Jul 31, 2009

Gnome Approved Book Review and Author Interview

I had mentioned last week that I had been reading a few books and finished on in just one day.

I absolutely Loved it! Let me introduce you the Gnome Approved (VERY Gnome approved) book Pretty Is as Pretty Dies by one of my fellow blogging friends Elizabeth Spann Craig over at Mystery Writing is Murder.

The book is about an elderly woman, Myrtle Clover, who goes to great lengths to proves she not just an old bat. She is determined to show her son, and the rest of the small Southern city, that she is not ready to be put out to pasture just yet. When a woman is murdered in this small town, she believe solving it will prove them all wrong.

Parke Stockard isn't just any woman though, she new in town and gobbling up every ounce of real estate that no one wants to sell. She's rich, she's beautiful and she's VERY persuasive - think Edy Brit - and she has MANY enemies. So when Myrtle takes on this murder mystery, she has no idea what she is in for, especially when the murder catches on to her suspicions and attempts to take her life.

I loved every moment of this book. The characters are painted so vividly and I could picture every one as though they were standing before me. The twists and turns of the plot keep you hooked and just when you think you figured out who done it...you're wrong! I highly recommend Elizabeth's book and cannot wait till the next book in the series.

After reading the book, Elizabeth gave me the chance to ask her a few questions. Being an aspiring novelist myself, I jumped at the chance to interrogate...um I mean... question a newly published author!

Me: Is this the first book you’ve written?

Elizabeth: This is the second book I’ve written, the first for this publisher. Books 3 and 4 are waiting in the wings for publication.

Me: How many months/years/decades (just kidding) did it take you to find an agent to represent you?

Elizabeth: I actually negotiated the contract for “Pretty is as Pretty Dies” myself! I found an agent several weeks later who was a huge help with my Penguin books contract. Soooo….let’s see. It took seven years to get an agent. And I was already published (two books) when I finally got one.

Me: What was the biggest challenge with writing this book? With Editing? With getting published?

Elizabeth: The biggest challenge with writing is always time. I’m a stay at home mom, but chores, cooking, and errands compete for my time. Editing is worst when I know I’m going to have to rewrite an entire plotline because the timing is off (happens every book.) Getting published---the challenge was getting out of the slush pile. I think I’ve had some freakishly good luck.

Me: How long have you been writing?

Elizabeth: I’ve written since I was little. I was a
journalist for a short while, then I tried my hand at novels in 2002.

Me: Have you always written mystery?

Elizabeth: I love reading mysteries, so they’re
easiest for me to write. I’ve tried writing chick-lit, YA, and children’s books, but the genres don’t seem good fits for me. I might try again later. Me: What authors inspire you?

Elizabeth: M.C. Beaton, J.K. Rowling, Deborah Crombie, Elizabeth George

Me: Who is your favorite character in this book? Least favorite?

Elizabeth: I love Myrtle. Her good traits belong to my grandmother and father and her bad traits are mine. I can’t stand Erma Sherman. And she’s based on a real life person. :)

Me: I see this is a series…are we thinking like a (Excuse the
Agatha Christie references here…but we practically have then entire collection on my book shelf!) Hercule Piorot type of series, or more of a Ms. Marple thing?

Elizabeth: Oh, gosh, if only I could rank in comparison to Christie! Hmm. Maybe a combination of Marple and
Poirot. Or maybe early Miss Marple when she was a little more abrasive (remember how she changed in the series?)

Me: What is the biggest piece of advice you can give to all us aspiring novelists out here?

Elizabeth: Write a little every day….set small, attainable goals. Learn to write in pediatric waiting rooms, while Spongebob plays in the background, and at swimming pools. We moms have to grab our moments! There’s no time like the present.

Me: And the most important question! Who
designed that rockin book cover of yours!

Elizabeth: Can you believe I don’t even know? All the emails I received about it said ‘the Midnight Ink art department.’ They’re really well-known for their covers, though: check out their site at http://www.midnightinkbooks.com/index.php for more awesome covers.

