Friday, September 28, 2012

Blogoversary: Amanda Stevens Interview & Giveaway

Today is the final Author Interview & Giveaway to celebrate my Blogoversary and I have saved on of my newer go to authors for last. I cannot say how much I have enjoyed her novels (The Restorer and The Kingdom) and each time I find out her next novel is coming out I make sure to get my hands on it. Please Welcome to Blood Rose Books Today:

Amanda Stevens

You had a passion for ghost stories, folklore and superstition from a young age; did you always know that you wanted to be an author? Was there a specific book or experiences that lead you to start your writing career?
One of my earliest influences was a book called The Diamond in the Window by Jane Langton, a mystery for children that literally changed my life.  Up until that point, I’d been reading The Little House on the Prairie series and some Nancy Drew, but this story gave me my first taste of fantasy with a Gothic edge—lost children, family secrets and a creepy old Victorian house with turrets and towers and a magical attic.  Several years later, my love of everything Gothic took a romantic turn when I discovered Mary Stewart’s Nine Coaches Waiting and Victoria Holt’s The Pride and the Peacock.  All three books are still in my library.

You appear to have extensive knowledge about old cemetery and graveyard which shows the amount of research that you have done for your novels, where are you able to find the majority of your information? What is the most interesting thing that you have learned?
whisperingroomMost of my research is done online with an emphasis on Southern burial customs and traditions and I also visit cemeteries every chance I get.  A couple of my favorite research books are Texas Graveyards, A Cultural Legacy by Terry Jordan and Ghosts and Legends of Charleston by Denise Roffe.  Some of the most fascinating burial customs come from the Sea Islands where graves are decorated with all manner of personal and symbolic items.  I wrote about such offerings in The Restorer—clocks set to the time of death and lamps to light the way to the afterlife.  Such eerie, visual reminders that death may not be the end.

You have taken a different path when compared to the majority of authors writing within the paranormal genre, what was the appeal of ghosts for you?
Ghosts really scare me.  I can immerse myself in a world of vampires and demons and witches and love every minute of it, but I never truly believe those creatures exist.  I’m not so sure about ghosts. ;)

You recently started writing a Young Adult series; can you give us a few details about this new series?
It’s a paranormal thriller about a sixteen-year-old trapped in a coma.  Her soul jumps from body to body as she searches for her would-be killer.  First book is called Chrysalis.

What additional challenges have you had so far in writing a Young Adult series?
Making sure I don’t sound old. ;)

What do you think would be the hardest or most challenging genre to write a novel in and why?
I think science fiction would be hardest for me because I don’t have a background in physics or any of the hard sciences nor do I have an aptitude for them.  I’m not a very logical thinker.  I’m the anti-Spock.
devilsfootprints
I personally love Amelia as a character, is there an individual or people who Amelia is based upon? Do you find that most people are able to relate to her?
Amelia isn’t based on any one person, but she has similar traits to a lot of Southern women I know.  People seem to appreciate her quiet strength as an alternative to the in-your-face female protagonists that are so popular right now.  I appreciate and enjoy both.  It just so happened that a more introspective character suited these stories.

Would you ever want to have the ability to see ghosts? What do you think would be your reaction if you ever saw a ghost like Amelia does?
I sometimes spook myself writing these books so a real-life ghost sighting would totally freak me out. lol

Do you have any information on upcoming works or events that you are able to share?
I’m currently working on the next three books in the Graveyard Queen series, which will be a trilogy—meaning each book will have an individual mystery to be resolved but there is an arc that runs through all three.  I’ll also have at least one online novella, which will delve more deeply into Devlin’s back story and secrets.  And, of course, the young adult trilogy is in the works.  So there will be a drought while I write all the stories and then lots of books released close together.

What is one book on your shelf that you cannot wait to read (can either be a new or old favorite).
Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.  What a cool premise.  I want to read it before I see the movie.

