Posts Tagged ‘bestseller’

Bertrice SmallBestselling and award-winning romance author Bertrice Small answers my questions about the romance genre and market and tells me more about her novels & favorites…

Hello Bertrice, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions! At first, a little bit of Astrology: you’re Sagittarius, aren’t you? The stars say they are usually intellectual and honest, but also careless and restless. Do you think you’re a typical Archer?

Yes, I am a Sagittarius.  We are outspoken creatures and say exactly what we think.  We are said to be intellectual, and we don’t tolerate fools easily. However we are loyal to those who are loyal to us. We like to travel, but we travel as much in our heads as we do in the world around us.  Careless is not a word I’ve ever heard used in relation to a Sagittarius.  Some of my best friends share this sign with me, notably Kathryn Falk, the founder and CEO of RT Book Reviews, Morgan Llywelyn, the best-selling author who is my anam cara, and author Virginia Henley.

Your latest book, “The Border Lord and the Lady”, will be published in October 2009. What is it about? Can you share a few secrets? Will there be another book in the “Border Chronicles” series?

The series known as “The Border Chronicles” has been distinguished not by a single family, but rather by 2 things. The Border country of Scotland, and the families who lived in it.  Book 4, THE BORDER LORD AND THE LADY is set in the early years of James I of Scotland, 15th century, and the book opens in 1424. I have a lovely video trailer on my website at right now that gives you just a hint of the story.  Enough, I hope, to encourage people to purchase the book.  James I returned to Scotland after being held captive in England since his boyhood.  He returns with an English wife, Lady Joan Beaufort, and the young queen brings with her Lady Cicely Bowen, a girl with whom she has been raised.  Cicely is our heroine.  Desired by 2 men, a powerful Gordon laird, and a rough Border laird, she is kidnapped by the latter when the Gordons block his every attempt to court Cicely.  But of course with a Bertrice Small novel you can’t expect the usual storyline.  I love to twist and turn my plot before getting to that happy ending.  And yes, there will be 2 more books in “The Border Chronicles.”

How and when did you start writing? What sparked the idea for “The Kadin”, your first novel? Finally, why the romance genre?
I wrote my first novel in rhyme when I was 13.  It was about an Inca princess who threw herself from the heights of Macchu Picchu rather than succumb to the advances of an evil Spanish conquistador.  LOL!  High drama for a little girl in convent school.  But I had been writing poetry since I was 7.  When I was in college I became friends with a girl from Turkey whose grandmother had  been in the harem of the last Ottoman sultan.  She had grown up with the tales her grandmother told, and since I had had a very close relationship with my own Irish grandmother, we shared the tales of our different ethnic heritages. That sparked my interest in Ottoman Turkey, and when I learned that the mother of Suleiman the Magnificent (also known as the Lawgiver) was a Western European by birth, and in her old age had been called Hafise, the wise one, I knew I had to write her story.  Since nothing else was known about her I did my research, and then let my imagination run wild.  However back when I wrote THE KADIN, the Romance genre as we know it today didn’t exist.  I wrote a Historical novel in the mold of Anya Seton, Taylor Caldwell, Jan Westcott, Frank Yerby.  I spent at least 2 years writing the novel, and another year re-writing it.

You said “The Kadin” sold very quickly. How many publishers did you send it to before hitting the right one? Is there a secret? Would you have carried on with your writing if it hadn’t sold that easily (let’s say, if it was unsold after two or three years)?
THE KADIN was sold to the first publisher it was given to, and that was G.P. Putnam’s Sons, a hardcover house.  It was February 1973.  However 6 months later the editor on the book, and the publisher got into a quarrel.  Long story short, he fired her, and cancelled the contracts on the three books on which she working.  My then agent loved the book, and believed it was a hardcover.  The original paperback novel was just coming into prominence then.  He insisted on taking THE KADIN to every hardcover house in the U.S. of A. at the time, and there were a lot of them.  They all said the same thing.  Unknown author. Too risky.  Finally 2 years later he did what I had been advising ever since we had lost the Putnam’s deal.  He took it to Nancy Coffey at Avon Books, and she bought it immediately.  And while he hauled the manuscript about, yes, I continued to write.  I finished LOVE WILD AND FAIR which was published the same year as THE KADIN.  If you’re a writer, you write.

