Q: When do you write?
A: I usually write from 9 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday.

Q:  How much do you write a day?
A: My goal is to get at least 1,000 words down on paper, but I usually shoot for closer to double that. If I’m really in the groove, and I don’t have errands to do, such as (yuck) grocery shopping, I’ll continue writing into the afternoon.

Q: How many books do you write a year?
A: I’m averaging one book a year.

Q: How long does it take you to write a book?
A: The first draft usually takes three to four months and then the next eight or nine months is spent revising and rewriting.

Q: Do you write yourself into the books?
A: Yes and no. Let me explain — I once read that every single character in an author’s book contains bits and pieces of the author — that includes the antagonist. There are parts of me that are like Gabriella Giovanni, but then there are parts of her that are nothing like me. In fact, she’s way cooler than I ever was as a newspaper reporter.

Q: Do you write your children into your books?
A: No way.

Q: How do you bring characters to life?
A: I start by sketching an idea of what they are like but then they sort of reveal themselves to me on the page. They take on a life of their own outside of me.

Q: How did you get started with a publisher?
A: I took the old-fashioned journey: Send out a million queries, get a million rejections, repeat, keep at it, and eventually get an offer from a rock star agent, who then got me a book deal.

Q: Do you like ebooks/what do you think about ebooks?
A: I do like ebooks. I don’t see them replacing traditional books, only giving readers another option.

Q: How do you keep your series books straight?
A: I create a series bible with lists of characters names, backgrounds and some plot points.

Q: Do you do author talks at bookstores?
A: I will. I’ll do author talks anywhere, book clubs, coffee shops, bars, you name it. I can’t wait to talk to my readers in person.

Q: Do you write about people you know?
A: Just like bits and pieces of me end up in my novels, so do fragments of the people I know.

Q: Do you help with your titles?
A: I always turn in a manuscript with a title attached.

Q: With your covers?
A: No.

Q: Do you write on the computer or longhand?
A: I’d lose my mind trying to capture my thoughts fast enough in longhand. I might be able to do it, but I wouldn’t be able to read it later.

Q: Who are your favorite authors?
A: Ernest Hemingway, Sara Gran, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Lisa Unger, Joan Didion, Anais Nin, and many, many more.

Q: Who inspires you?
A: My real life writer friends, so very many of them, but off the top of my head, the hardest working ones I know, such as Owen Laukkanen, who often writes as many as 5,000 words a day. And Joelle Charbonneau, a mother of a toddler and voice teacher, who still managed to crank out four books in one year.

Q: Where do you write?
A: Either at the bar counter in my kitchen, sitting on a backless stool, or at the neighborhood coffee shop when my finances allow me to splurge on a latte.

Q: What are you working on now?
A: A young adult novel, a mystery, set in Minneapolis.


Share This Post:
Categories: This Writer's Life | Tags: , , , | Comments Off

Book Deal!


Over the past few years I’ve had people email me or ask me how they can buy my books and my answer has always been a sheepish — um, yeah, well, you can’t.

Well, finally, you can!

I’m beyond excited to announce that HarperCollins will publish my debut mystery novel, BLESSED ARE THE DEAD, on June 10, 2014. And the second book in the Gabriella Giovanni mystery series, BLESSED ARE THE MEEK, will come out July 8, 2014.

A two-book deal. Yippee!

And here’s where I lost my mind this morning, freaking out, making noises like Rosco P. Coltrane from the Dukes of Hazzard — you can pre-order the books on Amazon RIGHT NOW. This minute. (I’m sputtering like that sheriff again!)

Here’s the link to pre-order BLESSED ARE THE DEAD and BLESSED ARE THE MEEK on Amazon.

And here is a little bit about my first book: here.

I have to apologize to anyone who is not in the publishing business, but seeing your name and your books on Amazon for the first time is crazy because all of a sudden, it is REAL. Hence the Rosco-like noises.

And THEN I thought the excitement was over but I went to Goodreads and HOLY SMOKES, my books came up there so I immediately clicked WANT TO READ. And then sat back down and relaxed before I gave myself a heart attack.

Now, here’s a little bit about my book deal.

My book will be published as an e-book only — at first.

It’s a title in William Morrow/HarperCollins’ Witness imprint. Witness features mysteries and thrillers in digital-first format. Later, in many cases, the books will then be released in print format.

I’m always optimistic, so I have every hope that readers will love it enough for it to go to print.

Here’s what mystery writer James Hayman said about going with the new mystery imprint and why I think he’s right and it was a smart move.

“I decided to go with Harper Collins’ after learning that, while roughly 25% of all books sold in the U.S. are sold in e-book format, in genre fiction such as mysteries, thrillers and romance, the number is closer to 60% and rising.”

Yeah. That.

The press release announcing the new imprint says that Witness is modeled after the publisher’s successful romance imprint, Impulse.

