** Today I'm welcoming guest Gayle Trent, writing as Amanda Lee for her new embroidery mystery series, beginning with The Quick and the Thread: An Embroidery Mystery, coming out in August from NAL/Penguin. The next book, STITCH ME DEADLY, comes out in Feb. 2011.
Gayle, who's a fellow Fatal Foodies blogger, is also known for her previous cake mystery series, Murder Takes the Cake and Dead Pan, (Bell Bridge Books).
MURDER TAKES THE CAKE, which has been revised and updated, is also being re-released in Jan. 2011 by Simon & Schuster.
About THE QUICK AND THE THREAD:
First in a new mystery series that will have readers stitching-and itching for more
When Marcy Singer opens an embroidery specialty shop in quaint Tallulah Falls, Oregon, she throws a soiree and a Stitch-In. Soon, Marcy's sign-up sheet for embroidery classes fills up and everyone in town seems willing to raise a glass-or a needle-to support the newly-opened Seven Year Stitch.
Then Marcy finds the shop's previous tenant dead in the store-room, a message scratched with a tapestry needle on the wall beside him. Now Marcy's shop has become a crime scene, and she's the prime suspect. She'll have to find the killer before someone puts a final stitch in her.
(And readers, be sure to check out her last answer!)
Q: What you did before you began writing fiction?
A: Before I became a full-time writer, I was a secretary in the accounting and legal fields. I also did freelance writing in my spare time.
(books are: names, date released, publisher.)
Q: How did you get started in fiction and why write a novel?
A: I've enjoyed writing fiction since I took creative writing courses in high school. I've always been a little too long-winded to write short stories effectively, so novels have always been my first love (to read as well as write). :)
Q: How hard/easy has it been for you to write a novel? (and how did you find your agent?)
A: I've found the hard part has been writing two novels at once. Last year I wrote two books in four months. (Host: Four?? Gulp!) Actually, I was very blessed in that my current agent - the incomparable Robert Gottlieb - found me.
Q: How long did it take to get an agent and get your book published? What was that process like?
A: I've been on a long and weaving road as far as book publishing is concerned. I started by publishing a book called Photo Finish with a small press located in Florida. That company closed down, and I never received any compensation for my book.
I continued with small presses publishing romantic suspense and romantic comedies. I discovered the fun in writing in first person when I contributed a story to Belle Books' popular Mossy Creek series. My story appears in 'Blessings of Mossy Creek'. I formed my own publishing company and published my own books and the books of other writer for a few years. After closing the publishing company, I signed with my first agent and wrote the first book in the Daphne Martin series, 'Murder Takes the Cake'.
Q: Some nuts and bolts questions: What is the one thing that you try to put in your stories to make them unique?
A: Interesting, multi-dimensional characters.
Q: Your tip: What would you say many starting/beginning novelists miss?
A: I think many are so married to their stories and characters that they're unable to see errors an editor will spot immediately. Let me give you an example. When I was acquiring manuscripts for Grace Abraham Publishing, there was a manuscript that was good but in which there was a scene that needed to be rewritten because it was unrealistic. The writer chose to forgo being published by GA because the scene was "so cute" she refused to revise it.
Q: What keeps you inspired?
A: Deadlines, these days. [grin] Seriously, the constant "what if." I got my inspiration for Killer Sweet Tooth when we had to take my son to the orthodontist at 10 p.m. I wondered aloud, "Wouldn't it be terrible if we got there and found her dead?"
Q: What is your writing day like?
A: Chaotic. I have a lot of distractions throughout the day, so I write whenever and however I can. I've been known to write in the morning before the children get up, at night while everyone else is in bed, while sitting in the car rider line at school....
Q: What was the hardest part of writing that first book?
A; Knowing when and how to end it.
Q: What writer or writer's style inspired you and how/why?
A: I loved Victoria Holt's books when I was in high school. When introduced to Mary Higgins Clark, I found I really enjoyed those, too. I love books that are suspenseful without being too heavy.
Q: So, what's next?
A: I'm currently working on "Killer Sweet Tooth," the next book in the Daphne Martin mystery series, and the third book in the embroidery mystery series.
Q: And to sum up, what is the oddest thing you've done as a writer?
A: I once called the FBI to learn what a frozen corpse would look like and what process it would undergo as it thawed. I was referred to a coroner who, by the way, told me my question was the second strangest she'd ever received. Despite my pleading, she wouldn't disclose THE strangest question.
Gayle, thanks for sharing, (especially that last answer. Now we're wondering too. ha!) Good luck with the tour and the new book!
** Upcoming contests: Check out Gayle's Facebook page (see website) on release day, Aug. 3, for prizes and other stuff!
* See more giveaways on the rest of the tour