Monday, September 30, 2013

Thank You Margot Livesey!!!!

Please take this time to say thank you for the incredibly generous participation Margot Livesey added to the monthly feature. As we bit and chewed our way through her novel she was with us every step of the way and even went so far as to answer my questions.

Margot I personally want to add how much it meant to me to have you involve yourself so fully.
Good luck to you in all your future endeavors and I want to extend a personal invitation to keep in touch with the blog and all of us here.

Author Interview-Lisa Van Allen - The Wishing Thread

I'm pleased to welcome to the forum today author Lisa Van Allen who is talking today about her latest novel, The Wishing Thread. A novel that award winning Lisa Verge Higgins calls "...a lyrical, emotional, finely knit portrayal of three sisters struggling with love, magic and sacrifice..." Lisa has a very unique pet when I asked her to tell me how she ended up with a Hedgehog for a pet here's what she said ––"I actually wanted a pet hedgehog before I started writing The Wishing Thread...Basically, the reason we ended up with a hedgehog is because she’s adorable. She’s kind of bossy and sort of a diva. But I think she’s just so darn interesting.

  • ISBN-13: 9780345538550
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/27/2013
  • Pages: 400

The Van Ripper women have been the talk of Tarrytown, New York, for centuries. Some say they’re angels; some say they’re crooks. In their tumbledown “Stitchery,” not far from the stomping grounds of the legendary Headless Horseman, the Van Ripper sisters—Aubrey, Bitty, and Meggie—are said to knit people’s most ardent wishes into beautiful scarves and mittens, granting them health, success, or even a blossoming romance. But for the magic to work, sacrifices must be made—and no one knows that better than the Van Rippers.
“Reader to reader, knitter to knitter: You’re going to love this book.”—Debbie Macomber
“The Wishing Thread is a lyrical, emotional, finely knit portrayal of three sisters struggling with love, magic and sacrifice. This is the best book I’ve read all year.”—Lisa Verge Higgins, author of The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship
“Fans of magical realism will want to pick up this enjoyable novel, which not only weaves magic through stitchery, but also weaves a realistic story about family and sisterhood and the threads that pull us back home.”—RT Book Reviews
“Great for fans of Sarah Addison Allen and Alice Hoffman; you know it’s whimsical when you learn that debut author Allen owns a pet hedgehog.”—Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews:
In Allen's debut novel, knitting becomes a rich metaphor for the power of women, of the disenfranchised, of the desperate. Steeped in the spirit of Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," this bewitching tale will delight fans of magical realism.

Lisa welcome to The Reading Frenzy
Thank you so much for having me! It’s a pleasure!

Tell us about The Wishing Thread
Sure! The Wishing Thread is about three sisters in the village of Tarrytown, not far from where the Headless Horseman story originated. One sister, Aubrey, has spent her life at The Stitchery, the “magical” yarn shop that is her family legacy.

Her two sisters, Bitty and Meggie, have been avoiding the Stitchery for many years because the nature of the family’s magic is complicated and they don’t want to be involved.

In order for a magic spell to work, a person must “pay” for the spell by giving up something that’s very important to them. If it’s not important enough, the spell won’t work.

When the neighborhood is threatened, the sisters must reunite in order to decide the fate of their family legacy. As the sisters work to reconcile their very different opinions, Aubrey grows closer to a handsome handyman, who is the only guy in Tarrytown who can look her in the eye.

In the end, Aubrey is called to make an enormous sacrifice that will change all of Tarrytown forever.

You’ve gotten a lot of wonderful praise about your novel from readers, reviewers and authors. Congratulation!
How have those words of praise affected you as an author?
I can’t even say how wonderful it’s been. As I’m writing this I’m on a deadline, with a new book due very soon. And in all honesty, the many kind letters that I’ve received and the generous show of support have really helped keep me going now that I’m in crunch time for my work in progress.

Lisa I learned from your blog that your idea for The Wishing Thread came about because of your love of knitting and I encourage readers to click and read it.
It also says that you’re just about finished with the second “magic” book.
Will this be a series?
One of the comments I keep getting from readers is that they wish the story would just keep going on, which is exactly what a writer wants to hear. Alas, The Wishing Thread is not part of a series. It’s rather unlikely that I’ll ever write a series. I really like my writing to challenge me. I like learning new things, I like improving my technique, I like getting better with every new book. And in order to do that it means I’ve got to constantly keep myself outside my comfort zone.

Working on a series might get a little too familiar too quickly for me. So for the moment, my books will probably end up being all standalones.

Lisa on your website you say, “As for the writing, every single day I find more inspiration than I’ll ever know what to do with in a lifetime.”
Can you be a bit more specific and tell us where you find that inspiration?
I know it’s cliché to say that inspiration comes from everywhere. But it really does. A lot of the “work” of writing happens on a subconscious level.

That said, reading is hugely important to me. When I read a good book, it challenges me and energizes me to become a better writer myself. Nothing rejuvenates my determination to keep improving my writing more than reading a good book.

Lisa, you seem to be a very “wired” author. Do you use social media just mainly to “hang out” or do you think it’s a good advertising tool for you as well?
Well, I have a Facebook page. And I love hearing from people there. So it is a great tool for connecting me with readers.

But on a personal level, the way I most like to use social media is to connect with people who have similar interests. So for example, I like connecting with other knitters on my Ravelry profile (I’m Lisava). And I’m on Goodreads too. I love love love stalking my friends to see what they’re reading.

So we know that you like to knit. What other things do you do for R&R?
When I’m not writing or reading, I like spending time with my family and friends — all the better if there’s microbrews involved. My husband and I enjoy goofing off in the Hudson Valley; I’m hoping will be able to get there this weekend since there’s no place in the world I love more in the autumn than Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow.

I also volunteer quite a lot of my time with my church. I co-coordinate our volunteer work. So I do a fair bit of running around and organizing in order to help keep our local food pantry stocked, to make sure we have enough food to put on a meal at the homeless shelter, to donate handknit hats to newborns in underserved communities, and that sort of thing.

You have to tell us about your pet Hedgehog Cleo, how did you end up with a Hedgehog for a pet?
I actually wanted a pet hedgehog before I started writing The Wishing Thread. And because I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get one, the sisters in the Stitchery ended up with a hedgehog of their own. Eventually, I ended up with Cleo — my hedgehog.

Basically, the reason we ended up with a hedgehog is because she’s adorable. She’s kind of bossy and sort of a diva. But I think she’s just so darn interesting. She’s also very low maintenance, which helps when you’re as busy as my husband and I are.

Lisa will you be touring with The Wishing Thread, can you tell us where and when in case we’d like to meet you in person?
Thanks for asking. I’m sticking close to home with my promotional efforts for The Wishing Thread — which is to say I’ll mostly be in New Jersey. More information is available on my website. Otherwise, I love connecting with readers online.

