Author Interview: Alice Loweecey, Nun but the Brave

>>>Enter to win an advance reader copy (U.S. only)<<<Giulia Driscoll’s sister-in-law barges into Driscoll Investigations and promptly passes out from OD’ing on an unknown drug. Two OD’d teenagers are found dead behind the police station. DI’s new client insists her missing twin sister is not dead and enlists Giulia as the “Missing Person Whisperer.” Hooray for steady work?


 

The missing sister’s trail leads to married, pregnant, ex-nun Giulia’s first experience with online dating sites, to the delight of her husband and employees. Those dates lead her to local Doomsday Preppers. They grow their own everything, and that everything may be connected to the drugs, her sister-in-law, and the missing twin. These Preppers are about to learn the true meaning of doom.


Q: Alice, it’s great to have you back at Island Confidential! For those readers who are not familiar with Giulia, can you tell us a little bit about her? 

A: Giulia is a former nun who sort of fell into sleuthing when she was hired by Frank Driscoll, the owner of Driscoll Investigations. People tended to talk to her about everything and she discovered a talent for sleuthing. Fast-forward a few years and now she and Frank are married. He rehabbed his knee (car chase crash) and is back on the police force and she’s the owner of DI. She’s also pregnant with their first child, which is adding a whole bunch of new challenges to the detecting business.

Q: How much of you is in Giulia? How would you feel about her if you met her in real life?

A: Giulia and I are very different people. The only attributes we share are gardening, cooking, and our former nun-ness.

When I first started writing Giulia, I thought she was way to stuffy to ever want to meet in person. She’s eased up on the stuffiness now, so we might be able to share conversation and coffee. She’s welcome to the flavored coffee, though. I drink mine strong and black.

Q: Do your characters change and evolve throughout consecutive books in the series?

A: Absolutely. In addition to Giulia becoming more human, Frank is less uptight and worried about proving to his extended family he can make it on his own (because he has). Sidney, Giulia’s all natural earth mother admin is still a perky Christmas elf, but she’s more practical now and even a wee bit cynical. A very wee bit. Zane, Giulia’s MIT genius admin, started out hardly able to have a casual conversation with another human. Part of that was genius geek, part was two years in telemarketing hell. Now he makes the occasional joke with Sidney and even with the boss (Giulia) on rare occasions. He even goes undercover and loves it.

Q: Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life–on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean?

A: No. I have made people who’ve stabbed me in the back in real life into extremely unlikeable characters. It’s quite cathartic.

Q: How realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?

A: I’m all about the research. Cottonwood, Pennsylvania is a fictional suburb of Pittsburgh, but my characters travel to actual places all the time. Google Earth is my friend, because I can’t physically drive to all those Pennsylvania locations and still have time to write. Plus my cats demand to get fed every once in a while.

Q: When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?

A: Oh, from your lips to God’s ears, please! *cough* Hallmark Mysteries *cough*
Giulia: Jenn Proske (Vampires Suck and Graceland)
Frank: Arthur Darvill (Rory was the best and most underrated Doctor Who companion ever.)
Sidney: Christina Milian (I loved her in Pulse and am very interested to see her as Magenta in the Rocky Horror remake. Trivia: Soon after I jumped the wall I was a Transylvanian in a local stage production of Rocky Horror.)
Zane: Garrett Hedlund (Tron: Legacy and Troy)

Q: What’s the worst and the best advice you’ve heard or received as an author?

A: The worst: “You’re so good at dialogue; why don’t you write screenplays?” When this was said to me I was at the “Maybe I can’t even write a decent grocery list” stage of the agent hunt. Screenplay writing is a huge leap from novel writing and I knew the learning curve would be steep. I decided to give the novel side of writing a bit longer. Shortly after that decision I landed an agent and my debut book deal. So for me at that stage of things, the advice would have set me back more than a year. Who knows what would have happened if I’d switched to screenplays? But I don’t live in Los Angeles or New York and I’m quite happy writing novels. When (never “if”!) the books get picked up for TV or movies, I’ll be happy to consult.

The best advice is from Donald Maass’ Writing the Breakout Novel (this is a paraphrase): “Think of the worst thing that can happen to your character. Now do it to them.” My Giulia Driscoll mysteries are light and funny, but this advice still applies. I also write horror under the pen name Kate Morgan. I’d shopped my novel The Redeemers around for a long time. When I read that advice, I rewrote it for a fifth time (no joke), which darkened the main character’s motivations. I sold the novel.


About The Author  

Baker of brownies and tormenter of characters, Alice Loweecey recently celebrated her thirtieth year outside the convent. She grew up watching Hammer Horror and Scooby-Doo Mysteries, which might explain a whole lot. When she’s not creating trouble for Giulia Falcone-Driscoll, she can be found growing her own vegetables (in summer) and cooking with them (the rest of the year).

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