New Mystery Series set in Ireland: Dial P for Poison. (Yes, there is a nun.)

Movies. Muffins. Murder.

Maggie Doyle moved to Ireland to escape her cheating ex and crumbling career in the San Francisco PD. When the most hated woman on Whisper Island is poisoned at her aunt’s Movie Theater Café, Maggie and her rock-hard muffins are hurled into the investigation.

With the help of her UFO-enthusiast friend, a nun, and a feral puppy, Maggie is determined to clear her aunt’s name. Can she catch the murderer before they strike again? Or will her terrible baking skills burn down the café first?

Cozy, quirky, and fun, this tongue-in-cheek mystery is a delicious introduction to the Movie Club Mysteries Series. Grab a cocktail and join Maggie as she takes her detective skills across the pond in Dial P For Poison.


Maggie, thanks for stopping by Island Confidential! Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

MD: My name is Maggie Doyle. I grew up in San Francisco, and followed my parents’ footsteps by joining the SFPD. My mom’s a fifth generation American, but my dad was born in Ireland. I spent many childhood summers on Whisper Island, the remote Irish island where he grew up. I loved the different pace of life, the gorgeous landscape, and my Irish aunts, uncle, and cousins. When my life fell apart last year, I jumped at the chance to help my aunt, Noreen, run her café. I’d always liked the old movie theater in Smuggler’s Cove and I was thrilled to learn that Noreen had renovated it into a café with a small movie theater attached.

Something readers might not guess about me is that the reason I didn’t go back to Whisper Island for eleven years had nothing to do with my Irish ex-boyfriend breaking up with me. It hurt to feel so at home in a place I knew I could never live. My parents and brothers are all in the SFPD, and I felt pressured to follow their example. From day one, life as a police officer wasn’t the right fit for me. I have a natural nose for detection, and a desire to help people, but I hated the bureaucracy and the politics. I don’t like taking orders, and I talked back to people I shouldn’t have. I was never going to rise up the ranks like the rest of my family, as my mother constantly reminds me. I’m a lot happier doing my own thing on Whisper Island.

Who’s the character you get along with the best?

MD: Among my friends and family on Whisper Island, I can confide in my cousin, Julie. She’s a good listener, and she doesn’t pry. I also get along well with my friend, Lenny, but our relationship is more based on fun than on sharing confidences. Although I have a hunch that Lenny might need my help soon…
Q: Which other character do you have a conflict with? Why?
Police Sergeant O’Shea. He’s lazy, incompetent, and blinded by wealth and social status. He reminds me of a guy who was my superior in the SFPD, and not in a good way.

Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author, Zara?

MD: I think we’d get along if we met in real life, once she got over her shyness. I might need to loosen her up with one of my signature Peppermint Cream cocktails!

What’s next for you?

MD: I’ve decided to stay on Whisper Island for a few months. I’ll continue to help out at the Movie Theater Café, but I’m planning on some rest and relaxation. After all, how much murder and mayhem can happen on one small island?


About The Author

USA Today bestselling author Zara Keane grew up in Dublin, Ireland, but spent her summers in a small town very similar to Ballybeg, the fictitious town in which she sets her Irish contemporary romances.

She currently lives in Switzerland with her family. When she’s not writing or wrestling small people, she drinks far too much coffee, and tries (with occasional success) to resist the siren call of Swiss chocolate.

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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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Author Interview and giveaway: Alice Loweecey, author of Second to Nun

A malevolent ghost seems to be haunting Stone’s Throw Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast. But ex-nun Giulia Driscoll has connections and she’s about to use them.


 

Enter to win a handmade nun doll! (Cute cat not included)

nun doll


Q: Alice, thanks for stopping by! I’ve never interviewed a former nun before. Can you tell us about Second to Nun? 

A: The Other Side has hired Driscoll Investigations. The owner of Stone’s Throw Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast insists that a tarot reading told her to hire Giulia to evict the family ghost. Since the ghost is cutting gas lines and flooding cellars, Giulia and her husband Frank head to the B&B to discover the real perpetrator.
The client also has a family legend: A highwayman who stole a pile of gold. Giulia has a pile of suspects, including a psychic the client hired to conduct weekly séances. So much for romance with Frank at this getaway.
Instead, Giulia’s juggling arson, creepy clown dolls, and the psychic going all Exorcist on her. Then the ghost tries to push the client off the lighthouse and throw Giulia down three flights of stairs. It should’ve known better than to mess with an ex-nun. Giulia has connections and she’s about to use them.

Q: You had me at “creepy clowns.” That sounds terrifying and fun!  Now, your biography notes that you recently celebrated your thirtieth year outside the convent! How much of ex-nun Giulia Driscoll is based on your own experience and observations? What about convent life would surprise most people, do you think?

A: A lot of Giulia’s history is based on my convent years. It needs to be authentic for the reader and for me. I also know nuns from different orders, and their experiences are both similar to and different from mine, but underneath it, all convents are much of a muchness.

People might be surprised that convents can be just as petty and politicking as a large office. Then again, they might not. When you put 10-95 women all together for a long time, personalities can clash. (Didn’t I put that nicely? Yeah.)

Q: What kind of research did you do for Second to Nun? Did you have to study arson, ghosts, lighthouses, or anything else? Were there surprises or unexpected findings?

A: Oh, yes, all those things, plus psychics and Ouija boards. So much fun. I found a Ouija board lunchbox online and I wanted it so bad! The biggest research surprise I found was the treasure hunting websites. Treasure hunters are True Believers. The websites are filled with people who are convinced that one more map, one more trip, one more search with metal detectors will unearth a fortune. From stashes of stolen diamonds or gold coins or bars, they believe. Some have quit their jobs to search 24/7. It’s rather eerie.

Q:  Will the characters change as the series proceeds? Where will you allow Giulia and the other characters to evolve, and what will you keep constant?

A: The characters change and develop as the books progress. Giulia has loosened up quite a bit since her first adventure in Force of Habit. Sidney is still as perky as ever, but she’s getting wiser when dealing with some of the low-lifes she encounters through Driscoll Investigations. Frank is enjoying married life and equality with his brothers. The Driscoll competitive gene is alive and well. Zane is keeping quiet about what’s in his future. You know how they say never to trust the quiet ones?

Q: Writing can be very solitary. How do you balance the need for solitude with the need to get out and be with people?

A: Conferences help a lot. I love to meet my fans and make new ones. Hanging out with other writers is a huge boost. We understand each other. I attend Malice Domestic and sometimes Bouchercon. We have a local Sisters in Crime chapter, as well: Murder on Ice. Those days of massive interaction balance out the other 50 weeks of the year when I’m holed up in my writing cave. There’s a sign posted: Don’t poke the bear or you might be my next Redshirt.

Q: And now, perhaps the most important question of all. What are nunmobile cookies?

Loweecy nunmobile cookies
A: They’re gingerbread cutouts in the shape of Giulia’s car. She drives a copper Saturn ion nicknamed the Nunmobile, thus the gingerbread. I piped white icing on the cookies to outline the car and a window. I always bake a goodie for my book launches. For Second to Nun, I found a lighthouse-shaped cookie cutter and a recipe for coffee cookies. Giulia would be proud.

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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