I want to say thank you to Amanda for taking the time to be part of my Blogoversary. Amanada is a paranormal author to watch out for and pick up when you have a chance. The Restorer is one of the best debut novels that I have ever read in the paranormal genre. Make sure to check out my reviews of her books as well as enter the Giveaway (CAN/USA) below which is a winner's choice so whether you are a new or old reader of Amanda's there is something for everyone there.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Blogoversary: Amanda Kyle Williams Interview & Giveaway

I find that there are years that go by before I am able to find a really good and new thriller/mystery author that makes me want to pick up a book and read it in one sitting. I was very fortunate last year to spot The Stranger You Seek on Netgally and was even more happy when I was able to read and review it. I am very excited to welcome to Blood Rose Books today:
Amanda Kyle Williams

You have had a plethora of occupations, from house painter to pet sitter to working for a Private investigation firm, was becoming an author what you aspired to do?
My resume really looks like a study in someone who can’t hold down a job, doesn’t it? Actually I was about 30 years old when the writing bug hit me. I wrote a few small press novels in the early 90s and took a long break to figure out where I wanted my writing to go. I had a lot of jobs in the twenty years in between. I knew I wanted to be a full time writer. I didn’t want to invest in another career while I worked on becoming a better writer and developing a character I thought was capable of carrying a series.

Have you found that your different types of occupations and the additional classes that you took, helped prepare you for writing a novel and gave you some experiences to draw on to put within your novels?
Absolutely. Working as a process server with a PI and courier firm informed my writing in ways I never expected at the time. I ended up developing a character, Keye Street, who does many of the same kinds of jobs I did—serving subpoenas, surveillance, that sort of thing. The classes I took from professionals in criminal profiling and practical homicide investigation were invaluable in giving me a solid foundation in crime writing.

When you began writing why did you decide to start within the mystery/thriller genre with your Keye Street series, as this is a hard genre that has many well known and well followed authors within it. How do you think that your novels differ from other authors within this genre?
Well, first of all, I write what interests me. If I have no passion for the subject I can’t expect readers to either. It never occurred to me, not at the time anyway, that it was a genre populated with some very talented publishing giants nor was I considering sales potential. I think one is driven to write what they write. At least in fiction. Crime, murder, the motivations and psychological needs of a killer, they all fascinate me. That’s perfectly normal, right? And I think my books are different from some others in the genre. The books have a lot of laughs mixed in with the chills. Publishers Weekly called the first book an “explosive, unpredictable, and psychologically complex thriller that turns crime fiction clich├ęs inside out.” I’ve written an American Chinese detective raised by white southern parents with a gay, African-American brother. Keye’s an ex-wife, an ex-drunk and an ex-profiler with ongoing demons, a tendency to inappropriate laughter, a survivor with a sense of humor who tries not to take herself too seriously. Keye and the surrounding cast make these books different. And hopefully my handling of the investigations. Keye uses her profiling skills to consult with local law enforcement on violent repeat offender cases. One UK reviewer called it a new genre—the “PI procedural”.

What do you think would be the hardest or most challenging genre to write a novel in and why?
Hmm. Good question. Truth is any genre other than crime fic would be challenging for me. I don’t know. Romance maybe. No interest in reading or writing in that area and I really can’t imagine setting out to write something like that. Daunting. I suppose Sci-Fi and fantasy require an unbelievable imagination. My hat goes off to authors who do this well. But again they are genres that don’t draw me in at all. I’m pretty grounded in the physical, in this world and its realities.

I really enjoyed your serial killer in The Stranger You Seek, what do you think are essential aspects in creating a serial killer?
Understanding your monster. What are their emotional and psychological needs? What do they require for fantasy fulfillment and how are their needs met during their interaction with a victim and how do they manifest in the physical crime scene? In my opinion, if you want your readers to be interested in your killer, make them real, profile them first and let your readers feel their illness. We’re not talking about writing a technical manual here, but if you fully develop your killer, readers will respond. And it scares the heck out of them, which is a good thing in crime fic. If I write something that’s real enough and creepy enough that I have to take my dogs for a walk just to shake it off, I’ve done my job.

Was Keye a challenging character to write because she portrayed as a damaged and flawed character?
Going back to your question about writing a murderer, the same rules apply in developing a series character. Unless you’re writing superheroes or characters with mystical powers, which I definitely am not, make them real. We all wrestle with guilt, fears, insecurities, demons and addictions. We all have a past. We try to be decent people. Sometimes we fail. For me it’s important to remember all these things when I writing any character. Keye isn’t hard for me to write now, but it took many years to be able to be really honest as a writer, to not be afraid of putting all the human stuff on paper.

