Archive for the ‘Mystery’ Category

Review: “Curse of the Bayou” and “The Magician’s Castle” by Mary Cunningham

Have you ever dreamed of traveling in time, uncovering secrets from the past, taking a ship cruise from Paris to America, enrolling in a colorful circus, fighting dangerous pirates and visiting a magician’s castle? Here’s your chance with Mary Cunningham’s series “Cynthia’s Attic”!

In the third installment of the series “Curse of the Bayou“, tomboy Gus and picture-perfect Cynthia are on they way to dust away the mist wrapping the disappearance of Beau Connor, Cynthia’s great-grandfather. They’ll have to deal with a hungry alligator, awful dumplings, a bunch of colorful pirates and their parrot (keep an eye on your belongings with him) and a very special puma. You’re in 1914 New Orleans!

In “The Magician’s Castle“, Gus, Cynthia and their friend Annie will have to cruise between a chilling castle and a farm, fight a ruthless antique seller and help a century-old love story end with a “happily ever after”. A pretty heavy program, but not heavy enough to scare our sassy and inventive twelve year old.

A light-hearted action-packed comedy adventure that would make a great family movie or miniseries. Gus and Cynthia’s fans won’t be disappointed as they meet old acquaintances and make new friends in a whirlwind of humor, aventure and green and purple lights. A pleasant trip to the past…and the future.

Buy the books: http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Amary%20cunningham%20Cynthia’s%20Attic&page=1
Visit Mary Cunningham’s website: http://www.marycunninghambooks.com/

Janet EvanovichAcclaimed author (think about the bestselling Stephanie Plum series) Janet Evanovich answers my questions about writing in different genres and tells us more about her upcoming graphic novel & her favorites…

Hi Janet, and thanks for visiting me on “Veronika Asks”! Let’s talk a little about you, at first. You’re Taurus, aren’t you? They’re usually known for being patient, determined but also jealous. Do you consider yourself a typical Bull?
The only thing Taurusy about me is the determination. I must have been born when the moon wasn’t aligned right or something.

How would you describe yourself with three words?
Honest, tenacious, fortunate.

Before the Stephanie Plum mysteries, you wrote a dozen romance novels. Would you get back to romance if a publisher offered you a deal? Do you think an author is losing credibility writing in very different genres? Young authors are often worried about writing in different genres and building a fanbase.
I’m considering getting back into the romance world with another co-authored romance book. I can do this because I’m well established. New writers should pick a genre that best suits them and stick with it for a while. I don’t think there is any loss of credibility for switching genres, but it’s hard to build a fanbase and improve your skills when you are switching from one type of book to another.

I heard you’re working on a graphic novel. Can you tell us more about it (the scoop, the scoop!)? How did this idea strike you? Do you think your readers will follow? And, by the way, what do you think about eBooks and their future in the publishing world?
My daughter, Alex, and I have always loved comics. So we decided to take Alex Barnaby to the world of graphic novels. We are writing a new story to follow up my books Metro Girl and Motor Mouth.
I’m sure some of my readers will follow, and some might even try reading a graphic novel for the first time. It’s very exciting. The eBook world seems to be growing.

You said on your website you’d like to see Sandra Bullock as Stephanie Plum in the movie based on Stephanie’s adventures. Who would complete the cast? How’s the project going?
The only other character I can see cast in my mind’s eye is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Ranger. The studio bought the rights to the characters years ago and they’ve been writing and re-writing scripts ever since. Truthfully we have no idea how the movie project is going.

Imagine for a second: you wake up one morning and can’t write anymore (let’s hope it never happens): what will you do? Is there something you’ve always wanted to do but didn’t (something you’d try then)?
I’d go on a vacation. I’ve always wanted to go on a vacation. Maybe to Hawaii.

Finally, can’t do without the “Nothing-to-do-with-books-question”: you’ve just found $100, how will you use your newly acquired money?
I’d take my family out for pizza and ice cream.


“Favorite…”

Author & Book: Carl Barks/The Fabulous Philosopher’s Stone
Movie & TV show: Enchanted/Entourage
Food: Birthday Cake
City: Boston
Music: Disco
Place to write: My office
Quote or Motto: Go for it


“Tea or Coffee?”

Saturday night. Disco & Restaurant or Home, Books & DVDs? Restaurant & DVD
Going on holidays. Beach or Mountains? Beach
Sleepy Little Town or Crazy Megapolis? Crazy Megapolis
Pick a DVD: Comedy or Weepy Drama? Comedy
Like To Travel or Hate to Move? Hate to Travel
Sport Lover or Couch Potato? Couch Potato
Leader or Follower? Leader
Shy or Easy-going? Loud and obnoxious
Serious or Funny? Sunny

Thank you, Janet!
You can learn more about Janet Evanovich and her books at http://www.evanovich.com
Ask Janet! Discover Janet’s Q&A at http://evanovich.com/qa/ask

Maggie SeftonKnitting can be very dangerous! Maggie Sefton, author of the Knitting Mysteries, will prove it with ease…

Hello Maggie and welcome to Veronika Asks for a mysterious interview! Could you please say a few words about yourself, first? If you could describe yourself with three words…
Energetic, curious, love to meet people and see new places.

Now tell us more about your latest release, “A Killer Stitch”, the fourth book in the Knitting Mysteries series.
Here’s a brief blurb : ‘Tis the season for knitters in chilly Fort Connor, Colorado: scarves, sweaters, mittens—and murder. Amid the seasonal cheer of her local family of cowboys and yarn weavers, Kelly Flynn’s intent on trying to separate innocence from icy deceit. . . The House of Lambspun has been bombarded for the holidays. In the midst of overflowing bins of sumptuous yarns, unexpected winter romance buzzes in chorus with the spindles of shy new spinning instructor Lucy Adair. But when an alpaca rancher is found dead in Bellevue Canyon, avid knitter and sometime-sleuth Kelly Flynn quickly puts these Front Range pastimes aside. With his reputation for lovin’ and leavin’ the ladies of Fort Connor, it seems a little strange that the victim’s final admirer was a fiancee. . .none other than the hopelessly bereaved Lucy Adair. Unluckily, Kelly also finds herself inked to the prime suspect in the case—a rejected former lover of the playboy rancher. Charged with keeping both spinner and spurned from going over the edge, she’ll discover more than a few secrets tangled on this triad’s bobbin.