What do you think makes a good romance novel? Could you share a piece of advice with aspiring (romance and non romance) authors?
The Romance genre is so varied today.  I think what makes a good novel in any genre is good writing, a story that keeps you turning the pages, and sympathetic characters that you can root for, or hate.  My only advice to aspiring writers is to believe in your work, but be willing to accept criticism, and act on it if the criticism is valid.  If it isn’t just keep going straight ahead.  There is no magic formula I regret to say.

A very strange thing happens to the romance genre: it’s always criticised for being samey and boring (not literature, some people say) and some romance author say they nearly have to “apologize” for writing it when asked about their job. But, at the same time, millions of copies are sold every year. What can you say about it? Would you try a different genre or will you stick with romance forever?
I write Romance in 3 sub-genres.  Historical, where I made my reputation. Fantasy which I very much enjoy because I can do as I please without the restraints of Planet Earth’s history; and I write Erotic Contemporary, my least favorite because I am not really a 20th or 21st century person.  I am proud to be considered one of the Romance genres “pioneers”.  I’ve never denied my genre. Those who bleat about real literature don’t get it.  These days literature is  divided into 2 catagories.  Fiction and non-fiction.  And fiction is divided into 2 sections.  Literary fiction which deals with serious or scholarly subject matter, and popular commercial fiction such as mystery, romance, thrillers, etc.  I find it interesting that romance, written predominently by the female of the species get criticized but the other fiction genres which are either all or half written by the male of the species is not. Hmmmm.  Can you spell jealousy?  After all we authors in the romance genre sell more books than all the other popular commercial fiction genres combined.  And yes, I will always write in the romance genre as long as my publishers want Bertrice Small novels.

Some authors like to write in Starbucks, others only handwrite. How do you work? Do you have some rituals or habits? What is a typical working day for Bertrice Small? What about the writer’s block?
I began writing with a clipboard, a yellow-lined legal pad and a BicClic ballpoint pen.  I switched to a typewriter half-way through UNCONQUERED when I realized my flow would go even faster.  I switched to a computer about 10 years ago  when I could no longer get ribbons for my IBM Quietwriter 7.  The PC I work on isn’t connected to the internet.  Too many hackers for my taste.  I work 6 days a week from about 9:30 a.m. in the morning until about 7 p.m. in the evening with a break for dinner about 2 p.m.  I work about 50 weeks out of a year.  I’ve been fortunate in that I write steadily with some days slower than others, and other days so fast I can barely keep up.  3 pages a day, 50 weeks a year, will give you 936 written pages, enough for 2 or 3 novels.

Your books frequently appear on the New York Best-Seller list, you won countless awards and have millions of fans from all around the globe. Does being a famous novelist make it easier to work with publishers & editors? Or are you still constantly challenged?
I regret to disappoint.  Despite my many accomplishments I am not a celebrity or anywhere near famous.  I’m just a successful working author of popular commercial fiction, genre: romance.  The only real perk I get is the courtesy of having a minor bit of input on my cover which are very important to me.  I let my agent, Ethan Ellenberg, handle the publishers and any problems that may arise. I’ve always had a good working relationship with my editors over the years.

What do you like most in writing a romance novel?
What I like most about writing – and it could be any genre – is the ability to earn my living doing what I love best.

