Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Today I'm welcoming back Stephanie McAfee who's talking about her brand new Ace Jones adventure Down and Out In Bugtussle

Today Stephanie talks about what may be next for Ace –"As it turns out, there could be few more books in the Ace Jones series because I just don’t feel like her story is all told. I do have a few other projects in mind -funny ones, of course- but I’m still pondering what comes next."

ISBN-13: 9780451239907
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date: 7/2/2013
Pages: 368

Enter to win your own copy just click the Goodreads button for details

When her dream life in Florida with her now-ex-fiancé goes south, so does Ace — she moves back home to Bugtussle, Mississippi, and into her late Gramma Jones' little house. But even though her best friends, Lilly and Chloe, are thrilled that she's returned home, not everything is smooth sailing.

"Southern-fried Janet Evanovich"—Booklist
"Ace Jones is my kind of girl."—Sophie Littlefield, Author of A Bad Day for Scandal
"Ace Jones is a hoot!"—Wendy Wax, Author of Ocean Beach
"A wildcat Southern version of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum."—Library Journal
Stephanie welcome back to The Reading Frenzy. I was fortunate to host an interview when Happily Ever Madder came out in November of 2012.

So tell us what Graciela (Ace) Jones is up to in Down and out in Bugtussle.
Ace Jones is back in Bugtussle, Mississippi, and all she wants is for things to be the way they were before she left. This turns out to be quite a challenge, however, as Cameron Becker, the lovely art teacher hired to replace her, has no plans to vacate the position; her friends, Chloe and Lilly, insist on setting her up on less-that-romantic blind dates; and her newest co-worker is so stuck in the ‘80s that she still hot rolls her hair and tight rolls her pants. To ease her troubled mind, Ace resolves to restore her grandmother’s gardens to their former glory. But the well-worn gardening book she digs out of her grandmother’s attic seems to harbor more secrets than just how to make the flowers bloom. And so her journey begins…   

In June you released a novella called Ace Jones Mad Fat Adventures in Therapy. Tell us a bit about that.
That’s what I like to call my Li’l Mad Fat Shorty and it covers what transpires after Happily Ever Madder and before Down & Out in Bugtussle. As the title suggests, Ace delves into the world of counseling, therapy, and mental health after an incident lands her in a courtroom where jail time is a very real possibility. It’s a very very funny little ebook and it’s only $1.99.  

In our last chat you said that this would be the last full-length novel in the series. So what are you working on now?
As it turns out, there could be few more books in the Ace Jones series because I just don’t feel like her story is all told. I do have a few other projects in mind -funny ones, of course- but I’m still pondering what comes next.

If you were Ace what would you change about yourself?
Nothing! I think Ace Jones is flawed in all the right ways.

There is a button on your website titled “Social Media Empire.” Let’s talk a little about this new “media frenzied” world we live in.
How do you utilize social media; is it strictly fan based or do you get some personal happiness from it too?
And do you find yourself being extra careful what you post?
I tend to be fairly inconsistent and unreliable when it comes to social media so I’m using the phrase “Social Media Empire” in the most sarcastic way. I always tell people that my blog is funny for all the wrong reasons. I don’t follow any rules. I just do what I like and I like top ten lists, hilarious Christmas poems, and having Ace Jones dole out unsolicited advice by answering Dear Abby columns. My tactics will never be featured on a Forbes list unless it’s one telling you what not to do. But I have fun trying. And I very much enjoy keeping up with friends and connecting with fans. Maybe I’ll get better at social media someday. But if I don’t, that’ll be okay, too.  

You like Ace live in Florida now too and I’ve often heard the term write what you know.
Is it important to you as an author to be familiar with your characters surroundings?
Let me quote Jonni R. Webb of the BB Queens Book Club in Jackson, Mississippi: “Today's wisdom: If you are not from Mississippi, never been to Mississippi...don't try to write about Mississippi and think we won't know the difference... Write what you know. Ok, I'm done for the evening. Good night!”
I think that pretty much sums up how most people feel -especially people from the South. Authenticity is a must for me. I like for readers to think, “I’ve been to that place,” or “I know that person.”

There is just something extra special about Southern Fried humor and even without the colloquial phrases I think I would recognize it.
In the opinion of a real Southern Belle why do think this is?
It’s all about tradition and heritage. The South is famous for genuine hospitality and illustrious story-telling. Almost everywhere you go, there’s this sense of Come and sit a while. Let’s have a glass of sweet tea and share stories. Mine just happen to be funny stories that go better with a cold beer.   
You’ve received great reviews for both your previous novels. Tell us what would be the ultimate accolade for you?
The ultimate accolade for me would be to write a story that was half as good as The Great Gatsby. Or one as enduring as The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. That’s pretty ambitious, huh?  

Okay so you credit your 11th grade English teacher and your son with becoming an author.
If fate had taken you in a different direction what do you think you might have been instead of an author?
I would’ve gone back to teaching high school. Shortly after I put the original self-published version of Diary of a Mad Fat Girl on sale, I sent in my application for Florida teaching license. I don’t know what happened with that, but I am still licensed to teach in the state of Colorado.

Stephanie will there be any brick and mortar signings or events where your fans can meet you in person?
But, of course! On Tuesday, July 2, the official book launch for Down & Out in Bugtussle will be hosted by Page & Palette in Fairhope, Alabama. Then I will be at Reed’s Gum Tree Book in Tupelo, Mississippi, on Friday, July 12; Lemuria Books in Jackson, Mississippi, on Monday, July 15; and the Book Exchange in Marietta, Georgia, on Tuesday, July 16.
More info on these events can be found on stephanie-mcafee.com OR facebook.com/BooksByStephanie/events   

Thank you so much for taking the time to let me pick your brain. Good luck with the new novel!
Thank you! I very much appreciate your time!

 Be sure and visit Stephanie's website for more information about upcoming events and Ace Jones

    photo by Rachel Wade