10 Sep 2013

Hello... Lois Winston

I'm delighted to have the lovely Lois Winston with me today. Lois is the bestselling author of The Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries...
When did you first start reading Chick Lit?
I was first introduced to chicklit when I read Sex and the City.

When did you first start writing Chick Lit?
When U.S. publishers were jumping on the Chick Lit bandwagon back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, my agent suggested I try writing one. I found I enjoyed writing in first person, something that’s usually frowned upon in the romance genre, and I also found my voice lent itself to the Chick Lit vibe.

What is it about this genre that appeals to you the most? Do you read other genres? If so, which?
Definitely the voice. It’s more realistic and less pretentious. I read and write in other genres, and I’m often drawn to reading books with a Chick Lit voice. I also enjoy writing in that voice. I currently write a Chick Lit-esque mystery series, The Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries, and although technically the book is more Mom Lit than Chick Lit because of the character’s age, the Chick Lit voice infuses the books. Same for my romantic comedies. Hooking Mr. Right is romance, not Chick Lit, but the Chick Lit voice is evident throughout the pages.
As for reading, I’m a very eclectic reader. My favorite genres besides Chick Lit are amateur sleuth mysteries, historical mysteries, romantic suspense, romantic comedy, and women’s fiction, but I’ve been known to read the occasional YA, urban fantasy, or even literary fiction. Again, it goes back to voice. If I enjoy the author’s voice, it doesn’t matter what genre the book falls into. The voice has to captivate me first, whether it’s a Chick Lit voice or not.

Name one of your favourite Chick Lit books?
I Don’t Know How She Does It. I guess that’s technically Mom Lit, though, isn’t it?

What's the title of your latest book? Can you tell us about it?
My latest book is Mosaic Mayhem. It’s a novelette companion to my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series. Here’s a blurb:
So much for a romantic getaway...When cash-strapped mom and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack is offered an all-expense paid three-day trip to Barcelona, her only worries are whether her passport is still valid and arranging care for her semi-invalid mother-in-law during her absence. However, within hours of landing in Europe, she finds herself staring down the barrel of a gun and needing to convince a Spanish crime syndicate they’ve kidnapped the wrong person. Why do people on both sides of the Atlantic keep trying to kill this pear-shaped, middle-aged single mom, and magazine crafts editor?

What inspired you to write it?
In May my husband and I took a trip to Barcelona, and I fell in love with the city. I wanted to use it as a setting in my next book, but given Anastasia’s back-story, I knew I couldn’t send her off to Barcelona for an extended period of time. I had begun writing novelette e-books as companions to the full-length mysteries. The first was Crewel Intentions, and I had plans to continue writing more novelettes. I decided the novelette format was the perfect vehicle for getting Anastasia to Barcelona.

Is it part of a series?
Yes (see answers above.)

Who designs your covers?
The covers of my traditionally published book are designed by the publishing house. My indie published book covers have been designed by my son except for the recent redesign of my romantic suspense Someone to Watch Over Me, written under my Emma Carlyle pen name. I did that one myself after I found the time to sit down and learn how to use PhotoShop.

If your book was made into a film, who would you cast?
Depends on the book, but we’re talking Chick Lit, right? For Talk Gertie to Me I can envision Anna Kendrick playing Nori. For Four Uncles and a Wedding I’d like to see Emily Blunt play Polly. And Tina Fey would be perfect for Anastasia in my mystery series.

What's your favourite Chick Lit book that made it to the big screen?
Bridget Jones’s Diary

Who is your all time favourite Chick Lit character?
Kate Reddy because I can really identify with her.