Lisa thank you for stopping by The Reading Frenzy and dropping a little magic with us. Good luck with the new novel!!
My pleasure to be here! Thank you!

Connect with Lisa Website - Facebook

Friday, September 27, 2013

**GIVEAWAY** Interview with Jeannie Lin -The Lotus Palace

Today I'm welcoming a local author who I had the pleasure of meeting at a bookstore signing a few Saturdays ago. She's chatting about her new Harlequin release The Lotus Palace. When I asked her what interested her most about the Tang Dynasty when the novel takes place she said ––"What interests me most is how the Tang empire was so vast and the history so colorful that you can tell almost any type of story in the Tang Dynasty." See what else she says about the Tang Dynasty then enter for a chance to win your very own copy of Jeannie's novel sponsored by her wonderful publisher Harlequin.

  • ISBN-13: 9780373777730
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 8/27/2013
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384


It is a time of celebration in the Pingkang li, where imperial scholars and bureaucrats mingle with beautiful courtesans. At the center is the Lotus Palace, home of the most exquisite courtesans in China…
Maidservant Yue-ying is not one of those beauties. Street-smart and practical, she's content to live in the shadow of her infamous mistress—until she meets the aristocratic playboy Bai Huang.
 Reviews for Jeannie’s novels:
"A deeply satisfying romance set in the midst of a fascinating world of glamour and intrigue." - Lauren Willig, New York Times Bestselling Author
"Lush history, heartbreaking romance, fascinating mystery, and a happy ending! What more can anyone ask?" - Patricia Rice, New York Times Bestselling Author
"The Lotus Palace is a poignant love story to treasure." - Elizabeth Essex, award-winning author of Scandal in the Night
"Lin ...combines wit, seduction, skill and intelligence." -Publishers Weekly on My Fair Concubine, starred review
"Beautifully written, deliciously sensual and rich with...detail... Exceptional." -Library Journal on The Dragon and the Pearl, starred review

Contest is open to US and Canada
Sponsored by Harlequin
Enter below using the Rafflecopter form
Thank you Jeannie and Harlequin
Good Luck!!

Please welcome award winning romance author Jeannie Lin to The Reading Frenzy

Jeannie welcome, tell us a little about your latest novel The Lotus Palace.
Jeannie: Thank you and so happy to be here. 
The Lotus Palace is both a romance and a mystery set in the pleasure quarter in the capital city of Changan. It involves Yue-ying, a clever maidservant, and Bai Huang, a nobleman’s son who is known for being a playboy and failed scholar. 

Jeannie your novels take place during the Tang Dynasty in China.
What about this era interests you the most?
Jeannie: What interests me most is how the Tang empire was so vast and the history so colorful that you can tell almost any type of story in the Tang Dynasty. My previous novel was titled The Sword Dancer
 and it was a swashbuckling adventure romance involving a female bandit and the thief-catcher who hunts her down. I’ve been able to explore many different types of stories within this period.

Jeannie are your fans older or younger than you expected?
And what is the average age of your fans?
Jeannie: I’m quite surprised at the range of ages. I get fan mail from some teens and also letters from people who have been reading romance for thirty, forty years. Then there are readers who have never picked up a romance novel before mine. I wouldn’t be able to say what the average age is. I always assumed my readers would be close to me in age because these are the stories I love, but I can’t say for certain. 

Do you see yourself writing in any other genre?
Jeannie: Very interesting you should ask! I’m actually working on a historical short that might be classified as magical realism
 and another that’s a contemporary right now as I try to clear my head for my next big project. (Hint: It’s an Opium War steampunk)

How did it feel winning the RWA Golden Heart Award for your manuscript for Butterfly Swords in 2009? (To learn more about the RWA Rita Awards see my blog post dedicated to the 2013 winners
Jeannie: Winning the GH was a dream come true. This award means different things to different writers, but for me it was the start of everything. 

Your bio says that you started writing while teaching high-school.
Can you expand on this and tell your personal journey to being a novelist?
Jeannie: I was teaching high school science in South Central Los Angeles and teaching took up every last ounce of energy and emotion I had. When I wasn’t teaching, I was thinking about my next lesson or my students or that lab I had to set up. One day, we were talking in the lunch room and one of my fellow teachers asked us what other job we’d want to do if we weren’t teaching. I said without hesitation, “I’d love to write romance novels.”

So I researched and there was a class at UCLA that specifically taught how to write a romance novel. I just fell in love with the process. The instructor, author Barbara Ankrum, became a mentor for me. 

For the longest time, I thought it would still be nothing more than a hobby. I finished my first book after more than two years. Then my next book took only two months to finish the rough draft. Somewhere in the process, I’d gotten hungry. I wanted this.

That second book was Butterfly Swords. When it was done, I spent some time editing it and then I started querying like mad. At the same time, I started writing a third book, The Dragon and the Pearl.

Now that you’re a published author what about writing, as a profession is not what you expected?
Jeannie: I think it’s a challenge to negotiate the artistic or creative side of writing with the professional side. To use a teaching analogy – some days, I just didn’t feel like teaching. I didn’t feel like getting up in the morning, putting on my game face and hitting the lesson plan like a rock star. But I had to do it. And if I didn’t give 100%, I would know in how my students responded.

That’s why it’s called a job.

Before you publish, writing is a hobby. It’s not a job, no matter how serious you are about finishing that book. Some days you don’t feel creative, so you don’t write. You brainstorm, talk it over with fellow authors. You angst about craft. You question things that you do and try a bunch of new things.

This is all great for figuring out your creative process, but once it’s for real, there’s less time to dawdle and second guess and experiment. You have to produce like a rock star even when there are whole periods of your life when it’s tough to write. (I have twin infants. At times while writing The Lotus Palace, I couldn’t even keep my eyes open. Thank goodness for editors and critique partners!)

People who know me know how strong I feel for the whole Harlequin brand; as far as I’m concerned Harlequin makes the world go round.
Why do you choose to write for Harlequin?

Jeannie: Actually, Harlequin chose me. That makes them a class act in my book. J

I think Harlequin had enough variety in their lines and enough reach in the U.S. as well as internationally that they could take a chance on me and find a place for my books somewhere.

What would surprise us about you?
Jeannie: I think people would be surprised to learn I’m funny. Really, I am! I come off as very serious on paper (or online).

Jeannie according to your website you’re a local author, I’m from St. Louis too J Small world.
Were can fans find your complete schedule so they could meet you in person if possible?
Jeannie: Oh wow! That’s really cool.

I totally have to update my schedule online. I had a two year hiatus from any speaking appearances so I sort of let things lapse. However, I always keep my newsletter subscribers informed of my schedule. There’s a sign-up right on sidebar of my website (

My newsletter is also the best place to get news updates and giveaways. I also have regular updates on Facebook.