Why did you choose the knitting world to set up your mysteries? That’s really uncommon, you’d rather say that nothing really scary can happen with knitting… Do you knit yourself?
Well, I didn’t choose it. I fell down the “rabbit hole” into that world of color and texture in May 2003 when I went into the Lambspun yarn shopin Ft. Collins, CO, to interview knitters for a non-fiction article I was writing. I didn’t knit, so I had to find people who did. Once I met the great people around the knitting table, I kept coming back everyweek—talking, learning to knit, having a loads of fun. Four months later, Kelly Flynn and friends “walked onstage” with their story. I’ve been writing novels for over 25 years and that’s how it always works forme. Anyway, I recognized the story as another amateur sleuth mystery since I’d just finished writing one with a real estate agent as sleuth. So, I started writing down the scenes that Kelly & friends were sending.

Is Kelly, your heroine, a bit like you?
Oh yes, I learned by sitting around the knitting table, getting instructions from the knitters. Just like Kelly.

What will happen to Kelly next? How many Knitting Mysteries do you think there will be?
Well—the next in the series, book #5, DYER CONSEQUENCES, will be out June 2008. In that book there’s a real honest, in-your-face threat to Kelly. There’s a murder to be solved and at the same time there’s a continuing building threat to Kelly. That culminates in the climax when Kelly is face to face with the killer, and the killer wants Kelly dead. And very nearly does it. I have no idea how many stories will be in the series. I’ll write them as long as the readers keep wanting to read them.

You also started a new series, the Real Estate Mysteries and the first novel is “Dying to sell”. This is really different from knitting! Tell us more about it!
Actually, DYING TO SELL was the first amateur sleuth mystery I wrote. It’s got a real estate agent as sleuth and she walks in and finds her client stabbed in the throat. (And yes, I did spend a few years as a real estate agent. Great fun).

How did you break into the publishing world?
I was first published back in 1995 in historical fiction. I’ve been writing novels for over 25 years and had written over one million words offiction before I wrote the first mystery in 2001-2002.

I read that you used to write Western Historical novels. Why did you switch to mystery?
I was writing great big historical sagas usually (which didn’t sell). The western was the exception. Finally it dawned on me that all of those books (over a million words) had mysteries in them. Several mysteries in each one. A lightbulb went off. And I realized I had contemporary mystery characters that wanted on stage too. Once I did–everything changed. Those books started selling.

How do you write (how, when, where…)?
I try to write regularly every day. This gets trickier when I’m traveling.

What do you think about eBooks?
I think they have a place in the publishing world.

What are you working on right now?
I’ve just finished revisions for the next book out in the series, DYER CONSEQUENCES, so now I’m working on the book that will be published after that one (Fall 2008) which will be a holiday-themed mystery—continuing characters, of course.

And now the famous Nothing-To-Do-With-Books question : You’ve just found 100 $ in your pocket, how will you use that money?
Put it in my travel fund. I love to travel.

Would you like to add something, Maggie?
Thanks for asking me, Veronika. I’ve enjoyed the interview.


“Tea or Coffee?”

Saturday evening. Going out or reading a book ? Half and half. I love going to the movies.
Holidays. Beach or Mountains ? I love both. Since I live in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the mountains are definitely closer.
Country or City ? I’m a city girl, but I love relaxing in nature.
Watching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else ?) I love both and I love action-adventure. Thrillers, etc.
Shy or Easy-going ? Not shy anymore. I’m very out-going.
Serious or Funny ? Funny.
Traveler or not ? Definitely love to travel.
Sporty or not ? I used to play a lot of tennis but I’ve been a runner/jogger since the late 1970’s.
The Leader or not ? I can play it any way the group wants. I think groups have their own “dynamic.”

“Favorite…”

TV show: “LOST” and “24”
Movie : Ohhh, I can’t narrow it down. I see LOTS of movies.
Book : same answer
City : Paris, Washington, DC, New York
Food : yummy French cafe
Music : very wide and eclectic taste in music—from Rock to Bach
Favourite place to write: outside w/trees in shade
Quote or motto : Believe in yourself.

Thanks, Maggie!
You can visit Maggie’s website:
http://www.maggiesefton.com/

RJ HarlickMystery author R.J. Harlick talks about her Canadian mystery series and her writing methods…

Hi Robin, I’m glad to welcome you on the new Veronika Asks blog for the “Mysterious July”! Please introduce yourself to our readers in a few words…
Hi Veronika. I’m very happy for the opportunity to introduce myself to your visitors. I write the Meg Harris mystery series that is set in the wilds of West Quebec. The first book, Death’s Golden Whisper, came out in 2004, the second Red Ice for a Shroud was published last year. And the next River Runs Orange comes out next spring. I am busily working on the 4th Meg Harris, which has Meg traveling from her home in West Quebec to Canada’s Arctic, Baffin Island to be specific.

If you could then describe yourself with only three words…
Gorgeous….not quite

Tell us about your Meg Harris series…
The Meg Harris series stars, who else, but Meg Harris, a Torontonian who has fled the big city for the peace of Three Deer Point, a 1500 acre property in West Quebec, where trees out number people a million to one and lakes a thousand to one. One hundred and fifty kilometers from nowhere, her closest neighbour is the Migiskan Algonquin First Nations Reserve. Needless to say, her sought for peace is often interrupted by a murder or two and Meg invariably finds herself struggling to catch the killer.

In the Meg Harris series, I explore the tensions amongst the peoples that live in this isolated wilderness, English-Canadians, Quebecois and the Algonquin First Nations. I also want to introduce my readers to the traditional ways of the Algonquin, many of which have been lost over the years, and the issues facing them in today’s modern world. Plus I love the Great Canadian Outdoors. So the wilderness setting in the Meg Harris series plays almost as great a role as the characters.

Your latest release is “Red Ice for a Shroud”. Tell us what Meg has to deal with in this episode?
It’s so hard to answer a question like this, since I really don’t want to give the mystery away. But safe to say while preparing a network of cross-country skiing trails, Meg and Eric Odjik, band chief of the Migiskan, discover the frozen and naked remains of a young Quebecoise. A young Algonquin is charged with her murder. Believing him innocent, Meg sets out to prove it and finds herself battling the reality of police prejudice against natives. Meanwhile Eric is confronted with a drug problem on the Migiskan Reserve. Are the two events connected?
As Meg struggles to unravel the truth, the snow turns to freezing rain locking her wilderness in a prison of ice.

What about some new Meg Harris mysteries? Will there be another Meg book?
I’m very excited about the upcoming Meg Harris, River Runs Orange, to be released in Spring 2008.
In River Runs Orange I explore ancient beliefs versus the world of scientific thought. It starts off dramatically with Meg and Eric paddling down a river filled with rapids. And of course they dump. While Meg is waiting for Eric to retrieve the canoe, she discovers a skull. Who was this person? And how did they die?
The Migiskan Reserve becomes embroiled in a fight over these remains. And of course it leads to a nasty murder.

