Donnell: Which of your characters would you most/least invite to dinner, and why?
Lois: Anastasia Pollack because she needs a decent meal.
Donnell: Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?
Lois: I know authors who claim they never read their reviews. I don’t know whether or not to believe them. Reviews are part of the business of publishing. It’s important to know what the public thinks of your books because reviews can impact sales -- both on the wholesale and retail level. Besides, if I didn’t read my reviews, I wouldn’t know that the recently released ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN, the first book in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries series, received starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Booklist. And that’s going to go a long way in taking the sting out of any bad reviews the book may receive.
Donnell: Have you ever written a character who wasn’t meant to be a hero/heroine but he/she wouldn’t go away?
Lois: Oh yeah! To see what I mean check out the excerpt of ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN on my website -- http://www.loiswinston.com/. Lucille Pollack, Anastasia’s mother-in-law and curmudgeon-in-residence, will definitely get under your skin, but I dare you not to want to read more about her.
Donnell: What is your favorite cheese?
Lois: Tough question. I’m a big cheese freak. Extra-sharp cheddar or buffalo mozzarella, depending on the circumstances. Then there’s cream cheese. Gotta have cream cheese to go with my bagels!
Donnell: Tea or coffee?
Lois: Definitely coffee -- low-fat vanilla latte.
Donnell: What name have you been dying to use as a lead character, but haven’t found the right fit yet?
Lois: Harry Potter but someone beat me to it.
Donnell: What’s in your refrigerator right now?
Lois: Lots of leftovers. I had company for dinner last night and cooked way too much. Which I suppose is better than having people leave hungry.
Donnell: What is something that not a lot of people know about you but you WISH more people COULD know?
Lois: If I ever became rich and famous, I wouldn’t grow a huge ego and become unapproachable like too many other rich and famous people.
Donnell: Is Elvis really dead?
Lois: Of course not! Who do you think trains and manages all those Elvis impersonators in Vegas -- for a hefty fee? He figured out how to have the best of both worlds. He’s richer now than he ever was, and he gets to sit back and munch on fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches while others do all the work.
Donnell: What is your favorite tradition from your childhood, that you would love to pass on or did pass on to your children?
Lois: LOL! At Dysfunctions-R-Us we had no traditions. What I took away from my childhood was how not to be a parent.
Donnell: What does it mean to love someone?
Lois: It means you put that person’s needs before your own. Notice I said “needs,” not “wants” or “desires.” Love doesn’t mean becoming a second-class citizen.
Donnell: What color would you make the sky if it weren't going to be blue anymore?
Lois: I wouldn’t choose one color. I’d make it rainbow-hued.
Donnell: What do you do to unwind and relax?
Lois: Take in a Broadway show. I’m lucky enough to live right outside NYC, and I know how to get half-price tickets ahead of time, so I don’t stand in line at the TKTS booth with all the tourists.
Donnell: Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Lois: A contractual deadline is the best defense against writer’s block. Don’t write; don’t sell; don’t eat. What more incentive does a writer need?
Donnell: What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
Lois: Getting published, of course. That was a biggie. Selling a series, another biggie. Getting a starred review from Publishers Weekly and Booklist -- priceless! Now if that dream of winning the lottery would come true…
Donnell: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Lois: I’m not someone who can write through to the end, then go back to revise. I have to be happy with what I’ve written before I can move forward with the story. I don’t see the point in continuing if I’m dissatisfied with a scene or chapter. What if that unsatisfactory scene or chapter moves the book in the wrong direction? I’d then have to rewrite everything from that point on after I’d finished the first draft. By revising as I write, I only have to tweak rather than do heavy editing once the book is finished.
Donnell: What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing/researching a book?
Lois: That I need to buy a larger Atlas or use a magnifying glass when checking the one I own. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn this lesson until after the book was published and wound up mistaking the Continental Divide for the Mississippi River. Worse yet, the mistake wasn’t caught by my critique group, agent, editor, or copy editor.
Donnell: What is your favorite kid joke?
Lois: “What’s black and white and red(or read) all over?” because you can always stump the other person. If she says, “a newspaper,” the answer is, “a blushing zebra.” If she says, “a blushing zebra,” the answer is, “a newspaper.”
Donnell: Which era would you least have liked to live in, fashion-wise? Most?
Lois: Least? Any era prior to the invention of indoor plumbing, air-conditioning, and deodorant. I was once in Colonial Williamsburg during a summer heat wave. I was wearing shorts and a tank top. The enactors all wore enough clothing to pass out from the heat. I got to talking with one woman and learned that what she was wearing was actually an undergarment. If she had been in true colonial dress, she would have been wearing several additional layers! It’s amazing any of our ancestors survived.
Lois: Most? Ancient Greece. They knew how to dress for summer’s heat.
Donnell: Tell me how many hats you have in your home?
Lois: Mine? Five. Two winter, two summer, and my Mets baseball cap. I have no idea how many hats my husband owns.
Donnell: Dog person or cat person?
Lois: Allergy person.
Donnell: Which is your favorite language other than your native language?
Lois: Italian, especially when sung by Andrea Bocelli.
Donnell: If you were given a chance to travel to the past where would you go and specifically why?
Lois: The 1920s, Algonquin Hotel as part of the Round Table with Dorothy Parker and the gang. Dorothy could certainly hold her own against all those guys, but I think they could have used another female voice in the group.
Donnell: What would you do if you had a time machine?
Lois: I’d go back in time and try to rewrite history to avoid all the wars men have gotten us into throughout the ages.
Donnell: How much money does it take to be happy?
Lois: Enough not to have to worry about having enough.
Donnell: What question are you never asked in interviews, but wish you were?
Lois: Hmm…after answering all of these questions, I think I’ve been asked just about everything other than “innie or outie.” For the record, the answer is “innie.”
Donnell: If you couldn’t be a writer anymore, what profession would you take up?
Lois: Since I juggle three careers, I’d just concentrate on the other two. However, I’d really like to be a Broadway star. Too bad God didn’t see fit to give me singing and dancing genes.
Donnell: What’s the first thing you do when you finish a book?
Lois: Type THE END. Then I go shopping.
Donnell: If you could interview one person (and it doesn’t have to be a writer) who would it be?
Donnell: Leonardo da Vinci. If it’s got to be someone living, Alan Alda.
Award-winning author Lois Winston writes the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries series featuring magazine crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack. Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, a January 2011 release, is the first book in the series and has received starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Kirkus Reviews dubbed it, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” Lois is also published in women’s fiction, romantic suspense, and non-fiction as well as being an award-winning crafts and needlework designer and an associate of the Ashley Grayson Literary Agency. Visit Lois at at her website: http://www.loiswinston.com and visit Anastasia at her blog: http://www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com.
In celebration of the release of Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, Lois is doing a blog tour throughout January. You can find the schedule on her website, , and at Anastasia’s blog, http://www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com. Everyone who posts a comment to any of the blogs over the course of the tour will be entered into a drawing to receive one of 5 copies of Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun. (If your email isn’t included in your comment, email Lois privately at email@example.com to let her know you’ve entered.
Lois's question for Readers: In ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY GLUE GUN, Anastasia meets someone who may or may not turn out to be hero material. How do you feel about romance in your mysteries, and what do you think is the right balance?
Thanks, everyone. Tune in on Friday as Cat Schield hosts Helen Johansen!