Jeannie thank you for chatting with me. Good luck with the new novel!


Connect with Jeannie – Website  Facebook - Twitter

For those of you who don't win or want more chances
Goodreads is also offering a contest HERE

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Interview with Michelle Sagara about her novel Cast in Sorrow

Today I'm excited to welcome to The Reading Frenzy Michelle Sagara as she chats about her newest novel Cast In Sorrow 9th in her Chronicles of Elantra series. When I asked her why she also wrote under the pen name Michelle West she explains ––"The West novels are also much more like an -ology than the Sagara Cast novels...––So: I wanted people to know that the two books were very tonally different."
Learn more about the author and her works below!

  • ISBN-13: 9780373803569
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 8/27/2013
  • Series: Chronicles of Elantra Series , #9
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 480


THE END OF HER JOURNEY IS ONLY THE BEGINNING The Barrani would be happy to see her die. So Kaylin Neya is a bit surprised by her safe arrival in the West March. Especially when enemies new and old surround her and those she would call friends are equally dangerous. And then the real trouble starts. Kaylin's assignment is to be a "harmoniste"—one who helps tell the truth behind a Barrani Recitation. 

Praise for Michelle’s Novels:
"First-rate fantasy. Sagara's complex characterizations and rich world-building lift her above the crowd." —New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong
"No one provides an emotional payoff like Michelle Sagara. Combine that with a fast-paced police procedural, deadly magics, five very different races and a wickedly dry sense of humor-well, it doesn't get any better than this."
-Bestselling author Tanya Huff on The Chronicles of Elantra series
"The impressively detailed setting and the book's spirited heroine are sure to charm romance readers as well as fantasy fans who like some mystery with their magic."
-Publishers Weekly on Cast in Secret
"With prose that is elegantly descriptive, Sagara answers some longstanding questions and adds another layer of mystery. Each visit to this amazing world, with its richness of place and character, is one to relish."
-RT Book Reviews (4 ½ stars) on Cast in Silence

Please welcome Michelle Sagara to The Reading Frenzy

Michelle, tell us a little about Cast In Sorrow
Cast in Sorrow is the first novel in the series to take place entirely outside of the city of Elantra, where Kaylin makes her home and does the job she (mostly) loves. It picks up directly after Cast in Peril, and follows Kaylin to the West March, where she discovers more about Teela’s history than it’s strictly safe to know.

This is the 9th novel in your Chronicles of Elantra series.
Is there a planned number for the series?
When I started this series, I envisioned the plot structure of a television show, with many corners for me to explore and develop in future books. I wanted a continuing cast of characters, but I wanted to write books that stood alone, in the hope that readers could pick up any book set in Elantra.
I’m not sure I did a great job with that last part...
I intend to write CAST novels until I run out of stories I want to tell in that universe. At the moment, I keep tripping over new ones to add to the list; I do write some of the books on that list, so it’s holding steady.

Michelle you also write under the name Michelle West.
The West novels are--to me--very different in tone. Some readers don’t find that true; some readers have said that if they hadn’t come to my web-site, they would have had no idea that Michelle West and Michelle Sagara were the same author.

Because I’ve spent over half of my life working in bookstores, and spent the better part of that time recommending books to readers, I’ve developed a dread of giving a reader a type of book she doesn’t want. I realize that no book, no matter how brilliant, will speak to all readers, and that sometimes we pick up books that we don’t consider good. But that’s a matter of preferred execution, not genre. I don’t recommend Ilona Andrews to someone who comes in asking for books like Joe Abercrombie’s. Or vice versa.

The West novels are also much more like an -ology than the Sagara Cast novels. They start, and the story continues throughout the series; while each book has an arc and a structural movement, they tell part of one story.

So: I wanted people to know that the two books were very tonally different.
Some people prefer the West novels ; some, the Sagara novels.

Michelle according to your bio we have the same problem. No matter how many bookshelves we buy there’s never enough.
When did your love of literature start and who was an early favorite author of yours?
I honestly can’t remember the first book I read. My father--and mother--read to us when we were children, and we picked up whole-word recognition from them. I remember Oscar the Otter (picture book).

None of the early picture books were books I chose myself, though.
I started to read - with a great deal of pride - non-picture books, which made my six year old self feel so mature and grown up. I read all of the Nancy Drew books I could get my hands on, and then all of the Hardy Boys books (because my cousin had both), and then all of Enid Blyton’s middle-readers, and then... C. S. Lewis’s Narnia books. Alan Garner’s Weirdstone of Brisingamen, and its sequel (check: Red Moon of Gomrath). The Hobbit.

These books were magic, to me. I had strengthened my technical reading skills on books whose plots were predictable, and whose characters did not undergo alarming - or any - changes. And I think that was a necessary part of learning to read, again for me. But when I opened up the covers of these other, non-series books, things lost predictability. They lost a certain sense of safety, they rode off the rails.

I loved The Hobbit. But when I opened Lord of the Rings, I was quite put out at the introduction of this new hobbit, Frodo. I mean, yes, Bilbo was there - but the book wasn’t about him. In my disappointment, I set LOTR aside for two years.

When I came back to it, at eleven, I loved it. I read it back-to-back four times in a row. It was mythic and it was elegaic; it was about duty, friendship, hope and also sacrifice. I think it was the loss of the elves that moved me most, because they knew what the war meant, and they were willing to give up everything that they had made or built in middle earth in order to end Sauron’s reign. In the elves--and the dwarves--the sense of profound loss, the sense of farewell, carried with it the sense of the ancient, the wild, the glimpses of things almost, but not quite, lost to history.

It’s funny, another SF author I know said he read it first as an adventure story, in which the fellowship & the battles figured most prominently; it wasn’t until he was reading LOTR to his son that he could see the elegy and the echoes of loss and grief in it.

But I think it’s all there, and we gain different things when we approach it at different stages of our reading lives.

What is it about Fantasy fiction that most intrigues you?
I like the endless possibilities. It’s not that life isn’t full of endless possibilities, but the scope is often narrower, the focus more internal. Fantasy--or Science Fiction--allows me to create a world, a universe.

When I first open the door into that universe, it’s exciting because anything can happen. I think out and plan out the world itself, but it’s flat on paper; it’s an intellectual exercise. Only when I start to write novel words does it come to life. It’s messier, because things change as I write. I have to go back and revise things, or deepen them.

This doesn’t mean that there’s no sense or no causality in a fantasy environment; there is, and there has to be. If there are no underlying rules that govern your characters’ abilities and actions, nothing makes sense. But the rules of the world are defined in different ways; they allow for things you won’t see here: magic, non-humans, buildings that wouldn’t pass architectural muster in the real world.

They allow you to build crucibles which both test and reveal your characters’ strengths and limitations. They put characters into situations that feel realistic, but which would never happen in the exact same way in the world we live in.