Who were you before starting to write? How did you start writing (or ‘What was the sparkle that made you want to write mysteries?’)?
In another life I was a management consultant in information technology. Just after a strategic birthday, I asked myself “What I wanted to do for the rest of my life?” And answered, “Certainly not consulting!” I’d always wanted to write. In fact had this image of myself tapping away at my computer in some bucolic spot. I’d always loved reading mysteries. In fact one would say I grew up on a diet of Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie books. So I said, “Now was as good a time as any.” And sat down to write the opening pages of the first Meg Harris mystery, Death’s Golden Whisper.

How do you write (where, when, how)? How do you react to the writer’s block?
I try to devote my mornings to writing and write both at my city home in Ottawa and country home, a log cabin in the Quebec woods. Mind you I do find I’m most productive at the cabin. So I guess you could say I have fulfilled my dream of tapping away in some bucolic spot.
All my writing is done on the computer. I start with a general idea of the plot and an opening scene and go from there. As much as I try to outline, I find it doesn’t work. Invariably the characters take me where they want to go. Once I have finished a chapter I rarely go back to it until I have finished the first draft. My main objective is to get the story down.
As for writers block, well I guess we all encounter it. I write as far as I can go, play solitaire, read my e-mail, walk the dog, write a bit more, play solitaire, read my e-mail, walk the dog and so on. I find the key thing is to write some words. It may not be much and it may all change, but at least something is being put down on paper. Eventually it unblocks and off I go until the next wall is hit.

Do you sometimes have problems with the puzzle?
I can’t say that this is ever a problem with me. The further I go in a story the more fun I have with the plot. New ideas pop up. New opportunities arise to confuse the reader. If anything I have to ensure that I don’t make the plot too complex.

Do you have some advices for young writers?
Once those first words are down, don’t look back, just keep marching ahead. I find many new writers spend too much time trying to perfect the words they have written and end up never finishing the story or book they are working on. The main objective is to finish the story. The editing, the revisions come in later. In fact one could almost say that writing fiction is all about re-writing and re-writing, but only after the first draft. I find I get to know my story and characters better with every revision.

What do you think about eBooks? Would you like to write one?
In theory eBooks are a great idea, but in reality they have yet to prove themselves. By that I mean in sales. For as much as we writers love to write, we do want book sales. Any writer I have known that has published an eBook has had a very difficult time on the sales side. Readers are still too attached to the touch and feel of a hardcopy book. They want to be able to browse through a bookstore, glance at a few pages to get a sense of the book. Or they want to grab the first book that catches their eye when they walk in the front door. So visibility becomes all important. EBooks don’t have that same visibility.
At this point in time, I wouldn’t specifically write an eBook, rather I write for the print medium with the possibility that it may also be published in e-format.

And now the famous Nothing-To-Do-With-Books question : You’ve just found 100 $ in your pocket, how will you use it?
Oh gosh, wouldn’t I love to do that. Because I would view it as found money, I’d probably take my husband and I out for a terrific dinner with a delicious bottle of wine. But if I’m feeling particularly thankful, I might give it to one of my favourite environmental charities.

Which books would you advise for a perfect beach read? Have some favorite authors to feature?
Mysteries, what else! Mary Jane Maffini has a new series out starting with the first book, Organize Your Corpses. Barbara Fradkin’s Honour Among Men, which just won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel. Rick Mofina’s, A Perfect Grave. In fact any Canadian mystery. Go to the Crime Writers of Canada website to get the latest list of Cool Canadian Crime – http://www.crimewriterscanada.com – I’m not biased, am I?


“Tea or Coffee?”

Saturday evening. Going out or reading a book ? Probably read a book – I’m a bit of a homebody
Holidays. Beach or Mountains ? Tough choice. I love both. It would depend upon whether I’m feeling particularly lazy
Country or City ? No contest – country
Watching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else ?) ? Drama
Shy or Easy-going ? Shy
Serious or Funny ? Serious
Traveler or not ? Traveler
Sporty or not ? Not sure I’d call myself sporty, but I love to be active outdoors, be it hiking, skiing or canoeing.
The Leader or not ? A tendency to be the leader

“Favorite…”

TV show: Changes frequently, but at the moment it is NCIS
Movie : I’m not much of a movie goer, so nothing comes immediately to mind
Book : The Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett
City : Paris
Food : changes frequently, plus I have many favourites, But at the moment the smoked artic char I brought back from a recent trip to Iqaluit in Nunavut to do research for the 4th Meg Harris was something to die for
Music : depends on my mood – Puccini’s opera Tosca is my current favourite
Favourite place to write: my log cabin
Quote or motto: Keep on trucking…

Laura LippmanAward-winning author and master of the Whodunit Laura Lippman talks about crime, books and her heroine Tess for our “Mysterious July”…

Hi Laura and welcome on Veronika Asks! Could describe yourself with three words?
Tall, well-intentioned, neurotic.

Tell us about What The Dead Know, your latest release…
It was inspired by a real-life case that was very much in the news when I was a teenager. Two sisters went to the mall — and never came home. Their fate is unknown to this day. I found myself wondering what would happen if a woman showed up who claimed to be one of those sisters, how police would handle it, how the claim would be investigated.

Could you tell us more about your Tess books?
I’m working on the 10th. Tess started as the “accidental detective,” someone who fell into this line of work, but I think she’s gotten better and better. She makes fewer mistakes. Which, interestingly, makes the books harder to write.

Who were you before starting to write? How did you start writing mysteries?
Tall, well-intentioned, neurotic. I started writing mysteries because I had an idea for one.

How do you write (where, when, how)? How do you react to the writer’s block?
I write almost every weekday morning for up to four hours. I choose not to believe in writer’s block — it’s akin to a small child plugging her ears and chanting to block out some unpleasant fact. I think it helps to think of a novel as an unruly wagon that you need to pull across a difficult terrain. If a wheel falls off, and you spend the day fixing it, or if you need to find a way to fashion some kind of tracks across a muddy swamp, then you haven’t stopped your journey, you’ve just stopped going forward for that day. I’m used to the wheels falling off, and I think I’ve learned a lot of techniques for getting moving again.

You write a book a year and also work at The Sun. Isn’t it too difficult to deal with both jobs?
My online bio is way out of date — I left The Sun several years ago. But it was enormously difficult and there are some costs to working that much.

Do you have some advices for aspiring authors?
Read as much as possible.

