Lois is also giving away a print edition of her book, LOVE, LIES AND A DOUBLE SHOT OF DECEPTION, so make sure to comment!
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I wasn't one of those kids who started writing stories the moment she picked up a crayon. Instead, I drew pictures. Lots and lots of pictures to the point that one day my kindergarten teacher made me do something else during free play.
I came to writing very late. About 15 years ago I had an ongoing dream that unfolded like the chapters in a book each night. When it started taking over my daytime thoughts, I decided to write it down. 50,000 words later I had a romance novel, albeit one I discovered was totally unpublishable. However, the writing bug had bitten me, and I kept writing. Almost 10 years to the day I first started writing that story, I sold my first novel.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Anywhere from 6 months to a year. I'm a slow writer. I wish I could write faster, but I'm juggling three careers and can't devote as much time to writing as I'd like.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
A lot depends on what else needs to get done in any given day, but I try to write at least 1,000 words a day.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I'm a news junkie. Most of my ideas come from articles I read in the newspaper or see on the evening news. The rest come from plain old fashioned observation of the people around me. For instance, the mother-in-law in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries series is based a good deal on my own mother-in-law. And yes, I will accept any sympathy anyone wants to toss my way!
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Well, I used to love going to Broadway theater, but have you seen the price of theater tickets these days? You almost have to take out a second mortgage on your house for two people to go to dinner and the theater lately.
What does your family think of your writing?
LOL! With only a few exceptions, most of my family could care less and have never even bought one of my books. Needless to say, they're not the most supportive bananas in the bunch.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That I actually could write a book. I have no training in creative writing other than what I learned in high school and that mandatory freshman comp class in college. Turns out I had a talent I never knew I had!
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
To date I've published 9 novels. I have a novella, Crewel Intentions, coming out in a couple of weeks as part of my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, which are published by Midnight Ink. The next Anastasia novel will be available in January.
I'm not sure I can pick a favorite. I do have a special attachment to Talk Gertie To Me because it was the first book I sold and also to Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun because it launched my mystery career.
Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
First and foremost, don't give up! If you want it badly enough, no matter how many rejections you receive, keep writing, and keep honing your craft. The more your writing improves, the greater your chances of selling a book.
That said, keep in mind that there are only two reasons to have a scene in a book. Every scene, whether narrative action, dialogue, or introspection, must do either one of two things -- advance the plot or tell the reader something she needs to know at that moment about the character(s). If the scene does neither, it's filler and doesn't belong in your book.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I love hearing from readers! Nothing brightens my day like opening my email to find that one of my books touched a reader on some level. However, I have had a few comments from readers who were bothered by the language in my books. I don't overly use four-letter words, but I do use them when it's appropriate to the character. My Mafia loan shark is not going to say, "Oh gosh darn it!"
What do you think makes a good story?
This is a very subjective question. A good story is one that captivates the reader and transports her from her world into someone else's world. A story might do this for some readers but not for others. We all have different tastes and enjoy reading different types of books.
Being offered a position at a prestigious architectural firm is a dream-come-true for thirty-four year old widow Hope Morgan. For twelve years she’s attended college while working full-time and fending off family efforts to find her a new husband. Hope’s long-exiled libido escapes confinement the moment she sets eyes on Ben Schaffer, her married boss. When Ben’s wife walks out on him and their young sons, Hope steps in as temporary nanny, a bad move, considering all those traitorous hormones.
Ben finds himself developing feelings for Hope, feelings he knows better than to act on, given the mistakes of his past. But Hope refuses to take no for an answer, and her three-year-old accomplices are a triple threat of determination when it comes to finding everyone a happy ending.
Award-winning author Lois Winston writes the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries series featuring magazine crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack. Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, a January 2011 release, was the first book in the series and received starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Kirkus Reviews dubbed it, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum” Death By Killer Mop Doll, the second book in the series, was released this past January. Revenge of the Crafty Corpse will be a January 2013 release.
Lois is also published in women’s fiction, romantic suspense, and non-fiction as well as being an award-winning crafts and needlework designer and an agent with the Ashley Grayson Literary Agency. She has also recently embarked on an indie publishing career, releasing some of her earlier romance, romantic suspense, and chick lit books under the pen name Emma Carlyle. Throughout August, September, and October, Lois is donating $500 to breast cancer research for every 1,000 Emma Carlyle books sold. Links to the books can be found on Emma's website.
Visit Lois at http://www.loiswinston.com , visit Emma at http://www.emmacarlyle.com , and visit Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers character blog, www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com .
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