Friday, May 27, 2016
Amanda Flower, a national bestselling and Agatha Award winning mystery author, started her writing career in elementary school when she read a story she wrote to her sixth grade class and had the class in stitches with her description of being stuck on the top of a Ferris wheel. She knew at that moment she’d found her calling of making people laugh with her words. She also writes mysteries as USA Today bestselling author Isabella Alan. In addition to being an author, Amanda is librarian in Northeast Ohio.
Interview: If you had to describe yourself in one sentence, what would you say?
I’ve wanted to be an author my entire life and now I’m living my dream with God’s grace.
What do you do when you’re not writing? Any interesting hobbies?
I like to spend as much of my free time as I can with my friends and family, especially my niece and nephew, who I love like they are my own children.
What was your favorite book as a teen or child?
Tell us three things about yourself that might surprise your readers.
1) I’m a vegetarian.
2) I like to cross country… even though I’m not very good at it.
3) I’ve always wanted a pet goat.
What genre did you start out writing? Have you changed course? Why or why not?
Mystery. I’m always wanted to write mystery. I would never say never, but I can’t imagine writing anything else.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
The toughest criticism was from my creative writing teacher in college who thought my writing was trivial. I took that on as a challenge to prove her wrong. She was an adjunct professor, and I don’t even remember her name but I remember what she said, and I’m grateful to her to put the fire in me to get published.
The best compliment was from a friend who said she loved my book so much that she forgot that I was one the who wrote it because she was so wrapped up in the story.
Any other genres you’d like to try? If yes, what and why?
I like to read some Urban Fantasy and Sweet Romance.
If you could go back in time and do something differently at the start of your career, what would it be?
I’d be a librarian like I am. I am a fulltime librarian and a fulltime author.
What is the most important piece of advice you’d like to give to unpublished authors?
Keep trying. Don’t give up. Success in publishing is more dependent on determination and a strong will than natural talent.
Can you tell us something about your latest novel, Crime and Poetry, first in the new Magical Bookshop Mystery series.
Rushing home to sit by her ailing grandmother’s bedside, Violet Waverly is shocked to find Grandma Daisy the picture of perfect health. Violet doesn’t need to read between the lines: her grandma wants Violet back home and working in her magical store, Charming Books. It’s where the perfect book tends to fly off the shelf and pick you...
Violet has every intention to hightail it back to Chicago, but then a dead man is discovered clutching a volume of Emily Dickinson’s poems from Grandma Daisy’s shop. The victim is Benedict Raisin, who recently put Grandma Daisy in his will, making her a prime suspect. Now, with the help of a tuxedo cat named Emerson, Violet will have to find a killer to keep Grandma from getting booked for good...
Please leave a comment for Amanda, along with your email address, for a chance to win a copy of Crime and Poetry. US residents only.
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
I often think back fondly of my very first book-signing. I had just published a romantic suspense geared to the literary/library market. So the binding and packaging were top-notch—it would truly hold up to heavy wear-and-tear. And the cover photo was embedded in the hardback cover, beneath the paper jacket. The only problem was the list price of $27.00 for an absolute “nobody” of a writer. I was so tickled with getting published that I scheduled a signing at my local independent bookstore. (Borders and Barnes and Noble kept asking: Who did you say you were?) This was an adorable shop in a valley surrounded by ski slopes and quaint art galleries. Unfortunately, it is now out-of-business. I send out dozens of publicity postcards to my family, friends, neighbors and business acquaintances. I paid for ads in my local newspapers and tried every avenue of free publicity I could find.
The day of the event I wore my new dress and took extra time with hair and make-up. I brought a tray of cookies and fruit tarts from the nearby bakery. The store owner had a fire lit with a comfy armchair for me to greet my “fans.” And in they came—my neighbors, cousins, and coworkers at my day job. It was like a cocktail party minus the cocktails. Everyone mingled and had a great time, including me. One hapless tourist wandered in and noticed the commotion. I spent fifteen minutes weaving an intriguing synopsis of my mystery. He kept thumbing through the book and nodding his head enthusiastically. Then suddenly he said: “Your book sounds good, but I’ll just check it out at the library.” And he disappeared out the door.
In the end, I didn’t sell a single copy to anyone who wasn’t related to me or knew me personally, but I did sell almost thirty books. When we were leaving with our empty dessert tray, my husband said: “This obligates us to very nice wedding/shower/baby/graduation or whatever gifts to everyone for the rest of our lives.” But you know what? It was all worth it, because for one special afternoon I felt like an author instead of just a writer.
