Wednesday, October 28, 2020

#GIVEAWAY - Interview - Review People Die In Sunshine by Gloria Nagy- Author/Guide

Sometimes you find a voice in literature that speaks to you and a title of a book that just screams READ ME that's exactly what I thought when my publicist friend David owner of Author/Guide sent me a copy of People Die in Sunshine, the latest from International best seller Gloria Nagy. I picked the author's brain a bit and am also sharing my review. Plus if that's not enough Gloria has graciously offered a signed copy for one of you! Details below


ISBN-13: 978-1735243917
Release Date: 10-05-2020
Length: 328pp
Source: Author/Publicist for review
Buy It: Amazon/B&N/IndieBound



New York Times Best Selling Author, Gloria Nagy sliced through the social fabric of the North Shore of Long Island in A HOUSE IN THE HAMPTONS and now she aims her razor sharp talents on Miami--the new hot spot for glamour, greed and gore.

The Sunshine State will need a far higher level of SPF!

People Die in Sunshine is the carnival ride through the externally glamorous, but internally twisted lives of those two people, Frederick and Coco Rothenstein and their world; one most of us only know about from reading true crime stories and news accounts of the lives of the super-rich and entitled dwellers in the bastions of wealth and privilege where families such as the Rothensteins reign. The first four words of Gloria Nagy's scorching, ironic tale of greed, glamour, envy, avarice and the Janus headed coin of love and hate are: "Money. Money. Money. Money." What Ms. Nagy accomplishes in a work of humor, heartbreak, murder, and redemption reinforces those four words. A theme reflecting the world we have created that rises and falls with the same quite simple motivation that has driven every facet of human life since man stood upright. It is not the world we want to see, but it is the real world and where better to set a novel that is as much a social chronicle of our times as it is a gripping tale of the maze like search for a killer, than Miami.

The Miami of the twenty-first century, a glittering city in the sun which has become a symbol of the new American Dream--retirement ease, new beginnings or a haven for sketchy characters with dubious histories and too much money to spend. In a large cast of characters diverse in ethnicity, wealth, morality and status, Ms. Nagy shines her own unique sunlight on a cross section of this city of multi-cultural strivers and survivors, finding humanity in even the most flawed inhabitants of her singular human circus. This is a robust and tightly constructed romp through her slice of the sludge beneath the shimmering sand and as in all of her work, she sees and she sears.


My Interview with Gloria:

Where did the idea for this story come from?

First, I have to say I love your questions! Such a joy to answer great questions!  This is my 12th novel and all of them started with a title.  And the titles seem to appear by a sort of literary osmosis.  Also, I always work from place and when we moved to Miami five years ago, it opened an entire cornucopia of possibilities, but the title just popped into my head and came from a poem I wrote decades ago in L.A. when my mother died and the irony of watching such a tragedy occur amidst the sun and  eternal movie glamour allure of L.A. (then, not now!)Boom, how perfect for Miami, which makes L.A.  look positively conservative.  So, I had the title and I had the continual daily newcomer psychosis of having landed head first, it seemed, in a very rich and bizarre new world.  Who were these Miamians? I have lived in San Francisco, L.A. New York City, The Hamptons, Newport, Rhode Island and all of them combined don’t really equal the glitz, flash and new cash zipping around South Florida every day.

So, then I just pulled out my clipping file. I think most writers, certainly most novelists have a file or a pile of notes, character observations, overheard conversations, newspaper clippings, etc. and somehow, and this really does feel almost like a mystical connection between my conscious and unconscious mind, clippings that I had no clue how or where I would ever use them, just start to form a story.  I had read a fascinating little item years before about an elderly Italian woman of wealth who put an ad in a local paper advertising for a family she could adopt and be a grandmother to, since she was all alone and suddenly the Ooma Lovee character, very unlike the real one, but with the same need appeared.  Beginnings are the torture, how to tell the story, which of course was not really formed, except by that time I knew it would be a murder mystery, which gives me the lateral movement to write social satire and is just so much fun.

How much of the book was already in your head before the creative process began?

Hmmm.  Not much!  I start each writing day with a prayer and a deep breath and just follow what pops up.  I am really telling myself the story, too.  Talk about trusting your gut!  Every writer is different, I know novelists who will re-work one paragraph for days or even weeks before they move on and others who do detailed outlines. When I taught an Art of the Novel class or when I’ve helped guide new writers I always say, “Just get out of the way and tell the story.” So, I’m totally a first draft writer.  Once I have that, then I can go through it over and over until I can’t see it anymore and then I let it go.

