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.
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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?
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).