And thanks so much for hosting me, Marybeth! This has been fun.

So here it is kids, my first book review! And it couldn't have been on a better book. Take a moment to visit Elizabeth's Blog and Website if you haven't already. She is always incredibly informative and usually quite witty.

Thanks Elizabeth for giving me the chance to read and review your book!!! I loved every minute of it!

Pretty Is as Pretty Dies can be purchased starting August 1st (Tomorrow!!!)

Purchase through independent bookstores at http://tinyurl.com/njqtw4


Purchase from Barnes and Noble at http://tinyurl.com/kmlpqj

You will NOT be disappointed! Good Luck Elizabeth! This gnome award is for you!!!

Like her characters, Elizabeth Spann Craig’s roots are in a small, Southern town. She grew up in Anderson, South Carolina, where she spent most of her childhood in the county library, staggering out with books by the armful.

Her magazine articles have appeared in both England and the United States.

She’s the mother of two and currently lives in Matthews, North Carolina. Between juggling room mom duties, refereeing play dates, and being dragged along as chaperone/hostage on field trips, she dreams of dark and stormy nights beside stacks of intriguing mysteries with excellent opening lines.


Alan Orloff said...

Marybeth and Elizabeth - Nice interview!

You're right--it is a rockin cover. I think I'm going to dream about those gnomes sometime; I just hope they're not doing evil things to me.

That's a great skill to have, being able to write in different places, with all kinds of stuff going on in the background. Especially SpongeBob.

I can't wait to read Pretty Is..

Katie Ganshert said...

Great interview! I love author interviews. And I really like Elizabeth's title. Creative. :)

Mesina said...

Great review and interview! Always great to see what the authors have to say about what they write. Sounds like a really interesting book and the cover looks great!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Marybeth, thanks so much for having me here today! Your blog made a perfect first stop for my gnome-oriented book!


Jody Hedlund said...

What a wonderful inteview. I always love hearing about other SAHM's and their success stories!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Great interview! Thanks for sharing. I get the whole jostling thing and fitting writing time in. I really wish I could write in waiting rooms, but I just can't.

Galen Kindley--Author said...

You make a terrific point about having to learn to write in every distracting environment children can produce. I get brain-lock in a completely quiet and sterile office designed specifically for writing. So, next time I’m wondering why I’m Mr. Slush Pile . . . I’ll remember you, and understand why I am--and you are absolutely not. Great job,
Best Regards, Galen
Imagineering Fiction Blog

CKHB said...

Cool interview! I'm so impressed by mystery writers; I don't think I'm organized enough to handle a mystery plot line!

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I enjoyed the interview and I look forward to reading the book!

Marybeth Poppins said...

You are so very welcome Elizabeth. I really enjoyed this experience!

I'm glad everyone is enjoying the interview as well. If anyone else would like to do one with me...just say the word!

It was SO much fun, and I can't ever turn down a new book to read :)

Stephen Tremp said...

Its fun to base characters on people you know, but not in a slanderous way. I laughed when I read about Erma Sherman. As one write once said, "Be careful how you treat people, especially writers, as you never know how they may immortalize you as a character in their books.

Stephen Tremp

Heart2Heart said...

I love the entire post from start to finish.

Love how you went into details about not only the cover of the book but what surprises lie within its cover.

The interview was amazing as an inspired writer, I love hearing from published authors as well.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Tara said...

I love the cover and the title. This is one I'd pick up. Thanks for the interview.

Jack W. Regan said...

Great interview! Fascinating how you were published without an agent. I actually think that's great.

Also interesting was that you tried other genres before settling on mysteries. For me, it was the opposite. I started with mysteries, discovered I was terrible at them, and then tried something else. But I love reading mysteries! I just can't write 'em, apparently.

Marybeth Poppins said...

Thanks for all your comments and visits! Hope you all get a chance to read Elizabeth's book!

Hope to see you all again soon as well ;)