Do you sometimes have a hard time with the puzzle while writing your novels?
Yes. I have trouble breaking them down, but the real challenge is making sure that people are acting out of recognizably human motivations and impulses, not doing things just because the plot requires it.

How do you imagine your readers?
I think they’re pretty diverse – male, female, young, old. I also assume they’re read more crime novels than I have, so I don’t try too hard to fool or trick them. In fact, I count on them to use the text interactively — to examine every possibility, to consider every plausible resolution. In books where the reader has all the relevant information — and in my books, they tend to have more information than any single character — I don’t think it’s possible to offer a stunning twist. The determined, analytical reader will figure it out. So I withhold the one thing I’m within my rights to withhold — the why of things.

What do you think about eBooks? Would you consider writing one?
Some of my books are available in eBook form, I think. I don’t really think too much about format, whether it’s eBook or audiobook. They can publish my books on playing cards.

What will your next novel be about?
Tess collides with Hollywood — literally, running into a shot while rowing. It’s called Another Thing to Fall and it’s about how proximity to the film business makes people a little nuts.

Which books would you advise for a perfect beach read? Have some favorite authors to feature?
First of all, I think anything can be a beach read. I read Crime and Punishment on the beach. But I do think the work of Mary Kay Andrews — breezy, funny, with great characters — is particularly good on the beach.

And now the famous Nothing-To-Do-With-Books question : You’ve just found 100 $ in your pocket, how will you use that money?
This sort of happened recently — I emptied all the banks in my house (I have several small ones) and came up with about $180. I spent a good portion of this on dinner at a local restaurant, Charleston. A friend and I walked around the harbor and found seats at the bar, then ordered three courses each, so we got to taste six. (The plates are quite small, which I love.) We had cocktails and wine as well.

Would you like to add something, Laura?
Just that I’m sorry this took so long?
No trouble, it’s Summer!


“Tea or Coffee?”


Saturday evening. Going out or reading a book ?
Going out.
Holidays. Beach or Mountains ? Mountains. I like to escape the summer heat.
Country or City ? City.
Watching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else ?) ? Comedies at home, more serious fare when we get out.
Shy or Easy-going ? Easy-going.
Serious or Funny ? Funny.
Traveler or not ? I’m a homebody who likes to travel.
Sporty or not ? Semi-sporty.
The Leader in the group or not ? Not a leader, but not shy about voicing my opinions.


“Favorite…”

TV show: The Wire/Project Runway
Movie : Miller’s Crossing
Book : Mildred Pierce
City : Baltimore
Food : Pizza
Music : Jazz
Favourite place to write in : My local coffeehouse
Quote or motto : Moderation in all things, including moderation.

Thank you, Laura!
You can pay a visit to Laura on her website:
http://www.lauralippman.com

Nancy J. CohenBeauty and mysteries with author Nancy J. Cohen and her Bad Hair Day Mysteries series!

Hi Nancy, I’m glad to welcome you to the new Veronika Asks blog for the “Mysterious July”! Please describe yourself with three words…
Dedicated, loyal, friendly.

Tell us about your Bad Hair Day Mystery series…
Hairdresser Marla Shore solves crimes with humor and style under the sultry Florida sun. She owns and operates the Cut ‘N Dye salon, which is the backdrop for the series. I like to include issues of importance to Floridians in my stories, as well as topics that interest me so the reader and I both learn something new. Marla chases after suspects at my favorite weekend getaways, so you get a taste for different parts of Florida. Humor is important to the story, as wellas Marla’s romance with Detective Dalton Vail, and her relationships with other friends and family.

Your latest release is Perish by Pedicure. What happens to Marla in this episode?
When Marla takes a job as assistant hairstylist to a platform artist at a beauty show, she doesn’tcount on murder being part of the program. She’s excited to work for Luxor Products, hoping the connection can advance her career. That is, until company director Christine Parks is found dead in her hotel room, face down in a foot bath. Suspect number one is Marla’s college roommate, Georgia Rogers. Since Georgia recommended Marla for the glamorous job, the least Marla can do for her in return is to clear her name. To complicate matters, her fiancé’s former in-laws have come for a visit, putting Marla’s temper on a short fuse just when she needs her wits to solve the crime.

Killer Knots will be out in December 2007. Tell us more about it!
Florida hairstylist Marla Shore hopes for a romantic interlude with her fiancé on their first Caribbean cruise, but a storm brews on the horizon. Troubled waters lie dead ahead when her dinner companions start disappearing one-by-one. Then Marla learns a killer may be along for the ride. On board art auctions, ports of call, and sumptuous buffets beckon, but she ignores temptation and musters her snooping skills to expose the culprit. She’d better find him fast, before her next shore excursion turns into a trip to Davy Jones’s locker.

Will there be another Marla Shore book?
Maybe. I’m working on other projects right now. Doing too much of the same thing constricts the creative muscles, and every now and then it’s good to stretch them.

Who were you before starting to write? How did you start writing?
I’ve been writing ever since I can remember. When I was younger, I did poems, short stories, and a Shakespearean-type play. In 1975, I decided to write a novel and bought a how-to book to help me learn the structure. Even though I’ve tried to stop being a writer, I am unable to quit writing stories. I take notes wherever I go, and characters keep talking in my head. It’s an addiction. As for my other career, I have a master’s degree in nursing and worked in that field for ten years before retiring to write full time. I still maintain my R.N. license.

Why do you set your mysteries in the beauty world? What gave you this idea?
I was in the hair salon getting a perm, waiting for my timer to go off, and I had nothing good toread. I glanced at the other customers who were staring into space waiting for their timers to gooff. I thought, we need something gripping to read to kill time. Let’s kill off one of these ladies! Thus PERMED TO DEATH was born. In that story, hairstylist and salon owner Marla Shore isgiving grumpy Mrs. Kravitz a perm when the old lady croaks in the shampoo chair. Marla has to prove her innocence to handsome Detective Dalton Vail.
Marla is a businesswoman as well as a talented professional who cares about her customers. A stylist has to be a good listener, so she’s a natural for a sleuth. She knows many people around town, and clients confide in her. The beauty parlor is a great background setting for a mystery series. People are constantly walking in, gossiping, and exchanging information. Plus, it’s fun to research, and I can write off my hair appointments on my taxes. 🙂

How do you write (where, when, how)?
I write in the morning after walking my dog. My quota is five pages a day or a chapter a week. This takes place in my home office. I use Dragon Naturally Speaking Preferred voice recognition program to save my fingers from so much typing.

