Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Q&A w/Rebecca Hale and review of Adrift on St. John

Q&A w/ Rebecca M. Hale
featuring her new release Adrift on St. John

Rebecca, welcome to the General Fiction book club forum.
Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here!
Tell us a little about your new novel Adrift on St. John- will this be a series?
Instead of a traditional series, focusing on a single primary character, this will be part of a sequential collection that is set in the US Virgin Islands and the surrounding Caribbean. The next book, AFOOT ON ST CROIX, will follow Charlie Baker, one of the secondary characters from ADRIFT, as he returns to St. Croix to reconnect with his estranged ex-wife.

Tell us how you became to be a published author.
I self-published HOW TO WASH A CAT under my own imprint, Green Vase Publishing, back in 2008. Through B&N’s small press program, I traveled back and forth across the country doing “meet and greet” style book signings at the front of B&N stores. By the end of that summer, I’d driven over 40,000 miles on the book tour, which reached from California to Washington, DC and many points in between. The small press program recommended my book to Penguin, who then contacted me for a license to the paperback rights. Those discussions led to the Cats and Curios series and the new Mystery in the Islands series. To date, I’ve handled all of those negotiations myself – I still don’t use an agent.

Your first novel How To Wash a Cat hit the NY Times Bestseller’s list- did you go around pinching yourself?
You know, at that point, I think I was still too new to the publishing scene to fully appreciate the significance of what was happening. I knew from my promotion work with the original hardcover that the title really drew people’s interest. Nine times out of ten, someone passing by my signing table would at least pause and do a double-take. Most would stop to tell me a story about their own cat-washing experiences. It has a surprisingly universal appeal.
Making “the list” really opened a lot of doors for me. It’s one of the reasons I’ve been able to support myself writing, and it led, indirectly, to the upcoming island book, ADRIFT ON ST JOHN.

What of your Cats and Curios series?
The Cats and Curios series is set to continue for several more books. I plan to alternate back and forth between writing cat books and island books for the next couple of years. The next installment in the Cats and Curios series, HOW TO TAIL A CAT, comes out in September.

Some people call these cozy mysteries, how do you feel about being placed on a genre shelf?
On the one hand, I think the characterization is helpful since it guides a targeted audience to the books. And with such a broad range of books out there, some sort of categorization is necessary.
That being said, even my cat books aren’t really traditional cozies. I like to experiment with varying perspectives and points of view, and there’s an important historical component to the series. So, I think it’s important that people realize it’s not a monolithic genre.
Lastly, I don’t think of ADRIFT ON ST JOHN as a cozy. It’s probably more accurately labeled contemporary mystery/fiction.

Tell us a little about Rebecca.
I’m a crazy cat lady, quickly approaching spinster status. There are a few important differences between me and the narrator of the Cats and Curios series, but, in many ways, that’s a fictionalized me.

What would be your dream vacation?
Honestly, after nearly ten years working as a lawyer, every day I get to spend writing feels like a vacation. I love to explore and travel – both on foot when I’m researching locations to use in my books, and in my mind, when I’m researching the history behind those locations. I have several trips planned for the next couple of years – each one based around a future novel.

Do you have any planned signings or events at Barnes & Noble locations I’m sure the fans would love to know where to meet you personally.
I’m appearing tonight, Tuesday, March 6, at the Barnes & Noble in my hometown of Grand Junction, Colorado. Then I have several other literary appearances coming up in March and April:
March 10 – 11: Tucson Festival of Books
March 14: Murder by the Book, Houston, Texas (appearing with fellow author Paige Shelton).
March 29 – April 1: Left Coast Crime Conference, Sacramento, CA
April 27 – 28: Malice Domestic Conference, Bethesda, MD
April 30: Festival of Mystery, Mystery Lovers Bookshop, Oakmont, PA

Thank you so much for answering my questions and good luck with your new release Adrift in St. John.
Thank you for having me. I’ve really enjoyed our discussion.

Review of Adrift on St. John

Adrift on St. John
Rebecca M. Hale
Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
ISBN 13: 9780425246658
308 pages
Four years ago Penelope Hoffstra got an offer she couldn’t refuse, a struggling borderline unethical lawyer she finds herself in the Miami airport when a strange man approaches her and offers her a new life. She never looked back. She found herself the manager of a prime resort on the Virgin Island of St. John, her ineptness however has followed her to her new career as well as she skims life on her island. But there’s change coming and it isn’t good as the natives get restless nearing the anniversary of a terrible event from 1733 and puts into motion an inevitable string of events that will again bring Pen change. But will this change set her free or will it leave her “Adrift on St. John”.

Bestselling author Rebecca M. Hale (The Curios and Cats series) begins a new series set in the beautiful US Virgin Islands, the first one on St. John where she takes me through a myriad of events that lead me to more questions than answers as she gives me snippets of the lives of her characters that will lead me to the answers if only I’m careful enough to catch all the clues. She adds in a lot of local history to make the read quite interesting and that also adds to the mysteries between the pages. She introduces me to real characters of characters that seem on the surface more caricature than real until she decides to peel the layers and let me look inside. Her dialogue is a mix of English and Island jive that really fits the read and adds more local color to the novel.
Fans of cozy mysteries will like this although it’s not really cozy enough for a cozy and there’s no murder just mayhem. Fans of Hank Phillip Ryan’s Charlotte McNalley novels will also like this.
Thank you Ms. Hale for an interesting trip to the Islands and I look forward to my next.
Buy the book here visit the author's website here