I understand that you are a fellow animal lover; could you please share some information about the Lifeline Animal Project?
I am that. I have dogs and cats and I’m a cofounder at Lifeline Animal Project (LAP), which is a nonprofit dedicated to solutions for the enormous homeless animal problem. We have low cost spay/neuter clinics in Atlanta to help the community and to encourage the community to be responsible. We also have a stray and feral cat assistance program and a physical shelter, The Lifeline Dog House and Kitty Hotel. We founded the org in 2002 and it has grown to a 1.5 million dollar organization and we now have about 60,000 surgeries under our belts and thousands of animals have been rescued and saved by LAP. I have 2 LAP dogs and one I rescued myself. I’m so proud of this organization and the staff and volunteers who do the day-to-day, sometimes heartbreaking work. They’re my heroes. www.lifelineanimal.org .

Do you have any information on upcoming works or events that you are able to share?
Yes I do. I have a events page on my website at www.AmandaKyleWilliams.com. Check it out. I’m on tour in late summer/autumn. Maybe I’ll be in a city with one of your readers. I also have a character bio, my bio, book trailers and fun stuff like that at my website. The 2nd book ‘Stranger In The Room’ came out on August 21st in the States, August 2nd in the UK, so we’ll have the new, ultra creepy book trailer up soon.

What is one book on your shelf that you cannot wait to read (can either be a new or old favorite).
I reread ‘The Prince of Tides’ and ‘Beach Music’ every couple of years because Pat Conroy has a way with language that absolutely makes me swoon. He has this ability to drop the reader right into a scene—the kitchens of Charleston, the marsh of the low country, the taste of a good meal. Love the guy. As for that book waiting to be read, I have a stack on my bed table right now which includes advance copies of Tess Gerritsen’s ‘Last To Die’ and Kathy Reich’s ‘Bones Are Forever’, plus I always have something of Joshilyn Jackson’s close by. She inspires me. ‘Backseat Saints’ and ‘A Grown Up Kind of Pretty’ were excellent.

I want to Thank Amanda again for being part of celebrating my Two Year Blogoversary and for supplying a copy of The Stanger You Seek for a giveaway (Open to USA). I am currently in the middle of reading the second book in her Keye Street series and it is great so far, make sure to come back look for the review sometime soon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out some more Great Interviews & Giveaways happening right NOW!!!
John Dodds (Open Internationally)
Amanda Bonilla (Open CAN/USA)
Angela Gerst (Open Internationally
J. C. Daniels (Open Internationally)
J. A. Pitts (Open Internationally)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Blogoversary J. A. Pitts Interview & Giveaway

I picked up J. A. Pitts' first novel Black Blade Blues by pure instinct as I was first drawn to the cover of the book. Once I began reading it I knew I was going to like it as Pitts' is part of the dark and gritty urban fantasy genre (which I love). Please Welcome to Blood Rose Books Today:
J. A. Pitts

Your love of reading and eventually writing began as a child, is there one story or fairy tale that still inspires your writing today?
I have a strong fondness for folk tales.  Especially Jack Tales which originated in Appalachia with the Scot and Irish immigrants.  They are retelling of older myths and legends but with a mountain, back-woods flavor.  There are only a dozen or so of the historically documented Jack Tales, but I wrote one for the anthology The Trouble with Heroes that came out from DAW a couple of years ago.

Your love for science fiction started at an early age, why did you decide to write a novel in the urban fantasy genre instead of science fictions?
I've written short work in lots of genres, including main stream, romance, erotica, horror, fantasy, cyberpunk, science fiction, ya, etc. 

I love to read Urban Fantasy, with some of my favorite authors being Patricia Briggs, Carrie Vaughn, Jim Butcher, Diana Rowland and many others.  I'm always looking for another good read.

I currently have a YA Science Fiction trilogy in my to-be-worked file waiting for me to get to it.

The Urban Fantasy / Paranormal genres appear to be the genre that everyone is writing in these days (even authors that are well established in other genres) what do you think the draw to these genre is? How do you believe your novels stand out from the rest of the crowd?
Well, some authors write in this genre due to evolution.  It's a natural progression from what they were already writing. Some people fell in love with the genre and wanted to add to it.  Some see that it's a hot, new market and want their piece of the pie.