How do you react to the writer’s block?
Depends on what’s causing it. If it’s a problem with the story I’m writing, I’ll take time out to determine the purpose of the next scene. Usually I write a synopsis first so I know where the story is going. But other things can cause writer’s block: outside distractions, loss of confidence, rejections, changes to editors, publishing imprints, etc. This stuff is harder to overcome. Sometimes you just need to take time off.

Do you have some advice for aspiring authors?
Study the craft. Attend workshops. Join professional organizations. Go to conferences. Keep writing. Develop a thick skin. Never give up and never surrender.

What do you think about eBooks?
I believe eBooks have a future ahead, especially when eBook readers become standardized. Kids today download everything on their iPods and such; why not books? But folks like me still like to hold a book in hand. I look at a computer all day; I don’t want to read books on them. However, I’d be happy to gain new readers by having my books in that format. Unfortunately, authors aren’t earning much in the way of income from this source yet, and we do want to make a living at this career.

And now the famous Nothing-To-Do-With-Books question : You’ve just found 100 $ in your pocket, how will you use that money?
Spend it on groceries. It costs so much when you go to the store to stock your food shelves these days.

Which books would you advise for a perfect beach read? Have some favourite authors to feature?
Harry Potter. I’m a fan like everyone else. If you want my personal list of favorite authors, please email me at nancy.j.cohen@comcast.net

Would you like to add something, Nancy?
Yes, thank you very much for your interest in my work.
Please visit my sites http://www.nancyjcohen.com, http://mysterygal.bravejournal.com

“Tea or Coffee?”

Saturday evening: Read a book
Holidays: Beach on a tropical island
Country or City ? Suburbs.
Watching a movie: Romantic comedy
Shy or Easy-going ? Easy-going
Serious or Funny ? A little of both, probably more serious
Traveler or not ? Yes
Sporty or not ? Not, although I like to walk on nature trails
The Leader or not ? Depends on the group

“Favorite…”

TV show: Stargate SG-1, and after ten years, it’s OVER! Bwaaa…..
Movie : Star Wars, Galaxy Quest, Star Trek IV
Book : Too many to mention
City : Orlando
Food : Salmon
Music : Mozart
Favourite place to write in : Home
Quote or motto: Be Prepared.

Thank you, Nancy!
You can pay Nancy a visit here: http://www.nancyjcohen.com

Ellen ByerrumEllen Byerrum takes us into the mysterious fashion world with her heroine, Lacey Smithsonian. Follow them in “The Raiders of the Lost Corset”!

Hi Ellen! Welcome on “Veronika asks”! Would you like to introduce yourself?
Thanks so much for inviting me to your Web site. I’m a mystery writer in Alexandria, Virginia, where I live with my husband. During the day, I work as a journalist for a trade publication. Although I have been a newspaper reporter in the past, I’m not now. I have a private investigator’s registration in the state of Virginia, which I acquired as part of my research for my books. And I am a playwright with two plays that are published by Samuel French Inc. under my pen name of Eliot Byerrum.

A bit of Astrology, now: what is your sign? Do you match your sign’s description?
My sign is Aquarius, but I’m not sure that I’m a typical Aquarian. I’m not that impressed with technology. (Most are said to be technology lovers.) I think there’s a place for quiet days without computers. Aquarians are supposed to be intelligent, and I’d like to think I am, but opinions may differ.

If you could describe yourself with three words…
Friendly, loyal, tenacious. (I asked my husband how he would describe me in three words. All he said was “very carefully.” That’s only two words.)

Now, let’s talk a bit about Lacey and her adventures… especially “The Raiders of the Lost Corset”!
This is the fourth book in the Crime of Fashion mysteries starring Lacey Smithsonian. In Raiders of the Lost Corset, Lacey grabs the chance to see Paris, the fashion capital of the world, and chase the fashion story of a lifetime. Her quarry: a legendary lost Romanov corset lined with jewels. Pursued by a Russian ex-spy and an English jewel thief, she and her fellow “raiders of the lost corset” chase a bloody thread of clues from Washington to Paris and Normandy and finally to New Orleans, finding, and fleeing, romantic complications and danger at every twist in the trail, while an elusive killer pulls the laces on this mystery every tighter.

How did you create Lacey? Are you a bit like her?
Some years ago, I was reading a lot of mystery novels about women who were smart, tough, witty, intelligent, resourceful and brave. But they found fashion to be frightening. I wanted to read about a heroine who could have all those tough private-eye qualities but also know how to dress herself in style. I made her a fashion reporter in D.C., the city that fashion forgot. Lacey is a bit like me, and her apartment is a great deal like mine, but she has a better wardrobe of vintage 1940s fashions.

Lacey’s books take place in the fashion world. Are you a fashion fan yourself? Did you work in the fashion world before starting writing?
I love clothes and fashion, but I think having a personal sense of style is more important than following fads. For a short while, I worked at the headquarters of a large salon chain, which helped to inspire some of the events in my first book, Killer Hair, and the character of Stella Lake, Lacey’s sidekick.

Will there be another Lacey’s adventure?
Yes, I’m working hard on finishing the next book in the series. It will be titled “Grave Apparel,” and it is set at Christmas time in Washington.

You used to work as a journalist. Did it help you?
Being a journalist is a great background for being a novelist. It helps teach you discipline and it teaches you to listen for each person’s voice, his (or her) distinct way of expressing himself. I try to pay attention to my characters so that they are not interchangeable.

You tell so many funny anecdotes about it on your website, can you tell us one now?
I’m afraid one of the traits I share with Lacey is curiosity. Knowing the end of the story is important to me. That’s probably how I wound up climbing through a massage parlor window at my first job as a reporter, in a very rough and tough boom town on the Western slope of Colorado. I did manage to get in and interview the girls there and ended up being offered a job. They told me I’d make a lot more money than I was as a reporter. I declined – and wrote the story instead.

How do you usually work?
I try to write every day when I’m in the middle of a book. I work at home, or at coffee shops and the library. I work on the computer, but I also like to write using pen and paper.

How about the writer’s block?
I take long walks and I discuss things with my husband, who is brilliant and a very good listener. Sometimes I like to take a shower. The water pounding over my head gets the thoughts running. It might not work for everyone, but it works for me.

How do you see your reader? You know, when you say to yourself: “there’s somebody reading my book right now”…who do you picture?
Wow. It changes, because I often meet my readers in person at book signings, and I also receive e-mails from them. I know that some of them are teenagers, some are grandmothers, most are somewhere in between. I think it’s a wide range of ages and interests. I hope so.

And now the nothing-to-do-with-books question: you’ve just found 100 $ in your pocket, how will you use that money?
Go see a play, especially anything by Moliere, my favorite playwright. I don’t have nearly enough time for the theatre, but I love it.


