A new crafting mystery and author interview: Scrapbook of Murder by Lois Winston

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Crafts and murder don’t normally go hand-in-hand, but “normal” deserted craft editor Anastasia Pollack’s world nearly a year ago. Now, tripping over dead bodies seems to be the “new normal” for this reluctant amateur sleuth.

When the daughter of a murdered neighbor asks Anastasia to create a family scrapbook from old photographs and memorabilia discovered in a battered suitcase, she agrees—not only out of friendship but also from a sense of guilt over the older woman’s death. However, as Anastasia begins sorting through the contents of the suitcase, she discovers a letter revealing a fifty-year-old secret, one that unearths a long-buried scandal and unleashes a killer. Suddenly Anastasia is back in sleuthing mode as she races to prevent a suitcase full of trouble from leading to more deaths.


Interview with Lois Winston

Lois, welcome back to Island Confidential! Can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist, Anastasia?

Anastasia Pollack, a widowed suburban mom with two teenage sons, is the crafts editor of a woman’s magazine. She lived a blissfully normal life until the day her husband dropped dead at a roulette table in Las Vegas. That’s when she learned the truth about her husband, forever now referred to as Dead Louse of a Spouse. Not only has his secret gambling addiction resulted in Anastasia coping with massive debt, she’s also permanently stuck with her semi-invalid communist mother-in-law. As Anastasia struggles to keep from drowning in bills, she also has to referee the daily battles between her mother-in-law and her mother, a woman who claims to descend from Russian nobility. Then there’s her mother-in-law’s dog, her mother’s cat, and a Shakespeare-quoting parrot. You’d think that would be enough stress for any woman, but then the dead bodies start piling up.

How would you feel about Anastasia if you met her in real life? Do you think you have much in common with her?

If I were to meet Anastasia in real life, I think we’d become very good friends. We both have art backgrounds. I’ve worked for years as a crafts designer and editor for manufacturers, publishers, and magazines. We also both have two sons, although mine are well passed their teen years at this point. We’re both Jersey girls with the same sense of humor that comes from being a Jersey girl. And I did have a communist mother-in-law who was the model for Anastasia’s mother-in-law. That’s where the similarities end. My husband, thankfully, is still very much alive, and his gambling is limited to buying an occasional lottery ticket when the jackpot reaches astronomical heights. Unfortunately, so far we haven’t won more than $2.00.

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

When Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in the series, opens, Anastasia has just buried her husband. As a way to save money, she’s decided to rent out the apartment over her garage that she’d used as her studio. Zack Barnes, her new tenant, is a photojournalist looking for a quiet place to live and work. As the series progresses, so does their relationship, moving well beyond landlord and tenant.

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

Not only have I thought of it, I’ve done it. More often, though, I make these people the villains in my stories rather than the victims. It’s far more satisfying. However, I never use their real names, and I make enough changes to the character that no one but me would be able to figure out whom they represent. As long as I know, that’s all that matters. Getting even with bullies in print is quite satisfying, and I don’t have to worry about getting caught and winding up in prison.

I like your style! So how realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?

I base The Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries in an actual New Jersey town, and all scenes in my books take place in real places in New Jersey and New York City.

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

Tina Fey would be perfect for Anastasia. Publishers Weekly even compared Anastasia quite favorably to Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon character from 30 Rock in their starred review of the first book in the series. I’d want either Hugh Jackman or Patrick Dempsey to play Zack.

Patrick Dempsey, Tina Fey, Hugh Jackman

What’s the best and worst advice you’ve received as an author?

The best advice I ever heard is that every scene and all dialogue need to do one of two things—either advance the story or tell the reader something she needs to know at that moment about the character. If the scene or dialogue do neither, they’re filler and don’t belong in the book.

The worst advice I ever heard was that all five senses have to be included in every scene. That’s ridiculous. You should only include in any scene what’s important to the scene. Padding scenes kills pacing.


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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

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New romantic cozy with #giveaway and character interview: Literally Dead by Lois Winston

>>Enter to win an electronic copy of Literally Dead<<<

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.

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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.

 


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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


Author Links

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Spotlight and Giveaway: A Stitch to Die For

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A Stitch to Die For
by Lois Winston

BOOK BLAST

A Stitch to Die For-ebookA Stitch to Die For (An Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery) (Volume 5)
5th in Series
Cozy Mystery
• Paperback: 240 pages
• Publisher: Lois Winston (July 7, 2015)
• ISBN-13: 978-1940795300
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 Synopsis:

Ever since her husband died and left her in debt equal to the gross national product of Uzbekistan, magazine crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack has stumbled across one dead body after another—but always in work-related settings. When a killer targets the elderly nasty neighbor who lives across the street from her, murder strikes too close to home. Couple that with a series of unsettling events days before Halloween, and Anastasia begins to wonder if someone is sending her a deadly message.

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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


Author Links

Website: http://www.loiswinston.com

Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog: http://www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Anasleuth

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/anasleuth

Tsu: www.tsu.co/loiswinston

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/722763.Lois_Winston

Purchase Links

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