was told growing up that I would be found “dead in a ditch” someday. So that’s where that came from and then the idea of waking up in the middle of nowhere beaten half to death came to me one day driving home from Ottawa. I was on my way home from work, several years ago, and the sun was shining on my cheek, and it was so warm and wonderful, and my imagination just grabbed that, and I closed my eyes and wondered what it would be like to wake up basking in the sunshine, thinking everything was wonderful, only to open my eyes and realize it wasn’t. The sun has a way of making everything feel all warm and cozy. My mind wanders a lot when I drive, so I always keep a pen and paper in my car just in case something comes to me.

Q: So who told you you’d be dead in a ditch?

A: My parents. We grew up at a campgrounds; my parents owned Woods and Waters and so there were always “strangers” around. I think they were afraid that our “public” business would bring people around that perhaps weren’t always 100 percent trustworthy. And of course when you grow up around that sort of business, you think everyone is nice and perfectly okay to trust.

Q: Did anything inspire the names of the characters?

A: Well, I always loved the name Vivienne but I was born a “Heather,” so it’s fun to give your characters the name you wish your parents would’ve named you. My mom in the book is named after an eland, which she raised when we had our zoo. The name “Knox” I got by brainstorming names of cities. I knew Knox’s real name wasn’t going to be “Knox,” so I looked for something that would just be his “biker name.” I will research all sorts of names when trying to name a character. Sometimes I go through the phone book, other times I think of names of booze, or cities, or even soldier names of people who died in the Civil War. I’m intent on getting “the perfect” name for my characters at times.

Q: Did you always know this book would become a trilogy?

A: No, I didn’t. But when I finished book No. 1, I was like, that was fun; I’m ready to write another. And I personally love a good series of books; you get so much more out of a series than just one novel. You get to know your characters inside and out and when you’re left wanting more it’s awesome to know that you’re going to get more. I honestly don’t know how many books in the series there will be. I have two written and am working on a third.

 

I had a fun time reading Osting’s book and chatting with her. If you get a chance, pick up a copy of Dead in a Ditch for some good beach reading this summer. Look for her next book, The Ordeal, to come out in July. Happy reading.

 

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