I want to introduce you to Lois Winston, Author of the recently released Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun. Lois was kind enough to let me interview her for my blog today. Leave a comment for Lois and she’ll enter you in her giveaway – read to the end of the interview for details.
Kate: Hi Lois, I’m so glad to have you here today, and my readers get a break from my ramblings for a day. But on to the questions: I understand you have a lot to celebrate this week, tell us about what’s happening.
Lois: Not exactly this week but this month. January 1st saw the release of ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN, the first book in my new Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries series from Midnight Ink.
K: That is exciting news. I never can quite believe I actually wrote my books. I’m always interested in what it is that makes people write. What inspired you to write your first book?
Lois: I’ve always told people that I was inspired by a dream I had 15 years ago, but I recently realized that’s not exactly correct. I wrote my first book as an end-of-year class project my junior year of high school. As I recall, it was quite derivative of ON THE BEACH, but that’s about all I remember about it. I wish I still had it. I’m sure it was total drivel by publishing standards, although I remember getting an A+ on the assignment.
K: Wow. Writing a book for and end-of-year high school project is pretty ambitious. I’m in awe. Would you say you have a specific writing style?
I like to think so.
Kate: How would you describe ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN to a potential reader?
Lois: I call it a humorous amateur sleuth mystery, but I really like how Kirkus Reviews referred to it. They called it “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” How cool is that?
Kate: Very cool. I’ve always been a Plum fan. Talk a little about your protagonist.
Lois: Anastasia Pollack is a suburban wife and mother and the crafts editor at a women’s magazine. Her life is just about perfect until her husband cashes in his chips — permanently — at a roulette table in Las Vegas when he’s supposed to be at a sales meeting in Harrisburg, Pa. That’s when Anastasia’s life craps out. She’s left with two teenage sons, a mountain of debt, AND her communist mother-in-law. Not to mention her dead husband’s loan shark who’s demanding fifty thousand dollars. And that’s before she discovers the dead body of the magazine’s fashion editor hot glued to her office chair.
Kate: What prompted you to write about Anastasia?
Lois: She made me do it!
Kate: Tell us a little about your antagonist.
Lois: Poor Anastasia has many an antagonist in her life. There’s the aforementioned communist mother-in-law, dumped on her only weeks before her husband died and is now a permanent resident at Casa Pollack. There’s Marlys Vandenburg, the dead fashion editor. Because she and Anastasia didn’t get along and she’s killed with Anastasia’s glue gun, guess who becomes the prime suspect in her death? Then there’s Ricardo, the loan shark. He’ll do just about anything to get the fifty grand Anastasia’s husband owed him.
Kate: Poor Anastasia indeed! And poor Marlys, death by glue gun? That’s got to be an unusual way to die. Are you reading anything now? Are there any authors (living or dead) that you would name as influences?
Lois: This is such a busy month for me that I’m afraid I’m not reading anything right now. However, I recently read all 4 books in Ariana Franklin’s Mistress of the Art of Death series and absolutely loved them. I can’t wait for the next book in the series to come out.
As for an author who has influenced me, I’d have to put Janet Evanovich at the top of the list. So you can imagine how much that awesome comparison from Kirkus means to me.
Kate: We have Janet Evanovich in Common, she was a major reason I started writing again. What was the book that most influenced your life — and why?
Lois: The book that most influenced my life? Hands down, PEYTON PLACE. I was 11 years old. Up to that point I thought sex was something people did only when they wanted to have a baby, and it was done standing up. I was a very naïve kid! Needless to say, I had to sneak the read.
Kate: Catcher in the Rye was the first book I had to sneak to read. You never forget your first sneak-read! Do you have any favorite films?
Lois: One of my favorite modern movies is SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE. I also have quite a few favorite classic movies. CASABLANCA tops the list. Then there’s AFRICAN QUEEN and SINGING IN THE RAIN.
Kate: I’m beginning to think you are a long-lost sister, Shakespeare in Love is one of my favorites too. What’s your favorite music?
Lois: I’m a big fan of everything George Gershwin ever wrote, both his show tunes and his jazz pieces. Beyond that, I love Broadway musicals and 60’s rock and roll, but I also listen to classical music and some opera.
Kate: If you had a book club, what would it be reading — and why?
Lois: ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN, of course. I think the “why” is self-evident.
Kate: Of course, that was a silly question. What are your favorite books to give — and get — as gifts?
Lois: Other than my own books? I try to give gifts that I know the recipient will like. So if someone loves to cook, I’ll buy her a cooking mystery or a cookbook. Or maybe both, depending on the person.
Personally, I love to get great big coffee table books, the kind you drool over but would never splurge on for yourself.
Kate: Give us three “Good to Know” facts about you. Be creative. Tell us about your first job, the inspiration for your writing, any fun details that would enliven your page.
Lois: The first paying job I ever held was teaching arts & crafts at the local Y. Now I’m writing a crafting mystery series. How’s that for irony?
I get a lot of the inspiration for my writing from what I read in the newspaper and see on the evening news. I’m pretty much a news junkie. I start my day every morning with reading the daily newspaper while I’m eating breakfast. I watch the evening news at dinner, and I end my day with a dose of faux news from The Daily Show.
OK, that’s two fun details, but you asked for three. Hmm…did I mention that when I was growing up, I wanted to be an astronaut? Motion sickness grounded that career. Literally.
Kate: What else do you want your readers to know? Consider here your likes and dislikes, your interests and hobbies, your favorite ways to unwind — whatever comes to mind.
Lois: One of my biggest pet peeves is people who don’t answer their emails or return phone calls. I love vanilla lattes and hate reality TV and housework. Like most writers, my favorite way to unwind is to curl up on a comfy sofa with a good book — and a vanilla latte, of course.
However, what I’d really like people to know is that they can read more about me at my website, http://www.loiswinston.com, where they’ll also find an excerpt from ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN. In addition, Anastasia and her fellow magazine editors blog at Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers, http://www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com, and they hope people will come visit them.
Also, I’m doing a blog tour this month to celebrate the release of ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN. The schedule is on my website and Anastasia’s blog. Everyone who posts a comment to any of the blogs over the course of the month will be entered into a drawing to receive one of 5 copies of ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN. (If your email isn’t included in your comment, email me privately at email@example.com to let me know you’ve entered.) In addition, I’m also giving away an assortment of crafts books on selected blogs during the tour, so look for those as well.
Kate: Thanks Lois for joining us today. I wish you great success with Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun!
Don’t forget to comment everyone – you don’t want to miss the chance for a giveaway!