Tuesday, June 20, 2017

**GIVEAWAY** Interview with Lisa Towles - Choke

I love discovering new authors and introducing them to my readers too. Lisa Towles newest release is at the top of my pile so be expecting a review soon and I'm sure once you learn a bit more about it you'll want a copy too. As luck will have it Lisa is sponsoring a giveaway for a copy, details below.

ISBN-13: 2940154015209
Publisher: Rebel ePublishers
Release Date: 06-16-2017
Buy It: Amazon/B&N/Kobo

Your life is a lie.
The past you remember isn't yours.
There is no one to Trust.
Kerry Stine’s plan to rebuild her life goes into freefall when a patient vanishes from San Francisco General Hospital on her watch, thrusting her down a rabbit hole that leads to a past from which she can no longer escape. Fired, frantic, and running from the police, she trusts no one and every step pushes her further away from logic and reality.
Three thousand miles away, scientist Adrian Calhoun has developed a cigarette that cures lung cancer, and he’s hell bent on distributing his miracle cure before the pharmaceutical mafia gets to him first. Kidnapped by his pursuers, he is held prisoner in exchange for the chemical formula to his invention. His redeemer holds the key to not only his life, but Kerry’s as well. And when the threads finally intertwine, Kerry discovers that what she and Adrian Calhoun have in common will return to her pieces of her past that she never knew she’d lost.

Lisa Towles is offering one autographed print copy
Of her novel Choke
Please use the Rafflecopter form to enter
Good Luck!

Lisa hi! Welcome to The Reading Frenzy.
Tell my readers a bit about your new novel, Choke.
Hi and I’m excited to be here! Like most of my books (and like many other thrillers), there are two parallel threads that come together in unexpected ways. The plot takes you through the story of twenty-something Kerry Stine, who’s reinventing her young life after a divorce. The odd occurrence of a man (stranger) using his own key to enter her apartment starts Kerry down a crazy path of peril and chaos, leaving her in a desperate place where she’s forced to confront new truths about her life, along with a past she thought she’d buried. And Adrian Calhoun is a self-possessed, cutting-edge scientist hell bent on doing the impossible: self-manufacturing a lung cancer treatment by going around Big Pharma. Should be easy enough, right?

What an interesting premise.
How did it come to you?
When I give a character the space to emerge and thrive, I sort of watch and see what they want to do and let myself be surprised by how the plot unfolds. So for me it involves control and surrender, sort of simultaneously.

I did consciously set out to create a somewhat ordinary character that’s plunged down a rabbit hole of inescapable peril, and I could really identify with Kerry’s part of the story. She’s independent, rebellious, no-nonsense and on a path to rebuild her life and relationships. Adrian’s part of the story came later, and he’s a character I borrowed from a previous (and not yet published) mystery, so I already knew his character and he felt like the right fit for the ‘mad scientist’ role. So I do have some say in the process, but mostly I like to be surprised by how the story unfolds.  

Lisa this is your fourth published novel.
How if any did writing number 4 differ from writing number 1?
I’ve actually written 8 books and I’m on my 9th now, and the first couple weren’t really publishable by modern standards, or maybe just my own standards. The interesting part for me is how the main characters talk to me, and it all depends on the point of view.

The Ghost of Mary Prairie was written in the first person from the point of view of a fifteen year old boy, and the book I’m currently writing is another first person point of view, and those are really fun because they’re very personal and it’s easier for readers to develop a connection with that character. But they’re also limited because the whole story has to unfold from behind the main character’s eyes, which is tough! Writing Choke in the third person was an interesting process, because Kerry’s story felt very natural to me – a woman starting over and reinventing her life, which I’ve done before, and I oddly felt like I knew Adrian Calhoun from the start even though I’m not a scientist. Each book is different and the writing process and mechanics for them likewise carry a different pace, vibe, and style that make it unique.

As a reader and lover of thrillers I know it takes a certain mindset for me to really get into a suspenseful tale especially if there is a mounting body count.
Do you the writer ever scare yourself when you’re creating or is it more like an out of body experience when you write?
Very insightful question! And yes, I’ve scared myself with my own stories before. Parts of Blackwater Tango – in particular the villain Victor Trikonis, scared me pretty bad there for a while and I had to either stop writing for a period of time or else only write in the daytime – haha – isn’t that ridiculous? That was a really creepy book though, certainly the creepiest one so far. And even though The Ghost of Mary Prairie was set in 1961, there were parts of that book that also scared me, because essentially it was a ghost story. I think for any book and almost any genre, you have to dig deep into your own past and fears and then allow your characters to feel those same feelings as they move through the details of your story. I think all my books, one way or another, are about peeling back layers to uncover secret truths. And I think that can be a scary process for anyone.

Lisa your previous novels were penned under Lisa Polisar and this one under Towles.
I happily got remarried in 2009 and took my husband’s name, Towles. Choke will be my first published novel under my new name, and hopefully there will be many more. 

