Enjoy some Mayhem & Magic!

Our blog is meant to evoke fun with the magic of myths, folklore, movies and the mayhem of murder and madness. We have to keep it interesting so if you like different genres of movies and books then you're at the right blog. Our authors are a wide range of experts and our readers know what is top of the line in their favorite genres. Sometimes we post recipes that might be fun to try if a culinary author has one in her book that we think is especially yummy or one that Terri and I have created and want to share with you. Enjoy Guest Blogger Alice Duncan's monthly muse on her books and writing mysteries.

Plus you won't want to miss our book reviews, author interviews or our guest bloggers. So grab your favorite beverage then join us for some magic and mayhem! The good news is that you don't have to leave the house or your comfy chair. We have something for everyone's taste and every month we have a different topic for our bloggers: ones we feel that might be useful in your own writing and reader points of view. Not to mention, life in general. So join us and be sure to have a notebook handy as your to-be-read pile will grow as you add books, recipes, movies and t.v. series you won't want to miss. Not to mention folktales, myths or ideas you may wish to explore. Be careful what you wish for because on mayhemandmagic2 you just might find it.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

An Interview with Colleen Shogan

MM: Give is the backstory on your writing career?

As a political scientist, I’ve previously written for an academic and congressional audience.  One day, I took a walk in my neighborhood and contrived the plot of STABBING IN THE SENATE. I had never written fiction before, so one day I simply sat down and started to write the novel. I’ve been reading mysteries since I was a little. In my early days of fiction writing, I tried to imitate the various writing styles I’ve enjoyed over the years.

MM: Where is your favorite place to write?

In the summer, I love writing outside on our backyard deck with my dog.

MM: What is your writing schedule?

Since I work full-time at the Library of Congress, I write in the evenings and on the weekends, usually for about an hour at a time. If done consistently, it works.

MM: Dead or alive what five authors would you like to interview? What would you ask them? What meal or desert would you have?

Walter Isaacson, Dan Brown, JK Rowling, Deborah Harkness, and Mildred Wirt Benson (aka Carolyn Keene). Quite an eclectic group! I’d ask them about how they come up with the creative ideas for their books.  I’d probably like to chat with them over a nice cup of coffee.

MM: Tell us about your latest book?

The second book in the series, after STABBING IN THE SENATE, is HOMICIDE IN THE HOUSE. I finished it a few months ago and sent it to my publisher. I think it’s even better than STABBING because there are several subplots, and almost a mystery within a mystery. The same characters make an appearance – Kit, Doug, Meg, and even Trevor. Congress is still the backdrop, but there’s even more intrigue and political maneuvering!

MM: What comes first, your character, plot, setting or backstory of the situation?

The setting really helps dictate my plot. After I work on the action, then I develop the supporting characters, creating their strengths, weaknesses, and foibles. That’s always a lot of fun because you can be as creative as your mind allows.

MM: Be our tour guide. Tell us about where you live and what you love about living there?

I live in a beautiful neighborhood in Arlington, Virginia, which is approximately four miles from Washington, D.C. I love living in my house. It’s not particularly large, but for almost 20 years, I lived in apartments, condos, and dorms. Finally, we bought a house, and it’s very enjoyable, particularly our backyard.

MM: I loved STABBING IN THE SENATE, where did you get your idea? Tell us about the fabulous cover and title?

I worked in the United States Senate for almost three years so the backstory comes from my experience as a staffer. Personally, I like alliterations. Once I decided upon the Senate as the setting, then of course it had to be a stabbing! My publisher designed the cover. We went through several versions, and I took many of the drafts into work at the Library of Congress and showed them to colleagues, who weighed in. They helped drastically with the cover’s evolution. But the best part of the cover is my dog, the inspiration for the beagle mutt “Clarence” character in the series. HOMICIDE IN THE HOUSE features Clarence prominently so don’t miss it.

MM: What would your characters tell us about you?

That I like writing dialogue a lot more than writing anything else! That’s why the dialogue is snappy. I think it’s my sharpest writing.

MM: Now for fun questions. What show/s do you binge watch? What is your favorite meal, place to vacation, movie/s, song and way to spend your spare time?

