|Camille's helper Carmen|
Along with having a passion for miniatures, Camille Minichino has published more than 20 novels, as well as short stories and articles. A new series, the Post Office Mysteries, is underway and will launch in the summer of 2015. Camille writes under several pen names. Learn more about all of them and her books at her website.
Mixing Crafts and Fiction
Mixing crafts and fiction writing has been my way of life for a while.
In the Periodic Table Mysteries, my first series, Gloria Lamerino moves back to Revere, Massachusetts after 30 years in California and takes an apartment above her friends' funeral home. Of course I had to build the home. Below is a photo of the embalming room in the basement.
I had fun fashioning the table out of foil, then adding Dorothy's shoes (in case the deceased craved one last journey) and the champagne cage stool, which also provides an idea of the scale. The washer/dryer are off to the side as they are in the books, on the same level as the embalming equipment. (Thus Gloria does her laundry only in bright daylight.)
In my upcoming fourth series, my character, Cassie Miller, is a postmaster in a small town. Of course I had to build a post office.
The creative flow goes both ways—my writing inspires miniature scenes, and the scenes then take on a life of their own and inspire my writing.
There was a special thrill in building the post office: I enlisted the help of the 10-year-old daughter of a friend of mine, author Diana Orgain (The Maternal Instinct Mysteries and others). Carmen made the money in the cash register, chose the furniture from my stock of leftovers, and contributed a great deal to the whole scene.
I love working with the next generation of crafters. Especially with dollhouses and miniatures, it seems, most of the artisans I see at shows are at least my age—not a good thing! The organizations I belong to do their best to encourage youngsters through special workshops for children.
Throughout the year, miniaturists (including me) send supplies and scraps for the children's workshops. We contribute paint, paper, glue, brushes, doll parts, material for bases, and miniature "anythings." It's a great way to control my own inventory as well as spur on young crafters.
I'd love to know what other crafters are doing to attract the next generation.
Madness in Miniature
The grand opening of a giant chain crafts store is both good and bad news for miniaturist Gerry Porter. But when the big event is accompanied by an earthquake and a murder in the store, there's plenty of opportunity for Gerry and her computer-gifted granddaughter Maddie to help the police investigate. Madness in Miniature is the 7th Miniature Mystery by Camille Minichino, writing as Margaret Grace.