Mary Ellis has written twelve award-winning novels set in the Amish community and several historical romances. Her latest, What Happened on Beale Street, is part of a new mystery series, Secrets of the South, from Harvest House Publishers. Before "retiring" to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate, a job with amazingly sweet fringe benefits. She enjoys traveling, gardening, bicycling and swimming, and lives in Ohio with her husband, dog and cat. She can be found on the web at: www.maryellis.net or www.facebook.com/Mary-Ellis/Author
Monday, May 23, 2016
It’s another great week on the Suspense Sisters!
This week reviewer Sybil Bates McCormack reviews MEDICAL JUDGMENT by our own Suspense Mister, Dr. Richard Mabry! Here’s a brief description of the book:
As the threats on her life continue to escalate, so do the questions: Who is doing this? Why are they after her? And with her only help being unreliable suitors in competition with each other, whom can she really trust?
"Dr. Mabry’s story shines in several particulars. He manages to keep the reader guessing at the attacker’s identity and dastardly motivations right until the very end. He explores key characters’ deep-seated flaws and frailties in a Christ-like, non-judgmental manner. And, the author never dumbs down the medicine—though he offers helpful, descriptive prose in Medical Judgment that makes the terminology palatable for the average layperson. Perhaps most importantly, Dr. Mabry laces the entire novel with a message of hope that few explore with such skill and sincerity."
For the complete review, go HERE.
On Tuesday, Dana Mentink will share What’s Hot in Inspirational Suspense and Mystery!
On Wednesday be sure to check out a great post from Suspense Sister Mary Ellis! She’ll talk about book signings.
That’s what’s happening this week on the Suspense Sisters! Don’t miss a single day. Sign up through email so you’ll get updates in the exciting world of inspirational suspense and mystery!
The Suspense Sisters! We love books!
Posted by Nancy Mehl at 8:01 AM
Friday, May 20, 2016
You can learn more about him by checking out his website, his blog, his Facebook fan page and/or his Twitter page.
You’ve only been a contributor to Suspense Sisters for a few months. Will you tell us a little about yourself?
I’ve lived in Texas since birth with the exception of three years overseas in the Air Force. I was in the solo practice of ENT (ear, nose, throat) for 26 years, a professor at the UT Southwestern Medical Center for 10 years, and have been retired from medicine since 2002.
I started writing after the death of my first wife in 1999, eventually producing a book, The Tender Scar: Life After The Death Of A Spouse, published by Kregel in 2006 and still in print. At the Christian writing conference I attended while trying to learn more about writing, two or three of the faculty members encouraged me to try my hand at fiction. It took four years, four novels, and forty rejections before I got my first fiction contract.
How many books have you produced, and which one was the toughest to write?
Counting my current book, I’ve had ten novels of medical suspense published, as well as two novellas. But the hardest book to write wasn’t one of these. It was The Tender Scar. Even now, when I read some of the chapters I cry.
Are you a “plotter” or a “pantser?”
The latter, I guess. Unlike the “plotters” among authors, when I start writing a novel, I have no idea who the bad person will turn out to be. As Donald Westlake, who called this “push fiction,” said: “If I don’t know what comes next, how can the reader guess it?”
What’s your writing routine? Where do you like to write? Starbucks? On your back porch?
I have a small (I mean, really small) office at home. After coffee and the news, I have breakfast, then go in and check email, read blogs, and try to get to work writing. And in case anyone is curious, no, I don’t write every day or have a word quota. Sometimes life gets in the way. But I always seem to make my deadlines.
What do you think is the best and/or worst part about being a writer?
I think it’s true—writers don’t enjoy writing, they enjoy having written. I love the sense of accomplishment when I finish each stage of the novel, and especially after I wind up the whole thing. On the other hand, while I’m writing I hate it when I get to a particularly tough spot and wonder how my character is going to get out of it.
Can you tell us about your new novel?
My next novel, Medical Judgment, is scheduled to release May 19. Here’s the back cover copy:
Someone is after Dr. Sarah Gordon. They’ve stalked her, then set a fire at her home, and she has no idea what will come next. Her late husband’s best friend and a recovering alcoholic detective aretrying to solve the mystery before it’s too late, but both appear to be vying for her affection as well. Sarah finds herself in constant fear as the process plays out. The questions keep mounting. Who is doing this? Why are they after her? What will they do to her? Will it mean her death? And, meanwhile, whom can she trust?
Leave a comment, along with your contact information, and you may win a copy of Richard's book, MEDICAL JUDGMENT. (U.S. only please.)
Posted by Nancy Mehl at 1:00 AM