You’ve written poetry, short stories and novels, plus you review for several mystery publications.
Where and when did your love for the written word come from?
I’ve always loved to read – mostly fiction starting at a very early age, and I read a lot of nonfiction as well because I’m a political junkie and also a grad student so I do lots of reading as part of my MBA curriculum. My love of reading is an escape, and I think that’s the way it should be – to use fiction as a form of transportation to another place. My favorite authors growing up were Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes molded my conception of the world, sharpened my investigative mind, focused me on details that I’d normally overlook, thus showing me how a button that falls off a woman’s jacket could mean the difference between a killer being caught or set free. Mystery novels are like food or water to me. I more than just want them – I need to consume them regularly to live.

But when you say “love for the written word”, that makes me think of a time when I read something and felt like I was confronted with art. In 1984 I read the story Farid and Farida by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala in New Yorker Magazine. I got completely absorbed in the story and pulled into their world in India and completely forgot I was even reading. The author had transported me somewhere else, made me a part of her imaginary world and part of the lives of her three characters – Farid, Farida, and Sunil, and I was the never the same again. I can’t think of a more exciting craft or pursuit than writing stories and taking people away to an intriguing, interesting, new place.  

Lisa will you always write stand alones or could there be a series lurking in your future?
I’ve tried, LOL! I have to admit I get bored very easily and I really need a new cast of characters and setting every time I start writing a new book.  But I love reading series novels, and I’ve absolutely planned to create a series. So far, I don’t think I’ve created the right character yet to carry me through more than one story. Adrian Calhoun is interesting, but he’s not an investigator so it would be difficult to frame a whole series around him. So I am definitely working on it and hope to create a series soon.

So we know what you like to write but what do you like to read and what’s the last novel you recommended to a friend?
Wow this could be a long answer…! I’m currently reading A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny, and I love her Canadian Gamache novels. I’m also a big fan of Imogen Robertson’s historical mysteries. The last one I read was Island of Bones and loved it. Aside from mysteries, I have a huge passion for math and physics and I’m currently reading Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli. It’s surprisingly beautiful writing that brings elegance and intrigue to aspects of quantum physics that affect everything in our world. And I’m also really enjoying Leaves from the Fig Tree, an absorbing and beautifully-written memoir of life in Dublin and Africa by a master storyteller, Diana Duff. I’ll be interviewing her on my writing blog later this month.

Lisa thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. Good luck with the new novel.
Will you be attending any author events for fans?

I will have some local signing events and readings around the Bay Area, including in San Francisco, Oakland, and North Bay/Marin, as well as some blog tours and other online interviews planned throughout the summer and fall.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read Choke and interview me, it’s an honor to be here. Please let your readers know that they are welcome to email me with any comments or feedback – lisamarietowles@gmail.com

 Connect with Lisa - Website - Facebook - Twitter 
Meet Lisa
Lisa Polisar (now Lisa Towles) is a crime novelist living in Northern California. 
Her published books (under the name Lisa Polisar) include Knee Deep, Blackwater Tango, The Ghost of Mary Prairie, and Escape: Dark Mystery Tales (short mystery fiction). 
Forthcoming in June 2017 is CHOKE, a new thriller, which will be published under the name of Lisa Towles

Today's Gonereading item is:
Some really cool bookmarks
Click HERE for the buy page

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks for sharing this interview, I enjoyed reading it. I especially love how the author tells us how she came to love writing through her love of reading.

    1. I am always interested in what set them on their course in life. Thanks Cindy good luck!

  2. Congrats to the author on getting remarried! And thanks for this, great interview as always Debbie!

  3. Great interview. I like the scaring yourself one :D
    I doubt I would scare myself, but I think I could make myself laugh

  4. As always lovely and informative interview Debbie. This sounds downright suspenseful!

  5. Loved the interview. Ya know, I could see the government or pharmaceutical companies pulling something like this. They make more money on looking for cures than they do when a cure is found and they want to be the ones to make the money when a cure is found so I wouldn't put it past them to kidnap someone who has invented a cure.

  6. While I read few thrillers this one has a really interesting plot. And a cigarette that cures cancer! Really who would think of that. Will see what you think when you read it.

    1. I know right what a premise. It's at the top of my tbr pile Kathryn

  7. I love thrillers, this sounds like a fantastic read.

  8. This looks like an amazing book & I would love to win. Thanks dawnballo@yahoo.com

  9. The blurb sounds so great. I'm soooo interested.

    1. I know darn all the books ahead of it on my pile :)

  10. Fabulous interview! I am very interested in this book now... Thank you for sharing.

  11. Looks like a great book, thanks for the giveaway

  12. This sounds like a very interesting book. I'm looking forward to reading it. I enjoy books like this.

  13. Lisa, this book sounds awesome! I can't wait to read it!

  14. Finally, vindication for Denis Leary's words: "Aw, I thought cigarettes were good for ya. Full of vitamins and stuff."

  15. I always like to know about the author. Thanks for the interview.

  16. Thanks for the chance to win can't wait to give your book a read!

  17. Great interview, looks like a great read!!!

  18. Hello nice interview and a great book to give away!

  19. Sounds very interesting. I loved the interview with the author.
    Virginia H

  20. Keep up the good work, you are doing a great job!