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Newsletter Dated: 6/30/2010 9:14:27 PM
Subject: Andrea Campbell*s Soup*s On
*** Greetings! ***
This newsletter is being sent to you because you are a writer, professional friend of Andrea*s, or a fan and reader of her books. If you are new to the list, welcome. There are a ton of newsletters and e-zines out there to read, thanks for requesting and reading mine.
In this issue:
• From the Author*s Desk
• Interview with Penny Warner
• Interview with Jeri Westerson
*** From The Author*s Desk ***
Looking for an agent or considering writing that book proposal at last? Check out the interview and some FAQ about my e-class, your questions answered: http://tinyurl.com/38zxpyh
Thank you to all my fans and new friends found at the Eureka Springs “Books in Bloom” Festival in May. This is the way to connect with readers who love books!
*** Interview with Penny Warner ***
I have been a fan and friend of Penny Warner’s for a long time and I want you to know more about her too. I present our most recent interview.
Q.: Penny, for Soup’s On readers who don’t know you, can you tell us a little about your writing background.
P.: Hi Andrea. I started writing non-fiction when my first child was born, over thirty years ago, mostly books that help parents enjoy their children. When my kids became teenagers, I started thinking about murder…
Q.: We are talking about your new book, How to Host a Killer Party. Will you give us a brief synopsis?
P.: Thirty-year-old Presley Parker is suddenly downsized from her position teaching abnormal psychological at the university, so she turns to event-planning, since mixing fun and fund-raising for charities seemed like the perfect job. Pres is psyched about her first big gig—hosting a “surprise” wedding for the San Francisco Mayor at notorious Alcatraz prison.
But the party’s over when the bride bolts faster than an escaping prisoner, and is later found dead floating in the bay, a victim of poisoned chocolates. When Presley becomes prime suspect, she looks to her quirky Treasure Island co-workers for help, but it’s the attractive, mysterious crime scene cleaner Brad Matthews who helps tidy up her tarnished reputation. If she doesn’t solve this mystery, she’ll be exchanging her party dress for prison stripes.
Q.: I know we are old friends, but did you really kill me off in this book?
P.: Ha! I was hoping you’d take it as a compliment! Yes, I have a character in the book who is a premiere event planner and wanted to name her after you, since you’ve written a wonderful party book and you’re my idol. Hence Andrea Sax was born.
Q.: You write with a sense of humor, does this come naturally?
P.: I’d never make it through life if I didn’t have a sense of humor. I love reading humorous books – I think they’re smart – and enjoy trying to share my own brand of humor with readers.
Q.: I love the party planning tips at the beginning of each chapter, it just seemed to make sense, didn’t it?
P.: It seems like a lot of cozy mystery novels these days include additions, like recipes, scrapbooking tips, etc. I thought party planning tips could not only be helpful, but fun as well. In my next book HOW TO CRASH A KILLER BASH, (August 3, 2010) you’ll find tips on how to host a Murder Mystery Party. And in HOW TO SURVIVE A KILLER SÉANCE (March 2011), I’ve included tips on hosting a Séance Party.
Q.: For writers who are interested in your process, do you outline?
P.: Yes, much like driving, I need a map to follow or I’m lost. I even get lost using a GPS, so without a detailed outline, I might start writing a mystery and end up with a parenting book!
Q.: Would you share some of the marketing side? Who is your agent and was this sell an easy one?
P.: My agents, Andrea Hurst and Amberly Finarelli, from the Andrea Hurst Literary Agency, sold the book very quickly to Obsidian/Penguin for a three-book deal. I had heard Andrea speak at a conference and liked what she had to say. I think meeting an agent at a writing conference is one of the best ways to find a good agent. Both of mine happen to be wonderful.
Q.: What was your editing experience like?
P.: I have a wonderful editor at Obsidian who finds things that don’t make sense, etc., but she isn’t overly nit-picky and let’s my voice remain true. However, she only sees the material after my writing group and several others have read the manuscript.
Q.: Talk to us about promotion: yes, tell my readers about the wonderful bookmarks you make for sure!
P.: I’ll do anything to help the book stand out in a crowded bookstore. I love bookmarks, but everyone has them, so I wanted to make mine a little different. With my Connor Westphal series featuring a deaf reporter, I included the Sign Language Manual Alphabet on the bookmark. For THE OFFICIAL NANCY DREW HANDBOOK, I attached tiny handcuffs at the bottom of the bookmark (which I like to call “Catcuffs”). And for HOW TO HOST A KILLER PARTY, you get a balloon brad and a party tip. For HOW TO CRASH A KILLER BASH, set in a museum, I’ve attached tiny daggers. I also give out party albums, Nancy Drew scrapbooks, tiny notebooks, mini-cupcakes—anything related to the book that will help get it noticed.