I have a guilty pleasure: “Grey’s Anatomy.” I also like “NCIS: Los Angeles” (I overlapped with Chris O’Donnell at Boston College), “Madame Secretary” and “Veep.”

My favorite meal is definitely pizza. I love vacationing in Duck, North Carolina, a town in the Outer Banks. One of my favorite movies is “This Is The End” starring James Franco and Seth Rogen. Those guys make me laugh out loud. I can’t get enough of them. I like the song “I’m Happy” because I try to stay optimistic. Between my regular job, writing, and teaching a course annually at Georgetown, I have very little spare time. When I do have time, I like to head out to Virginia wineries with my husband and dog, go to the movies, and of course, read.

MM: Lastly, what are you looking forward to in 2016?

I’m a political junkie so I am looking forward to the 2016 presidential election. The cast of characters thus far have proven especially entertaining.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Blog: My last two library trips.

Time before last I went to the library and I picked up in paperback "Marsh Madness by Victoria Abbott, I love this book and should finish it today. I can't wait to review it for you. I also hit the jackpot because I found in hardback Plantation Shudders by Ellen Byron.
I am in heaven with these two books. Wait it gets better because I also picked up books on tape. I have the Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly, this is art of the Lincoln Lawyer Series. I have to say I am happily cross stitching and I love this idea. I finished the first scarecrow this way and I am on the second scarecrow.
Another plus is that my husband who doesn't read fiction (not even my books), is listing along with me. However, since he doesn't stitch sooner or later he falls asleep.
It's just nice not to have the television blaring because that is his thing he watches television all the time. Currently the offices are a mess. Another story for another day.

I also picked up V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton for the audio in the car. Now that was  great trip but I did have to return the Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith which is also J.K. Rawlings.
Anyway this has become humorous because twice now I have had to return it before I finished the book because someone else wants to read it. The front desk person can't understand why I haven't finished it yet because she couldn't put it down.

Anyway this brings me to last night's visit. I got a call yesterday from one of the ladies and Career of Evil is in so I went to pick it up and of course once again the conversation flowed to the fact if someone else wants to read it I must return it and not recheck the book out. I said well I probably won't finish it and will have to recheck. Again we rehashed that she couldn't put it down. I told her I ha four books going, one on the kindle, one in the bathroom, one in the bedroom and one in the living room. She told me that was crazy. I understand as she reads one book at a time.
I told her that I review books and so I must do it this way. That it's not a problem because most are in different genres. She thinks I am crazy. LOL
Either way the book will be rechecked out and I am very happy she found that she loves this series. I love the series but I do have obligations. One of which is that I must also return the audio books on time and the other books. Plus authors expect their books read and so as you can see this is very humorous.
Anyway I use my library a lot and love all the ladies who work there. I really love to read and I love cross stitch.
I couldn't afford to buy all the books I want to read. Of course we all try to buy the books and our grocery Country Mart always seems to have several cozy authors. Some of which I do not read but it's nice to support a store that does this, I love winning books,
I love books that authors send to me and I love buying books. I will be using audio library at the local library more and more as that actually takes care two of my loves.
I do need to try to make he coloring class this week while the sun is going to be out and shine.
Okay now maybe I will post a review today.
Hugs,
Pam

An Interview with Nancy Herriman

MM: Nancy give us the backstory on your career?
           
            I began writing when my kids were little (since they’re               nearly 19 and 21, you get an idea  how long ago that                   was), jotting down as many words as possible during                 naps and distracted playtime. I took writing classes,                   attended conferences, and joined a hardy band of fellow             writers who were my greatest supporters and are still                 my friends. I began writing romance novels, winning                 RWA’s Daphne award for a historical romantic
            suspense that landed me my first agent, but                                  unfortunately not a contract. It would take
            several more years, manuscripts and a new, utterly                     marvelous agent to finally get ‘The Call’. When my                   publisher closed their fiction line, however, I was left                 adrift. My agent knew about my historical romantic                   suspense and suggested I try writing a mystery. Which I             did and which became ‘No Comfort for the Lost.’

MM: What type of schedule do you have?
           
            When I’m working full tilt on a book, my day usually starts around 8 in the morning, when
            I catch up on my e-mail and social media. I start writing sometime around 10,
            working until about 4 (or later, if I’m nearing deadline), and will spend a few more hours
            catching up on mail and posts and doing a little promo after that. I work 6 days a week,
            including holidays, but even when I’m on deadline, I take Sundays off. I simply have to
            recharge at some point.