“Tea or Coffee?”


Saturday evening. Going out or reading a book ? Going out.
Holidays. Beach or Mountains ? Beach, even though I was born in a Rocky Mountain state.
Country or City ? City, but country on vacation.
Watching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else ?) ? Comedy, or film noir.
Shy or Easy-going ? Not shy, pretty easygoing.
Serious or Funny ? Funny is serious, isn’t it?
Traveler or…? Traveler, when I can.
Sporty or Couch Potato? Not ultra sporty. I like to walk and to swim.
Leader or Follower? Depends on the group.


“Favorite…”


TV show: 24, last season.
Movie: His Girl Friday with Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant
Book: At the moment, Heloise and Abelard by James Burge and The Lost Love Letters of Heloise and Abelard by Constant J. Mews
Music: Big band, standards
Food: Mexican
City: Paris; New Orleans; Doylestown, Pennsylvania
Place to write: Library
Motto: I have this quote from Henry David Thoreau taped to my computer: “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

Thank you, Ellen!
You can visit Ellen’s site http://www.ellenbyerrum.com

Kyra Davis“Sex, Murder and a Double Latte” with Kyra Davis and her sassy heroine Sophie Katz. An interview to enjoy with a cup of steaming coffee and really dark chocolate!

Bonjour Kyra! If you could describe yourself with three words…
Silly, strong and emotional (yes, you can be both strong and emotional).

A little bit of Astrology, now: you’re Leo, aren’t you? They are known to be generous, enthusiastic but also a little bit bossy. Are you a typical Lion?
If you ask an astrologer they’d tell you that I was born on the cusp thus making me a Leo/Virgo; but I don’t think there’s a lot of Virgo in me. I don’t have any of the famous Virgo organizational skills. Like any good Leo I love being in the limelight and I crave praise. I can also be overly emotional and will do anything for my friends. I don’t think anyone (with the possible exception of my son) would call me bossy but I do speak my mind (sometimes when I shouldn’t).

Now, let’s talk about “Sex, Murder and a Double Latte”…
Sure let’s talk about it (LOL). Sophie Katz is my protagonist and she’s a murder mystery author living in San Francisco. There’s a Hollywood producer interested in turning one of her novels into a film but before he can make that happen he’s found dead. The police say it’s a suicide but the odd thing is that the producer’s death mirrored a death scene in one of his own films. Soon things that have happened to the characters Sophie has written about start happening to her…little things at first: a broken glass in the kitchen, a book slightly out of place, then someone vandalizes her car and eventually people start dying. The police see her as more of a suspect than a victim so Sophie takes it upon herself to figure out what’s going on. She also gets a lot of help from her friends, a group that includes Dena, the owner of a sex shop, Mary Ann, a make-up artist for Lancôme and Marcus, her gay male hairstylist. Together they form their own version of the Dream Team and figure out how to switch Sophie’s role from victim to heroine.

Then comes “Passion, Betrayal and Killer Highlights”, the second Sophie book…
When I was about halfway through Sex, Murder And A Double Latte I realized that I wanted to write a sequel. In the first book I spent a lot of time exploring Sophie’s relationships with her crazy friends so I decided that in the next book I’d spend a little more time exploring her relationship with her crazy family….and her budding and tumultuous relationship with a certain private detective. Of course a few people die including Leah’s (Sophie’s sister) adulterous husband leaving Leah as the prime suspect in his murder.

There will be a sequel to “Passion, Betrayal and Killer Highlights”, titled “Obsession, Deceit And Really Dark Chocolate”. Can you spill some secrets?
Melanie O’Reilly (Sophie’s mentor/former-writing-instructor) asks Sophie to test her husband’s loyalty which is another way of saying she wants her to try to seduce him. Sophie figures she’ll just flirt a little with him and see if he makes a pass. He doesn’t which is good but then he’s shot in a drive-by shooting which is bad. Sophie initially assumes that his murder was a random act of violence but soon realizes that there’s a lot more to it.

Do you think there will be a sequel to “Obsession, Deceit And Really Dark Chocolate”?
I hope so! My agent will be pitching my editor a proposal for Sophie book 4 & 5

Russian characters are very popular in American fiction. Why? You’ve got Anatoly Darinsky, for instance…
Americans are oddly nostalgic for The Cold War. I know that sounds bizarre but since America is geographically so far removed from Russia we were able to romanticize the enemy. Our desire to see our history with Russia (and Russians) through rose colored glasses has intensified as things continue to get worse in Iraq. However none of that has anything to do with why I “invented” Anatoly Darinsky. When I was in college I was invited to a dinner party by a relatively new acquaintance. The minute I walked in the door I saw one of the best looking men I’ve ever laid eyes on….and he saw me. I swear, it was like a movie; our eyes locked, the chemistry was palpable and before I knew it I was by his side and visa versa. His name was Anatoly (not Darnisky) and he was from Russia where he served in the army. Then he moved to Israel and served in THAT army. I thought that was interesting and started asking him more questions about himself. That turned out to be a mistake. It turns out that Anatoly served in two armies because he didn’t have the intelligence or social graces to succeed in any field that was dependant on his physical abilities. I mean the man was a TOTAL idiot. So much for my little “movie.” Now, years later I’ve been given the opportunity to rewrite the scene. My Anatoly has his issues, but he’s not stupid. One of the best parts of being a writer is you can literally rewrite history.

How was Sophie born?
I started writing Sex, Murder And A Double Latte when I was in the middle of my divorce. I was anxious, overwhelmed and more than a little angry. I knew I needed an emotional escape so I created Sophie Katz and her fictional world in which I could legally kill people.

Do you and Sophie have a lot in common?
Somewhat but not as much as people assume. We share the same sense of humor, ethnicity and vocation. But Sophie has a lot of issues that I don’t and the reverse is true as well. For instance, Sophie is jealous by nature, I’m not. Sophie is also never hesitates to ask for help when she needs it while I often hesitate to ask for help even when it’s incredibly obvious that I need it.

Your novels are filled with bubbly, colorful characters. Does Art imitate Life? Or do your characters come out of the blue?
A little of both as my story about Anatoly probably indicates. Usually I’m inspired by an individual (or, as is more often the case, several individuals) but as I develop my characters they take on a life of their own until they are completely removed from the person they were originally inspired by.