No matter why they've decided to write in this genre, I find it all amazing and fascinating.  It's good for an author to stretch themselves and try new things.  The market is big enough for everyone.  There are plenty of readers out there.

As for my books standing out, I think there are a two strong aspects.  Firstly, my main character, Sarah Beauhall is a strong lesbian protagonist who is both vulnerable and kick-ass.  She's a complicated person who is struggling to make her way in a world that has suddenly become very foreign to her.

Secondly, my series is based on Norse Mythology.  There are a few outstanding authors who have used this mythos in the writing: Elizabeth Bear, Neil Gaiman, Greg Van Eekhout come to mind.  Because of the Norse aspect, my work has no vampires nor werewolves.

I have been reading within the Urban Fantasy / Paranormal genre for years now and I have not read or have seen too many books that feature dragons, why did you choose to feature dragons and not some of the more classic paranormal creatures of Vampires, Werewolves and now Zombies?
A couple of reasons.  One, I wanted to utilize Norse mythology. This gave me a wide array of mythological creatures and personalities to deal with so I could expand beyond the typical Urban Fantasy trope.

Secondly, I love dragons. There are two prominent dragons in Norse mythology: Nidhogg, the corpse gnawer and Fafnir.  I thought it would be great fun to write a series about a real world dragon slayer and at the same time show that the world is never black and white.  There are always intricacies and details that complicate things.

What do you think would be the hardest or most challenging genre to write a novel in and why?
I think, for me, Horror.  I'm a big fan of Stephen King and very much respect what he does,  but I find myself hard pressed to imagine sustaining that level of fright factor over the length of an entire novel.  I know it's not that simple.  You can't have the horror and tension high at all times, but the overall concept of it all daunts me.   In Horror, there are many sub-strata, many of which I have no interest in.  Movies like SAW, or the slasher/mass murderer stories just do not appeal to me.

Do you find that most readers are shocked to find out that there was a man behind the writing of lesbian woman? How do you find most people react to the information?
Some folks are totally cool with it, some are baffled and some are offended.  It runs the gamut.  Fortunately, most of the feedback I've received has assured me that I've done a good job.  I have friends, acquaintances and fans who are lesbians who have written to tell me how pleased I got the voice and issues down so well.  Many people believe I'm a woman. I find that to be the highest compliment for my writing.

That being said, there are a few people who have written in reviews and such that it's obvious this was written by a man, because a woman would never say/write the way I write.  I can only shrug and move on to the next project.  I know I'll never please everyone, but I know I'm having a positive impact on some readers and that's all I can ask for.

How did you manage to get into the head of a female character? Was it difficult at times to separate what you would do as a man and what you believe a woman would act?
It's hard work, let me tell you.  I believe men and women have many similar core values, beliefs, needs and wants.  My job is to try and look past my blind spots and my gender privilege and try and consider how the world looks from Sarah's point of view.  I remain open and listen, seek guidance and overall do my level best to be as sensitive to things as I can.  I'm sure I'll hiccup and stutter from time to time, but all I can do is my best and make sure I check in with others who I trust.  So far it's working pretty well.

What would you do with a magic sword that gave you incredible powers?
Interesting question.  Funny thing is, as Sarah goes through, you still have to pay your bills, feed your family, take care of your business.  A magic sword would be cool, but really, what would you really do with it.  If the government got wind of it, would they take it?  If you started using the sword for its intended purpose, would you end up in prison?  There are a lot of problems with this situation that the society we live in today would find untenable.  I think you'd put it over your mantle and dream of unfulfilled adventure why you worked your day job.

Do you have any information on upcoming works or events that you are able to share?
I'm currently writing Hearth & Home, the 4th book in the series.  I have several other projects in the work as well.  In the fall I'll be attending Orycon in Portland, if folks wanted to meet me in person.  I'm trying to blog more frequently and as part of that I've started over at www.genreality.net every other Wednesday and I sub for others from time to time.  My blog is www.japitts.net and you can follow me on twitter @japittswriter or on Facebook at J. A. Pitts - Urban Fantasy Writer.

