Welcome back to the Garden everyone. We have Lois Winston visiting the garden, we're glad you've decided to join us again. Before we begin everyone knows the drill; food and drink first. We'll settle in Rose House again.
USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry. Visit Lois/Emma at www.loiswinston.com and Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog, www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com. Follow everyone on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/anasleuth and onTwitter at https://twitter.com/Anasleuth. Sign up for her newsletter at https://www.MyAuthorBiz.com/ENewsletter.php?acct=LW2467152513
My So-Called Writing Process
Writers are often asked if they’re “plotters” or “pantsers.” For those of you unfamiliar with the terms, a plotter is someone who plots out her entire book before beginning to write it. She not only knows in advance who her characters are, what they want, why they want it, and what’s keeping them from achieving their goals, she also knows what will happen in every scene in her book.
A “pantser” is an author who just sits down and starts writing, letting the story unfold as she goes along. She may have some idea of her main characters’ goals, motivations, and conflicts (or not), but she hasn’t figured out ahead of time how she’s going to get from “Once upon a time” to “The End.”
I am neither a “plotter” nor a “pantser” but a little bit of both with a unique twist. You’ve probably heard of “method acting.” I’m a “method writer,” meaning I basically become each of my characters in order to write their stories. (Figuratively, mind you. This all happens in my head. I’m not about to go out looking for murderers in the real world!)
I usually begin a book by writing what amounts to a back cover blurb for my story. This gives me a general idea of who’s story it is and what will happen in the course of the book. Sometimes I’ll write as much as a page or two to provide me with an overall plot arc—beginning, middle, and end.
Unfortunately, I rarely follow what I’ve written because in becoming one with my characters, I let them take over. The result is they wind up directing my fingers to strike keys that may have nothing to do with that rough guideline I created. I actually prefer it that way. After all, it’s really their story. So who better to direct its course of action?
The Empty Nest Mystery Series
An homage to Dashell Hammet’s Thin Man movies with a modern day spin on Nick and Nora Charles
When her career is outsourced to Asia, fledgling romance author and empty-nester Gracie Elliott wants a job that will allow her time to write. So she opens Relatively Speaking, becoming a wing woman to the senior set. Since her clients need several hours each morning to find their teeth, lube their creaky joints, and deal with lower GI necessities, and they always turn in after the early bird specials, she has plenty of time to pen her future bestsellers.
Gracie deliberately avoids mentioning her new business venture to husband Blake until after she signs her first client. Blake joins the company as a not-so-silent partner, tagging along to make sure Gracie doesn’t cause a septuagenarian uprising. When Client #13 is found murdered in the parking lot behind the Moose Lodge, Gracie knows, no matter how much Blake protests otherwise, she can’t wait around for the police to find the killer if she wants to save her livelihood.
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Literally Dead, Book Two
After her last disastrous episode as an amateur sleuth, Gracie Elliott is back. The budding romance
writer has spent the past year crafting her first novel. Her hard work and determination pay off when her manuscript wins the Cream of the Crop award, a contest for unpublished writers, sponsored by the Society of American Romance Authors. First place entitles her to attend the organization’s annual conference, normally open only to published authors.
With husband Blake in tow, a starry-eyed Gracie experiences the ultimate fan-girl moment upon entering the hotel. Her favorite authors are everywhere. However, within minutes she learns Lovinia Darling, the Queen of Romance, is hardly the embodiment of the sweet heroines she creates. Gracie realizes she’s stepped into a romance vipers’ den of backstabbing, deceit, and plagiarism, but she finds a friend and mentor in bestselling author Paisley Prentiss.
Hours later, when Gracie discovers Lovinia’s body in the hotel stairwell, a victim of an apparent fall, Gracie is not convinced her death was an accident. Too many other authors had reason to want Lovinia dead. Ignoring Blake’s advice to “let the police handle it,” Gracie, aided by Paisley, begins her own investigation into the death. Romance has never been so deadly.
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Thank you, Lois, for joining us. I really love the sound of your series!