You said on your website that you had a passion for theater, at school. Why? Is it still your passion?
Mmm….I miss the theater. I’m not entirely sure if I was right to give it up. However in college I began to worry that I didn’t have what it took to make a living as an actress. Around that same time my French professor told the class that we all needed to choose a historic French figure and write a report on him or her (in French of course). I knew everyone was going to be picking people like Monet and Matisse…perhaps one or two would go with Napoleon or Louis the XIV but I wanted to be different. In the end I chose Coco Channel and it was while researching her that I fell in love with fashion. Never one to do anything halfway, I immediately changed majors and career paths. I went to a fashion school in San Francisco and then The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. I worked in Couture boutiques and in buying offices but then my chosen course was derailed again…this time by a man who I later married and then divorced. To be fair I wouldn’t have allowed ANYONE to come between me and a career that I loved and for the first years of our marriage I did continued to pursue my career in the fashion industry but it became clear that I liked the idea of working in fashion more than I liked the reality of it. So when I had my son and had to decide if I was going to go back to work immediately or leave my job (until recently, maternity leave in the States was only 6 weeks) it was an easy decision–leave my job. Of course then my marriage failed and I HAD to go back to work and that’s how I discovered writing and this is one career I WON’T be walking away from.

How do you picture your reader?
I still find it incredible that ANYONE is reading my books! But my guess is that the majority of my readers are women in their twenties and probably quite a few teens. Beyond that I hope my readers are a fairly diverse group of people. I’d like to think that my writing appeals to all kinds of people.

How do you usually work? What about the dreaded writer’s block?
I usually write when my son is with a babysitter and I frequently take my laptop to a cafe (yes I know, it’s a very “Sophie” thing to do). The best way to handle writer’s block is to write through it. Even if I don’t think my idea is very good I know I can always go back and change things later. I just need to give myself something to work with.

Do you have an advice for aspiring authors?
Write something! I know that sounds like odd advice but I’m always meeting people who tell me that they are writers at heart but haven’t found the time to actually WRITE ANYTHING! As I noted in the last question, writers shouldn’t worry about how good or bad their first draft is. The point is to get the ball rolling, once you do that everything becomes easier.

What about the after-Sophie? What will you charm us with next?
My next book is So Much For My Happy Ending and that book is a bit of a departure for me. It’s still my voice but the issues are more serious. The protagonist in the novel is a young woman who marries a man who she later learns is suffering from a mental illness that threatens to destroy them both. There is humor but it’s not exactly a light read. I know it’s being translated into German (which surprised me, this is the first book of mine that the Germans have shown any interest in) but I don’t know if it will be translated into French. Ideally I’d like to write a Sophie book every year and a more serious novel every other year. I should be able to do that as long as people continue to buy my books.


“Tea or Coffee?”


Saturday evening. Going out or reading a book? I like to alternate every other week
Holidays. Beach or Mountains? Beach!
Sleepy Town or Crazy Megalopolis? Crazy Megalopolis!
Picking a DVD. Comedy or Drama? Comedy, my life is dramatic enough.
Shy or Easy-Going? Easy-going. No one in their right mind would call me shy.
Serious or Funny? Little of both.
Like To Travel or Hate to Move? Like to Travel.
Sporty Girl or Couch Potato? I work-out 6 days a week, but Sports? I couldn’t catch a ball to save my life!
Leader or Follower? Leader (I am a Leo after all…)


“Favorite…”


TV show: It’s a toss up between The Daily Show, Project Runway and Grey’s Anatomy
Movie: A Fish Called Wanda
Book: There are too many to chose from! I do LOVE David Sedaris and Nick Hornby so any one of their books would be a good pick. But I also love Alice Walker’s The Color Purple and…oh, I could go on and on about this so I’ll just stop myself now!
Music: I like all kinds of music but lately I’ve become fond of Hip-Hop that is mixed with other musical styles (the single playing on my MySpace page, We Gonna Win, is the perfect example of this).
Food: My ex was a gourmet chef who specialized in Provençal cuisine so I’ve sort of been spoiled when it comes to food. Friends used to come over and ask if I had the necessary ingredients for a sandwich to which I would reply, “No, but we do have Duck Liver Mousse, roasted beets and portabella mushrooms.”
City: San Francisco, no matter where I live it will always be my home. However I do LOVE Paris and Nice
Favorite place to write: Cafes
Quote or motto: Life shrinks and expands in proportion to your courage

Thank you, Kyra!
Visit Kyra’s website http://www.kyradavis.com/

Gemma HallidayGemma Halliday is back with a new High Heels Mystery and a story in an anthology, “Dreams and Desires”… Take a trip to Vegas and support a good cause!

Hi Gemma and welcome back on Veronika asks!
Thanks, Veronika! I love your site, I’m always happy to visit.

Let’s talk about Killer in High Heels, your second novel in the High Heels series! So, how have you been since our last talking on July 2006? Lots of work?
I’ve been hard at work on my third High Heels book, as well as putting the finishing touches on number two, which will be out later thismonth. In addition to that, I was fortunately enough to have a shortstory published in the DREAMS AND DESIRES charity anthology earlierthis month. So, life has been a whirlwind lately, but I’m enjoying every minute of it.

“Killer in High Heels” will be out on February 27th, 2007! Can you tell us a bit more about what will happen to Maddie?
In KILLER IN HIGH HEELS, Maddie gets a mysterious phone call from herlong-lost father, which leads her to fabulous Las Vegas. While thereshe gets tangled up with a group of shoe trafficking mobsters, aover-zealous tabloid reporter, a handful of ageing drag queens, andone ruthless killer. Oh yes, and, of course, the uber-sexy Detective Ramirez. This one was a blast to write, I just loved the wacky, decadent setting and got a kick out creating some of the interesting new characters.

And then comes “Undercover in High Heels”…
UNDERCOVER IN HIGH HEELS finds Maddie working as a wardrobe assistant on the set of a hit TV show. Which is a dream job until a pretty young actress turns up dead in the star’s trailer. Along with herusual cast of oddball friends and family, Maddie is soon on the trail of Hollywood’s hottest killer. I used to work in television, so thiswas really fun for me to write, drawing on a lot of personal experience. Though, no, I never stumbled over dead bodies on the set!UNDERCOVER should be hitting stores later this summer.

You also have a story published in “Dreams and Desires”, a fabulous anthology. Tell us more about it.
The anthology is put out by Freya’s Bower and is actually going tobecome an annual event. All the proceed from the sale of the booksare going directly to help victims of domestic violence and Marci Baun, the editor in chief of Freya’s Bower, has just done an amazing job pulling it all together, putting out a fantastic book for a wonderful cause. My contribution is a short story called, “Confessions of a Bombshell Bandit”. It’s about a woman who is fired, evicted, and robbed all in the same day and decides to take her life into her own hands with avery no-more-miss-nice-chick attitude.