MM: Tell us about your latest work?

            I’ve just handed in the edits on the 2nd book in my ‘A Mystery of Old San Francisco’
            series, which is titled ‘No Pity for the Dead.’  My books take place in the 1860s after the
            Civil War, and feature an English nurse, Celia Davies, and a handsome (of course!)
            Police Detective, Nick Greaves, along with a host of colorful characters. Here’s a mini-
        
    blurb that rather summarizes the premise of my books: ‘In 1860s San Francisco, gold buys the best life has to offer. Without it, not even justice is guaranteed.’ I’m also very pleased to say that Library Journal chose ‘No Comfort for the Lost’ as their August Pick of the Month. Quite an honor.

MM: If you could sit down to dinner with five people. Who would they be? What would you ask them?

            Given the time period for my books, I’d like to meet some             of the famous folks from 1860s San Francisco. People like             Mark Twain and Bret Harte; Emperor Norton, who wasn’t
            really an emperor, but did become an extremely popular                 tourist attraction; Levi Strauss;  or the intriguing Jesse                   Benton Fremont, whose house overlooking the Golden                   Gate in the early 1860s became a salon for the San                         Francisco intellectual elite.

MM: What is your favorite place to vacation, dessert, song, movie and book to re-read?
           
            Vacation: I have to choose? Any place with interesting history, lovely buildings and good
            food! England is a favorite (no, honestly, there is good food there) as is New York City.
            Dessert: Hm. It’s a toss-up between my mother’s blueberry pie and key lime pie, I think.
            Song: Tough one. As a vocalist, there are songs I love to sing (Bach/Gounod’s ‘Ave
            Maria’ or Darlene Zschech’s ‘Shout to the Lord’ or Wilson Picket’s ‘Mustang Sally’!). As a
            listener, it depends on my mood. I love Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Never Going Back Again’, ‘Wild
            Horses’ by the Stones, and ‘Tonight, Tonight’ by Smashing Pumpkins, to just name a few.
            Movie: I watch ‘A Christmas Story’ every year, but I adore old classics, especially
            Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window’. Appeals to the mystery author in me, I suppose!
            Book: I can’t recall the last time I reread a book. But I’m a huge fan of Elizabeth Peters’
            Amelia Peabody series (so sad she’s gone) and Lindsey Davis’ work.
           
MM: What would you like to say to your readers?

            I hope that you find my tales of the folks who populated San Francisco in the 1860s, a
            city filled with immigrants from all over the world, interesting and that you come to love
            Celia and Nick and their family and friends, with all their quirks.

MM: What would your characters tell us about you?

            That I keep putting them into perilous situations they’d rather not have to deal with!

MM: Tell us about where you live? Be our tour guide>

            I live in a fairly normal central Ohio suburb, but am happy that we’re very close to
            countryside and have lots of parks to take advantage of (as well as lots of great
            restaurants with good food and some very lovely buildings)

MM: In closing leave us with a character quote?

            ‘Danger finds her like a bloodhound tracks a scent.’ Nicholas Greaves thinking about
            Celia Davies


Review: Gone and Done It by Maggie Toussaint

Baxley is working as a landscaper when she finds bones in the hole she is digging.  This unleashes a lot of problems for her, from being tased by deputies thinking she is is interfering with the scene, to being fired by her employer for bringing unwanted attention.  Baxley has other skills though - she can dreamwalk and see and talk to the deceased and learn things that can help the sheriff in the investigation.  She is a single mother struggling with making ends meet and she thinks if she can help the sherriff, she can add to her income.  She struggles to balance all of the overwhelming things happening in her life to help solve the murder and help the dead woman who haunts her dreams.

It is actually hard to do justice in my summary to all of the interesting elements in this story and the complexity of Baxley's life.  I really enjoyed this book and its characters.  Best one so far this year!

Terri

Friday, February 5, 2016

Review: Thaddeus Whiskers and the Dragon by HL Burke

Thaddeus is the companion of the Princess and lives a lovely life that makes him happy.  When the court Magician decides to make him fluffier as a 'gift', it has the unintended consequence of triggering violent sneezing in most of the court including the king.  So he is taken away until a new spell can be found to fix it. 