Would you like to see your books on screen? Or maybe a TV series (Bertrice Small’s Romances, for instance)? Why do you think there are so few movie adaptations of romance novels?
I would love to see my work on film, but only if it was done right.  A big “if” in Hollywood.  “The O’Malley Saga” and “Skye’s Legacy” series along with “The World of Hetar would make great television series.  But few movies or television series are made specifically for women.  And with historicals and fantasy there is the problem of transposing the fiction into a screenplay, and the expense of mounting such a production which is why I don’t think I’ll ever see one of my books done in that media format.

You’ve been writing romance novels since 1978. Do you think the readership evolved in any way since (were there more romance lovers before or did their number increase over the last years)?
I think the evolving of the romance genre into so many and varied sub-genres has brought more readers into our sphere.  Readers who had never before read a historical but who have read my fantasies or erotic contemporaries are then curious, and will check out my historicals.   But readers have their specific likes and dislikes.  The bigger the genre has become the more readers we have garnered, and we have kept our readers which is why the genre thrives.

Which other romance author would you recommend? Is there a book you wish you’d written?
I love the authors I grew up with in the 1950s and 1960s.  Anya Seton. Jan Westcott. Sergeanne Golon (the French husband/wife team who write the Angelique series). Taylor Caldwell.  Among today’s authors in this genre I am fond of Shirlee Busbee, Jennifer Blake, Roberta Gellis, Thea Divine and Barbara Bretton.  I’m also a huge Harry Potter fan.  Is there a book published that I wish I had written?  No.

If you weren’t a writer, who would you be?
Someone high up in a creative position in the television industry.

If you had a faerie in a bottle granting you three wishes, what would you ask for?
More time. Good health. And success for my son, Thomas.

And here is the famous “Nothing-to-do-with-books-question”: you’ve found $100, how will you use your newly acquired money?
Put it in the church poor box.

What are you working on right now? What’s next on your “to do” list?
I’ve just begun the next book in “The Border Chronicles”, THE BORDER VIXEN. The manuscript is due in spring of 2010 for publication in October 2010.


Author & Book: One of my favorite books is “Katherine” by Anya Seton, but I also adore the first 5 books in the “Angelique” series by Sergeanne Golon.
Movies & TV shows: “Casablanca” with Humphrey Bogart, “A Lion In Winter” with Katherine Hepburn, “Cleopatra” with Vivian Leigh and Claude Rains. “Stargate”
Food: Rare beef, good cheese, and chocolate
City: New York and Venice
Music: Mozart, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Broadway Show Tunes.
Place to write: My office
Hobby: My garden
Quote or Motto: I don’t really have one

“Tea or Coffee?”

Tea or Coffee? Tea with cream and sugar
Saturday night. Disco & Restaurant or Home, Books & DVDs? Home
Going on holidays. Beach or Mountains? I live on the Eastern End of Long Island which is surrounded by the sea on 3 sides, but I also like the Adirondacks and Catskill mountains.
Sleepy Little Town or Crazy Megalopolis? Moved out of New York City almost 34 years ago.  Would never go back. Love my small town America.
Pick a DVD: Comedy or Weepy Drama? Like old historicals like “Robin Hood” with Errol Flynn, or comedies like “Tootsie” or a weepy drama like “The Best of Everything” or “Marjorie Morningstar”.  I’ve got eclectic tastes.
Like To Travel or Hate to Move? Used to love traveling.  Now content to stay put.
Sport Lover or Couch Potato? Couch potato without a doubt.
Leader or Follower? Leader
Shy or Easy-going? Easy-going
Serious or Funny? Both serious and funny, but maybe a bit more serious.

Thank you, Bertrice!
You can learn more about Bertrice Small and her books at


Jeffrey ArcherInternationally acclaimed author and playwright Jeffrey Archer answers my questions about his writing routine, being a born storyteller, his works and projects…

Hello Jeffrey, welcome and thank you for accepting my invitation on “Veronika Asks” to talk about your writing! Can you tell us more about your latest novel “Paths of Glory” (the novel will be available in paperback on September 15th 2009)?
It is the story of George Mallory, a remarkable man who, in 1924, may have been the first person to conquer Everest, and certainly we know he was within 600 feet of the summit when he was last seen, and no one from his generation doubted that he was capable of reaching the top. The real story is so thrilling, that it was a fascinating challenge to turn it into a novel.