You can view a trailer for thestory on my website and also on my MySpace page http://www.myspace.com/highheelsmysteries & http://www.gemmahalliday.com

I heard there will be a fourth one.
Yes, there will! It is yet untitled, in fact I’m running a contest on my website right now to name that book [It will be Alibi in High Heels]. In this one, Maddie will bejetsetting around Europe, hot on the trail of a Cary Grant-esque cat bugler turned murder suspect. I’m really excited to explore a European setting and am hoping to incorporate a lot of Parisian fashion into the story.

Do you plan another one?
The series is very open-ended, but at the moment I’m only contract for the four books. We’ll see how demanding Maddie gets for more pagetime, though.

We talked about it at the Virtual Book Launch Party on February 1st, if you’d turn High Heels into a movie, do you have an idea about the cast?
I love this question! Yes, my first book, SPYING IN HIGH HEELS, has recently been optioned for a television series. No word on production yet, but it’s an exciting possibility. Personally, I always saw Maddie as the Reece Witherspoon’s character in Legally Blonde. Cute, perky, and totally smart under that pink and blonde exterior. As for Ramirez, any one of those hunky Spanish soap stars would work for me 😉

Would you like to add something?
Thanks so much for having me, Veronika! It’s always fun to come chat with you.

Thanks, Gemma!
Gemma’s website http://www.gemmahalliday.com

Gemma HallidayToday I welcome Gemma Halliday, who talks about her first mystery novel “Spying in High Heels”, which takes you to L.A’s mysterious fashion world!

Hi Gemma, would you like to introduce yourself to your readers?
Thanks for having me Veronika! Hi everyone, I’m a new author with my first book, Spying In High Heels, coming out in August. It’s the first in the High Heels Mysteries series, featuring shoe designer turned amateur sleuth, Maddie Springer. And while Maddie and I are both short, blonde, slightly neurotic yet highly fashionable California girls, I will staunchly deny any rumors that it’s autobiographical. 🙂

I always have my Astrology question: what is your sign? Do you match your sign’s description?
Oh, I love astrology! I actually once worked as a 900 number psychic astrologer. I’m a Sagittarius. And, yes, I’m a typical archer girl in a big way. I love to meet new people, travel, and am brutally honest enough to find myself sticking my foot firmly in my mouth on many an occasion.

If you could describe yourself with three words, it would be…
Fun, friendly, workaholic.

Now, please, tell us more about “Spying in High Heels”, which will be released in August 2006…
In Spying In High Heels Maddie’s boyfriend, a prominent L.A. attorney, goes missing, and, due to a very late monthly visitor, Maddie is desperate to track him down. What she runs into instead is a twenty-million dollar embezzlement scheme, a sexy cop, a porn star, a pair of Russian contortionists, and a dead body that make her missed period seem like the least of her problems. And all of this while helping her mother plan a kitchy second wedding and post-menopausal bachelorette party. It’s a fun, fast paced story with lots of action – a great summer beach read!

Do you plan a sequel?
Yes! I have three more High Heels books in the works. The next installment, Killer In High Heels, takes Maddie to fabulous Las Vegas and is due to hit bookstores in March 2007.

Maddie is a shoe designer and she loves shopping. Do you share her love for shoes and clothes in general?
Hi, I’m Gemma and I’m a shoe-aholic. 🙂 Yes, I love the clothes. I can’t claim my closet is filled with quite the array of designer labels that Maddie’s is, but I’m a sucker for a half-priced pair of heels.

Did you work in the fashion world before?
No, I actually worked in film and television. Which was really fun because I got to play dress-up every day. I think my favorite was working on the set of the movie “Buddy”, where I got all dolled up in vintage 1920’s clothes. Two hours in hair and make-up, but it was so worth it.

There is a “cop” in your story, did you meet some of them, took notes…?
Actually, most of my police jargon has come from the wives of officers. I met a few of them locally and they were fantastic about disclosing the day-to-day of living with a police officer. They were great women and, let me tell you, those ladies are tough cookies.

The usual “writing question”, how do you work? How do you react to the writer’s block?
I generally write about 4 hours a day, depending on deadlines. I’m a big plotter. I like to know exactly what’s happening before I sit down to write a scene, so I usually do a detailed outline of my books first. Things tend to change as I go, but at least I have a general roadmap of the story.Writer’s block. Blech, hate it. Yes, I’ve had my share of that pesky demon. I generally do something totally non-writing related to get my mind off my characters for a while. Go for a walk, read a book, try on some shoes.

Do you have an advice for young writers?
Just keep writing! The more you write, the better you get at it. Some days I’m sure I’m writing pure dredged, but if I just keep writing, generally something semi-brilliant will eventually come out of it.

I looove your website and bookcover. Did you choose them yourself? Is it important to work with an illustrator/designer?
Thank you! The website I designed myself, with the help of my amazing computer guru brother. I love the old Hollywood feel, so I tried to do a kind of modern take on that. The book cover was all the art department at Dorchester. They do a fabulous job with all their covers, and this one is no exception. Wow, was I overjoyed when I saw it. Wait until you see the cover for Killer In High Heels. It’s going to be fabulous!

And now the nothing-to-do-with-books question : You’ve just found 100 $ in your pocket, your plans?
New shoes, of course!

“Tea or Coffee?”

Saturday evening. Going out or reading a book ?Go out.
Holidays. Beach or Mountains ?Oh, tough one. I grew up in the mountains, so love that. But I have to say, I’m a beach bunny at heart.
Country or City ?Oh a little of both. Which is what I love about where I live. It’s got a small town feel, with tons of wooded areas and hiking trails, yet I’m just minutes from San Francisco and all the benefits of a big city.
Watching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else ?) ?Comedy all the way.
Shy or Easy-going ?Easy-going.
Serious or Funny ?Funny. (I hope!)
Traveler or not ?Traveler.
Sporty or not ?Hmmm… does shopping count as a sport?
The Leader in the group or not ?Hmm… depends on where the group’s going. I sometimes like to meander in the back and take the scenic route.

“Favorite…”

TV show: Seinfeld
Movie : White Christmas
Book (and by the way, what are you reading during your free time ?) ? : I have to pick just one?! Hmmm… I’ll go with a classic then. Gone With the Wind.
Music : 1950’s bebop & crooners
City : Los Angeles
Favorite place to write : My bedroom, Starbucks, the park… just about anywhere.
Quote or motto : Never give up, never surrender. Okay, I stole that from “Galaxy Quest”, but it’s such a great line.

Thank you, Gemma!
Gemma’s website http://www.gemmahalliday.com