Only he is being kept away and no one seems too anxious to fix it and get him back home. Missing the Princess, he tries to find his own way back, making friends with a dragon and rat along the way.  If he doesn't find his way back, a sorceress will make sure she weds the king and he will never be back and the Princess will be sent away.  Only to fight the sorceress, Ambrosia, he needs the help of the friends he has made.

A light, fun tale.

Terri

Thursday, February 4, 2016

An Interview with Mary Ellen Hughes

MAHEM AND MAGIC
Mary Ellen Hughes

MM: Mary Ellen, please tell us the backstory on your how and when you became an author?
I crept towards becoming an author, inch by inch. My first byline was for a humorous 12-line poem in the Saturday Evening Post. It paid only $15, but it encouraged me enough to try short stories. Before long, two were published with one winning a local award! After that I stepped up to writing full-length novels, and two were accepted by a small publisher, which eventually led to my getting an agent and a contract with Berkley Prime Crime. Berkley published my Craft Corner Series, then followed that with my Pickled and Preserved series.

MM: When do you have your most productive writing time?
Mornings, definitely. I might do a little editing later in the day, but I think the most creatively in the morning.

MM: How many books have you written and what genres have you written?
SCENE OF THE BRINE is my eighth book. They’ve all been cozy/traditional mysteries. You can see the full list at Mary Ellen Hughes Author Page

MM: In 2016 what do readers have to look forward to and what are you personally looking forward to doing or taking the time to do?
SCENE OF THE BRINE was released February 2. I’m also working on a  proposal for a new series but can’t say too much about it yet. I’d love to take a trip to somewhere new, perhaps something a little exotic.

MM: Without it being a convention. If you were going to have nine authors to lunch. Who would they be and what would you discuss? Of course we want to know what season and what meal you would serve?
Nine authors? I’m not sure I could handle that many, LOL. Since you didn’t say they’d have to be alive, my dream guest authors would be Agatha Christie and Jane Austin. I’d pick Agatha’s brain to learn how she came up with all her clever plots, then Jane Austin’s about creating memorable characters.
The meal would be a cream tea (they’re British, you know) and I’d serve lovely crust-trimmed sandwiches outdoors in the garden, where we could enjoy my summer blooms. I’d also offer a variety of tasty pickles to go with the sandwiches and homemade strawberry jam and clotted cream for their scones.

MM: What advice do you have for novice mystery writers who want to write a mystery series?
Read  as much as you can of what’s out there to get a good feel for the genre. Then write, write, write. A good critique group is always a plus for immediate feedback on your writing.

MM: What do you love about writing mysteries?
Since I write cozies, I love creating characters, whether victims or murderers. I feel a little like a sculptor as the person slowly takes shape on the page. It’s hard work, but it can be so satisfying.

MM: Some fun questions for you. Where is your favorite place to vacation?
I like to see new places, so I don’t have a favorite place to go to more than once, other than visiting those family members who live away from us.

 Do you ever binge watch television shows or movies? If so which ones?
No, I’ve never binge-watched. It’s not my thing.

 Do you have a favorite meal?
Again, I like variety. My husband could eat the same meal for days, but not me. I don’t like to eat a certain meal more than once a month, and my “favorites” change often.

 Be our tour guide and tell why you love living where you live?
I live in Maryland, where I moved after college. I love being close to so many great places. D.C. is minutes away, with its great museums and entertainment. Baltimore and Annapolis have their historic places and wonderful restaurants. Then, the beach at Ocean City is reachable in only three hours, with many quaint Eastern Shore towns to drive through or visit on the way. Did I mention mountains? Not that far away, either, in the other direction. I could go on for hours…

MM: Do you ever reread your favorite books?
I do! I’ve reread Jane Austin’s books and love them. But I put a few years between rereading.

MM: They say it takes a village to be a published author. Who is in your village?
I was lucky to join a terrific critique group early on, and I learned—and still learn—a lot about writing and publishing from them. My local Sisters in Crime chapter was another wonderful resource, filled with lovely people.

MM: Are you a member of any writers group?
Besides Sisters in Crime, I’m also a member of MysteryWriters of America.