Name one Chick Lit author who you think deserves to be better known.
(waving hand and jumping up and down) Me!!! I haven’t had a chance to talk about my Chick Lit books yet. I’ve written two. Talk Gertie to Me was traditionally published under my own name back in 2006. It’s a combination Chick Lit/Mom Lit book. I received the rights back, and it’s now finally available as an ebook.
Here’s a blurb:
Two years ago Nori Stedworth fled the conservative mentality of both her parents and Ten Commandments, Iowa, for Manhattan. She loves her new life–until one devastating afternoon that culminates with the arrival of her mother. Mom is suffering from middle-age meltdown. Her only identity is as a wife and mother, but her husband is a workaholic, and her daughter is halfway across the country. Grandchildren would give her life new purpose. If only Nori would come to her senses and marry town mortician and most eligible bachelor Eugene Draymore.
To that end, Mom sets off to bring Nori home. But when she meets Nori’s neighbor, her plans take an unexpected twist, and she’s thrust headfirst into a career as the next Martha Stewart. Suddenly, she’s a somebody in her own right and reconsiders returning to her old life.
As a coping mechanism, Nori resurrects Gertie, her adolescent imaginary friend. A laptop mix-up lands her musings in the hands of Mackenzie Randolph, a talk-radio station manager on deadline to boost sagging ratings or lose his job. He knows he’s found the answer to his prayers when he reads Nori’s make-believe correspondence.
And maybe he’s found much more.
Meanwhile Dad, with Eugene in tow, comes in search of his AWOL wife. Tempers flare when Mom refuses to return home. However, when she and Dad hear Nori on the radio, they unite to “save” her from the corruption of both Mac and Manhattan.
And that’s when things really get interesting.

I’ve also indie published Four Uncles and a Wedding under my Emma Carlyle pen name. Here’s a blurb:
Polly Faith Harmony is the ultimate ecumenical love child. Born to former hippies turned millionaire entrepreneurs, she’s one part Jewish, one part Catholic, one part Episcopalian, and one part Unitarian–hence her name. Could have been worse. Her flower power parents might have named her Polly Esther.
Aside from her joke of a name, her great-uncles, one from each side of the family, are all members of the clergy, not to mention golfing buddies and best friends. To keep harmony in the Harmony household, Polly has grown up alternately attending all four houses of worship.
When Polly’s feminist mother decides it’s about time Polly settle down and start providing her with grandchildren before her biological clock runs out, she enlists the uncles’ help. Polly and her friend Joni have penned the Top 10 Reasons to Call it Quits After the First Date, but Polly soon finds that thanks to her interfering relatives, the list is growing at an alarming rate. Worse yet, she learns that loving relatives on a mission rarely play fair.

In the movie of your life, who would play you?
photo credit: Raios de Luz - Gláucia Góes via photopin cc
Sandra Bullock

Speed Round...
Top drink to make you tipsy? Margarita
Shopaholic or shopadon't? Shopaholic when I have money, shopadon’t when I don’t
Sky high heels or closer to the ground? Close to the ground. I’m a klutz, and there’s less likelihood of breaking bones when I trip over my own two feet if those feet aren’t in stilettos.
E.L. James or Jilly Cooper? Jilly Cooper
Cry baby or tough cookie? I cry watching Hallmark commercials. ‘Nuff said?

About the author
Award-winning author Lois Winston writes the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series featuring magazine crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack, who Kirkus Reviews called, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” Lois is also published in women’s fiction, romance, romantic suspense, and non-fiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name.

Talk Gertie to Me
Four Uncles and a Wedding
Amazon UK
Websites: www.loiswinston.com and www.emmacarlyle.com
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  1. Enjoyable interview Lois. Best luck.

  2. Very nice interview. Loved your books Talk Gertie To Me and Four Uncles and A Wedding.
    They would definitely make good movies both of them. Good luck!

  3. Love the blurb for the book. It sounds fabulous.

  4. Great interview, Lois. I also love the chick lit voice - suits my personality to a tee! x

  5. Thanks so much, Rose, Rayne, Victoria, and Suzie!

  6. I had to laugh at your choice of shoes. There's not enough money to make me wear a pair of stilettos. Berkies are just fine on my feet. LOL

  7. I don't wear them often, E., but there are times when I have to choose stilettos over Berkies. Looking back, I can't believe I wore stilettos so often in my twenties--like every day to work! Now I can survive them for a few hours at most.

  8. I love reading how writers progress within their own writing journey! That is so neat how you evolved into first person writing!

  9. Thanks everyone for popping along and leaving a comment. And thank you, Lois for such fab interview answers :D x

  10. Nice to get to know you here, Lois. I enjoyed your interview! And I love the look of your blog, Suzy

  11. Thank you, Lani and Helen! And thanks for inviting me to spend some time with you and your readers, Suzy!


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