No spoilers but did you always know the end and whodunit or was the culprit a surprise to you too?

With the novels I’ve done with murders, which evolved over time, I realized that all novels are mysteries, who are these people and what is going to happen to them? So, murder just makes it more tangible. 

Also, I’m a social satirist and mysteries are procedurals, and a perfect way to invade all sorts of different characters and give information about various lifestyles, again, that big pile of random clippings. I never know who’s done it when I start. I feel if I don’t know, the reader won’t either, or so I hope! I was totally fooled

Once I’m really underway and feel more secure in what I’m doing, then I will stop and plot more consciously, but even then, it’s what I call “The whisper” that tells me when I need to think ahead.

I’d like to talk about the characters (even thinking about them now makes me smile) 😊
What an eclectic group of individuals and some odd couples as well.

My characters are always pretty out there, but, the absolute truth is, they are all a mush of real and rather “unreal” people and a lot of the dialogue comes from conversations I’ve eavesdropped on or actually had or clippings I’ve gathered because what goes on in real life and real people is far more bizarre than anything I can invent from whole cloth.  I am the consummate realist and it doesn’t scare me to see Human Nature without a photo shop.  I often say that the two things

you can never predict are Mother Nature and Human Nature and human nature is far more fascinating to me.  Whatever a “normal” person is, I don’t think they are as interesting to create in a big story like this. I’m more of an old fashioned story-teller and I leave more normal characters to the writers who do that so well (I think they just know different people!)

Your quirky group seem like they all might have given you a run for your money while writing them. Is this right or did they all behave?

OMG! great question!  NO, they didn’t.  One character, the second detective, Mikey Martinez just appeared and I thought, “who the hell is he? I don’t want him there!” And he became mega in the plot and that was true of several characters, Carmen Daniels for one. I loved writing her, I got to be so ballsy and profane and furious and I had no clue she was coming.  I just wish I really knew her!

Ooma, Edy and Sunny make a really unconventional family.
What led you to create this (very convincible to readers) bond between them?

When I was still living in Newport, our youngest son was renting houses every summer on a lake in the Hudson Valley, he lives in New York and I was getting ready to write a novel set up there. Summer folks vs. locals and how a sociopath invades their summer idyll and the Edy Weller character, appeared and her adopted daughter.  I didn’t know more and then we decided to move to Miami and nothing else was done, but there she was and I knew I needed one empathic,  “normal” character at least to narrate and participate.  I have four half Chinese grandchildren and three of them are extremely precocious girls and one extremely unique boy, who has a lot of Oscar in him. I had lots of notes from their childhoods and on up and used them as models though most of the conversations are not real, except our grandson sent me a thank you note when he was about ten and used the word “exquisite” which really thrilled me and I knew I had to use it for some kid and I think Oscar, who also just appeared, not planned at all, was so perfect.  I think I conjured him up just to have a kid use that word!

SO, the Ooma Lovee character, the great grand grandmother, who places the ad that Edy sees, which is how she gets to Miami and gives me a way of telling the story as a newcomer, not a native, since I didn’t know a lot about Miami history or even how to drive around here, which is insane.  I had no idea they would create a family, but there it was.  I come from a well, very complicated and dysfunctional family, my mother died very young and everything basically collapsed then, so I think my longing for any kind of family based on love and longing appeals to me and even their dogs are oddballs who find a connection and a home. I think my heart just led that group.  

Okay I have to ask why did you name your male star Roy Rogers?

Well, he is the only character I have ever re-used. He was a secondary character in my last big novel, Sea Sick, he was the head of security on the largest, fanciest cruise ship in the world (another great place to do murder and social satire, though not right now!)and the novel ends with him not having been able to follow his hunch about a list he’d compiled of passengers who had disappeared outside of the ones in the book.  I really liked him and he just sprang back.  I don’t even remember where I plucked that name from, no one under 50 or so, probably even knows who he was, that was one of those not behaving characters and the only time I have ever re-used a character, but I loved writing him especially his odd couple relationship with the lead detective, Mikey Martinez over whom I had no control for a while. 

Your common folk were portrayed in a better light than most of the rich in your novel.
Was this your intent?

Absolutely.  Only bullies pick on the little guys! Rich people can take the punch and also, you don’t have to be a social satirist to see which news stories we become obsessed with!  I’m not saying it’s right and certainly not PC, but it’s human nature and since no one really is rooting for them, I can let horrible things happen to them.  That said, I have to find the humanity in them, too and I think I do that, however flawed and unlikeable they may seem to be.