Q.: Anything else you want to share with Soup’s On readers?
P.: Only that I love Soup’s On and always find something to take from it. And I’m looking forward to your next book—parties, forensics, or any subject you write about! Thanks, Andrea. Party on!
*** Interview with Jeri Westerson ***
Our guest is Jeri Westerson. Make sure that you see Jeri’s website and her Crispin Guest Medieval Noir newsletter. Her knowledge of this ancient time is extraordinary and so well-informs her stories.
Q.: Jeri, thanks so much for this interview. What was your impetus for writing a historical mystery, how did you know this was your genre?
Jeri: I was raised in a household of rabid Anglophiles and history buffs so it was really a no-brainer as to what I would end up writing. The surprise was that it turned out to be a mystery rather than just a straight historical. But I’m loving the genre!
Q.: Let’s get right to Serpent in the Thorns. Your detective Crispin Guest has some heavy duty baggage, tell us about his dilemma.
Jeri: Crispin is literally loyal to a fault. Loyal to his mentor and foster father John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster. And he throws in his lot with conspirators who plot to put the duke on the throne instead of the duke’s ten-year-old nephew, Richard. When the plot is cracked wide open, only Crispin remains alive, his life spared by the duke’s pleas. But that’s all he’s left with. Instead of the wealthy and privileged life he was used to, he now must make his way on the mean streets of London with nothing but his wits. That’s how he falls into this life as a detective.
Q.: What is his mission in this story?
Jeri: To restore the Crown of Thorns and his reputation as well as stop an assassin from striking down King Richard.
Q.: What is your special element and added twist?
Jeri: I suppose that might be the Crown of Thorns itself. Does it have a mysterious power that helps Crispin out? There is also a noir in joke about a character’s name. If you can’t figure it out email me and I’ll tell you what it is.
Q.: How much research have you done into this period of time? Do you find yourself doing too much fact checking and not knowing what to use or when to back off?
Jeri: There is a lot of research with any historical, but I don’t think you can do too much fact checking. I try to keep my descriptions to a minimum and try not to do any info dumps. There is a delicate balance between giving the reader enough to go on contextually and throwing in too much at a time.
Q.: Talk to us about Getting-Medieval.com
Jeri: That’s my blog that I like to think of as a digital magazine of mystery and history. I started it well before I had a book contract so that I could develop a web presence and hit the ground running once that contract was in hand. Having a Facebook and Twitter feed plugged into it has helped really spread awareness of my blog as well as my books. You must have a web presence these days if you are to be a successful author.
By the way, Crispin has a blog, too, (www.CrispinGuest.com) and a Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/CrispinGuest) but I’m the one twittering (@jeriwesterson). The blog was something I came up with to bridge the gap for readers between book releases. And by the way, there is another release this October called THE DEMON’S PARCHMENT.
Q.: Has it been a challenge to write from a man’s point of view?
Jeri: Not at all. I just get into character and go with it. I pay a lot of attention to men and how they react to stimuli. I assure you, it’s very different from what women do. It’s also interesting dealing with his medieval sensibilities. By today’s standards he might be considered a racist and misogynist but he’s just being true to his era.
Q.: What about sales and marketing, do you have an agent?
Jeri: It’s incredibly difficult to get published by the big publishers without an agent and I do indeed have one. He’s Joshua Bilmes with JABberwocky and I am so pleased to be working with him.
Q.: How do you like Minotaur and St. Martin’s Press? Has it been a good experience?
Jeri: So far so good. My editor, Keith Kahla, is wonderful and he seems as enamored with Crispin as I am.
Q.: You have a terrific newsletter, please tell readers about it.
Jeri: My e-newsletter is like a shortened version of my blog. There’s usually an intro, my schedule of appearances that month, and an article on history. With images. I like it to be visually stimulating as well as full of interesting information. Anyone can sign up to receive it from my blog or from my website www.JeriWesterson.com.
Q.: You do a lot of promotion, what are some of your tips?
Jeri: Treat it like a business. Be professional. And always say “yes!”
Q.: Anything else to share with Soup’s On readers?
Jeri: The book biz, like everything else right now, is going through some tough financial times. Book sales are down all around and the hope is that readers continue to buy, because books can’t continue to be produced if consumers don’t buy NEW books (as opposed to used books). But library sales are also important so if your local library doesn’t carry the books by your favorite authors, put in a request. Library budgets have been slashed, too, but requests are given special attention. Just keep on reading, people! And thank you all for loving Crispin and his adventures.
*** Future Newsletters ***
In upcoming newsletters we will share a new interview or two, talk more about publishing, and provide additional writer’s tips. If there is any area you would like to discuss, just send me a note. Thanks for the read. ;)
Copyright©2010 Andrea Campbell If you wish to quote from here, fine, just attribute it to me and my web site.