MM: Who has encouraged you the most in your life?
My husband has always been wonderfully supportive, in so many ways.

MM: Tell us about your latest book. Are you a person who outlines their books/series? Do take it as the words come and then rewrite if you need be?
Here’s the blurb that appears on the back cover of SCENE OF THE BRINE:
Business is booming at Piper’s Picklings in Cloverdale, New York. But not all is sweet in the life of Piper’s number one customer and friend, local caterer Sugar Heywood. Sugar is dating wealthy realtor Jeremy Porter, but his family doesn’t approve. After their unscrupulous accountant finds some dirt on Sugar, the family quickly urges Jeremy to throw her out like rotten fruit. 
 Things are further spoiled after the accountant is found poisoned, and all evidence points to Sugar’s son, Zach. With the Porter family determined to avoid scandal, it won’t be easy for Piper to preserve Zach’s innocence. And after someone falls victim to a poisoned jar of some of her brandied cherries, Piper’s got a peck of trouble to deal with herself…

I don’t outline but have a pretty good idea of my plot, suspects, and solution before I start. I like being surprised as new ideas appear while I’m writing. I’ll edit the previous day’s pages as I go along, but also do editing at the end, if needed. It usually is, LOL.

MM: I imagine that when a book is released there is a lot of stress. How do you combat your stress?
Stress, yes, but the good kind that comes from excitement. Exercise relaxes me, and I love to play tennis if I have the time. That game takes my mind off things very well.

MM: Leave us with either a quote by your protagonist or leave us with your favorite quote?
Someone gave me a collectible bookmark, once, with a quote of Winston Churchill’s that I love: “Never, never, never quit.”


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan

The Joys of January


Oh, my, January was such a confuzzled month. My daughter Anni and her husband Razmik were here for Christmas and then to fix up my house, which needs it badly.

They started out with a bang. Unfortunately for me, both of my children are neat freaks. Since I was born without an organizational gene in my own personal DNA, I don’t know where this characteristic came from. I don’t think their father was particularly well organized. Nuts, maybe, but not well organized. However it came to pass, both Anni and Robin are tidy. Anni even made me clean up a bunch of stuff. Overall, this was a Very Good Thing, because I found some things I’d even forgotten I had, including two wiener-dog pictures by Tom Stoner, late husband of Monica Stoner, my very first critique partner, who now lives, writes, breeds and shows Salukis in Edgewood, New Mexico. We met in Southern California, and then everybody moved to New Mexico. Go figure. Anyway, I’m pleased to have found Tom’s wiener dogs pictures, and aim to have them framed as soon as I can afford to do so.

                                   




But that’s not all. Razmik put in new floors, painted the whole inside of the house, and I bought a new sofa and chair for the living room. He also re-hung pictures, so that they’re all now evenly spaced and stuff like that. I’ve never had evenly spaced pictures before. This is nice. Love the new floors. And I’ve taken precautions so the dogs can’t ruin my new furniture. I don’t mind a little dog hair, but a couple of my hounds actually pee on furniture. Not anymore. Heh, heh, heh.

                     

 

And then it snowed. It didn’t just snow. It snowzillaed. Mind you, we generally get a little bit of snow here in Roswell, but this snow pretty much brought the city to its knees. The newspaper lady couldn’t get through the snow to deliver the newspaper (no big loss there) and even the mail couldn’t get through. Roswell’s mail is sorted in Lubbock, Texas, and all the roads were blocked into and out of Roswell, which is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. There was no food on grocery shelves, and lots of streets remained impassible for a couple of weeks. We’re more or less back to normal now, but Razmik’s work on the house sort of had to grind to a stop. He’d intended to paint the outside, too, and put new outdoor carpeting on the front porch because the old stuff was coming apart and posed quite a falling risk. He took up the old stuff, but it was too wet to put the new stuff on. Oh, well. Maybe they’ll be able to come back again someday and finish making my house worth living in. He did find a huge problem regarding a leak between the bathroom and kitchen walls, which will have to be addressed at a later time, too, but not much later because the whole stupid house is apt to collapse if it’s not taken care of soon. Which, of course, requires money. I just hate that.