“Authors published by Witness will have a dedicated team, ensuring they receive full editorial support as well as an individualized strategic marketing and publicity campaign. Dynamic, market-responsive pricing remains a cornerstone of the Witness/Impulse e-book pricing strategy. Even though these books are digital-first, the HarperCollins sales group is always seeking out opportunities in print, working with key retail accounts to execute tailored promotions in physical stores. To date, more than 60 percent of Impulse titles have a print format, with thousands of printed copies sold for each of those books.”

Witness will also release all of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot short stories as digital singles.

I’ll thrilled to be joining other authors already signed with Witness, including James Hayman, internationally-bestselling author Stephen Booth, CWA Dagger-winning authors Frances Fyfield and Rory Clements, bestselling author Judi Culbertson, and Sunday Times “Top 10” bestselling author Emlyn Reese.

Share This Post:
Categories: Blessed are the Dead | Tags: , , , | 23 Comments

Barfing with the Blue Angels

I’m having way too much fun with imovie lately. I made a super cool book trailer (more on that soon) and just made a short little video about flying with the Blue Angels.

Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 2.56.27 PMClick above or here to watch the video.

Share This Post:
Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: | 3 Comments

Art Alley Second Line Parade

photo (6)

photo (4)

photo (9)

photo (8)

photo (2) copy 3

photo (3) copy

Share This Post:
Categories: Snapshots | Comments Off

Writer Interviews: Alison Gaylin

realityendsherecovalison 5(5)

It was just dumb luck that I stumbled across my first Alison Gaylin book, “and she was,” and loved it so much when I was finished I didn’t want to put it down. I pored through the acknowledgments and came across several familiar names, including that of Jeff Shelby, a friend of mine who is responsible for many moments of choking-on-my-coffee laugh-out-loud moments and who is one-half of an awesome writing couple. So, of course, I loved Alison even more at that point and am pretty sure I began to cyber stalk her on Facebook and somehow got her to agree to do a writer interview here on my page. Yay for me and for my readers. Alison’s first book HIDE YOUR EYES was nominated for an Edgar Award in the Best First Novel Category. Now that I’ve found her work, I’m looking forward to reading everything Alison has ever written starting with her latest, a YA, REALITY ENDS HERE. Here’s Alison in her own words:

1. Describe your writing routine and/or schedule?
I have a day job and a family so I write when I can. I do try to do it from 9 to 6 or so, but life very often gets in the way and I’ll wind up doing a late night instead. Lately, getting up early (around 6 am) has been working for me. My brain seems to work better in the morning these days. Go figure…

2. What do you do if you get writer’s block?
For me, a change of scenery and a little exercise helps. I live in a beautiful area, so if the weather’s decent, I’ll go for a run or a hike to get the brain cells working. If not, the gym. Or, you know… 150 cups of coffee, pacing around nervously and telling myself I’m doomed.

3. Who do you read, or recommend other writer’s read, in regards to craft?
The best book I’ve ever read that’s about the craft of writing (and all the stuff that gets in its way) is Anne Lamott’s BIRD BY BIRD. I read it a very long time ago and still quote lines from it.

4. Who do you read for fun?
That question depresses me because I’m on deadline right now and so I can’t 1) read any other fiction and 2) can’t have any fun. Rest assured, I have a huge TBR pile that I can’t wait to get to. (In terms of books that are fun, nobody beats our mutual friend Jeff Shelby (aka Jeffrey Allen).)

5. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Tell us about it.
I’ve always loved to make up stories. and certain short stories and books I read as a kid made me think, “Wow, I wish I could do something like that.” (Joyce Carol Oates’ SMOOTH TALK immediately comes to mind.) but I don’t know that there was one specific moment when I knew I wanted to write professionally. I just started writing, and the more I did it, the more confident I felt that I might be able to eventually write for a living.

6. What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
Don’t give up. But don’t look at your writing and think there’s no room for improvement. That’s great if you sell your book right out of the gate and it becomes a huge hit. But if not, join the club, and see what you can do to make it better. If you’re getting constructive criticism, view it as a gift and use it. The great thing about writing is the ability to rewrite, to improve. Honestly, I can’t tell you how much my books would suck if I never had the chance to revise them.

7. What do you think is the most important skill to have to succeed as a writer?
Perseverance (see above.) Wait. Is perseverance a skill?

8. What is your favorite food and/or drink?
Do I have to pick just one? Bagel, lox and cream cheese, sushi, Cesar salad, dark chocolate — but not all that the same time. Okay, maybe at the same time. Magic Hat #9 is my favorite beer.

9. Do you have a favorite book or movie? Too many to name!

USA Today and International best-selling author Alison Gaylin received an Edgar nomination for her first book HIDE YOUR EYES, and has since been nominated for the RT award, the Thriller, the Anthony and the Shamus. In addition to her six published crime fiction novels, she’s published the Young Adult mystery REALITY ENDS HERE (Simon and Schuster/PocketStar). The graphic novel she wrote with Megan Abbott, NORMANDY GOLD, is in development as a TV series for New Regency Productions, with Alison and Megan scripting the pilot. Alison is currently at work on the third book in the Brenna Spector series for Harper Collins, which will be out next year.

Share This Post:
Categories: Writer Interviews | Tags: , , | 3 Comments