What is one book on your shelf that you cannot wait to read (can either be a new or old favorite). 
Blackout by Mira Grant.  It's next up on my to-be-read pile.  I totally loved the first two books in this series and love her characters.  I'm very much looking forward to how she wraps up this trilogy.

I want to say Thank You once again to J. A. Pitts for stopping by and being part of my Blogversary. Although I have just recently discovered his books, I believe that he is an author to watch out for and does give a great new voice to the Urban Fantasy/Paranormal gernes. If you are looking for something different then Pitts is one to pick up. He has also very nicely supplied a giveaway to go along with his interview and it is a Winner's Choice. So whether you are an old fan or wanting to be a new one, there is something here for you, so make sure to enter below (this Giveaway is Open INT)



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make Sure to check out the other Author Interview and Giveaways happening right NOW!!!
John Dodds (Open Internationally)
Amanda Bonilla (Open CAN/USA)
Angela Gerst (Open Internationally
J. C. Daniels (Open Internationally)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Blogoversary: J. C. Daniels Interview & Giveaway

Today the feature author is one that goes by a few names, but I recently discovered her under her newest name J. C. Daniles with the release of Blade Song, which is a book that I think will appeal to many readers of the paranormal genre. Please Welcome to Blood Rose Books Today:

J. C. Daniels
You have been reading since you were a child, is there still a story or fairy tale that still inspires you today?
I don’t really read much of anything that I used to read as a kid, except for Mercedes Lackey…I started reading her in middle school, I think.  I do still enjoy the Bunnicula books and Through the Eyes of Opalina…I passed on a love of those books to my kids.

You have been writing since you were fairly young and have a great love for Vampires, what paranormal creature do you think would be the hardest to write a story about?
A zombie.  Zombies just don’t hold a lot of appeal for me unless I’m killing them in the book (and I haven’t done that, I don’t think).  Trying to write one where the zombie was the main character?  Very hard.

Your first pen name was Shiloh Walker and you have changed to J. C. Daniels due to the fact that you were writing too much. Your new pen name is a play on three people who are important in your life. Can you share your relationship or the names of the people who inspired your new name?
Well, I haven’t exactly changed names, so much as picked up another one… LOL. I’ll continue to write under Shiloh—it’s just that my urban fantasy series and some future projects will come out under J.C.  I’ll continue to write romantic suspense as Shiloh, and the name change doesn’t affect any of my current series.

I played off a variation of my kids’ names and initials. I don’t give their actual names out for privacy reasons. 
You decided to self-publish Blade Song as it was not selling the traditional markets, what additional challenges did you have with self-publishing a novel?
You shoulder all the work, all the costs.  Editing costs, formatting, the covers. All the promotional work is on you, trying to figure out the right way to push the book…all of it.  It’s a lot of work and there’s a lot of upfront expense.  Fortunately, this wasn’t the first book I’d self-published so I had some idea of what to expect.

I personally have not read any of your novels under your pen name Shiloh Walker, how will your new books be different under J. C. Daniels?
Well, the Colbana books aren’t romance.  If any of my readers pick up BLADE SONG and expect it to be like my paranormal romances, they might be in for a disappointment.  It’s got the action that many of my paranormal books do, but my paranormal romances tend to be focused on the action and the romance…that’s not the case with Kit’s series.  There is a romantic subplot, but that’s just a thread of her story and there’s no nice, neat little bow at the end.

What do you think would be the hardest or most challenging genre to write a novel in and why?
For me, personally?  One that bores me.  No, seriously…I think a solid SF book would be hard.  The tech has to be there, but a well-written SF book with engaging characters and a great plot is a thing of beauty.  I enjoy SF, but too often the tech overwhelms the book, for me, at least, so I like it when there is a meld of everything.  That is something I’d have a very hard time with.  And I’m not exactly tech-minded.

What I personally liked about Blade Song was the introduction of the Aneira race, which I had not read a book about before. What inspired you to write a book about Amazons?
I hadn’t read one before…I love urban fantasy.  I outright adore it and I’ve wanted to try my hand at it for a long time.  I was trying to think of something that might be a little different, and there were the Amazons.  I hadn’t really read or heard much about them in modern stories, but they are these amazing women from mythology.  I was started playing with the idea.  Thus…the Aneira.

