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After her last disastrous episode as an amateur sleuth, Gracie Elliott is back. The budding romance writer has spent the past year crafting her first novel. Her hard work and determination pay off when her manuscript wins the Cream of the Crop award, a contest for unpublished writers, sponsored by the Society of American Romance Authors. First place entitles her to attend the organization’s annual conference, normally open only to published authors.
With husband Blake in tow, a starry-eyed Gracie experiences the ultimate fan-girl moment upon entering the hotel. Her favorite authors are everywhere. However, within minutes she learns Lovinia Darling, the Queen of Romance, is hardly the embodiment of the sweet heroines she creates. Gracie realizes she’s stepped into a romance vipers’ den of backstabbing, deceit, and plagiarism, but she finds a friend and mentor in bestselling author Paisley Prentiss.
Hours later, when Gracie discovers Lovinia’s body in the hotel stairwell, a victim of an apparent fall, Gracie is not convinced her death was an accident. Too many other authors had reason to want Lovinia dead. Ignoring Blake’s advice to “let the police handle it,” Gracie, aided by Paisley, begins her own investigation into the death. Romance has never been so deadly.
Q: Gracie, welcome to Island Confidential! Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself–maybe something readers might not guess?
I bear an uncanny resemblance to the late comedienne Gracie Allen, including the eerie coincidence of having one blue eye and one green eye. The one difference being that although we were both born dark brunettes, the other Gracie opted to go blonde. More importantly, though, like Gracie Allen, I often tend to segue into slightly off-kilter rambling discourse, which always makes sense to me but not necessarily to anyone else. The difference? Gracie Allen was acting; I’m not.
My dream is to become a bestselling romance author. Ever since my career as a textile designer was outsourced to a Third World nation, I’ve devoted considerable time toward making that happen. I think I’m finally on my way, thanks to winning the Cream of the Crop writing competition. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
Q: Which character in Literally Dead do you get along with the best?
That would definitely be my husband Blake. Of the two of us, Blake is the sensible one, the solid, staid, left-brained academician who analyses situations to death before making a decision. I’m the harebrained, right-brained partner who dives into the deep end head first, even though I can’t swim. He’s George Burns; I’m Gracie Allen—the poster couple for Opposites Attract.
Q: Which other character do you have a conflict with?
That would also have to be Blake. There are times when my left brain goes to battle with his right brain, and I don’t like to lose—even when I know Blake is right. He worries about me and does his best to keep me out of trouble. I know I can often be my own worst enemy, but when I see an injustice, I can’t ignore it, especially when I think someone is about to get away with murder—literally.
Q: Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author?
I suppose I have to say nice things about author Lois Winston. After all, she did create me. Without her, I’d be nothing more than assorted sub-atomic particles confined to some black hole. So I do appreciate her efforts, but I also sometimes feel like I play second fiddle to Anastasia, the amateur sleuth of Lois’s Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series. Anastasia already has five full-length novels and three novelettes, and Lois is currently working on the sixth book in that series. I’ve got a measly two books so far, Definitely Dead and now Literally Dead. It’s not that I’m jealous of Anastasia, but fair is fair, and I really think Lois needs to give Anastasia a rest and allow me to catch up. I’m developing a severe inferiority complex.
Q: What’s next for you?
That all depends on Lois, doesn’t it? Hopefully, she’ll see this post and realize how unfair it is that she plays favorites. (Okay, technically she doesn’t play favorites; Anastasia was created years before I popped into Lois’s head, and she has been rotating between us ever since.) However, I’d certainly like to see myself in a third Empty Nest Mystery sooner rather than later. I’m sure Anastasia would understand.
About The Author
USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry. Visit Lois/Emma at www.loiswinston.com and Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog, www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com. Follow everyone on Tsu at www.tsu.co/loiswinston, on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/anasleuth, and onTwitter at https://twitter.com/Anasleuth. Sign up for her newsletter at https://www.MyAuthorBiz.com/ENewsletter.php?acct=LW2467152513
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