Before you started a writing career, you already had a very busy life. What made you want to take a pen (I’ve heard you don’t use typewriters nor computers) and write? Where did the idea for “Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less” come from?
I began to write after I left the House of Commons facing bankruptcy, and indeed the idea of Not A Penny More, Not A Penny Less came through the experiences I had in politics. I suspect most first novels are semi-autobiographical, which is why the second is always a bigger challenge. And no, I don’t use a computer, I handwrite all my books.

Your life would make a great bestseller (you’ve probably been told that a hundred times). Would you consider writing your complete autobiography (Jeffrey already wrote the “Prison Diaries” about his years spent on prison)?
I have no interest in writing an autobiography. Much of how I felt about my life and the times I’ve lived in came out in the three prison diaries, and it is a delight for me that they continue to sell in such high numbers.

Your booklist is an impressive blend of drama, thrillers, fiction, non-fiction, real stories, short stories, plays and novels… Where do you take your inspiration from? What makes you think “this is the perfect idea for my next novel”?
This is the question I am most asked and am never able to satisfactorily answer. I can’t play the violin, I can’t sing opera, but I can tell a story, and Heaven knows where the ideas come from, I’m just immensely grateful they do.

You also wrote a few children books. Some people say an author is losing credibility when writing in very different genres and/or for different audiences. What would you answer to that?
An author should be judged on their work, whatever field it is in, though I agree it would be hard, if not impossible, to excel in every genre.

What about research? Your novels explore many different times, places, lives… “The Eleventh Commandment”, for instance, takes the reader to “a Russian Mafia boss’s luxurious hideaway outside St Petersburg”…
I consider research to be half the work on any book, and as you mentioned in The Eleventh Commandment, I did indeed travel to Moscow and had first-hand meetings with Mafia leaders.

How do you work? I’ve read you had a complicated system… Is it true?
I have a very disciplined writing routine. I go away to write in January and February each year, and write everyday in two hour slots – with absolutely no interruptions. I get up at 5.45am, then write from 6-8am, then have breakfast and read the papers, write from 10-12, then go for a walk and think, then have a light lunch, write from 2-4pm, another walk, then my final writing session is 6-8pm, after which I’ll have dinner and then relax and maybe watch a DVD.

You said “You can either tell a story… or you can’t”. Do you mean writing classes are useless? Do you think you have to be born a storyteller to write?
It’s not that I think writing classes are of little value, it’s that you can’t teach someone to tell a story – that’s a God-given gift that you either have, or you don’t.

If you could give an aspiring author a piece of advice on getting published… What do you think is the top quality to have to break through?
My first book was turned down by 14 publishers before it went to Jonathan Cape, and even then they only published 3,000 copies, so I would advise all aspiring authors never to give up.

Is there a book you wish you’d written?
There are too many to mention.

If you woke up tomorrow and had to start your life over, would you change something? Would you do the same things again or try something entirely new?
What you do in life depends on the talents you were given. I would love to open the batting for England against Australia, but unfortunately, it is not a talent I have been blessed with, so on balance, I am thankful for a fascinating and interesting life and I still gain immense pleasure from writing.

What are you working on right now?
I have just completed the first draft of a new collection of short stories called And Thereby Hangs a Tale which will be published in May 2010. The paperback of my latest novel, Paths of Glory is published on 15th September this year, and a month later my publishers are bringing out a 30th anniversary edition of Kane and Abel – in both a limited edition collector’s hardback and softback edition.

Here comes the “Nothing-to-do-with-books-question”: you’ve found $100, how will you use your newly acquired money?
I’d buy two bricks for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s ‘Buy a brick Appeal’ for their new theatre in Stratford upon Avon.