Kit is a very interesting character who has been defined by her up bringing within the Aneira culture and her family. Did you start out with the intent of having Kit as a damaged character? Was it hard to write about Kit’s past? Will we get to see any of Kit’s actual family? (I know I am really interested in learning more about Kit’s past as well as her family)
Kit was damaged from the get-go, yes.  It’s been a while since I wrote the short story that sort of set this world up, but even when I was writing that, I knew she was screwed up.  But I have fun writing screwed up characters.  Forged in fire, and all that.

Whether or not I’m able to explore more of her family depends on how the first book goes, though… I want to write more in the world, so I’m hoping the things go well with BLADE SONG.  If it does, then I do have plans for more books, and we’ll learn more about Kit, yes…possibly more of her family.

Do you have any information on upcoming works or events that you are able to share?
It all depends on what people like to read…if people enjoy fairy tales and don’t mind romance, I’ve got a bastardized fairy tale series, Grimm’s Circle and the next book BLIND DESTINY will be out soon.  It’s a lot of action, a lot of twists on the fairy tales we know, and a lot of fun.  My next romantic suspense, STOLEN, is due out in October.  I’m not yet sure on things with the Colbana Series, though…too soon to tell.

What is one book on your shelf that you cannot wait to read (can either be a new or old favorite).
Old favorites… only one?  SL Viehl’s ENDURANCE, from the Stardoc series.

As you can tell J.C. Daniels (aka Shiloh Walker) has quite a few different genre and series for the reader to choose from. I think that there is almost something for everyone there. I have only read Blade Song under her new pen name J. C. Daniels but I think that it will appeal to those who enjoy the paranormal genre. Shiloh has very nicely donated a copy of her newest novel Blood Blade for a Giveaway (Open Internationally). Thank you once again for being part of my Blogoversry and on a side note I completely agree with you about the SF genre, lol.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make sure to check out the other great Interviews & Giveaways that are happening right NOW!!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Blogoversary: Angela Gerst Interview & Giveaway

Once again I am not entirely sure how I cam across Angela's debut novel A Crack in Everything, I think I picked up from the library stacks, but I was very happy that I did find it. It has all the mystery and thrills without the need of a serial killer. Please welcome to Blood Rose Books today:
Angela Gerst
You began a career in politics when you moved to a small town outside of Boston, what was your favorite part of covering politics for a small town?

Meeting so many people who got personally involved in the issues that affected them and their towns was an eye-opener for me who had never been politically active.  My reporting for the Newton Times and later the Boston Globe took me to several towns just outside Boston, and while the issues might have differed from town to town the willingness of the residents to go out and speak at public hearings, to involve themselves in local campaigns, to be active citizens, impressed me greatly.  From citizen activism to running for local office is a logical progression.   So I’d say getting involved with people and learning how local government works were my favorite parts of covering small-town politics.


Did you always want to be an author or it was something that you found you enjoyed doing while writing the local politics for the newspaper?

In high school and college I wrote short stories but made no effort to publish.  It was after my son (now 27) was born that I began writing novels—2 unpublished mysteries before A Crack in Everything and a non-mystery work-in-progress that I turn to when I find myself stuck as I write the second in the Susan Callisto series.  Writing for newspapers occupied the part of my brain that attempts to gather facts and write logically.  Novel writing for me is mostly intuitive—story first, and characters who follow a logic of their own.  So for me there was no apparent connection between journalism and fiction writing (there’s a joke in here, but I won’t make it.) 

What was the appeal to you for writing a crime fiction mystery novel? 
I read and enjoy mysteries—that was the first pull toward my wanting to write in the genre.  Then, there are certain “rules”, ways of structuring the book, that appeal to me because they keep me from running off in too many directions, following too many characters who may be interesting but not crucial to the plot.  My novels are meant first of all to entertain.  I try to capture the small world of folks who think they want to run for office and the trials and insights of a young woman who wants to help them reach their goals.  Often NOT reaching their goals is part of what makes the stories interesting (I hope).  In any case, in the Susan Callisto mysteries politics is a springboard only.  Susan considers herself a non-partisan technician.  This is really only possible and plausible at the local level which is where I hope to keep the series.  Jane Austen said it best when she advised her niece to stick to a few local people for her stories.  “Three or four families in a country village is the very best thing to work on.”  For Susan, local politics is a kind of country village.