Anyway, enough of that. I’ll get in touch with the winners of the audio edition of THANKSGIVING ANGELS. And at the end of February… I’ll be gone. Hmm. Just recalled that I’ll be in Phoenix at the Left Coast Crime conference, and then in Southern California to visit friends and family. I’ll mainly be staying at Robin and Gilbert’s home in the San Fernando Valley, because they need someone to dog-sit while they take a vacation. Hmm. Anni and Razmik seem to have usurped my few savings (although it was worth it) and now Robin and Gilbert are usurping my vacation time. But what the heck! I love visiting my friends and family in Southern California, and I can drive from West Hills to Pasadena, can’t I? The answer to that question is a resounding YES.

So no contest this month. I’ll figure out another one for March.

Please visit my web page at www.aliceduncan.net, and if you’d like to be Facebook friends, here’s my Facebook page info: https://www.facebook.com/alice.duncan.925

Thanks!


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Review: The Lassa Ward by Ross I Donaldson, MD, MPH

Ross Donaldson is a medical student from California who decides to go to Africa, to learn about the deadly Lassa Fever in a ward in Sierre Leone and write a paper about his experiences.  Nothing there is as he expected.  This book is more about his experience of the chasm between cultures and the completely different mind set of the people there.  Of the polarity of medical care where there are no supplies for things he takes for granted.  Such as the fact there is not even a breathing bag/mask and there is no way to even test for what they are treating.  How even though health care is supposed to be free, health care workers refuse to treat those who cannot pay.  How care workers do not understand the differences between viruses and bacteria or that different antibiotics treat different infections.  He is unsure and frightened of making a mistake that costs someone their life.

The book is less about Lassa Fever and more about his own personal education of a system doing its best with no resources or support amidst political chaos.  Soon after returning to the states, he fell very ill and got to experience the US medical system he was training to be a part of from the other side, further educating him on the faults of our own system as well as its strengths.

After reading this book and against the aftermath of the recent Ebola epidemic, I have to wonder how little things have changed in over ten years.

Terri

Friday, January 29, 2016

Magical Arts Fridays - An Interview with Quilter Dru Ann Love

MM: Dru Ann, what is the first quilt that you made? Do you still have the quilt?

The first quilt I hand-made was in 2003 and yes I still have that quilt.


MM: What advice do you have for beginner quilters?

Have fun. Everyone has an opinion of how you should do a task; pick the one that works best for you.

MM: How many quilts have you made?
I’ve made 136 quilts since I started in 2003.





MM: You interview authors, review books and attend conferences. Do the authors you meet, books you read and the conferences you attend inspire quilt related themes? If so tell us about some of them?
I did make a quilt of my Malice Domestic experience. I received Nancy Drew panels and made placemats and with the Nancy Drew fabric I made a small quilt.


MM: Do you have a favorite quilt shop/online store that you like to shop for fabric?
I go to City Quilters in New York City on West 25th Street and a friend introduced me to fabric.com.


MM: What was the easiest and the most difficult quilt you have made?

The easiest quilts for me to make are pillow covers. I can do those in under 2 hours. The hardest quilts for me to make are the large size ones, which I just completed. It came out to be 38” x 56”.


MM: Are any of your quilts family and memory related quilts ?
No, I’m the first and only member of my family that quilts.


MM: 2016 is here so what quilt ideas do you have in mind for this year?
I create quilts on a whim. Right now I’m working on a quilt to cover the small end table I have.

MM: Do you also quilt wall hangings, table runners, lap quilts and other quilted items such as totes or handbags?
I’ve made wall hangings, table runners, lap quilts, small centerpieces and coasters.  Haven’t tried making totes yet, but it looks interesting.

MM: Are you a member of any quilt groups?
Not right now. I used to be but where they held their meeting was difficult for me to get to, so I let my membership go.

MM: Do you attend quilt shows?
I went to one and it was fun, but no, I don’t attend quilt shows.

MM: Where is your favorite place to quilt?

My living room – it has the space I need.

MM: While quilting do you binge watch television shows, movies, listen to audio books or does music spark your imagination?
The TV is on when I’m quilting. I can only quilt by natural light, so it’s mostly daytime quilting for me.

Dru Ann & Terri at Malice Domestic 2015

MM: Leave us with some quilting words of wisdom?
Just have fun with the creative process.