Author & Book: All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
Movie & TV show: TV show – The West Wing, film – A Man for All seasons
Food: Shepherd’s Pie
City: Rome
Music: Sinatra
Hobby: Auctioneering
Place to write: Majorca
Quote or Motto: Work until you fall

“Tea or Coffee?”

Tea or Coffee? I drink neither. Hot chocolate
Saturday night. Disco & Restaurant or Home, Books & DVDs? Dinner and theatre
Going on holidays. Beach or Mountains? Both
Sleepy Little Town or Crazy Megapolis? Town
Pick a DVD: Comedy or Weepy Drama? Comedy
Like To Travel or Hate to Move? Like to travel but hate aeroplanes
Sport Lover or Couch Potato? Sport Lover
Leader or Follower? Leader
Shy or Easy-going? Easy-going
Serious or Funny? Seriously funny

Thank you, Jeffrey!
You can learn more about Jeffrey Archer and his works at

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.


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
Ask Janet! Discover Janet’s Q&A at

Carly PhilipsBest-selling romance author Carly Phillips talks about her witty series, projects, writer habits and more!

Hi Carly, and welcome on the new and improved Veronika Asks! Please introduce yourself to our readers…
Hi, Veronika … I’m Carly Phillips … a bestselling author of romance novels or romantic fiction, take your pick in description. I write what I love which is romance – a happy ending.
I’ve been published for almost ten years … and love every minute of what I do.

If you could describe yourself with three words…
Sensitive, loyal, nonconfrontational.

You’re Cancer, aren’t you? They are said to be imaginative, empathetic but also easily hurt. Would you define yourself as a typical Crab?
Oh yes, I am a typical Crab. I value my close friendships and I am very loyal but I am easily hurt and can withdraw for that reason. I can be moody depending on things going on in my life and even my writing / career can affect my moods. I am definitely a Moon Child.

Cross my Heart is available in paperback today. Tell us more about this novel.
CROSS MY HEART is the story of Ty and Lacey, childhood sweethearts who are separated by circumstances – they fake her death to save her from going back to an abusive uncle – and they reunite years later so she can reclaim her inheritance before he does – or before someone prevents her from doing so. It’s a love story and it also introduces Hunter and Molly who have their own story in SEALED WITH A KISS due out September 25th.

You’re working on several series, including the Simply Series, Costas Sisters Series, Hot Zone Series, Chandler Brothers Series… would you like to quickly sum up those series and tell us which one you ‘d advise to a reader who wants to start reading your books?
SIMPLY SERIES – republished stories that were written for the Harlequin Temptation series of books – very hot and sensual stories that begin with Kayla and Catherine Luck, sisters who are very different – and these are some of my favorite heroes. Deeply sexy stories! In order: SIMPLY SINFUL, SIMPLY SCANDALOUS, SIMPLY SENSUAL, SIMPLY SEXY

COSTAS SISTERS – UNDER THE BOARDWALK and SUMMER LOVIN’ – each the story of twin sisters – Arianna and Zoe Costas – these are my wacky Greek family stories. Lots of fun and of course yummy heroes – coincidentally in August on my website I am giving away UNDER THE BOARDWALK and MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, DVD.

THE HOT ZONE – HOT STUFF, HOT NUMBER, HOT ITEM, and in July 2008, HOT PROPERTY – my athlete stories – I adore these – wacky, fun, family oriented, hot and sexy – The stories aren’t typical athlete stories – the first three are my Jordan sisters – who come to live with their sports agent eccentric uncle as children and become public relations experts in the sports business. Of course they end up with jock heroes!

THE CHANDLER BROTHERS – THE BACHELOR, THE PLAYBOY, THE HEARTBREAKER – these books put me on the map – Kelly Ripa picked THE BACHELOR as the first romance on a nationally televised bookclub. Family oriented stories about a mother who fakes illness to get her bachelor sons to settle down and give her grandchildren!