What do you think would be the hardest or most challenging genre to write a novel in and why? 
Every writer must have a different view of this.  For me, science fiction, speculative fiction, would be virtually impossible to write.   

Most mystery and/or thriller books these days have their premise based around a serial killer and you book distinctly does not have one, was this on purpose or did the story and plot just unfold that way? 
No serial killer will appear in the Susan Callisto series—though serial politicians might.  When I finished A Crack in Everything I decided it was a kind of hybrid mystery, a “cozy-noir”.  Susan’s world is small, her slightly ironic voice carries the story, and there’s love, always just around the corner.  Also, I prefer to suggest violence, with just enough description to keep it real. 

You have experience running more than a few successful political campaigns, was it easy to transfer your experiences into a fiction novel?
Yes, because when I was involved I was truly passionate about wanting my candidates to win and learned fast how large a commitment this was going to be.  Every detail mattered, from studying voting patterns to making sure that the few houses at the ends of long dirt roads with no town services were included in the door-to-door part of the campaigns. 

I personally do not have any experience with politics (well other than voting) and I am sure that most of the public do not as well. Are politics really as cut throat and deadly as they are in A Crack in Everything? 
Much more so.  In A Crack in Everything there are dirty tricks, ulterior motives, a little shady manipulation of the system.  In the larger world of national politics it seem that just about anything goes, and of course, money flows. 

Was there any person or persons that you met along the campaign trail that help inspire and create your Susan Callisto character or is Susan more based upon you and some of your experiences?
Susan grew out of my own voice, but heavily qualified for the world of fiction and for her relative youth.  There was no one I based her character on, and no one modeled for the other characters either.  But I drew on my experiences—for example, a big issue in my town about twelve years ago was whether to allow a biotech research firm to set up shop.  A local college lab experienced a spill similar to the one I describe in the book and I used that.  Lawn signs always get stolen, bumper stickers ripped down.  My Italian grandfather loved to cook, though he wasn’t a chef and was nothing like Nino.  Details like these are fact based.  The story itself comes completely out of my imagination. 

Do you have any information on upcoming works or events that you are able to share?
I’m hard at work on the second in the Callisto series.  Also, Mystery Writers of America recently selected my short story, “The Secret Life of Books” for inclusion in their spring 2013 anthology. The story is set in Paris, two years after the end of WWII.  I mention it on my webpage, angelagerst.com.  Having this story chosen from several hundred blind submissions thrilled me almost as much as the publication of A Crack in Everything.  The story features a literary woman, Colette, whose character I try to translate into fiction.  In real life, Colette was probably the most famous writer in France during much of the 20th century, and even now.  Her writing gifts were early acknowledged.  Her love affairs were notorious.  She married three times, once to a baron and the last to a man 17 years her junior.  She performed on stage.  She wrote music criticism and theater reviews.  As a journalist she covered famous murder trials.  Her novels and short stories are lyrical, and insightful and completely non-political. She’s about as different from Susan Callisto as it is possible to be while still springing from the mind of this write.

What is one book on your shelf that you cannot wait to read (can either be a new or old favorite). 
This is a hard question for me to answer. Currently I am reading Turgenev for the very first time, and loving him--On The Eve is the book I look forward to every night, and ration myself to no more than 2 chapters to make it last.  I re-read Jane Austen, Tolstoy, and a few of Kingsley Amis’s novels like Lucky Jim and The Green Man.  I re-read Graham Green.  Ian McEwan is a favorite, especially his earlier novels.  If I think about what these writers have in common, it’s the ability to keep the story moving, the pages turning, while writing insightfully about the human condition—what the best mysteries also do. I look forward to mystery/suspense writers like James Lee Burke, Lee Child, Michael Palmer, Daniel Silva, Sue Grafton, Lisa Scottoline, Stephen King, among many others.

I want to say Thank You once again to Angela for being part of my Blogversary. Angela has very nicely donated two separate giveaways as part of her interview. Once open to USA/CAN and another one open internationally. So make sure you enter, it is a debut read that you will like. I cannot wait for the second novel in her Callisto series.

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Make sure to check out the other Great Author Interviews and Giveaways happening right NOW!!