For instance, they allow for ghosts. Ghosts, for me, are a different expression of grief and loss.

What do you most love about being an author?
I love sitting down to write.  Writing isn’t always easy; sometimes it’s difficult because that great idea that I had, which worked so well on paper, utterly falls flat on its face when I try to bring it to life. But I love the creative process; I love opening up both the characters and the world they inhabit. I love it when a book turns left instead of taking the straight road, even when I’m simultaneously pulling out all my hair and shrieking in protest at my computer screen. (This makes my mother worry about me, but...writers are often a bit strange.)

And I love reaching readers.

Reading was a huge, formative part of my childhood. It was a huge and formative part of my adolescence. It is still a large part of my life now. Books spoke to me in ways people couldn’t -- possibly because I was too prickly to listen >.>. They moved me in ways people didn’t, because they were more intense, and more focused, and the view they offered was different enough that I could immerse myself in it.

There was pretty much nothing I loved the way I loved books.

And I wanted that. I mean, I wanted to write something that would move readers in the same way that I myself had been moved. When I find that my books are someone’s comfort reading, or that they got them through chemotherapy, it makes my day. It makes my week.

Michelle, you’ve just turned in your latest manuscript and are packing your bags for a personal vacation.
Where in this world would you be traveling?
Australia. But this time, I would visit Sydney as well and see a little bit more of the country than I did in August. I’m not much of a traveler; for one, I hate planes. It takes me a few days to recover from the flight if it’s longer than about six hours. I also tend to live a little bit too much in my own head; I start to think, I focus inward, and I kind of shut out the world -- no matter where I am.

I don’t do this deliberately; a stray thought will kind of knock me into internal loops while I poke at it. But...I’ve once walked into a moving car because I was thinking through something and I didn’t actually notice that the light was red when I started to walk across the street. I try very hard not to do this, for obvious reasons (and the poor driver was grey-green when she pulled over--I felt so guilty >.<).

It means, though, that I tend to pick up a new book by an author I adore with the same enthusiasm some people save for visiting strange, new places.

And when I’m reading, the world disappears. Except it doesn’t. So then I want to be in the comfort of my cave with these new words and these new thoughts.

If you could choose to travel to only one of your fantasy worlds which one would it be and why?
I’m not sure I would ever willingly visit one of my fantasy worlds >.>. So much of the stories I write are set in periods of conflict and instability. It’s not that life in reality is free of conflict or instability--but demons are not going to reduce me to screaming insanity, and my house is not going to half-melt out beneath my feet, and people who have greater wealth and power aren’t going to randomly kill me on a lark.

I’m a pretty average person. Married, mortgaged, with two children and an old car. I’m not young, and not physically at the top of my form. I have zero illusions of what my life would actually be like if I paid a visit to most of the places I write about: short and probably over quickly.

So understand that if I had to choose only one, I would be choosing the one in which I think I’d have the best chance of leaving a reasonably comfortable working life.

That would probably be Elantra.

Michelle when you’re in the writing zone do you forget about everything else or are you an uber-organized person and nothing suffers?
I am very much the former (I think you kind of have to be to realize, in the middle of a Washington D.C. intersection, that the light was actually red and you are crossing against traffic). I have daydreams of being an uber-organized person. One of my small compulsions is to buy To-do apps for my iPad. Or project management apps. The hope is that I will find one that is so intuitive to my thought processes that I will instantly become an organized person.

So far, this has failed to happen. I start to enter things, and then get overwhelmed by all of the things on the to do list, until making the list itself seems like a herculean task and I back away.

So I have the mounting pile of emergencies, and the smaller pile of things that will become emergencies if I don’t deal with them Right Now.

Michelle thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us today. Will there be an author/signing event(s) where fans could meet you in person?
I work in a bookstore in Toronto, BakkaPhoenix books, two days a week, and I’m happy to sign books or say hello in person there.

Connect with Michelle – WebsiteFacebookTwitter

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Partners in Crime Blog Tour for The Red Queen Dies + Interview with author Frankie Y Bailey

Welcome to The Reading Frenzy's stop on The Red Queen Dies blog tour sponsored by Partners In Crime blog tours. Enjoy my interview with author Frankie Y Bailey. Did you know that Frankie was once a US Army Food Inspector. Read all about that and all her wonderful answers to my questions below.

My Interview with Frankie Y Bailey

“Frankie Y. Bailey deals a near perfect hand in The Red Queen Dies. If murder and political mayhem are on your reading menu, you’ll eat this book up.”
—Reed Farrel Coleman, three-time Shamus Award-winning author of Gun Church
"Fast, smart, different, this future-procedural rocks both Alice in Wonderland and Dorothy in Oz.I couldn't put it down and I demand a sequel!"
—Meredith Anthony
"I loved this book! Frankie Bailey's twisty new police procedural, The Red Queen Dies, is fresh and engaging and surprising and oh so very clever."
—Jane Cleland
"An intriguing police procedural filled with suspense, red herrings, and plot twists. A book well worth the read." 
—Robert Greer

Frankie Hi!
Welcome to my blog as a part of the Partners In Crime Blog Tour for your novel.

Tell my viewers a bit about your new novel The Red Queen Dies.
Hello. The Red Queen Dies is the first book in a near-future police procedural series set in an alternate reality version of Albany, New York in 2019. It is a mystery, not science fiction. But there are some futuristic elements. My protagonist is Hannah McCabe, a detective in the Albany PD.  The Red Queen Dies draws on the history of the real Albany, particularly as it relates to John Wilkes Booth and Abraham Lincoln. Booth and Lincoln were in Albany on the same day in 1861. Later, that year, Booth and a young actress, with whom he was romantically involved, were back in Albany, when she stabbed him during a quarrel. There are a couple of other fascinating connections between Albany and the Lincoln assassination. But my book focuses on Henrietta Irving, the real life actress, and a fictional Broadway actress (“The Red Queen”) who is murdered while she is in Albany writing a play about Booth and Irving.  Alice Adventures in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass and The Wizard of Oz (because of Albany’s real-life “yellow brick road”) become texts that McCabe and her partner study as they are looking for clues to the motive of the killer of the Broadway actress and two young Albany women.
I wanted to set the book in the near-future because I’m fascinated by the social and environmental forces that will be having even a greater impact in a few years.

Frankie you have a very eclectic background from a would be Veterinarian student to a US Army food inspector to a college professor
Do you think your varied training and credentials help you be a better author?
Well, along the way, I’ve acquired some knowledge, learned how to ask questions and find the answers, and developed enough discipline to finish what I’ve started. Or, at least, I try to do those things because I’m always telling my students that they should. 