How do you write (where, when, how)? How do you react to the writer’s block?
Wherever, whenever I can. I wake up around six AM for the kids, check email, and then I try to do 5 pages or more each day so that I write two books a year. It’s been crazier lately as the kids get older. Funny but I thought teenagers would give me MORE time to write, not less, LOL! For the last two years, I’m an Apple/Mac girl. I write on a laptop … or if I’m in the car, an Alphasmart when I’m in places with the kids.

Who were you before starting to write? How did you start writing?
There was a “me” before I started to write? I can’t remember NOT writing. I always told stories in my head. Who knew that not everyone did? I was a lawyer (hated it) but didn’t mind the student part that came first – which is maybe why writing isn’t a chore but a love? Who knows! I was home with a colicky baby, reading romance when I decided to try and write one. Bought a “how to” book, outlined it (see a pattern here?) and just began!

Do you consider yourself a Chick Lit writer? What do you think about all those attacks against Chick Lit (such as “Chick Lit is dull and samey”)?
I don’t consider myself a Chick Lit writer because I consider myself a Romance Writer. For me, the distinction is that Chick Lit doesn’t guarantee a “happy ending” between hero and heroine; and Chick Lit also doesn’t (in my mind and I could be wrong) guarantee monogamy between hero and heroine once they meet. So this is MY distinction and why I don’t consider myself a Chick Lit writer. That said, it’s unfair to call it dull and samey because romance also has it’s similarities … it’s why I come back as a reader over and over again. Just my two cents. Every genre has its own distinctions. I respect them all.

Do you have any advice for young writers?
I get asked this a lot and for this reason, I have a website section:
But it always comes back to PERSISTENCE and not giving up, developing a thick skin, and if you want to write romance and learn, join RWA and your local chapter (
Details are in this section though. 🙂

What do you think about eBooks?
No thoughts one way or the other. I don’t specifically write for e-format at the moment

So, TV addict, you said it gives you many ideas… explain yourself 🙂
It takes just one little spark. For example – I’m planning a new series after the Hot Zone and the idea of someone who cons people because it’s all she knows came from a TV character … and yet everything else is my own. I take a mini concept and tweak it. I just need the spark to speak to me. It can be character, it can be plot. But in the end, it is my story, my characters, etc. Also Tom Cruise having Dyslexia – I read it in People Mag. years ago – years later, Brandon Vaughn in Hot Stuff came from that spark.

And now the famous Nothing-To-Do-With-Books question : You’ve just found 100 $ in your pocket, how will you use that money?
Split it between my girls.

Which books would you advise for a perfect beach read? Have any favorite authors?
All my fellow Plotmonkeys (I have a blog with other bestselling authors) (visit us! We blog fun, give away prizes etc.) – Janelle Denison, Julie Leto, Leslie Kelly … I love Rachel Gibson, Susan Donovan, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, more recently I read Michelle Bardsley’s light vampire books …

Would you like to add something, Carly?
Just an apology that it took me so long to do this interview … I had a deadline …
I’d love to list where to find me on the Internet: (blog)
Facebook – still need help on this one, LOL
And if you find me from this interview, be sure to let me know, OK?

“Tea of Coffee?”

Saturday evening. Going out or reading a book ? Go out early for dinner; come home to read for the night
Holidays. Beach or Mountains ? BEACH
Watching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else ?) ? ROMANTIC COMEDY (what else?)
Traveler or not ? NOT
Sporty or not ? NOT


TV show: still miss ALIAS – Love HOUSE and GREY’s ANATOMY
Movie: Music and Lyrics (Today. Ask me tomorrow and it might change)
Book: romance – almost anything light
Food: milk chocolate, icecream
Music: mellow – old – Elton John, Neil Diamond
Favourite place to write in: on vacation, at the beach
Quote or motto : IT IS WHAT IT IS

Thank you, Carly!
You can visit Carly on her website

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.


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: