Book Featured Today: Nailed: Resort to Murder Mystery II
Top Writing Tip: Learn the craft, find a good editor to work with, and attend writer’s conferences. The first two will take you far and serve you well while the third helps you network with other writers, because writing is so solitary.
Hi Avery, thank you for taking the time to talk with us!
When and why did you begin writing?
I began getting serious about novel structure and all the elements of the writing craft about twenty-five years ago. I began with a suspense thriller that was slowly developed as I learned. I stopped work on the book and developed the Resort to Murder Mystery series that I have published now (two book in the series so far). That initial suspense thriller has been revamped and after losing the electronic file and starting over, I am now editing the draft to get it published. Why I began writing is simply I have to get these stories out of my head.
When did you realise that you were Pagan?
Wow, I’ll try to make this short. I went through a particularly nasty marriage. My abusive ex and the church we attended were hard-core Religious Right. I attended their bible institute, taught Sunday School in the church, wrote for the monthly newsletter, and even volunteered as a secretary. In the course of my coming to the decision I couldn’t live in the abuse any longer, I had to break from that faith and worldview. It was part of the abuse to keep me tied to a “covenant of marriage”, no matter how destructive.
I turned to Native American spirituality because my mother had told me I was Native American on my dad’s side. I felt like I was coming home the more I learned about an earth-based path. Since then I have incorporated Wicca with the Native American path and feel much more self-accepting and centered. I am grateful everyday to be walking my current path.
What are the main life experiences that have led to this book?
I am an avid mystery/thriller reader and have puttered with writing a novel since high school. I also grew up with a five-star resort in my hometown and would occasionally get to attend events at this resort. I’ve attended LPGA tournaments on the pro-golf course, eaten at the restaurants for special occasions, and fed the ducks at the man-made lake, so using these experiences in addition to that particular resort as a base for the home resort in the novel was natural.
Tell us a bit about your story, key characters and plot.
In Nailed, Julienne is snow bound in the middle of the Rocky Mountains with a killer striking at will.
Julienne LaMere gets to attend a resort management conference at a prestigious ski resort in the Colorado mountains. What should be an enjoyable getaway attending workshops by day and shopping and enjoying the resort by night comes to a screeching halt when a loud-mouthed guest is murdered plus the roads and town shut down for an epic blizzard.
In addition to attending the conference, dodging a smitten teen boy, and seeking clues among the gossiping - and increasingly tense - guests, her best friend’s heart has warmed to an unlikely man and may get broken. As if her mind isn’t already fully occupied, Julienne and her new boyfriend Mason are skiing down troubled slopes in their relationship. Will Julienne put the scant clues together and unveil the culprit before a murderer gets away?
How did the topic of your novels come to you?
For the fiction, I started with the image in my mind of a huge ice sculpture of a swordfish as the murder weapon spearing a person and the rest came to me as I went. The second book, Nailed was two fold. I wanted to use a resort in the Colorado mountains and I decided on a nail gun for the murder weapon and I developed the rest from there.
Have you ever met one of your characters in real life?
Oh yes, but in the sense that I borrow a gesture here or a life experience there. A few of the victims began as mean people I’ve come across and developed from there.
Is this your first published piece or have you had work published before?
I have published before. I did an expose of the Religious Right after my experiences. Then I turned to fiction and wrote Iced and now Nailed in the Resort to Murder Mystery series. I am plotting the third of that series, which will be Spiked. The suspense thriller I am editing is a combination of Conspiracy Theory meets Ghost Whisperer.
Are you published or self published, and what has been your experience of this process?
I am self published and it can be scary in some aspects, but empowering in others. Thus far I am enjoying the process and hope to make a living at self-published writing.
Tell us a little about the community you’re building through your blog and social media.
I have a newsletter mailing list and I have begun a street team. Both are growing. The newsletter subscribers I try to give special offers (the prologue to the suspense thriller book that won’t be included in the novel) and give them some insight into the process. The street team is my helpers to get the word out. The street team will help me with a FaceBook Book Launch party in a couple of weeks.
How important are reviews of your work, do you read them?
Reviews are crucial to getting a book momentum in sales. Yes, I read them. It is good to have a few less enthusiastic reviews so people believe they are real and not just all your family and friends. Some people don’t know how to be constructive in their reviews and can hurt, though.
What, or who, do you enjoy reading?
I enjoy mysteries and thrillers, espionage/intrigue, urban fantasy, fantasy, and occasional sci-fi. Historical mysteries and intrigue are my favourites like novels by Anna Lee Huber, Andrea Penrose, Kate Parker, D.M. Quincy, Victoria Thompson, Susan Ellia MacNeal, and CS Harris. I also enjoy paranormal mysteries/urban fantasy novels like Deborah Blake, Illona Andrews, Juliet Blackwell, Patricia Briggs, and Jim Butcher. There are soooo many.
Who encourages/inspires you?
I have three writing friends who encourage me. I am inspired every time a self-published author is making their dreams come true with writing or a little known writer makes it big.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you most like a writing retreat?
France or England, and Scotland. Julienne, the main character in Resort to Murder Mystery series is aching to travel and she got that from me. I want to see more of Europe. There is a crime writers annual convention in Scotland called Bloody Scotland that I am saving up to attend.
What are your future plans for writing?
I am editing the long-time-coming suspense thriller,The Society, plotting the third Resort to Murder Mystery series novel, Spiked, and debating on another series (either urban fantasy or lite paranormal mystery.)
Thank you again for giving us a glimpse into your passion and your process! We wish you the best of luck with your other novels in the Resort to Murder Mystery series and your other projects!