In your biography section on your website you say that you were a shy child and that writing was one thing you could do alone.
While writing is a solitary activity some authors benefit from a critique group.
Do you?
I did belong to a writers group that was both a critique group and a source of social support.  Later, one of the members of the group helped to found our local Sisters in Crime chapter. The members of the group who were still in the area became member of the chapter. Now, rather than a critique group, I have “first readers” who read my first draft and provide feedback. Of course, I also belong to both Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America, so I’m able to take advance of the opportunities for interaction with other writers offered by both organizations.

Frankie you’ve authored romantic suspense, non-fiction and now with The Red Queen Dies a novel based in the not too distant future.
Which genre is your favorite to write?

I’m not sure that I have a favorite. I love writing mysteries. My first mystery series, features crime historian, Lizzie Stuart, and is set in the recent past. Now, I’m writing a police procedural series set in the near future, but there are still historical elements. One day, I’ll certainly try my hand again at romantic suspense because I grew up reading and loving Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, and Phyllis Whitney. And I’m working – slowly – on a stand-alone historical thriller set in 1939. My non-fiction is based on my research as a social scientist. I don’t prefer one or the other. Each genre allows me to explore different aspects of the things that interest me.

You state on your website that you were a mystery reader from an early age.
Who were and are some of your favorite authors and novels?
Is there one author you’ve yet to meet but are dying to?
I’ve mentioned some of my favorite romance suspense authors above. Their books had strong mystery elements. I’m also a fan of the late Richard Martin Stern’s Johnny Ortiz series, because of his characters and setting. He was a writer who I never met who has influenced my writing. And I’m a fan of the late Dick Francis.  Agatha Christie influenced not only my mystery writing, but inspired my first non-fiction book about black characters in crime and detective fiction.
I’ve actually had a chance to meet many of the living authors whose work I admire at conferences. I would like to meet authors I’ll never have a chance to meet – like Pauline Hopkins, the first African American woman to write a published mystery or Rudolph Fisher, who wrote a classic detective novel, The Conjure-Man Dies, set in Harlem (published in 1932).

In academia you focus much attention on different characters and their part in crime fiction.
Is there something in your research that really surprised you?
My academic research focuses mainly on real life crime and images of victims and offenders in mass media/popular culture. Right now, I’m working on a book about dress, appearance, and criminal justice. My research focusing on characters in crime fiction has been on black characters (Out of the Woodpile), followed years later by a book about African American Mystery Writers. I wasn’t particularly surprised by the racial/ethnic stereotypes in early crime fiction. What did surprise me when I wrote that first book was discovering an occasional book or short story prior to World War II that challenged the stereotypes.  For example, Arthur Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes story, “The Adventure of the Yellow Face” or Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe novel, Too Many Cooks.

Could you walk us through a day in the life of Frankie Bailey?
I work at home in the morning. I go into my office at school in the afternoon to teach, meet with students, or work on my own research/writing. I attend committee meetings or go out to participate in community meetings/events. I come home, have dinner and work some more. But I enjoy what I do – both teaching and academic research and mystery writing. So a day that might look rather boring to someone looking at how I spent it would probably be fun to me.

Frankie thank you so much for answering my questions. Good luck with your new novel and all your future endeavors!
Thanks so much!  I enjoyed the interview.

Visit the author’s website here
For a Partners In Crime Tour schedule click here

The Red Queen Dies

by Frankie Bailey

on Tour August 1 - September 30, 2013

Book Details:

Genre:  Mystery & Detective Published by: Minotaur Books Publication Date: Sept 10, 2013 Number of Pages: 304 ISBN: 978-0-312-64175-7 / 978-1-250-03717-6 Purchase Links:


The first in a new high-concept police procedural series, set in Albany with an Alice in Wonderland theme. Frankie Bailey introduces readers to a fabulous new protagonist and an Alice in Wonderland-infused crime in this stunning mystery. The year is 2019, and a drug used to treat soldiers for post-traumatic stress disorder, nicknamed "Lullaby," has hit the streets. Swallowing a little pill erases traumatic memories, but what happens to a criminal trial when the star witness takes a pill and can't remember the crime? Biracial detective Hannah McCabe faces similar perplexing problems as she attempts to solve the murders of three women, one of whom, a Broadway actress known as "The Red Queen," has a special interest in the story of Alice in Wonderland. Is the killer somehow reenacting the children's tale? This smart, tough mystery will appeal to fans of high-concept police procedurals.

Read an excerpt:

Excerpt: DATE: Thursday, 24 October 2019 TIME: 0700 hours WEATHER TODAY: Mid 90s. Air quality poor. Evening storms. DISPLAY ON WALL: Wake- up News “Good morning, everyone. I’m Suzanne Price. “First, the news from the nation. The federal government says, ‘No hoax, no conspiracy, but still no definitive answers.’ “The administration denies suppressing portions of the commission report on the November 2012 close encounter between NORAD fighter jets and the black boomerang- shaped UFO that appeared over the Mojave Desert, creating worldwide awe and panic before disappearing in a blinding flash of light. “In Las Vegas, preparations are underway for the now- annual spectacular celebration of that close encounter. “However, a warning from alien invasion survivalists, who say this seventh anniversary will be the year the spacecraft returns leading an armada. Survivalists plan to retreat to their bunkers on November 2. Gun shop owners report sales of firearms are up, as they are every year as the anniversary approaches. “Meanwhile, the National Weather Service says another eruption of solar fl ares could cause more communication and power disruptions early next week. “Forest fi res in both Canada and breakaway nation New France continue to burn out of control, sending smoke southward. “Scientists taking part in a climate change conference in Philadelphia disagree about the explanation for the significant improvement in the acidity levels of the world’s oceans. ‘It shouldn’t be happening,’ an MIT oceanographer said. ‘Nothing in anyone’s data predicted this turnaround. But I think we can safely rule out divine intervention and UFO babies.’ “Out on the presidential campaign trail, a political firestorm erupts as Republican front- runner Janet Cortez accuses in dependent candidate Howard Miller of ‘rallying angry, frightened people to commit hate crimes.’ During an arena speech yesterday, Miller called on several thousand supporters to ‘reclaim America for Americans’ and ‘restore our way of life.’ Cortez says Miller is ‘morally responsible’ for the attacks that have been escalating since he announced his third- party candidacy. “Now, here at home . . . a chilling scenario posed by a local crime beat threader. Is there an ‘Albany Ripper’ in our midst?” “Dammit!” Hannah McCabe jumped back as the grapefruit juice from her overturned glass splashed across the countertop, covering the still- visible display of the nutrition content of her father’s breakfast. “Bring up the sound,” he said. “I want to hear this.” “Half a second, Pop. Hands full.” McCabe shoved her holster out of the way and touched clean up before the stream of juice could run off the counter and onto the tile floor. “. . . Following last night’s Common Council meeting, threader Clarence Redfield interrupted a statement by Detective Wayne Jacoby, the Albany Police Department spokesperson . . .” In the chief of police’s office, Jacoby struggled to keep his expression neutral as the footage of the press conference and his exchange with Redfield began to roll. “The Albany Police Department remains hopeful that the Common Council will approve both funding requests. The first to expand GRTYL, our Gang Reduction Through Youth Leadership program, and the second to enhance the surveillance—” “Detective Jacoby, isn’t it true that the Albany PD is engaged in a cover- up? Isn’t it true that the Albany PD has failed to inform the citizens of this city of what they have a right to know?” “I know you want to off er your usual observations, Mr. Redfield. But if you will hold your questions until I finish—” “Isn’t it true that we have a serial killer at work here in Albany, Detective? Isn’t it true that a secret police task force has been created to try to track down a killer who has been preying on women here in this city?” “That is . . . no, that is not true, Mr. Redfield. There is no secret task force, nor is there any cover- up. We . . . the Albany PD does not engage in . . .” From his position by the window, Chief Egan said, “Stammering like a frigging schoolgirl makes it hard to believe you’re telling the truth, Wayne.” “The little bastard caught me off guard,” Jacoby said, his annoyance getting the better of him. The others at the table avoided his glance, their gazes focused on the wall where his confrontation with Redfield was continuing. “So, Detective, you’re telling us that there aren’t two dead women who—” “I’m telling you, Mr. Redfield, that we have ongoing investigations into two cases involving female victims who—” “Who were the victims of a serial killer?” “We have two female homicide victims. Both deaths were drug- induced and both occurred within the past six weeks. On each occasion, we made available to the media, including yourself, information about—” “But you didn’t release the details that link the two cases. You didn’t tell the media or the citizens of this city that both women were—” “We do not release the details of ongoing homicide investigations, Mr. Redfield. And you are not aiding these investigations with your grandstanding.” “My grandstanding? Don’t you think it’s time someone told the women of Albany that the police can’t protect them? That they should stay off the streets after dark, get inside when the fog rolls in, and lock their doors? Shouldn’t someone tell the taxpaying citizens of this city that in spite of all the hype about your Big Brother surveillance system, a killer is still moving like a phantom through the—” “What the citizens of Albany should know is that the Albany PD is bringing all its resources and those of other law- enforcement agencies to bear to solve these two cases. Veteran detectives are following every lead. And the citywide surveillance system the department has implemented—” “When it’s working, Detective Jacoby. Isn’t it true that the solar flares have been giving your system problems?” One of the captains sitting at the conference table in Chief Egan’s office groaned. “Is he just guessing?” On the wall, Jacoby’s jaw was noticeably clinched. “As I was about to say, Mr. Redfield, before we began this back- and-forth, the DePloy surveillance system has been effective both in reducing crime and solving the crimes that have occurred. That is the end of this discussion.” “You mean ‘Shut up or I’m out of here’?” “Ladies and gentlemen of the press, I am now going to finish the official statement regarding funding. I will only respond to questions on that subject. . . .” Chief Egan said, “Not one of your better performances, Wayne. You let him rattle you.” He walked over and sat down at the head of the table. “Her Royal Highness, the mayor, was not pleased when she called me last night.” On the wall, the anchorwoman took over. “Detective Jacoby then completed his statement about the proposals before the Common Council. When a reporter tried to return to the allegation made by crime beat threader Clarence Redfield that a serial killer is at work in Albany, Detective Jacoby ended the press conference and left the podium. Mr. Redfield himself declined to respond to questions from reporters about the source of his information. We’ll have more for you on this story as details become available. “In another matter before the Common Council, a proposed emergency expansion of the existing no masks or face- covering ordinance to include Halloween night. The new ordinance would apply to everyone over eight years of age. The recent outbreak of crimes involving juveniles . . .” “Now, they’re even trying to take away Halloween,” Angus McCabe said from his place at the kitchen table. “Well? Any truth to it? Do we have ourselves a serial killer on the loose?” McCabe put her empty juice glass on the shelf inside the dishwasher. “Since when do you consider Clarence Redfield a reliable source, Pop?” “He ain’t. But I’ve spent more than half my life grilling official mouthpieces, and the way Jacoby was squirming—” “Jacoby can’t stand Redfield. You know that.” McCabe snagged her thermo jacket from the back of her chair and bent to kiss his forehead. “And you’re retired now, remember?” “I may be retired, but I’m not dead yet. What’s going on?” “Got to run, Pop. Have a good day.” “Have a good day nothing.” He rose to follow her into the hall. “Hank McCabe, you tell me what’s—” “Can’t discuss it. I’ll pick us up some dinner on the way home. Chinese okay?” He scowled at her, his eyes the same electric blue they had always been, the bristling brows gone gray. “No, Chinese ain’t okay. I’m tired of Chinese. I’ll cook dinner tonight. I’ve got all day to twiddle my thumbs. What else do I have to do but make dinner?” “I thought you might intend to work on your book. You do have that deadline coming up in a couple of months.” “Book, hell. There ain't no book. I’m giving the advance back.” “If that’s what you want to do,” McCabe said. “On the other hand, you could just sit down and write the book.” “You try writing a damn book, Ms. Detective.” “Not my area of expertise. But you've done it a few times before. Even won an award or two.” “This one’s different. Nobody would read it even if I wrote it. And don’t ‘If that’s what you want to do’ me. We were talking about this serial killer that Redfield claims—” “Sorry, Pop, I really do have to go. I want to get in a few minutes early this morning.” “Why? What are you—” She closed the door on his demand that she get herself back there and tell him what was going on. Striding to her car, McCabe tried to ignore the whiff of smoke that she could taste in the back of her throat and the sticky air, which made her want to step back into the shower. The heat was due to break to night. That would clear the air. And Pop would pull himself out of his funk. He always did. Of course, the other times, he’d had an office to go to . . . and no restrictions on his alcohol consumption. “I have every confidence in your ability to get what we need, Mike boy.” “Right.” Baxter fl ashed his best cocky grin. “You know you can count on me.” His caller nodded. “I know I can.” He pointed his finger at Baxter. “Watch your back out there, you hear me?” He disconnected, his image fading from the screen. Baxter closed his ORB and leaned back on his cream leather sofa. He stretched his arms over his head, fingers clasped. His gaze fell on the framed photograph on his desk. Himself in dress blues. Graduation day from the Academy. Baxter grunted, then laughed. “You should have seen this one coming, Mike boy.” He rubbed his hand across his mouth, whistled. “Well hell.” Baxter reached for his ORB again. He pulled up a file and began to update his notes. When he was done, he grabbed his thermo jacket and headed for the door. His mind on other things, he left the apartment on cooldown and the lights on in the bathroom, but the condo’s environmental system had gone into energy- saver mode by the time he reached the lobby. In the garage, Baxter paused for his usual morning ritual, admiring the burgundy sheen of his vintage 1967 Mustang convertible. Then he got into his three- year- old hybrid and headed in to work. McCabe was stuck in traffic on Central Avenue, waiting for an opening to maneuver around a florist van. In Albany, double parking had always been considered a civic right. With more traffic each year and the narrow lanes that had been carved out for Zip cars and tri- bikes, Central Avenue in the morning was like it must have been when Albany was a terminus for slaughter houses, with cattle driven along Central Avenue Turnpike. Stop, start, nose, and try not to trample one another as they moved toward their destinations. McCabe tilted her head from side to side and shrugged her shoulders. What she needed, yearned for, was a long run. Even with geosimulators, five miles on a machine was never as good as running outside. McCabe’s attention was caught by a fl ash of color. On the sidewalk in front of Los Amigos, a young black woman in a patchwork summer skirt laughed as an older man, suave and mustachioed, swirled her in a samba move. Still laughing, she disengaged herself and scooped up her straw handbag from the sidewalk. Hand over his heart, the man called out to his impromptu dance partner. Giggling, she went on her way. Stopped by the traffic light at the intersection, McCabe lowered her window enough to hear the music coming from the open doorway of the restaurant. Before it was Mexican, the place had been Ca rib be an, and before that, Indian. The owners of the hair salon on one side and the discount store on the other had complained about this latest example of ethnic succession. Loud music, spicy smells— in other words, the threat posed by “Mexs” moving into this block as they had others. Some legal, some American citizens, some neither, arriving in Albany in greater numbers during the years when the convention center was going up. Now the resentment was more vocal, the sense of being in competition greater. Even the imagined threat of an interplanetary invasion hadn't changed that dynamic. Earthlings still distrusted other earthlings. They defended what they thought of as their turf. Since the UFO, old episodes of Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone had become a cult favorite with teen “space zombies.” According to Pop, the zombies weren’t the only ones who should be watching the series. He claimed that in the event of another close encounter, Rod Serling had left instructions. Rule number one: Even if the spacecraft looks flashy, check to make sure it isn't a balloon from a Thanksgiving Day parade. Rule number two: Even if the lights do start going on and off , don’t turn on your neighbors, assuming they must be the aliens. Rule number three: Even if the “visitors” introduce themselves and seem friendly, ask for additional information about how they plan “to serve” mankind before hopping on their spaceship. Meanwhile, daily life continued on Central Avenue, where Zoe James, the black female own er of the beauty shop, refused to patronize the Mexican restaurant next door. At least she and Sung Chang, the Korean- American owner of the discount store, had stopped calling the cops every time the music and dancing overfl owed onto the sidewalk. Of course, the janet cortez para presidente sign now on proud display in Los Amigos’s front window might set them off again. Both James and Chang had signs supporting the current vice president, who was male, black (biracial, actually), and likely to be the Demo cratse nominee. But according to Pop, the candidate they all needed to be worried about, should be scared to death of, actually, was Howard Miller, that smiling “man of the people.” Howard Miller, who was as smooth as the churned butter from that family- owned farm he boasted about having grown up on. McCabe stared hard at the traffic light that was supposed to adjust for traffic flow and right now was doing nothing at all. She decided to give it another thirty seconds before she reported a problem. Howard Miller. They hadn't looked at that kind of hate crime because they had two white female victims. But the murder weapon . . . What if one of Miller’s crazy followers . . . Horns blared. McCabe was reaching for her ORB when the traffic light flickered and went from red to green. More horns blared. Three women, pushing metal shopping carts, had decided to make a last-minute dash across the busy intersection. White with a hint of a tan, clad in light- colored shorts and T-shirts, they were too clean to be homeless. The women were almost to the other side when a bike messenger zipped around a double- parked produce truck. The women darted out of his way. He skidded and went down hard. Sunlight sparkled on his blue helmet, but his work- tanned legs were bare and vulnerable. One of the women looked back, peering over her designer sunglasses. She called out something. Maybe it was “Sorry about that.” Then she and her fellow scavenger hunters sprinted away in the direction of Washington Park, where Radio KZAC must be holding today’s meet- up. The taxi driver behind McCabe leaned on his horn. She waved for him to go around her. She watched the bike messenger get up on wobbly legs. He looked down at his knee and grimaced. But the next moment, he was checking his bike. Then he grabbed for his leather satchel before a car could run over it. Hopping back on his bike, he pedaled off . A car pulled away from the curb, opening up a spot a few feet away from Cambrini’s Bakery. McCabe shot forward and did a quick parallel park. She got out and headed toward the intertwined aromas of fresh-baked muffins and black coffee. Maybe the day wasn't going to be so bad after all. The line wound back to the door, but it seemed to be moving fast. McCabe glanced at the old- fashioned chalkboard that always had the morning’s “featured muffin.” Not in the mood for pumpkin, she found what she wanted on the menu and sent her order from her ORB to checkout before joining the queue. “Good morning, sister. Is God blessing you this fine day?” She turned toward the deep voice and beaming smile of the man in the black New York Yankees baseball cap and the white suit and white shirt, which contrasted with his chocolate brown skin. “Good morning, Reverend Deke.” “I said, sister, ‘Is God blessing you this fine day?’ ” “Yes, thank you, He is,” McCabe said. “I’m pleased to hear that.” Reverend Deke went out the door carrying his steaming coffee cup. By high noon, he would be bringing “the message” to any of the office workers who decided to leave the climate- controlled Empire State Plaza complex to patronize the lunch wagons lined up along the street. Some of the workers would pause to listen as Reverend Deke broke into one of the spirituals that he had learned on his Georgia- born grandmother’s knee. McCabe watched him go, greeting the people he passed. Ten minutes later, she was jammed in sideways at the counter by the window, munching on a lemon-blueberry-pecan muffin. Half a day’s supply of antioxidants, and it even tasted like it was made with real sugar. The police frequency on her ORB lit up. She touched the screen to see the message that Comm Center had sent out to patrol cars. McCabe swallowed the last bite of her muffin and grabbed her ice coffee container from the counter. Out of the sidewalk, she spoke into her transmitter. “Dispatch, Detective McCabe also responding to that call. En route.” “Copy, McCabe. Will advise,” the dispatcher responded. Mike Baxter picked up the same dispatch as he was pulling out of the fast- food drive-thru. He shoved his coffee cup into the holder and reached for his siren. “Dispatch, Detective Baxter also responding.” “Copy, Baxter. McCabe’s headed that way, too.” “Thought she would be. This could be our guy.” “Happy hunting.” McCabe pulled herself to the top of the fence and paused to look down into the alley. She jumped and landed on the other side, one foot slipping in dog shit. The man she was chasing darted a glance behind him and kept running. In a half squat, McCabe drew her weapon and fired. Her bola wrapped around the man’s legs. He sprawled forward, entangled in the cords, crashing into moldering cardboard boxes and other garbage. McCabe ran toward him. He twisted onto his side, trying to sit up and free himself. “Get these ropes off me, bitch!” “Stay down,” she said, training the weapon, now set to stun, on the perp’s scrawny torso. “Roll over on your belly.” He looked up at her face, then at the gun. Either he was convinced she would use it or deterred by the minicam that was attached to the weapon and was recording their encounter. He sagged back to the ground and rolled over. She stepped to the side, about to order him to raise his arm behind his back so that she could slip on the fi rst handcuff . “You got him!” Mike Baxter said, running up. He was sweating, cheeks flushed, eyes bright with excitement. “That was great.” “Cuff him,” McCabe said, trying not to let Baxter see that she was breathing hard. She was thirty- four to Baxter’s twenty- nine, and, yes, she had outrun him. But she should be in better shape than this. Today’s air-quality reading was no excuse. Baxter snapped the cuffs into place and McCabe retracted her bola. Baxter hauled the perp to his feet. “Hey, man, this is police brutality, you hear me?” the perp said. “I’m gonna sue both of you.” “That all you got to say?” Baxter said. “Say? You’re supposed to read me my rights, man.” “You got it, man,” Baxter said. “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you . . .” He recited the words with the controlled irony of a cop who had been saying them for several decades. But he looked like a college kid. That was why he had been recruited from patrol to work undercover vice. But word was that he had wanted out of that and played a commendably discrete game of departmental politics, involving his godfather, the assistant chief, to get reassigned. Sirens screeching, two police cruisers pulled into the alley. Baxter grinned at McCabe. “Great way to start the day, huh, partner?” “Absolutely,” she said, scrapping her shoe on the edge of a mildewed cardboard box. She hoped he realized that the likelihood that this was the guy they were looking for was about zilch.