My quilting blog is: http://www.dallsite.com/
dru’s book musings: http://drusbookmusing.com/



Thursday, January 28, 2016

An Interview with Annette Blair

​INTERVIEW WITH SERIES AUTHOR: ANNETTE BLAIR
By: Pamela James

MM: Annette, give us the backstory on your writing career?

I began writing in 1989 and received more than my share of rejections. Eventually I won a number of writing contests. I finaled for RWA’s Golden Heart in 1996, 1997 & 1998 with the books that would become Unmistakable Rogue, Sea Scoundrel & Jacob’s Return. I made my first sale, three books to Kate Duffy, Kensington, on June 23rd, 1998 at 1:10 in the afternoon. Kensington went on to buy the four books in my Rogues Club Series before I sold Kitchen Witch to Penguin Random House. They also published my Accidental Witches, Psychic Triplet Witches, Works Like Magick Novels, and the series that put me on the NY Times List, my Vintage Magic Mysteries.

MM: Tell us about your writing schedule and your favorite place to write?

That has varied over the years, but recently we played musical rooms, and my office is now huge. My new bookcases have glass doors to protect my antiquarian research books, purchased on research trips to England and Scotland.

MM: Do you ever re-read your favorite books?
Books of my own, you mean? Once, I read Jacob’s Return. I loved it, I might add. But most of the time, I can’t read my own work without editing, so I don’t put myself through that torture.

If you meant to ask if I ever re-read my favorite books by other authors, yes. Mostly by Jane Austin, Charlotte Bronte, and Mary Balogh. Mary’s Christmas novellas always get me into the Christmas spirit.

MM: They say it takes a village to write and publish a book. Who is in your village?

Rhode Island Romance Writers, every member, past and present. A small group of writers who are always there for each other. They are my sisters from other mothers. We wrote Sisters of Spirit together.

MM: Annette, dead or alive what five authors would you like to sit down to a meal with and what would the menu be? What would you like to know? What would you tell them?

Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Julian Fellowes, J.K. Rowling, Agatha Christie. I think I would go with a British tea, so we could spend less time on food and more time with talk. Of course I would gush about their work, but I would try to learn all I could about their processes.
ps: I share a birthday with Agatha Christie.
 
MM: Tell us about your latest book/s?

My most recent release is THREE DAYSON A TRAIN 

I am currently bringing life to a Bewitching Romantic Comedy Series called Wild Celtic Roots. The four are titled: Relatively Charmed, Sounds of Silence, Restless Daydreams, and Tempting Destiny.

MM: What would your characters tell us about you?

That I might be a little bit psychic. Maybe I channel some of my stories. That I have to be in love with my characters and their stories to write them. That I fear there will never be enough time to write all the stories inside me.

MM: I always like your book covers. Tell us about them and who gets the credit?

The credit for my new, absolutely gorgeous Amish and Regency historical book covers goes to Dar Albert, WickedSmart Designs. She’s amazing. You can see them at annetteblair.com

MM: Now for a few fun questions. What is your favorite meal, dessert, song, binge tv shows, movies and place to vacation?

I LOVE Kentucky Fried Chicken, though I rarely give in. I do give in to Mexican food every chance I get.

Tiramisu is my favorite dessert. Allie’s Maple-Frosted Donuts, too, but unless you’re from Rhode Island, you’ve probably never heard of them.

My favorite song is old but I melt when I hear Thee, I Love from the movie Friendly Persuasion. (Dating myself, but the lyrics gave me the idea for Jacob’s Return, one of my favorite Amish Historical Romances.)

I can really binge on Ghost Whisperer. I would also binge on Downton Abbey and Outlander, if I could.

A few Favorite Comfort Movies: French Kiss, Love Actually, Practical Magic, Sense and Sensibility, Jane Eyre, Pride & Prejudice w/Colin Firth.

Vacation Spots: England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Hawaii, Amish Country USA.

MM: What 2016 writing plans do you have and what are you personally looking forward to in 2016?

I hope to release the Wild Celtic Roots Series in 2016. Personally, more than anything, I am looking forward to every member of my family being mobile and healthy in 2016.

MM: Leave us with an Annette quote or a quote by one of your characters?

I love: "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone." ~ Neale Donald Walsch

My favorite: Don’t sweat the small stuff. (I don’t know who said it first.)