Joining me today is Lois Winston, author of Love, Lies and a Double Shot of Deception, House Unauthorized and the Dreams and Desires series. She's just come out with ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN, the first book of a new series, the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries.
PAUL: Hi Lois and welcome. What is your background – before becoming an author and needlepoint aficionado?
LOIS: First, thank you for hosting me on your blog today, Paul. Secondly, I’m not a needlepoint aficionado. I don’t think I’ve designed or stitched needlepoint in at least 20 years. What I design, among other things, is counted cross stitch. Big difference. Probably not to most guys (except those who own craft publishing or manufacturing companies) but a huge one to needlecrafts enthusiasts.
I’ve been designing needlework, fabric crafts, and general crafts for book and magazine publishers and kit manufacturers for many years (if I told you how many, you’d try to figure out how old I am, and in our youth-obsessed culture, I can’t have that, now can I?). Before that I worked as an advertising art director and a staff artist for a major department store chain.
Tell us a little about yourself, your background. Do you have a day job or are you able to support yourself with your writing? ...and needlework?
I wish I could support myself with my writing! Few authors can. I know NY Times bestselling authors who still can’t quit their day jobs. I juggle three careers. Besides my writing, I still design for one manufacturer and several magazines. I’m also an associate of the literary agency that reps me.
And tell us a little about your new book, "Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun."
I thought you’d never ask! ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN is the first book in my new Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries series from Midnight Ink. It’s a fast-paced amateur sleuth mystery infused with humor. Kirkus called it, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” How cool is that?
I understand that the protagonist in this novel is a new one for you. Tell us a little about her. Is she like you? How did she come about?
Is Anastasia like me? I’m getting asked that question a lot. Anastasia and I have similar backgrounds. We’re both North Jersey girls. We both went to art school. She’s a crafts editor for a women’s magazine. As I mentioned earlier, I design for magazines. I’ve also worked as a crafts editor for several craft book publishers. We both have two sons and one other relative in common (but I’m not saying which one!) The differences? My husband is very much alive (thank goodness!), I don’t have a Shakespeare quoting parrot, and I haven’t found any dead bodies hot glued to my office chair. Yet.
Love the title: Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun. And I know you write humorous mysteries, but where did that title come from? --Have you ever been assaulted with a deadly glue gun...
Anastasia came up with the title. And yes, I have been assaulted with a glue gun -- on more than one occasion. I’ve got the scars to prove it.
Would you say deadly glue guns kill people or do people kill people?
I’d say people kill people with deadly glue guns. Although certain glue guns have been known to take on a life of their own. Just ask mine.
And do you sleep with a glue gun under the pillow for protection – is it licensed?
Doesn’t everyone? No license required for glue guns, at least not yet.
In the new book, there's a Shakespeare quoting parrot named Ralph. Can you tell us some of his favorite lines from Shakespeare? And does he look for animalcentric quotes from the Bard or is he a generalist?
Ralph’s quotes are always situation-appropriate. He’ll pick up on something being said by someone and run with it. For instance, at the beginning of the book, Anastasia is confronted by a demand for $50,000 from her dead husband’s loan shark. Ralph sums up the situation by squawking, “If you have tears, prepare to shed them now, Julius Caesar. Act Three, Scene Two.” Ralph always annotates his quotes. Comes from spending most of his life in Great-aunt Penelope’s English lit classroom.
And what's this about Anastasia's mother-in-law being a Communist? Or does she just like to wear pink?
Lucille is a card-carrying commie. Very old-school. Decidedly red.
How much of your fiction is drawn from real life? Or your life in particular.
I get much of my source material from either personal experience or observing life around me. I’m a total news junkie and have used actual news stories as springboards for plots and characters. And as I mentioned earlier, there is this one relative that Anastasia and I both have in common…
One of your pet peeves is people who don't return phone calls or answer their e-mails. I'm with you on both. Any chance the glue gun or another weapon might be used on these folks in a future novel?
Always a possibility. Anastasia’s been known to wield a mean X-acto knife, as well.
Tell us some of your signings that people can go to.
Right now I’m in the middle of a month-long blog tour. The schedule is posted on my website, http://www.loiswinston.com, and at Anastasia’s blog, http://www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com. I’ll also be at several writers’ conventions and conferences throughout the year, and those are also posted on my website.
How and when/where can people get your book? And how can they reach you...assuming you want to be reached.
ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN is available now at most bookstores, all the usual online venues, and at my publisher’s website, http://www.midnightinkbooks.com. I have links on my website that will take you directly to Amazon, B&N, etc. As for me, people can contact me through my website or by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anything else you want to share with us?
For the blog tour I’m doing this month, I’m giving away 5 copies of ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN. Everyone who posts a comment to any of the blogs where I’m guesting (see above for where to find schedule) will be entered into a drawing. (Anyone who’s email isn’t included in their comment should email me privately at email@example.com to let me know they’ve entered.) In addition, I’m also giving away an assortment of crafts books to anyone who posts a comment on select blogs.
Thank you for being here today. I now know to stay out of the line of fire of glue guns. And I hope people will go and buy ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN before the glue is dry.