Author Bio:

FRANKIE Y. BAILEY is an associate professor in the School of Criminal Justice, University at Albany (SUNY). Bailey is the author of mysteries as well as non-fiction titles that explore the intersections of crime, history, and popular culture. Bailey is a Macavity Award-winner and has been nominated for Edgar, Anthony, and Agatha awards. A past executive vice president of Mystery Writers of America and a past president of Sisters in Crime, she is on the Albany Bouchercon 2013 planning committee.

Catch Up With the Author:

Tour Participants

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Interview with Urban Fantasy author Shawntelle Madison about her Coveted series

Today on The Reading Frenzy I'm happy to bring you a new author to me that I had the pleasure of meeting at a signing a few Saturdays ago.
So without further ado I bring you Shawntelle Madison.



 And Due in 2014

Please welcome to The Reading Frenzy Shawntelle Madison whom I was fortunate to meet in person at a local bookstore signing.

It was a pleasure meeting you, it’s always fun for me to connect with new authors and especially fun to be able to help promote and spread the word about local authors.

Tell us a little about your new series Coveted?
How many books are planned and how are the books connected?
Hello! The Coveted series is the story of Natalya Stravinsky, a werewolf from South Toms River, NJ who has a little hoarding habit. With Christmas ornaments. There is a reason she likes to collect them though.  I do have other stories featuring secondary characters, but the series is mainly about her, her relationship with the pack leader Thorn Grantham, and how she is working to reunite with her pack after she was forced to leave. Nat’s story will conclude with Compelled, which will release in 2014. I do have plans for books with other secondary characters like Aggie (her first book came out this past May, Bitter Disenchantment) and Nick the wizard  (late 2014).

Your protagonist in your Coveted series is described as lovably neurotic.
Is she anything like you?
Where did the idea for Natalya and this series come?
To be honest, I do have my quirks. I grew up as a class clown and I’m a proud geek. I’m sure there are parts of Nat that are reflected in me, but not too many. I like to be tidy, but with kids I don’t take things to an extreme. The idea for the series came from a medical journal magazine. On the cover was an article about obsessive compulsive disorders. I took the time to read the article and learn about treatment plans, drugs, and more. I asked myself the question, like all authors do, what if. What if a werewolf had OCD? What kind of dynamics would come about when the wolf battles with the need for order? How would this affect someone’s placement in their pack? And from that Nat was born.

From a personal standpoint I love the paranormal/fantasy genre especially in the romance department.
What is it about this genre that inspires you enough to write in it?
I love to get into my character’s head and feel them. Feel their longing for love and companionship. It’s a universal feeling no matter who you are.  I love to read romance and experience that first kiss, experience the pain when they part, knowing I will get that happily ever after where they come back together.

Shawntelle do you see yourself ever writing in another genre?
Oh, yeah. I love writing. I’ve written books for teens and even dabbled with historical. I just need more spare time or I need to clone myself to get it all done.

Your bio says that you’re a web designer by day and a writer at night.
My day job is also in the designing business I work for a graphic design company that specializes in web and print design.
Is it your hope to one day be a full time writer.
I’d love to be a full-time writer someday. I’m lucky as an independent contractor, though. On some days I can completely focus on writing. When I schedule myself I can have the best of both worlds.

Shawntelle, for all the aspiring authors reading this. Do you think authors from publishing Mecca’s like New York have an advantage over authors like you from the Midwest?  
To be honest, I believe everyone has a fair shot. It’s all about the story. You could live in a hole right next to a publishing house, but if you don’t have characters readers can connect with, what good is your location?

Shawntelle, since I met you at a book signing I’m curious, what was the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you at an author event/signing?
The strangest thing.  Wow, that’s hard. I guess that’s hard to say since I write about hoarding werewolves. Ha! To be honest, nothing really strange has happened. Most of the strange, or funny stuff happens to others around me. I’ve seen authors at RT hold up huge signs to pass funny messages around, I’ve seen authors do the wave, too. Now that was pretty funny!

So Shawntelle since you have a day job why don’t you walk us through a typical day in the life of Shawntelle Madison.
On a typical day. I get before my kids and get them ready for school. Once the kids and husband are out the door, I get started on the day job. That means checking emails and clients. That takes a few hours usually since I usually need to answer questions and take care of tasks. When it comes to writing, I try to tackle that in the afternoon or at least by eleven. I try to write outside of the house when I can since my house can get distracting at times.

Shawntelle I also met your critique partner Jeannie Lin who writes historical fiction.
What exactly is a critique partner and how does this cooperative alliance benefit you?
I believe all writers need someone in this business who understands what they’re going through, no matter the genre. Whether it’s someone who reads your work and offers feedback, even if it’s bad or good, someone to vent to when you get a rejection, or even someone to call when you got an offer on a book you worked so hard to complete. The writing business is a stressful one and critique partners make the journey a lot easier to endure.

Shawtelle thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions.
Good luck with the new series, when will we see the next novel?

My next release will be Bitten by Treachery, A Hadley Werewolves story, coming this fall. After that I have two additional releases planned into winter 2013 and spring 2014: Repossessed and Compelled.

Connect with Shawntelle Website - Facebook - Twitter