Also, all my books are really about intersections, A House in The Hamptons for example, and a rich person’s condo development in Miami is a true intersection, all levels of this very unique, multi-cultural  stew ; this allows me to tell many different little stories and the people whose lives are harder, all the immigrants from all over Latin America and Russia, for example, what they endured to be here and their fears, their work ethic, their struggles and mixed feelings about serving the rich, I have talked to so many immigrants from all stratas and I have such admiration for them.  NO way I could do something terrible to them, even the murderer, I think, well something terrible does happen but I do think the reader can feel the rage and despair, too.  Even psychopaths have reasons!  

I love getting some real facts and history of the area a novel is set in with my fiction.
In your book you give readers a little Anti-Semitic history of Miami that I was personally not aware of but that doesn’t surprise me knowing how much real history is left out of our educational texts.  Do you make it a point to add facts to your novels and is it important to you to do so?

Absolutely vital, though it’s all part of the plot weave. I had no idea about the history of Anti-Semitism here, either.  It’s really stunning and opened an entire well of sub-plots and characters, too.  Very painful to do that research and accept the truth that all the jokes I’d made about Miami might end up being the only safe place for Jews in the future was not historically true.

I don’t write history but I really care that whatever facts I use are accurate.  I didn’t even know there was a Holocaust Museum in Miami! So, I learned a lot and that is so much a part of always staying humble and aware of my ignorance. And it gives the reader some flesh on the fish, so to speak.

Gloria thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions.
Good luck with the book.  I know personal appearances are on hold but are you having any virtual events to promote the book?

 A few. I did an Authors on the Air Global interview with Pam Stark. It was live but it’s now on as a podcast. That was really fun and I’m doing a couple more. I’m a terrible techno person and I don’t zoom or face-time or Twitter or any of it, so it scares me a little (more than a little!) But it’s just about all we can do during this sci-fi movie our lives have become! And you are SO welcome! It was an honor and thank you!

My Review:

People Die In Sunshine
Gloria Nagy

People Die In Sunshine is a wild ride down the Miami I95, an excellent, eclectic mix of murder, mystery, family drama, some Miami Anti-Semitic history plus a little romance on the side. In this fast-paced Miami tale Nagy, using some innovative vocabulary, dives deep into the disparities between the have and have-nots in a multi-cultural Miami, the uber-rich and the unethical and immoral side of high-society. But she also shows the good side of just regular Joes and Jills and how a loving family doesn’t always come from the same DNA pool. Her characters are a group of quirky folks and readers will especially love Ooma, Edy, Sunny, Oscar and Roy as they solve the case and become intimates. Don’t expect her to spill the clue beans too fast but if your thinking cap is secure the audience may figure out whodunit before the big reveal. Fans of Carl Hiaasen, Dave Barry or this bestselling author will devour this.

Since Edy (Edith) Waller and her adopted daughter Sunny are an unconventional family they decide to answer an unconventional personal ad in a magazine where, Ooma, a rich elderly lady in Miami is searching for a family to adopt. Well now it’s Edy and Sunny and Ooma make three and just as Edy and Sunny are settling into their Miami surroundings, making new friends getting accustomed to their new high priced Miami high rise condo the husband and wife real estate developers who own the condo complex are gruesomely and bizarrely  murdered and Ooma thinks since she’s rich, she’s next. Now Edy has to calm Ooma while figuring out if they’re all safe. When she meets the cop on the case, Roy Rogers she has to wonder if her heart is safe too.

Ex Miami Dade cop Roy Rogers just hired on as head of security for The Silver Sands an expensive condo community when the owners Frederick and Coco Rothenstein are brutally murdered and his old partner wants to deputize Roy to help with the case. Now the hard part begins, separating facts from fiction, finding suspects and deciding since this was a well known, well connected Jewish couple could it be a hate crime. While the building is on lock-down he meets Edy and her pseudo family and knows he wants to get to know Edy much better. But first he has to solve this confounding case.

About the author:
GLORIA NAGY is the internationally best-selling author of twelve books including The Beauty, Remain Calm, Looking For Leo, SeaSick, Marriage, and the New York Times best-seller, A House in the Hamptons. She Lives with her husband Richard Saul Wurman in Miami, FL. They have four children, six grandchildren and a yellow lab, Jacob.



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  1. Captivating and intriguing. Thanks.

  2. I don't read the authors you mention, however Debbie you've given me enough of the ingredients of this book to think it would make great reading.

    1. thank you Kathryn I feel the same about your reviews :) great compliment

  3. Fantastic interview and review. This sounds intriguing!

  4. Nice interview, sounds like a good one